This week, Henry and Julianne will be 10 months old. I can hardly believe how quickly they are changing from tiny, milk-hungry blobs into real human beings! Julianne often smiles with her one gummy tooth and mutters PaPaPaPa… I’m not sure if she understands what she is saying or is just mimicking, but either way, it’s amazing. Henry can pull himself up into a standing position, but hasn’t quite figured out how to get back down. Our days tend to repeat themselves on the same sleep and feeding schedule, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Here are a few pics:
During my downtime (ha) this week, I want to write an update on the second parent adoption process in the state of New York. We seem to be moving in the right direction, but it is taking much longer than we anticipated.
The 10 most-liked photos of Julianne and Henry from their fifth month.
I take a lot of photos of our twins–nearly 1,000 a month, according to the camera roll on my iPhone–and sometimes it’s hard to pick which ones to post. In sharing some of the twin’s photos from their fourth month, I decided to take an easier, democratic approach and let the most-liked photos from our Instagram account become the official selections.
So, without further ado . . . [drum roll]
I blinked, and suddenly Julianne and Henry are four-and-a-half months old.
Honestly, I don’t know where the time went.
I feel like there’s been this snowball effect in how quickly the changes are coming. Henry started babbling first, quite a while ago, with Julianne following not long after. They love to tell me squeaky, animated, smiley little stories during the day now (and groan away when it’s nap time ;)).
Just last Monday (less than two weeks ago) Henry turned from his back to his front for the first time, and he’s been taking advantage of his new-found skill ever since. Almost every nap and overnight is now on his tummy, which at first freaked his poor dads out. We of course are always putting him to bed on his back, but he flips to his front pretty much right away, pops in his thumb, and conks out. We’ve been watching the video baby monitor like crazy to make sure he’s got his head to the side so he can breathe properly, and so far so good on that front.
Julianne can turn about 85% of the way from back to front, but she still gets stuck on her right arm and can’t quite complete the turn yet, but I’m sure she’s not far behind. In the meantime, she does a lot of sleeping on her side, with her legs in scissor kick formation. Julianne has the most amazing all-gums smile that Matt and I just live for. She smiles slightly less often than Henry (and he has a megawatt smile), so when you get a big smile out of her you really feel like you’ve hit the lottery.
We’ve been all about organization and planning with sleep training and daily scheduling, and consequently the kids are really quite content and hit their feeding and sleeping marks well throughout the day. They now feed about every four hours, starting around 7 a.m., with final bottle around 7 or 7:30 p.m. Two hours after a feeding they go down for a nap, sleep for about two hours, and then are ready to feed again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Once the twins are in bed for the night, they sleep until around 2 a.m or 3 a.m., then I feed them a bottle, and they sleep through to about 7 a.m. That means they usually get in a 6-7 hour sleep stretch overnight, which is pretty good. They’re also up to five-ounce feedings (150 mL), and Julianne, who’s a little shorter and lighter than Henry, can sometimes eat more than her brother. She’s a growing girl.🙂
Having the kids on such a good schedule has made my life as an at-home dad pretty manageable. They hit nap time and Daddy can throw in some laundry, do a load of dishes (and bottles–oh, the bottles!), and sometimes get in a little Dad time (a few pages of a novel or a magazine, or a sandwich and a few minutes of a TV show on Hulu).
At their last check-up (at four months and one week), Julianne weighed 12 lbs. 12 oz. (5.75 kg) and was 23.25 inches tall (59 cm). Henry weighed 14 lbs. (6.35 kg) and was 24.75 inches tall (63 cm). They’re both healthy and doing well, and (knock on wood!) haven’t been sick yet.
The other day Matt and I went to a Carter’s store in Queens and kind of accidentally had a Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman-style baby clothes shopping spree. We bought 6-month sizes, all warmer stuff for the cool autumn weather that’s creeping in. When we were picking the clothes out I was thinking to myself, “What are these, toddler clothes? They’re huge! They won’t fit the kids until Christmas!” And then we got home, tried them on the kids, and they pretty much fit. My heart broke a little bit. The clothes are cute, and the kids are happy and warm, but they’re getting so big.
I know. We’re going to be saying that a lot, I’m sure. I’ll try not to sound like a broken record.
Other than that, things are going pretty well. More soon! I’ll try not to let time slip away from me like that again. But, you know, things have been a little busy.😉
Back in May, when our twins were first born (via surrogate), we made a video of going to Mumbai to meet Henry and Julianne for the first time.
Twenty days later, we brought Henry and Julianne home. On our way home from Mumbai, we brought the kids to Wilmington, NC, to meet Matt’s family. Then we rented a car and drove back to New York City.
Here’s that journey, all in a few minutes.🙂
Julianne, just over 4 lbs. at birth, now weighs 8.5 lbs. Henry, just over 5 1/4 lbs. at birth, now weighs 10.5 lbs. Both have doubled their weight since birth, and have grown more than 1.5 inches each since their one-month visit to the pediatrician.
Part of all this growing means that they’re both now too big for their newborn clothes. Henry hasn’t been able to fit them for some time now, but Julianne has now joined him in wearing 0-3 months clothes. Packing up these tiny little outfits–the torso barely bigger than an iPhone–made me a little nostalgic. They weren’t joking: it really does go fast.
Both of the kids have begun social smiles. Henry gives them a little more readily than Julianne as they approach nine weeks old, but when either of them smile like that our hearts melt.
Fresh-scrubbed little girl.
Fresh-scrubbed little boy.
A girl and her dog.
At feedings, the kids both drink about 3 ounces of formula now. Julianne eats every 2.5-3 hours, and Henry likes to eat every 3-4 hours (but has gone as long as 5.5 hours between feedings).
Early on, our little girl was more apt to cry and need a little extra attention. They’ve now switched, and Henry is a little more apt to cry and need the extra TLC, while Julianne has become our mellow baby. But I’m sure they’ll switch it up again sometime soon, just to keep their daddies on their toes.😉
I’m averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night (as Matt has taken on the 11 p.m. feeding, my one solid sleeping block for the night), and can get 30-45 minutes of napping in during the day. “Sleep when they sleep” is well-meaning advice, but with twins, and twins now on slightly different feeding schedules, that means different daytime nap schedules, and a little less napping time for Daddy Josh.
But, of course, this stage will pass, and (supposedly) not long from now. They say that when both babies are either 12 weeks or 12 lbs. you can start doing sleep training and get them to start sleeping through the night without a feeding. I’ve had 7 hours of sleep exactly once since they were born 68 days ago, and often get about half that much sleep, so I have to admit I’m a little excited at the prospect of 5-6+ solid hours of sleep in a night.
That’s Henry and Julianne at two months. More soon.🙂
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.
On 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.
On 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.
Henry and Julianne, 3 1/2 weeks old, playing on the floor at Grandma Dot’s house.
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. We 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.
Lucky 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.
Now all we have to do is raise them.😉
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.
Thank 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, so 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.