Seven months

12 Mar

Written Monday, March 10, 2014

7 MONTHS SMALL copy(Anna, top, Elise, bottom)

Another 10th of the month, another month older, another month filled with smiles, giggles and milestones for our little peanuts, another month of parenthood under our belts.

It’s cliché, but it’s the hardest and yet most rewarding job we will ever have. We are so privileged to be parents to these sweet girls.

So, without further ado…

Anna Foot CollageLikes: Grabbing or holding onto things (especially faces, hair and jewelry); sticking their fingers/hands and toes (!) in their mouths; chewing on their toys, their car seat straps and their clothes; playing with their socks; sitting up; standing up; getting into their car seats; solid food; bath time; when Mama and Daddy “dance”, sing and act silly; roughhousing and general silliness; Dexter.

Elise Mouth CollageDislikes: Being hungry; being tired; being cold.

Weights: Anna is 11 lbs, 14 oz, and Elise is 11 lbs, 10 oz, or about the same as our guess for last month.

Lengths: Anna is 24 1/2 inches long, while Elise is 24  1/4 inches long, about the same as our guess for last month.

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(Elise left, Anna right)

Milestones: Both girls now roll over from their backs to their tummies; they started doing it in their sleep, then did it several times while playing in the past week or so. Elise is getting so close to independent sitting; Anna still has a lock on supported sitting, though.

Sitting Collage

(Elise in white, Anna in pink)

The girls seemed to have discovered faces – aka realized that they are separate beings from Mama and Daddy and others – this month and love to grab onto and pull on our lips, noses and chins. They love pulling on my hair, especially if it’s down, and my earrings and necklace, if I am silly enough to wear jewelry.

Anna Bumbo collage Anna and Elise are more aware of each other now, too. They will look at each other and smile or roll toward each other and mess with each other. They’ll even hold hands while nursing or while having their diapers changed. It’s really quite tender.

20140227_181554

(Anna bottom, Elise top)

They also are making lots of new sounds – or at least are more consistently making vowel sounds and repeating them. They also are randomly squealing (usually an indicator that they are happy) and “shouting”.

Both girls finally – finally (!!) – are sleeping through the night. We sleep trained them again about 2 weeks ago, and we seem to have had much success. (See below.)

20140227_073713

(Anna left, Elise right)

Eating: A combination of breast milk and formula (much less than ever before now that they only get three small supplemental bottles a day), plus several solid foods. New foods this month included carrots, squash, peaches and peas.

Wearing: 3-month clothing, although admittedly, many of the sleepers and onesies finally are getting too small, lengthwise; folded cloth diapers with diaper covers during the day and size 1 disposables at night.

20140227_073842Nicknames: Anna Banana (Banana or Nanner, for short), Elisey Bean (Beanut, as an alternate), Peanut, Nugget. Or, when one of them is acting weird, Psycho Peanut, and when one of them is particularly messy or causing trouble, Disaster Peanut.

20140302_172446

The big takeaway from this past month was the return of sleep – better, deeper, more sound sleep for the girls and less intervention and, most nights, more sleep for us.

A quick reminder: We hit a major sleep regression at about 5 months. At first, the girls were waking up any time between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. and could not be rocked back to sleep, which meant we broke down and fed them, usually between 11 p.m. and midnight. Then, they were waking earlier and refusing to be rocked back to sleep, which meant I was pulling them into bed with me, as early at 9:15 p.m.

We couldn’t live like that anymore. Christopher had a hard time going back to work after bedtime because he knew what was in store. I had to race to get things done – laundry, dishes, making dinners for the week – and find time to pump in between rocking the girls back to sleep.

Wrestling Collage(Anna in red, Elise in white)

So, the last week of February, we sleep trained the girls. We used the Ferber method as outlined here.

The first few nights were hard; they cried a lot, at first. But they slept almost straight through the night right off the bat. And we gave them time to get themselves back to sleep – and they did! – so we never got up to feed them. After the third night, and then more so after the sixth or seventh night, things improved even more; the girls cried so much less – we often never made it through the first waiting period.

Now, Anna and Elise almost seem as if they want to get themselves to sleep. We follow our bedtime routine and usually within the first few pages of our book or by the end of the first verse of our lullaby, they are wriggling with their eyes closed. It’s like they’re saying, “I’m ready. Put me down. I got this.” They go to sleep so easily now and we almost never hear a peep until maybe 2 in the morning, at which time, they get themselves back to sleep.

20140211_121503(Anna with Mama)

Up until this week, we weren’t getting up in the middle of the night to feed them. But, late last week, the girls starting waking up at 4 or 4:30 in the morning; we would bring them into bed with us, hoping to snag another 2 hours of sleep, but they would never really fall back asleep. Our hunch was that they not only got enough sleep, because they had slept straight through from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., but also that they were hungry. So, we built back in a nighttime feeding, sometime between 11 and 11:30 p.m.; it’s basically a dream feeding, as we don’t wake them (even to change their diaper) to nurse or take their supplemental bottle.

20140227_164113(Elise with Daddy)

We employed the same methodology for naps, although now, we often only let them cry for 5 minutes before we intervene in the hopes of not waking the other twin and prolonging the crying twin’s nap as much as possible.The first several days were torture; we had lots of so-called disaster naps and two fussy, overtired girls. But the past week or so has been much better – still hit or miss, as some naps last 45 minutes and some could go on longer than 2 hours – which only means nighttime continues to be good.

All in all, the months keep getting better as the girls keep growing, changing and developing their own little personalities. They’re so fun to watch and play with because, for the most part, they worship the ground we walk on. Daddy can dance, and the girls love it. Mama can sing silly songs, and they smile from ear to ear. Even Dexter can do (almost) no wrong. They’re fun to watch, too, because they are absorbing the world around them, which includes taking notice of the fact that they have a sister. It’s so cool.

The days are pretty fun in the Heimerman house.

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(Anna right, Elise left)

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