Mission Motherhood

Fuss free bedtime: twin edition

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a profile that I follow: Twinsandmoretwins. This user has two sets of twins about a year apart and she compares sleep patterns for her older set vs her younger set of twins. I totally relate to her methods with her youngest set of twins who learned to self soothe at an early age without cry-it-out methods.

1. Maintain a solid bedtime and nap time routine

We are blessed with mild tempered twins who are pretty easy sleepers. They are currently 17 months old and we’ve had a pretty solid bedtime routine for the last 6-7 months. We have dinner at 6:00pm, bath immediately after dinner every other night, sippy cup of milk at 7:00pm, jammies at 7:30pm, teeth brushed and in their cribs by 8:00pm. They are typically asleep within 5 minutes and generally sleep until 7:30-8:00am.

2. Allow them to fall asleep without needing snuggles

I think what really helped us was leaving them to fall asleep on their own as newborns. Before our twins were born my husband and I decided that we needed to be strategic with our snuggles. The idea of either one of us being alone with them and not being able to get them to sleep was stressful. If we used snuggles to get the babies to sleep they would be reliant on being held in order to fall asleep. This was our strategy as newborns: We’d feed then diaper and while they were still milk drowsy we’d lay them down in their bassinet or pack n play.

We still snuggled our babies… the good Lord knows I love my baby snuggles (and daddy is just as guilty of loving his snuggles). We just didn’t snuggle them to sleep. When they looked like they might be getting close to falling asleep we’d lay them down. They started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches around 10 weeks but the 4 month sleep regression ended that. They were 10 months old before they were consistently sleeping through the night again. But when they were getting up in the night, they got what they needed (binky, gas drops, water, Tylenol) and laid back down.

3. Avoid getting to the overtired stage by watching for signs of tiredness

I think since they’ve put themselves to sleep for such a long time it has helped them to recognize when they are tired and ready to rest. I will ask if they are ready to lay down, take a nap, or go to bed and they run towards their bedroom. I try to avoid getting to the point where they are overtired so I check in with them and ask if they want to lay down when they start showing signs of tiredness.

These are the signs I watch for in our toddlers:

  • Yawns
  • Eye rubbing
  • Irritability towards each other
  • Desire for snuggles
  • Climbing up on the couch just to sit
  • Laying on the floor
  • Standing at the baby gate closest to their room
  • Getting slap happy and giggly
  • Asking for binkies (because they only have them in bed – until I ditch my fear of bedtime without binkies)
  • Finding a quiet spot to read books

4. Learn the cues of your children and follow their lead

I keep thinking they will eventually stop wanting to take two naps a day, but for now they still very much ask for two naps. They have one at 11am and one at 3:30pm and sleep about 1-1.5 each nap.

Every child is different… their personalities, their communication. The twins are drastically different and they’ve never been away from each other. Just because these methods have worked for our family, doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. I think the biggest advice I could give is to listen to your child. Use their body language or changes in behavior as a form of communication. If you can recognize these changes it is so much easier to anticipate their needs before things escalate to utter frustration on behalf of your child who doesn’t know how to express their needs and frustration on behalf of parents who don’t know what the child needs.

What methods and bedtime routines have worked for you? What signs and signals do you watch for?

Mission Motherhood

Parents as Teachers 

Has anyone utilized the services of Parents as Teachers

Our local school district offers Parents as Teachers as a service to families in our community. The idea of Parents as Teachers is to help support parents in the community be the best parents they can be by providing educational resources. As a first time mom to twins I am far from a parenting expert so I will take all the community support I can get. 

We had our first home visit for our 10 month old twins a couple weeks ago and I’m so impressed with the program. We had someone come to our house to meet the babies and talk more about the program. When she came in our house she already knew the kids by name… “This must be Steven and this must be Vaida”. She was so excited to meet them. She brought a Mary Poppins bag and everything to come out of it was the best thing ever – according to the twins. 

