It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong; the best laid plans of Dads & Mums etc…
The idea of this blog was to look at pregnancy then childcare from a bloke’s perspective: to write about how my life changes as a result.
Great in theory, not so good in practice.
During her maternity leave my wife had plans to, among other things, help me grow all our own organic vege, raise chickens & write a novel.
I was also hoping to maintain this blog – a bit more regularly than I’ve managed so far.
Hasn’t happened! As for the reason: see my last blog entry. We’ve been overwhelmed by the time & commitment we’ve needed to look after our twins, especially now that they’re having a few problems & need extra TLC.
In any spare time I’ve had I’ve been so drained that the best I’ve been able to do is type a few sometimes coherent tweets, usually with a baby or 2 on my arm (I have a very sore arm…), or slump in front of the TV occasionally.
But I’m making the effort: I’m doing another post if it kills me (or my arm drops off).
Well they’re now 9 weeks old. In the whirlwind of seeing to their needs it’s kind of crept up on us that in the very short time they’ve been here that they’ve already grown up, & are in many ways quite different from the tiny little things we were presented with at the hospital. I was looking back on photos from around then & it really struck me. They were still our little Jake & our little Ellie, but they looked quite different. It’s not something you realise from day to day as you’re looking after them.
I may have presented a fairly negative picture, & it has been tough. Jake has colic / lactose intolerance*: he convulses in great discomfort regularly, especially after feeding, & often can’t sleep as it keeps him awake. Ellie gets reflux, she vomits her food up a lot (although she hasn’t for 4 days now!), & has to be held upright at least half an hour after feeding, as does Jake. If we lay her down too soon she brings the milk back up, & she cries. In the last couple of days she’s cried inconsolably without apparent reason & has taken an hour or 2 to get to sleep. We’ve tried all sorts: elevating their beds, gripe water, infacol, gaviscon, colief, different types of anti-colic bottles. The only thing that seems to help at all with any regularity is body contact with us: being cuddled by Mum & Dad. It’s a mystery.
Even so, amidst the hard work & sadness they seem to be developing into lovely kids; we adore them, anyway. We’re told that everything they’re going through is pretty normal. Between bouts of illness, they have become hugely more sociable. They were just little balls of crying, feeding, excreting & sleeping; now they are far more aware of their surroundings & of us. We can actually enjoy their company.
They’ll smile at the slightest things: being picked up, us making silly faces; Jake especially loves having his face & head stroked. They’ll often break out huge, open-mouthed smiles; especially after being in distress they light up the room, & our lives. They sometimes even laugh. They love us talking to them & try to imitate us, usually coming out with something like “agoo”.
Physically they’ve changed a lot too. They’ve grown, obviously. They’re the same ‘height’ (length?) as each other but Jake is now much heavier & stockier, & is already quite strong: for instance when he straightens his legs out he can push me back when I’m trying to feed him. In fact, he’s reached a milestone very early: he can already beat his Dad at something! Put him on his stomach; if he decides he doesn’t want to be there he can lift himself up. That’s already more push-ups than I can manage right now with my dodgy shoulder. Ellie is more slender, long-limbed – but also has really big feet! Her eyelashes are incredible – unbelievably long. She also has become much stronger: when changing her she’ll straighten her legs when we’re trying to get them into her sleepsuit, then thrash them around when we’re trying to do up the domes. Makes the job even more difficult: kids!
They are developing distinct personalities too. Ellie’s default expression is a smile. She loves being moved around & is fascinated by changes in ‘scenery’. She is more active, her gaze flits around a lot. Jake is a lot more serious. He tends to focus very intently on 1 thing at a time. The black beams contrasted against the white ceiling in our bedroom hold an endless fascination for him. We often joke that he is doing his Beam Report: keeping track of what they’re up to, what they want, etc. Oddly this has made him more, not less, sociable: when we talk to him he gives us his absolute attention, & often stares at us intently even while we’re doing other things.
The main thing is that, despite their problems, they’re developing normally, & are happy a lot of the time. That’s all we can ask for, really.
Looking after them is extremely tiring, stressful, difficult. Despite all this, if I had to choose I wouldn’t change a thing. Sorry to be soppy, but I never dreamed I would love these 2 little guys so much, & expect to continue to do so.
* UPDATED: it was eventually diagnosed as Silent Reflux
- Viva La Difference: I Get Around (whiskeyforaftershave.wordpress.com)