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Jan 31 2013

How Facebook Helped Me Cope with My “Mommy Fail”

By at 12:24 pm

little girl crying“Tonight I failed my baby daughter.”

This was my status update on the night of November 7, 2012. I was sitting on my couch, feeling like the Worst Parent in the World. My 1-year-old twins were sleeping peacefully in the nursery. My husband had gone to bed, too, but I was wide awake, replaying the incident over and over in my head, trying to figure out how I had allowed myself to commit this lapse of good judgment. I normally reserved Facebook updates for cute pictures of my son and daughter, or of the Food Network recipes I was so proud of myself for successfully replicating, but tonight was different. It was a plea: Let me know I’m not the only one. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 18 2013

All My Little Girl Dreams Are Coming True

By at 9:47 am

pink baby booties for twinsThis past week I celebrated my third wedding anniversary. Since I was sick and confined to bed, I had time to think about these last few years, how I got to where I am today, and how unlikely a journey it has been…

Remember when you were little and you dreamed your life would be a fairy tale? I forgot about those dreams until a few years ago. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2009 and after a dry spell with dating, I was on a roll. Great date on Friday night! Great date on Saturday night! Little did I know that Sunday night would change my life forever. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 20 2012

And You Thought Getting Pregnant Was the Surprise

By at 10:01 am

ultrasound pregnant womanLast week, Cara shared with us that due to sheer will and obsessive fertility tracking, she was able to get pregnant. This week she shares the rest of her triumphant story.

I felt cautiously optimistic when those faint pink lines appeared.

I continued to POAS (pee on a stick) several times a day. I knew from my past experiences that a faint pink line could fade away after two or three days so I watched and waited tentatively to see if the lines would fade or get darker. My excitement grew with each slightly darker line, but I needed to see a doctor ASAP. I am considered high risk because of my miscarriage, chemical pregnancies, and age. My blood ought to be drawn every few days and my hormone levels checked to detect irregularities and nip any problem in the bud.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 17 2012

I’m an Amazing Mom, Sometimes

By at 3:57 pm

mom holding twin babiesI was attending a small community gathering last week when a mom, who was holding a baby on her lap and watching a 3-year-old shake her sillies out, asked me if those two small people at my feet were my kids.

“Um, yep. All mine,” I said.

“Are they twins?” Her eyes grew big.

“Yes. And that’s my 6-year-old,” I said pointing at the kid who was pacing nearby.

“Wow,” she said. “All boys?” Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2012

Jogging Made Me Cry

By at 2:22 pm

sick teddy bearI’ve been making lots of declarations lately (I’m not an adult! I AM an adult!) and here’s another: I had not seriously been tested as a mother until recently. I know, I know, you think I’m exaggerating. You’re thinking, how could that be? You have baby twins! Surely, you’re forgetting the trials of the 13-and-a-half months past! Double breast-feeding? Mastitis? Sleep training? Or the month where Avi and Maya got all of their teeth at once?

But really, that was nothing. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2012

Bris Tips (ha!) from a Mom Who’s Been There

By at 9:49 am

Uncanny resemblance, right?

Six years ago, when I was expecting my first child, my husband and I debated ritual circumcision. We finally concluded that we would do it for the sake of shalom bayit, for the peace of the family. Now our house is overrun with boys: I have a 6-year-old and 1-year-old twins. That’s a lot of brit milah.

A bris usually takes place in the morning because Jewish tradition declares that a mitzvah be performed early in the day. But each bris I planned had a slightly different flavor than the traditional. Both took place in the late afternoon to allow time for out-of-towners to arrive. One was held in Boston with tons of New York family and local Jewish friends. The other was held in Atlanta with a handful of out of town family members and many non-Jewish friends. Each time we chose a Reform, female, mohel with an MD.

Here’s some hands-on advice for the foggy, postpartum days when you’d rather take a nap but find yourself hosting a bris for a cast of thousands. Parents of twins, there is a special section for you. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 20 2012

Friday Night: Rituals That Aren’t So Hard to Keep

By at 3:18 pm
latte

Nothing like a ritual to wake you up.

Last Friday I paced in the kitchen of our tiny apartment, waiting for Avi and Maya to wake up from their nap. Generally, I’ll do anything to ensure that they keep sleeping (including but not limited to: blasting sound machines, forcing my husband to sit on the porch for the duration of their nap time because he makes too much noise walking around, and posting a sign on our front door, imploring delivery people and neighbors not to ring our bell). But on Fridays, we go for coffee when they wake from that a.m. nap, and I realized as I kept checking the clock on my cell phone and listening for sounds at their bedroom door, I really look forward to it. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 14 2011

The Biblical Model of Raising Twins

By at 1:58 pm

twin baby girls in cribI’ve been comparing my twin girls a lot lately. Blame it on teething. One of our girls, Maya, woke up one morning with a little white tooth sprouting from her bottom gums. No warning. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she’s happier and more content with teeth than she was without. A week later, Avi, “traditionally” our calmer and quieter baby, started waking up every hour during the night, taking shorter naps, and being generally fussy all afternoon long. Sure enough, after a few days of this and not to be outdone by her sister, Avi sprouted two teeth (and continued to fuss, albeit with more drool).

