To My Very Favorite Dynamic Duo,
After waiting for you for so long, and dreaming of you for even longer, it is almost impossible to believe that you are not only here, but that you are already a month old. Where has the time gone?!
This first month with you has been amazing—more challenging, but also more rewarding and fulfilling, than I could have predicted. I never saw myself as a mom to twins, but God worked on my heart in the nine months I was carrying you, allowing me to first make peace with the idea of having TWO babies at once, and gradually leading me to a place of not just acceptance, but complete excitement.
Now that you are here, both of you in my arms at once, I can’t imagine our family any other way. You both were meant to be here, in our family, in our lives and our hearts. The two of you—as individuals, and as the pair that you are—are so completely right for us, so indescribably perfect. As I gaze into your sweet faces, I am overwhelmed by this abundance of riches. The Lord heard our prayers for a child and He answered with a double blessing. What did I ever do to deserve such an incredible gift?
Before you were born, I couldn’t wrap my mind around what it would be like to care for two babies at once. Now, after a month with you two, there is no way to describe it besides BEAUTIFUL CHAOS. Meeting both of your needs at once is challenging: double the diapers (as many as twenty-five a day!), double the feedings (more than a dozen nursing sessions per baby each day, and rarely at the same time), double the outfit changes and laundry loads and middle-of-the-night wake-ups. (Scratch that last one, because who are we kidding? There’s really no “waking up” when I’m already awake most of the night. . . .)
But in return, I get double the baby snuggles, double the adorable outfits, double the tender moments like a miniature hand wrapped around my finger or a gentle coo, double the laughter as I observe your expressive faces and uncoordinated stretches and tiny hiccups and yawns. And there is simply no scale that can measure how awesome it is to watch the two of you together, your bodies moving in sync, simultaneously aware of one another’s presence and ambivalent to the twin whose womb you shared for nine months and who now holds a permanent place beside you in your bassinet or your double stroller or your mother’s arms.
We are still working through the logistics of caring for both of you, and every day is different. During the day you spend your time at various “stations” throughout the house (we have a playpen, crib, or bassinet in nearly every room, as well as two bouncy seats and swings we rotate you through). At night, you are either in the gliding bassinet or playpen by my bed, though you both eventually end up in bed with me at some point during the night.
I am never lacking for a baby to hold, and I’ve found that I enjoy the challenge of keeping you simultaneously content (although those moments are growing less frequent). I am getting pretty great at multitasking. Last week I found myself feeding Kali on one breast, pumping on the other, while feeding Sully a bottle on my lap and also playing “bowling” with Charleston. . . it’s as though my arms have multiplied to help meet the needs of all my children! I’ve also become a pro at knocking out tasks as quickly as possible in between your “needy” moments.
For the first couple of weeks you both slept quite a bit, at least during the day. Now your wake times are growing longer, and with them, the amount of time you both spend crying. The evening “witching hour” is especially rough, with you two taking turns vying for my attention. It’s difficult to hear your tears, knowing you both need me and that I can only care for one of you at a time. I regret that I cannot spend as much one-on-one time with each of you as I did with your big brother, but know that while you might get less of my dedicated attention, you hold no less of my heart. Your story is different from his, but you also have a gift that Charleston never had: you have a big brother who utterly adores you, and you have each other. The love within our family is not diminished, it is multiplied, even if the shape of that love is different than I would prefer.
Because you are still so young and so small, we haven’t had many visitors yet, though you have gotten to meet both sets of grandparents as well as your Tía Amanda and cousin Collin. We also haven’t gone out with you much. Our one big family outing this month was to Sweet Berry Farm, and it was a success! You both slept in the stroller for most of the day, and though we were a little overwhelmed by how much attention we received from strangers, it was exciting to have an adventure as a family of FIVE.
I’ve been nervous about taking all three of you out on my own, but I’ve brought each of you individually to various appointments and meetings, and last Friday I managed to get all three of you kids to the rec center and back home in one piece. We’ve also gone on quite a few walks through the neighborhood, with you two in your stroller and Charleston scootering ahead of us. Being on the go with three kiddos is still new for me, but surprisingly not as scary as I thought it would be.
This month I have been SO thankful for both your daddy and your big brother, who have made this transition to a family of five so much smoother for all of us. Because Daddy works from home, he is able to help out with diaper changes and baby holding throughout the day, and he can watch you two while I run errands or go on an outing with Charleston. He loves you just as much as I do, and has been great about giving you each individual attention and also meeting both of your needs at once. (Daddy and I have both become experts at holding the two of you at one time.)
And speaking of loving you: your big brother is absolutely over the moon about you two. He had been asking for a brother and a sister for nearly as long as he could talk, and now that you are here, he is smitten. He loves holding you, rubbing your heads, talking to you, and helping in any way that he can. He is constantly talking about how cute you both are, how much he loves you. And he is ridiculously proud to be your big brother, telling everyone he meets that he has a brother AND a sister.
