Settling In at Home

19 Jun

You know how casinos are known for not having clocks or windows anywhere, and once you’re inside it’s hard to tell if it’s day or night, and all the lights and colors and sounds can get almost disorienting, and you sort of drift through in a near-hypnotic time-ignorant daze? Parenting newborns can be a lot like that. It’s almost like a time vortex ensues. Days go by so fast now that time seems to almost morph and warp forward instead of just steadily ticking by.

All that said, here’s a bit about what’s happened in the last two weeks.

henry flying homeOn June 3, Matt, Ellen, the twins and I all got on United Flight 49 and flew from Mumbai to Newark; then Newark to Charlotte, NC; and Charlotte to Wilmington, NC. The first flight was 16 hours, and the twins handled it really well. After getting fussed over by the flight attendants, Julianne and Henry promptly passed out for almost the entire flight. They woke every three hours for a feeding and diaper change, but didn’t make much of a peep other than that. Luckily, Matt and Ellen each had empty seats next to them, so Henry and Julianne each had their own seats, too.

We flew to Wilmington instead of going right home to NYC so that we could introduce the twins to Matt’s dad and siblings, and 86-year-old grandma, and also pick up our dog, Butter, who’d been staying with Matt’s parents for several weeks while we got the kids home from India.

four generations w womenOn our first night in Wilmington there was this great moment where Matt’s grandma (Dot), mom (Ellen), sister (Audra), and our daughter were all together for the first time. It was a really cool experience to have four generations together in one room. Though we were a bit bleary-eyed, it was also amazing to be back in the United States after more than 20 days abroad.

h & j grandma dot 3.5 wks

Henry and Julianne, 3 1/2 weeks old, playing on the floor at Grandma Dot’s house.

drive home

On Friday, June 7, Matt and I headed back to New York City with the twins and the dog. I still had a ton of Hertz rewards points from all of my work travel, so we rented a GMC Yukon from the Wilmington Airport, set to be returned at La Guardia Airport in Queens, just over 600 miles away.

Matt and I have done that drive together quite a few times, usually around the holidays. (We’d fly, but we’re not fans of having Butter ride in the airplane cargo hold.) But this time we had Butter, and the twins, and were driving home through Tropical Storm Andrea. The. Entire. Time. tropical storm andreaWe thought we’d avoid it, but it turns out that instead, as you see from the map on the right, we just ended up driving through the entire body of the storm.

It rained for 17 hours and 22 minutes, pretty much non-stop, as we drove from North Carolina back to New York.

tweets from roadtripLucky for us, the twins were pretty great about it. They snoozed in their car seats almost the entire way. Matt drove, doing an excellent job of navigating the storm, while I sat in back and attended to the twins. We did have a couple snafus, once with formula that was cold (it got dramatically spit right back up–oops!), and there were also a couple diaper poopmergencies that got resolved in the trunk of the SUV in McDonald’s parking lots in the pouring rain. (Good times.) I still find it a little crazy that flying home 8,130 miles from Mumbai to Newark took us 16 hours, and driving 600 miles from NC to NYC took us more than 17 hours.

It’s hard to express the relief and gratitude we felt when we rode the elevator up in our apartment building in New York and opened our apartment door for the first time in almost a month. I wanted to simultaneously kiss the ground, and also sleep for about a hundred years.

The next morning it was really nice out, so we had our patio doors open. Matt and I had just finished feeding the kids, and Butter hopped up on the sofa next to us. The five of us were finally gathered at home, just curled up and hanging out together on a Saturday morning. It was a really gratifying bookend to a long journey.

Mission accomplished.

Now all we have to do is raise them. ;)

ndotb scroll divider

After our first weekend home, Matt went back to work on Monday morning. My first week as a stay-at-home dad went pretty well. My life is essentially on a 90-minute alternating loop: it takes about 90 minutes to feed, change, and soothe both kids, and then they sleep for about 90 minutes. It’s a binary three-hour block that repeats around the clock. I’ve been taking all the weekday overnight feedings since Matt is back at work, so I usually try and go to bed around sunset, and get about four hours of sleep while Matt watches them. Then I take over again and get 60-to-90-minute cat naps throughout the night.

Tiring? Yep. But it’s really just a predictable series of repeating tasks, and for the most part Henry and Julianne are pretty easy babies. Sometimes they have indigestion, and that can get a little hairy, but most of the feedings are textbook affairs.

ABC-Scandal-PosterThank god for iPhones and Hulu. During the bottle feedings and burping I’ve watched the final four episodes of Smash, more than a dozen episodes of Scandal, and ten episodes of Mad Men (catching me up on the current season). It’s kind of like pausing and coming back to visual chapter books all night as I take care of the twins. Makes it all go by pretty smoothly.

Matt doesn’t often have to travel for work, but this week he’s gone Monday through Thursday in Atlanta for a work event, mom henryso my mom flew in for a few days to meet the babies, hang out, and help out a bit. It’s been great to have her here. It was also pretty amazing to see her holding my son and daughter for the first time. (Mom is holding Henry in the photo on the right.) It’s been a nice bonding experience. Matt gets back on Thursday, and the same day my grandparents will fly in from Madison, WI, and stay for a week. It’s been so nice to have all this family around.

So, do forgive this addle-brained new dad for a somewhat rambling post, but after two hours of sleep last night (the poor kids had probably their toughest night since birth, but are back to normal now), it’s the best I could muster. ;)

Hope to have more photos up soon, too.

–Josh

12 Responses to “Settling In at Home”

  1. April K June 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    I love reading the updates! So glad the twins are perfect travel companions for the two of you. And Josh, wow! Your mom is gorgeous and very young looking!

  2. hereisandrea June 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    What an amazing journey…Congratulations to you both- your babies are truly beautiful!!
    My daughter first told me of your story and I look forward to reading more!

  3. Ben June 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Lovely update for such a beautiful, happy family! Glad you are settling in to normal life now and starting the next chapter. Best wishes!

  4. annie21livinginusa June 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you for the update, I had been wondering how things were going……glad to hear you are settling into normal and routine of life…..the older the babies get the easier it will become I promise….just enjoy the moments, it passes by too quickly….

  5. Tony Adams June 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Terrifically happy to read all of this! Those kids are exceptionally cute.

  6. john June 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Great pictures! How is Butter reacting to the new faces & routines in the house?

  7. 2sdguys June 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    So you have avoided the Indian Monsoon to get into the hands of a Tropical Storm… ;-) It is nice to see that you are getting into a routine.

  8. L June 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    I promise you WILL sleep again for longer times. In the meantime your children are beautiful and I so appreciate your sharing them! Thank you.

  9. Douglas June 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Congratulations on making it back and settling in! In a few months, you’ll look back and wonder how you did it!

  10. Kath June 26, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    So happy to see you settling in at home, and best of luck finding time for anything but the babies… :) (And when time permits, perhaps you’d like to change the “third trimester” heading here ;) )

  11. David June 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Boys, congratulations. Brings a smile to my face to read your story. Wish you much happiness and joy as a family

  12. sandra berrigan August 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Again! I just love this whole story the only problem is every time I read it or watch the video I start crying, and don’t know why. Tears of joy of course! Good luck it sounds like there almost as perfect as my granddaughter Sydney haha I really hope I get to meet them someday in NC. Sandy

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