Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Toddlers are Hard. x2

Just a short post today; our household is a bit exhausted lately.

Both Maretta and Shula are on the cusp of being able to really communicate, but they aren’t quite there yet. And it’s really frustrating. Not only for them but for Anton and I as well. They get frustrated because they don’t know or can’t say what they want. We get frustrated because we WANT to get them what the need but it’s so hard to guess sometimes.

It can be interesting to watch the frustration though; they each have a different way of dealing with this frustration. Maretta gets angry. She kicks and screams. If you were to look up “tantrum” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Maretta. Shula just gets really upset. Her face screws up into the most heartbreaking thing you have ever seen. She runs to the nearest corner or doorjam and turns her back towards the room. Both reactions are equally hard to watch and you feel nothing but sympathy because they’re only acting out due to a lack of communication.

Toddlers are Hard

Toddlers are Hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am really looking forward to their language improving!

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Toddler Beds

Just over a week ago we took the side rails off of the girls’ cribs. No real reason behind the change, it seemed like it was time for another “big step” and it was either this or potty training (not looking forward to that one). We didn’t experience either of the girls’ ever climbing out of their cribs or causing injury to themselves while they were sleeping. They have both been sleeping through the night since they were five months old and rarely cause any trouble when going down to sleep. Converting the cribs seemed like a good next step.

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We decided to go with the same technique we used when we originally did sleep training: Controlled Crying. Now, our girls are 18 months old so “crying” isn’t usually the right term to use but it was the same concept. We’d put the girls down after our bedtime routine, tuck them in and leave them be. We’d set a 10 minute timer and until it went off we didn’t go into the bedroom (with the exception of loud bangs or hurt crying). When the timer went off we’d head in and redistribute babies, blankets, soothers, and stuffed animals. Not a lot of attention was given; just a quick kiss and a firm “goodnight”. Even if they just hopped out of their beds before we reached the doorway, this was all that we did. No trying to get them to stay in their cribs, no talking to them. We wanted to make sure they knew that we meant business! Once or twice we tried sitting in the room with them and keeping them in their cribs but, as they do with most everything, they really enjoyed the attention!

Toddler Beds

Last night was our ninth night of no crib sides, and since we started the amount of trips we’ve had to make into Shula and Maretta’s bedroom has decreased every night. Shula seems to stay awake a little longer than Maretta does; each night the last one or two trips have been to put just Shula to bed. The amount of trips listed are any trips we made into the bedroom to restore order. They don’t include the original “tuck in” or when we poked our heads in to see if they were actually sleeping or just being quiet.

1st night: 7 trips

2nd night: 5 trips

3rd & 4th night: 4 trips each

 6th & 7th night: 3 trips each

8th & 9th night: 1 trip each

We definitely had to make some changes to their bedroom in order for this “being loose” to work! Any loose anything needed to be moved out of their room. Extra stuffed animals, loose clothing, shoes, etc. etc. In our house, the girls have the master bedroom so they also have access to an ensuite bathroom. Our creative solution for the time being is to prop their old crib side rails against the closet-style door so they can’t open it. A bit mickey-mouse but it works for now!

I’m really impressed with how Maretta and Shula are doing. I read about a lot of horror stories about parents having to go in upwards of thirty times to put their kids back down, and I thought “How’s it going to be with two of them?!”. And it wasn’t that bad. As with any other thing we’ve “taught” or “trained” them at… it just takes a slightly thought out plan and consistency! Always with consistency!

Extra Tidbit: I would highly recommend getting your little one(s) to sleep through the night before you convert their cribs or move them into toddler beds. Need help? See Sleeping with Twins.

 

Next Big Step? Potty Training…

 

ps. Don’t get excited.. not even thinking about potty training yet.

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Sleeping with Twins Part 2

Following on my original post, Sleeping with Twins, I’ll start out by recapping on my “Mommy’s Tips for a Better Bedtime”. These tips apply for anyone under the age of one that you’re trying to sleep train. I wrote them when our girls were eight months old. A lot of the tips still apply afterwards but with slight changes (ex. running/walking/crawling instead of tummytime).

Mommy’s Tips for a Better Bedtime

  • Small Things during the Day.

No naps after 5pm. Lots of exercise (tummytime) during the day.

  • Small Things at Bedtime.

Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics on repeat (all night). heater up to 19°c during the night. soothers (and stand-by soothers). lowered voices and dimmed/minimal lighting.

  • Bedtime Routine.

Ours is: Short walk (five minutes for the dog to pee), bath time (one baby at a time. daddy with one, mommy with the other), quiet play time-NO LOUD PLAY (rolling around the floor while mommy and daddy finish making bottles and get a couple of glasses of water; no more than five minutes), bottles, cuddle time (5-10min. minimal interaction), down in their cribs (we do separate cribs)

It’s not “Crying It Out”. I would highly recommend it. We do fifteen minute intervals. Because we implemented this type of sleep training, we didn’t need to go in and soothe our babies at all tonight. Or the night before. Make sure your support system is going to help you. It’s hard to go at it alone. It helps to be able to tag out and take a breather.

  • MOST IMPORTANT TIP!

It can be a painful ride, but your little ones need to learn to self-soothe. Try your best to put them down while they’re drowsy; not after they’ve fallen asleep. We cheat sometimes. If they fall asleep in our arms, we don’t wake them up just to put them down. But we do try to put them down before they fall asleep.

This stuff works!! I am pretty happy to say that in the 10 months since I wrote the original post, our girls slept through the night 95% of the time. The 5% they didn’t was usually related to teething (molars suck!). Since our girls sleep through the night most of time, we decided it was time for the next step: removing crib rails.

Reading Instructions

Our cribs are of the convertible variety so there’s no switching to toddler beds, just removing one of the side rails off of the cribs. The girls and I started by reading our instructions, then grabbed our Allan Keys (thanks IKEA!) and got straight to work. They were extremely helpful and no one swallowed any of the small pieces (although I did have a good scare for about ten minutes when I couldn’t find a piece).

We are still within the first 24 hours of having the side rails off and I think we could be doing a lot                IKEA’s so easy, toddlers can do it!        worse! I took the rails off before Shula and Maretta’s afternoon nap. It was as one would expect: horrible. Thanks to the bit of reading I’d done, I was prepared with one of the baby gates at their bedroom door so they couldn’t get but they were all over their room, out of their beds after about 30 seconds. At the end of the designated two-hour nap period the only thing that had been accomplished was the t-shirt bin being spread around their room. Bedtime went a little better, and easier since Anton was home with me. It took an hour and five “replacement” trips to the bedroom before Maretta fell asleep. Shula fell asleep one poop and two trips later. I was expecting A LOT worse; some of the horror stories I’d read online about 20-40 trips back to the bedroom to put them back in their bed.

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This mornings’ nap was.. okay. Shula fell asleep after an hour and four “replacement” trips. I think Maretta was close, but the phone rang and Jimmie went bounding around the house (including the girls’ room) which disturbed Maretta. Shula seemed to be sleeping pretty lightly so I thought “one’s better than neither!” and brought Maretta into the living room with me. We are in the midst of the afternoon nap and it’s mostly quiet except for the occasional peep. I learned pretty long ago that if they’re awake and quiet, you leave them alone!                                    What happens when toddlers don’t nap!

We’ll see how things go. Just like most of the other “training” we’ve done, it takes consistency and time. If things don’t go back to an easy bedtime in a week or two we’ll probably put the rails back on and hold off for a couple of months. There’s no rush, right?

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