To My Sweet Seven-Month-Olds,
As I write this, we are the living through the strangest circumstances I have ever experienced, with our world closed down in attempts to minimize the damage of a global pandemic. We have been asked not to leave our houses (and most people are afraid to do so, even if it were permitted), and people across the globe are sheltering at home while practicing physical distancing from the world beyond. I imagine that this time will be one for the history books, and perhaps one day your grandchildren will ask to interview you about what it was like to be alive in the time of the Coronavirus. While you won’t be able to share from your own memory banks, you can tell my great-grandchildren that during the Coronavirus, you did your part to stay safe at home while bringing your mom and dad SO MUCH JOY during the time of quarantine.
Although this month hasn’t been without its challenges, I think it has been my favorite stage with you so far! As life outside our walls has slowed down, you two have really picked up the pace with your growth and development. In fact, it’s hard for me to articulate how much you have grown up in the past month. You don’t need to be entertained or held quite as often and you cry a lot less. Your personalities are starting to shine and you have gotten so much more expressive and interactive. You respond to my talking with babbling and smiles and are intensely interested in everything around you—be that family members, Arlo, screens, toys, or even just the carpet you are lying on. You are very mobile, constantly rolling around, propping up on your arms, pushing yourselves backwards, and army crawling to get where you want to go. This is a fun stage with a single baby, but watching the two of you navigate a space together is absolutely hilarious. Seeing you “domino roll” each other across the floor is one of the highlights of my TwinMom life! Watching each of you cross the dubious milestone of rolling off the couch/bed (not at the same time) was not a highlight. . . but we survived to tell about it.
We’ve had fun introducing you to more toys this month. You still spend a lot of your play time on your play mat (you sure love those crinkly hanging toys), but we have started doing a lot more play time on the floor of your room. We look at picture books (you love touching the pages) and stack cups and blocks. It’s funny to watch you knock them over and experiment with moving them around. You both love the spinning toys that suction onto your high chairs or Bumbo trays, and you are very interested in rattles and other toys with unique sounds or textures. Most toys still go into your mouths at some point, especially blankets and stuffed animals. For now they are our only friends: you haven’t had any interaction with other humans outside of our family in over a month, and it will be interesting to see how you respond to other people once the quarantine is over.
You have both blown us away with what good eaters you are! You have flourished since introducing solids, gaining more weight in a month than the previous few months combined. You are bottomless pits and will eat as much as I offer, and you rarely seem full. I worry that I am overfeeding you, but your tummies seem to be handling solids well (although I admit diaper changes were much less offensive when you were exclusively breastfed!). You’ve each had a few instances of constipation (making for some very funny faces from Sully and some sad grunts and cries from Kali), but they clear up within the day. (Yes, that info is absolutely TMI for our readers, but these are the kinds of things we moms like to document. I’m sure you’ll be able to sort out your mama’s oversharing with your future therapists.)
You eat your biggest meal of the day after your first morning nap, and it’s usually what I call “Fancy Cereal”: I cook oatmeal, grits, or cream of wheat in breast milk with an egg whisked in, then top it with butter or nut butter (almond, peanut, or cashew) and fruit (banana, applesauce, pumpkin, or some other fruit puree) and thin it out a bit with plain (full-fat, organic) yogurt. You both LOVE this and will polish off a huge bowl of it between the two of you. In the afternoon and at dinner time, I give you baby-friendly versions of “real” food: scrambled eggs, breads, meat cut into small pieces, rice and quinoa, beans, pasta, and mashed fruits and vegetables. So far you’ve liked just about everything! While you aren’t to the point of being able to feed yourselves smaller pieces of food, you can both hold (and polish off) bigger items like a tortilla, small pancake, or rice husk, and you are starting to show interest in self-feeding other foods as well.
Because you are such fast eaters, it is easier for me to feed you one at a time—otherwise I can’t keep up and you get VERY frustrated. It’s also easier for me to stay on top of the mess that way. (By the end of a meal, your faces and bibs are covered in food.) When I do feed you at the same time, I’ve given up on giving you separate bowls and spoons. I figure that you are already swapping spit with breastfeeding, I might as well continue that trend with solids. Having twins has absolutely lowered my standards when it comes to family-shared germs!
We are still keeping up with breastfeeding several times per day. My milk supply doesn’t appear to have changed, so we are adjusting to the fact that my body is now making more milk than you need since you are getting additional nutrition from food. While you are just as interested in nursing as you were before, your tummies get full quickly and it isn’t uncommon for you to spit up after you nurse. Thankfully, you are happy spitter-uppers and seem willing to make the sacrifice of over-full tummies for extra time on the boob. Our only other nursing mishap is that Sully has started biting—then unlatching and laughing because apparently Mom’s squeals of pain are quite funny.
Sleep has continued to go really well this month. You occasionally nap when we are wearing you or when we’re on walks, or—on days when we are desperate to get you some sleep—in your swings. But for the most part, you sleep together on flat surfaces, in your sleep sacks in a darkened room. (One perk to quarantine is that we haven’t had to work nap times around a busy schedule.) You are still spending the nights in the playpen in my room. You go down for the night around 7:30 and sleep for at least three hours and sometimes up to six hours before your first wake-up. (On the nights when you get fussy earlier than that, Daddy will come in and soothe you and you usually go right back down.) I usually only need to nurse you twice during the night (around midnight and again around 4:00), and then you sleep until 7ish. That said, we just had two back-to-back nights of you sleeping straight through the night (ELEVEN hours!) so maybe our night feedings are a thing of the past! Naps are still a little less predictable. We try to follow your sleepiness cues which generally means you get tired about two or two-and-a-half hours after your previous wake-up, meaning naps usually happen around 9:30 and 1:30 with informal catnaps in the late afternoon. You fuss for a bit when I first put you down but usually fall asleep within a couple of minutes and nap anywhere from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours. Last week we moved your nap location from my room to your nursery, and you’ve handled the transition beautifully.
