Our little alarm clocks. #twinslife
What is your alarm clock? How do you wake up in the morning? When Sarah and I were married, she brought an alarm clock that has the most un-godly sound. When it goes off, it can wake someone from the deepest of sleeps.
Sarah has always set this clock ten minutes ahead, it is an attempt not to be late…yet ten minutes ahead. I think it is a comfort zone, giving us the sense of control that we can stay on time…even though we know that we are ten minutes ahead. I think it is our false sense of security…ssshhhsss…she might get think I am being snarky! :)
For over thirteen years, this alarm has been set almost every night, waking us for work, church, family meetings, travel, or other family appointments. For the first time, these last three months…we have not set this alarm.
Honestly, I am starting to forget what it was like to wake by this alarm.
Who needs an alarm when you have two little ones, two little boys, twin boys, twin infants who demand our attention…our new little alarm clocks.
We finally moved them from the den, sleeping in their rock-and-plays into their bedroom, sleeping side-by-side in a crib. We have a video monitor set-up with two cameras allowing us to hear them, see them, monitor them in both the living room and in their bedroom.
We struggle more so than ever before, finding time to get sleep, finding time to do the finances, finding time for our own relationship. I know we are getting closer and closer, week by week, to sleep…but this experience has taught me a few things.
Learning to go to bed
Being confident in our ability to parent
Moving from reaction mode to proactively, placing consistency in our house
These items are a tough new set of lessons we did not struggle with during Rosebud’s days as a newborn and infant. By the time she was 7 weeks old, she was sleeping close to eight hours.
George has acid reflux so bad that we are forced to use a special formula that is already digested by the time it hits his stomach. This formula I believe is keeping him from sleeping more than 3.5 hours at a time. He averages between 2-4 hours of sleep between feedings. He is now 13 weeks old, 7 weeks gestational, with Henry able to stretch close to 5.5 hours. When George wakes-up, he is screaming and hungry…
If we miss giving George his Zantac three times a day, we find ourselves fighting through getting him to drink a bottle. He screams all the way through it, giving up in exhaustion not allowing him to fill his tummy.
This is an issue we are fighting whether to listen to our pediatrician or use our gut…slowly move to a formula that would allow him to sleep longer.
SLEEP…it is a good thing. Sleep allows us to move from the frantic approach of parenting to a proactive sense of pulling the family back to a consistent approach.
These little alarm clocks, George and Henry, are more than alarm clock…they are also little people who are impacted by their parents emotions and the surroundings of our house.
Rosebud could sleep through a thousand people in the house, the most dramatic thunder storm, and screaming football fans who cheer late at night for their Clemson Tigers. Rosebud’s first year of life, we would have tons of people over to watch Clemson play at 8pm, screaming an hollering at the television as each play unfolds. She…never budged in her bed. She slept like a CHAMP.
George and Henry are different, especially Henry. Henry likes to be held with his mood and disposition reflective of the person holding him. If you are frantic, unsettled, and even panicky…Henry is the same. He can feel your heart beat race and feel the unsettled anxiousness of a person, thus becoming fussy himself.
As I was holding Henry during a Clemson game, he felt my heart race. I told myself during this football season, I was going to enjoy the outcome…not allowing myself to get so worried about the outcome. I used to work for Clemson Football as a undergraduate student helper and graduate assistant…I have a different view of the gridiron.
It was just last season that Clemson won the National Championship, a pinnacle not reached for 35 years for this small, southern school. After this season, we as fans thought we would experience a period of rebuilding…we got our Natty experience.
As I sat there…I watched each play, rocking Henry. My heart began to flutter faster and faster throughout the first half of play. As each play happened, my heart raced more, Henry became more anxious, and by halftime…he was in full fledge meltdown. It had nothing to do how I was feeding him, holding him, calming him…I was not calm. I had to hand him off to Sarah to calm him for bed.
These little beings sense our unsettledness, they are our little alarm clocks. They not only cry to wake us up in the middle of the night…letting us know they are hungry. They let us know we must find a calmness if we want them to be calm.
We want to expose our children to all facets of our lives, family coming over to eat and play. We want them to be present when we try to keep doing the things we have always taken part in…we want our old ways to be our new ways. We must find a new normal, adjust to the dispositions of our children.
This is hard. It is hard to go to bed during a Clemson football game. But maybe we should. Maybe we should keep that schedule of putting them down at 8:30pm each night, then go to bed capturing our own pocket of 3 hour sleep. We must decide to listen to our little alarm clocks, telling us to be present in our children’s lives, and to get sleep when possible.
I could have gone to bed, Clemson laid a massive beat down on Louisville epic enough to make ESPN make large claims and predictions about the rest of the 2017 season. Our little alarm clocks, our little twins…they are teaching us so much more than just parenting…but living the new life as parents of three children.