Welcome to Taming Twins, a new series of anecdotes from our experiences as the parents of twin boys. As we experience new things with our sons we will post them in this series. Feel free to laugh and cry with us, or just make fun of us if you want. I’m sure a lot of this applies to parenting in general and I know that experienced parents love to hear stories from the newbies, so enjoy!
It’s only been two months, but we’ve learned a lot. We are always changing our routines to try to figure out the best way to make sure that the boys are taken care of while maintaining our own sanity. One of those routines is bedtime. When we first brought the boys home, we tried to put them to bed at 8 PM each night. We’d start getting ready at 7, get them upstairs by 8, fed by 9, and finally “asleep” by 10. By the time they stopped waking up, it was 11 or 12 and by the time we finally got to go to bed for real. Then they’d wake up in 2 hours to eat…
We realized that the 8 PM thing just didn’t work and decided to change our strategy. In general the boys fall asleep in the living room anywhere between 8 PM and 11 PM. Once they are asleep, we prep their bottles for the night, get stuff ready for the next day (i.e. make lunch for work), and have “our time” (watch TV, surf the web, and generally do anything else that we could not accomplish during the day). Once all of that is done, we take a nap. Yup, we take a nap at 9 or 10 at night. We get a few hours of sleep until the boys wake up to feed again, which happens anywhere between 12 and 2 AM. It takes about an hour to feed both of them and get them upstairs to bed for real. Usually there is another feeding around 4 AM and another feeding a couple of hours later when it’s time to get ready for work.
This system has worked well for us so far. It is based on what we consider our Golden Rule: NEVER wake a sleeping baby, ever. Last night was a particularly interesting night. The boys had a bad day. They were both grumpy for whatever reason and didn’t want to nap at all during the day. They finally fell asleep around 7, but on slightly different schedules. Fast forward to 1 AM. Zach woke up to eat but Adam stayed asleep. He was sleeping in the swing and we didn’t want to break the Golden Rule, so we let him stay in there and went back to sleep in the living room. 4 AM arrived and both boys were awake. I fed Zach while Sally fed Adam. Then Sally and Adam fell asleep… Zach was already upstairs in the crib, but Adam was asleep downstairs. Again, not wanting to break the Golden Rule, the only logical thing to do was to sleep separately. I slept upstairs with Zach and Sally slept downstairs with Adam.
A couple of hours passed and it was time for me to go to work, so Zach and I got up and went downstairs to join Sally and Adam. From a routine perspective it was an odd night. Sally and I generally don’t spend the night apart, especially when we’re both home. But it accomplished our goal. Everyone got to sleep and we made it through a night that could have been a lot worse had we woken the boys up. Sometimes we have to function as single parents in order to get things done. We each take a baby, do what we have to do, and meet up later. I originally thought that we could plan this whole twins thing out ahead of time, but sometimes you just have to be flexible. And flexible is what we’ll be if it means that we can sleep:)