I’ve always known that no two babies are alike, and you two are living proof of this. Not only are you both VERY different from your big brother (who, as a newborn, pooped and slept less, cried and spit up more, was much less fazed by a dirty diaper, and was rarely happy unless he was nursing), but you are so different from one another! You look nothing alike, you are on different sleeping and eating cycles (despite my attempts to get you on a similar schedule), and you already have different preferences, needs, and personalities. Even your baby acne has appeared at different times: Sully broke out a couple of weeks ago, and just as his skin started to clear up this week, Kali began having acne pop up all over her face! I love identifying the ways you are unique as I get to know each of you, not just as a pair, but as individuals.
My Sweet Sully Bear, I have a confession to make: before you were born, I worried that I would have difficulty bonding with you. Because of where you were in my tummy, I didn’t feel your movements very well and didn’t connect with you as much as I did with your sister (who was tucked under my right rib). Also, because Charleston is my firstborn, and Kalinda is my only daughter, I feared that as my second born son you would somehow fall through the cracks of my attention. I could not have been more wrong! Your sweet, gentle personality and hilarious expressions immediately captured my heart, and you haven’t let go. My favorite moments with you were when you were first learning to nurse: you would make your face into an “o” and root around until you caught my eye, then stare at me until I held your little head and helped you latch onto the breast: then you would launch onto my chest and begin to suckle, clearly proud to have accomplished this great feat!
You have been the most easygoing of my three babies, content to watch the world around you and rarely getting worked up (although when you do get upset, you elevate quickly). Your movements are graceful and catlike, and you make the most adorable coos and sighs when you sleep or eat. You seem more delicate and less mature than your sister, almost as if you were a few weeks younger (even though you are a minute older—a position you will no doubt hold over your sister for the rest of your lives!). Despite your soft, sensitive spirt, you have a strong, stubborn side. You don’t like being confined and are able to wiggle out of a swaddle in no time; on several occasions, I’ve gone to pick you up from a nap to find both your swaddle AND your pajamas around your ankles! (I have no idea how you do that!) You prefer to be lying on your side, and you will immediately roll onto your side whether I put you down on your tummy or your back.
You are much longer than your sister, but quite a bit skinnier. In your first couple of weeks you had a harder time nursing (you needed a lot of help with your latch and regularly fell asleep at the breast) so we have taken extra measures to help you gain weight: I pump milk for you that we fortify with powdered formula, so after you nurse you get a bottle too. Thankfully this seems to be working to help you gain weight, and now that you are nursing like a champ, we hope to be done with the supplementation soon. We always have to burp you EXTRA well after feedings because you have some acid reflux and get very upset if we don’t hold you upright for a bit after you eat. I find I don’t mind because it gives me a bit more cuddle time with you!
Sully’s Height: 19.5 inches
Sully’s Weight: 6 pounds 1.5 ounces
Sully’s Clothing Size: Newborn (it’s baggy, but preemie clothes are too short for his long body)
Sully’s Diaper Size: Newborn
Sully’s Eye Color: dark blue
Sully’s Milestones: lost umbilical cord (October 3), first bath (October 12), first outing (to the pumpkin patch, October 19)
My Beautiful Kali Girl, I have always wanted a daughter but hardly dared to dream that God would bless me with one. Now that you are here, I’m already imagining all of the fun girly things we will do together when you get older, and even now, the simple act of dressing you in a floral onesie or putting a bow in your hair tickles me to no end. But already, you are making it known that while you are a girl among brothers, you are a force to be reckoned with.
You are my feisty one, quick to let us know that you are hungry or wet or simply in need of some snuggles. We laugh at your “unladylike” behavior, from the grunting noises you make in your sleep and the loud gulps you make when you nurse, to your impressive burps and toots. You are a champion nurser and can drain a boob in five minutes flat. When you’re not eating, you’re usually rooting or sucking on your thumb (a terrible habit that is too adorable for me to want to break it!). You love a tight swaddle and movement, and the rocking bassinet does wonders to calm you down. However, you do NOT like being in your car seat, whether that’s in the car or in the stroller, although noise and some “turbulence” will usually help.
You ADORE being held. In fact, I’ve never known another baby who is so easily soothed by simply being picked up. If you are awake, you want to be on someone’s lap or in somebody’s arms, so your daddy spends quite a bit of his workday with you camped out on his shoulder while he’s on his computer, and I’ve spent more than a few nights with you asleep on my chest. I will never, ever tire of your snuggles and hope they last for years to come.
Kali’s Height: 18.75 inches
Kali’s Weight: 6 pounds 4 ounces
Kali’s Clothing Size: Preemie (though probably only for a couple more days)
Kali’s Diaper Size: Newborn
Kali’s Eye Color: dark blue
Kali’s Milestones: lost umbilical cord (October 4), first bath (October 12), first outing (to the pumpkin patch, October 19)
Kalinda and Sullivan, this month with you has been an absolute gift, one I will always treasure. Words are inadequate to convey how much I love you both, how honored I feel to be your mama, and how excited I am to have you in our family.
Love Alway and Forever,