She asked me questions about our life – our general routine, family roles, what we like doing as family, how we’re adjusting to life as parents, if I had any concerns or needed help with anything and we talked a lot about what the kids are doing developmentally.  She let me know that she has a lot of resources at her fingertips and if there was anything I needed information about or help with I could call/text/email. It could be anything from questions about helping them sleep through the night, developmentally appropriate activities, or even age appropriate events in the community that I could take the twins to.  

She played with the kids, watched them interact and brought different toys to see what they do with them. She brought a big stainless steel bowl and some wood blocks and she would put the blocks in the bowl and see if the kids tried to do the same. She gave me some literature to read and we talked about some different activities that I could do with the kids that would help with their development.  We’ve scheduled for her to come back in 6 weeks since so much happens developmentally right now.  I’m looking forward to our next visit!  I don’t know how many school districts around the U.S. offer this type of program but I would definitely encourage you to find out if your area has a similar service. 

Fearless Faith

Purpose

Does anyone really know what their life purpose is? Is it ever a stagnant purpose? 

I feel like I’ve always been hunting for my purpose, trying to find what fits, what makes a difference in the world. And today, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that our purpose changes. God uses us where he needs us when he needs us. There are seasons of our life where our purpose may be one thing and another season where that totally shifts. 

I started a bible study at my church a few weeks ago and today’s meeting is what helped me come to the realization that our purpose can shift.  At the beginning of the study I even wrote in one of the margins of the workbook, “where do I fit in the bigger picture?”  And today after our video lecture I got together in a small group with 2 other ladies and they helped me reach the conclusion that right now I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. 

Our study is based on the book “Who Turned Off My Brain?” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. And in this week’s video lecture she touched on the stress that we put our children under and how the stress hormones affect their organs, their growth hormones, and their ability to cope with stress later in life. She focuses on the needs of kids and how they just need to be played with, loved on and made to feel safe and secure. 

So when we were asked to get in groups I paired up with a couple of ladies sitting nearby – both in very different seasons of life from me and from each other.  One woman is a grandma and she spoke to our group about how hard it is to hear these things and look back and see all the things she had done wrong while raising her kids, all the ways she could’ve done better if only she would’ve known some of the information she is learning now. 

The other woman is a working mother of two children, ages 7 and 9. Her husband works two jobs and they have a small hobby farm with goats, chickens and ducks. She was in tears expressing to our group how she carries this guilt around because she doesn’t get to spend enough time with her kids. She works 3 days a week and her mother-in-law helps on those days but on the days she’s home she’s getting the kids to school, preparing snacks/dinner for when they get home, rushing them to karate and piano, fighting to get them to do homework, feeding them again since they ate dinner at 4:00, making sure they get showered, and into bed at a decent hour. She cried as she said, “my son asked me, ‘Mommy, why can’t you play with me? Please, Mommy, please.'” And she replies to her son, “Honey, I have to get ready for work too, or I have to get dinner ready, or I have to take care of the laundry.”

My eyes welled up with tears and I’m not quite sure if it was because I was so sad for her son to have to beg for her time, sad for her to not have the time or grateful to the point of tears that I get to be home with my twins. It was likely a combinaion of emotions. 

I believe that God makes us hear the things we need to hear. And I needed these ladies today. They gave me a perspective like never before. They helped me see that I am so blessed to be living my life’s purpose right now. I am playing with my babies daily, I am feeding them all of their meals, and I am surrounding them with love and security. Right now, they are my life’s purpose. They are the legacy we will leave behind. They are the disciples that will carry God’s love into the next generation. There is no better time than now for me to pouring into them as He intended me to.  There are so many days that I feel guilty for not being able to contribute financially to my family, but today I felt so at peace with where we are.  And in a world where so many want to ask, “when are you going back to work?” I am so satisfied to answer, “whenever it is time for me to go back”. God’s plan is higher than mine, and as long as He makes me feel like I’m right where I need to be…  I’ll be here… where He needs me most.