Of course, one of my favorite things this month has been watching your twin bond continue to blossom as you become ever more cognizant of each other and, at the same time, seemingly unaware that you are separate entities. You grab each others’ hands and arms and suck on one another’s appendages as if they are your own, and you roll all over each other without batting an eye. But just when I think that you see yourselves as a single unit, one of you will reach out to tap or soothe the other, or you will cuddle each other during the night—cue the heart explosion. And watching you with your big brother has been just as fun! He adores you, especially now that you are sturdier and easier for him to snuggle and play with. I pray every day that you three will continue to be the best of friends as you grow up and into adulthood—what a gift you have in each other!
Kali Joy, you are a treasure. You have matured so much this month as you continue to transition from a needy newborn to an incredibly happy, calm, and independent baby. You are often content hanging out in your crib or play mat, playing with your toes or a stuffed animal (even as you watch Sully cry next to you). When you do get upset, your cries involve more grunting and panting than actual sobbing, and a quick cuddle usually solves the problem. I love the way you immediately snuggle into me when I pick you up.
You have become quite the babbler! Your coos have transitioned to syllables, and even your cry sounds like you are saying “mama” which is equally sweet and heartbreaking. (It’s harder to ignore your crying when it sounds like you’re calling my name!) You also make the funniest little squeal when you are happy (and sometimes when you are upset).
You have excellent motor development and are able to sit up on your own for a few seconds at a time. You are an expert army crawler and are very intentional with your movements except when you accidentally back yourself into a chair or under the crib. You still have the “praise” hands thing going on when you get excited, and your left hand flaps up and down. And when you get sleepy, you rub your eyes with your little fists.
Although you really like to eat, you don’t particularly love the process of actually getting food into your mouth. You get VERY frustrated during eating time, grunting constantly between bites because you want me to feed you more quickly. You lean forward while you eat, practically touching your face to your high chair tray. You also have a tendency to “chipmunk” foods, which is Daddy’s term for how you hold food in your cheeks so you can take another bite before swallowing. The only food you really don’t care for is hummus: when I’ve given it to you, you make a comical disgusted face and your whole body shudders while you try to spit the food out.
Your smile is no longer shy and hesitant, but nearly always present. You smile in response to us smiling at you, and almost any time your big brother is around: Charleston is always able to get you to giggle and smile! You find silly noises hilarious, and I love talking gibberish with you to get you to chuckle.
KALI’S WEIGHT: 12 pounds 1 ounce
KALI’S HEIGHT: no measurements this month
KALI’S EYE COLOR: brown
KALI’S CLOTHING SIZE: 3 months
KALI’S DIAPER SIZE: One
KALI’S FAVORITES: silly noises, bananas
KALI’S DISLIKES: hummus, waiting to be fed
KALI’S SIGNATURE MOVE: flapping your left hand when you are excited
Sully Bear, you are proving to be the more dynamic twin, which has come as quite a surprise! Your highs are much higher than Kali’s and your giggles and smiles are exuberant. But you are generally fussier, escalate more quickly, have such a very sad cry, and are harder to soothe when you get upset. You are still a pretty chill baby, but not nearly as chill as when you were younger.
A month ago, you were just starting to roll onto your tummy. Now you do it every chance you get, and seem so proud of yourself when you roll over. You really love your tummy time but sometimes get “stuck” there and need help rolling over to your back. You don’t army crawl as much as your sister, but seem eager to crawl the “real” way: you pull your feet up under you and attempt to propel yourself forward. We can’t quite decide if this is intentional or not, but it’s definitely cute and fairly effective.
Sleep doesn’t come as easily to you as it does to Kali. While she falls asleep quickly and on her own, you need more cajoling and soothing and are usually the first to wake up. You are also less calm when being held, always turning and fidgeting. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling this is your boyish tendencies (i.e., hyperactivity) coming through.
You LOVE your food! You are a calm and happy eater, only fussing when there’s no more food to be had. You seem to be thriving on solids: you finally have some chub on your thighs, and those cheeks! We were giving you a bottle of pumped breast milk mixed with powdered formula every night to help get your weight up, but are planning to drop that extra feeding soon since you are doing so well with real food.
Your smile is still your best feature: not only is it bright and utterly contagious, but when you smile you look SO MUCH like your Daddy, it’s uncanny! The quickest way to bring out your adorable giggle is with some vigorous tickling—you love that!
SULLY’S WEIGHT: 12 pounds 6 ounces (you finally passed your sister up!)
SULLY’S HEIGHT: no measurements this month
SULLY’S EYE COLOR: blue (but transitioning a bit to hazel)
SULLY’S CLOTHING SIZE: 3 months
SULLY’S DIAPER SIZE: One
SULLY’S FAVORITES: tickling, bananas
SULLY’S DISLIKES: having your face wiped, getting “stuck” on your tummy, tuna, waking up from a nap (you do not wake up well)
SULLY’S SIGNATURE MOVE: flapping your right hand, sucking on your left fingers
Last week was infertility awareness week, which had me reflecting on the steps we took to bring you into our lives. The two of you are so much better than any gift I could have imagined (and I had a pretty big imagination). Thank you for the immense privilege of being your mom.
Love Always and Forever,