I know I’m breaking some cardinal parenting rule when I say that Maya’s suddenly the easier baby–I know I shouldn’t compare them for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s bad for their self-esteem. But it’s basically impossible not to compare. In fact, I think comparing them is how I understand and get to know them better.

The biblical model of twins, Jacob and Esau, are described as polar opposites and never evolve from their prescribed roles. In the bible, Esau is described as hairy and a hunter, while Jacob is smooth-skinned and spiritual. Esau becomes the “servant” of Jacob, who becomes the leader of a great people. Esau trades his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 12 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: Getting the Twins to Sleep

By at 9:52 am

Why sleep when we can play with each other?

Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com

Dear Batya,

My husband and I have almost-10-month-old twins. They wake up repeatedly during the night. Often it’s easy to soothe them back to sleep. But sometimes one (or both) of them is just wide awake at 4am and it’s really hard to get them back to sleep. They start off the night around 8:30pm in their cribs. If someone wakes up before we are in bed, we rock him or her back to sleep and put them back in the crib. If they wake up after we are in bed, we just bring them into bed with us (we have a king size bed for this purpose). That used to solve the problem and they slept solidly the rest of the night. But more and more they are waking up even once they are in bed with us. I don’t know why and I don’t know how to get them back to sleep. We are not willing to let them cry (beyond a little kvetching), so that is off the table as a strategy.

Dear Ana,

Sounds like you have a tag team over there! It seems they are both waking so frequently at night due to the fact that they simply don’t know how to settle themselves to sleep. You can never spoil a baby, and all you can do is love them to pieces, but when push comes to shove they need to learn how to self-soothe in order for them to improve in their sleep habits.

You need to first ensure they’re not overtired by bedtime, and on a decent routine during the day that allows you to predict when their bodies are actually regulated to sleeping for the night.  Below is a sample schedule that may help you:

7:00 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
9:00 – Breakfast
10:00 or 10:30 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
11:00 – Breast milk or Formula plus snack
1:00 – Lunch
2:00 or 2:30 – Early Afternoon Nap (at least 1 hour)
3:00 – Breast milk or Formula plus snack
5:00 – Dinner
6:15 – Begin bedtime routine, including Breast milk or Formula
7:00 –Bedtime (aim to have them both asleep by this time)

After ensuring their bodies are regulated, you can then move onto actually TEACHING them how to sleep. When working with multiples, it’s best if you can separate them so they don’t wake each other up. After a few weeks of their sleep improving, you can then move them back into the same room and allow them to get used to each other again.

Place each one in their crib/room at bedtime. Sit there with them for as long as it takes for them to fall asleep. They see you, hear you, and can even touch you to know that you’re there, but give them the secure, loving, but firm message that they need to learn to sleep on their own. Some protesting will be involved, but they will never feel alone or abandoned because you are right there with them! After 3-5 days, you can slowly become less involved in helping them fall asleep until you’re able to simply kiss and cuddle them, put them in their cribs, do your routine, and leave the room to let them drift off on their own.  It’ll probably take about 2 weeks of hard work…but it’ll be worth it!

Apr 21 2011

On Naming Twins

By at 2:10 pm

There’s been no shortage of talk about twins in the newspapers lately. “Twiblings” borne of three women and one man who pooled their genetic resources. Twin speech patterns examined. The bizarrely cruel ways people reacted to novelist Samantha Hunt’s twin pregnancy…the list goes on. I am transfixed. I am pregnant with twins, due in just a few days.

Gratefully, I haven’t had the negative experience Hunt describes (no one has told me it was my fault for having twins, as if having twins was something negative) and presumably, I’m several months away from considering speech patterns. Perhaps I should be thinking about the psychological nuances of twin-ship—but I hadn’t been until now. Instead, I’ve been obsessed with the challenge of naming our twins.

Maybe my husband and I have chosen to focus on naming because it’s an aspect of this situation we can actually control. As friends and family asked questions about how we’ll manage in our cramped apartment, whether I might breastfeed, if I will have a c-section and how we’ll navigate the religious aspects of our children’s births (a double bris? A double baby naming? One of each?), we remained undeterred in our task. Each night we climbed into bed and debated names. I was partial to Modern Hebrew names. Jon wrinkled his nose at such designations. He wanted to be sure our babies had names that Americans could easily pronounce, that wouldn’t sound “too Jewy” and for some reason, seemed vaguely presidential. Read the rest of this entry →

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