Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When He Wakes He WIll Move Mountains

{Sorry if you've already read this, it accidentally posted the other day}

It seems that, as parents, sleep is the ever eluding element we constantly chase. We accept that as new parents our bouncing bundle of joy will disrupt our previous life waking at noon, working out, and day drinking.

Or maybe not.

Maybe parenthood encourages day drinking.

I will say that without a doubt the best thing I've done to make my life as a twin parent easier is to get my boys on the same schedule.  And we were still are sticklers for the schedule.

I've written a lot about breast feeding, and I've mentioned before that I felt like an ever revolving cow the first night the boys were on the outside. I think I had 20 minutes between feeding the 2nd one before the 1st one wanted to eat again. Learning to tandem feed was like striking gold. I struck gold learning to give them liquid gold (sorry I had to.)

We always fed the boys at the same time (and still do) and always put them to sleep at the same time (and still do.)

As babies, it went like this:One child wakes up to eat, wake the other one. It probably seems counterintuitive and goes against the whole "let the baby sleep" thing but this is the best way to buy yourself some time to get things done. And the nice thing is, babies sleep a lot so if you wake one, he'll go back to sleep easily.

We also always put the boys down for naps and bed at the same time - even if they weren't exhibiting signs of tiredness.Maybe one fell asleep before the other, but the other one always quickly followed. They got used to being out down at the same time every day, their bodies adjusted to being laid down at  that time and they adjusted to become tired at that time. Honestly, we kind of lucked out on this one, they kind of just wanted to sleep at the same time.

As toddlers it goes like this: We eat meals as a family. One child asks for a snack, we give them both one. One may not be as hungry as the other and that's okay! He just doesn't finish it and we don't force it. For the most part, we give snacks on a rough schedule too, so they never really have to ask for them.

We still put the boys to bed at the same time, no matter what. Unless they're sick. The sick one usually sleeps cuddled in my arms on the couch. Both boys go down for a nap at 11am and sleep until about 1pm. If one wakes up before the other, I try to sneak in and get the one without waking the other. But, our floors creak so usually the sleepyhead gets woken up anyway.

We put them both down around 7:30pm and read a story or two so they are completely relaxed and winding down a little before 8pm. Sometimes after 8 we still hear one talking in his crib over the monitor but we leave him in there until he falls asleep. They both wake up around 6:30 in the morning leaving me with a few hours before I go to bed to do stuff and then a little time in the morning to shower before they get up. People make comments about how my hair and makeup is always done and that's why - I know how much time I have until they want up and out of their cribs.

Sticking to a schedule was a lifesaver! Think about it: you follow roughly the same schedule every day. You wake roughly at the same time every day, you eat meals at roughly the same time every day and go to bed at roughly the same time every day. When your schedule gets wildly out of whack your body pays for it. Babies thrive off schedules. They do well when they know what to expect. If you give your child a bath every night at 6pm and then put them to bed after, their body begins to expect bedtime after a bath.

My boys were wonderful sleepers and I think a large part of it was due to the schedule. I have a friend whose little girl is a little younger than the boys and she doesn't sleep well at all. My poor friend has barely slept in almost three years and now she's expecting another baby in the Spring. I am not judging at all as I know people have to do what works for them and their family, but after 2.5 years, her little girl still is not a great sleeper and her mama is exhausted. I feel so much for my friend and a small part of me wonders if a strict schedule would have been good for her daughter.

So, back to the schedule. Here's what our day looks like:

6:30am - Boys usually wake up. Sometimes it's later. They're content playing in their bed until 6:45 or 7am.
6:45-7am - Get up, change diapers, cuddle, etc.
7:45a-8am - Breakfast
8:30am - breakfast is done. Playtime!
10:30am  - snack
11am - nap
12:45-1pm - wake up from nap
1-1:30pm - lunch
2pm  - lunch over. Playtime!
3:30-4pm - small snack before dinner
5:30pm -dinner
6:15-6:45pm - small snack for dessert (sometimes)
7:15-7:30pm - bedtime routine
7:50ish - bedtime routine finished, kisses given, I love yous spoken. Lights out

You can tell by the schedule that a lot of things happen within a certain time range. Usually. Obviously things happen and the schedule gets disrupted, but I know that for us, staying on the schedule is easier for everyone. We leave weddings early or make plans for me to drive separate so I can take the boys home from an event because we've learned that letting them skip naps or stay up late makes us all pay for it later. You don't want to see my boys when they haven't napped. We had the worst meltdown ever on the way to Oregon because of a missed nap. It was epic.

I honestly think twins are easier to get on the same schedule than having two children close in age, but that's a different post for a different day.

1 comment:

  1. I love a schedule. I have been like that since day knew and both our boys have slept through the night since 6 months old. I have friends who haven't done schedules, and their kids don't sleep!!

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