Blanket for the man-child

spring09-075.jpgPoor guy – I really owed him this. When the twins were new and up in the night all the time (and that meant that we were also up in the night all the time), tricky things would happen. Sometimes (ok, almost all the time) Titus would wake up nicely swaddled in a pink blanket, and Chloe in the red one. To be fair to us, more often than not we would wake up to find that we had tucked some diapers into our bed, so it wasn’t just Titus who felt the brunt of our sleeplessness.

My tender domestic side suffered acutely. But now, what with diaper incidents and other mishaps, and even though we can tell the twins apart  in the night, sometimes this little dude has to use a floral sheet or two. We do have white ones, but you know, things happen. So before he got old enough to notice, I made him this. Cute, huh?

But all this talk about the sleepless nights has made me remember the highest of high points for us as an up-too-much-in-the-night couple.When the babies would wake up to nurse, Luke would get them for me, and I would sit up in bed and nurse them. He would change the diapers and burp them at intervals. It is worth a detour to note that there were a lot of diapers. It seemed quite often that we would know that someone had done it, but it was not clear who, and Luke would be trying to ascertain that critical piece of information while I chipped in with clues. No sooner would he have cleared up the situation but one of them would fire off again, and we would be back to square one. Because if there is one thing we know about newborns, it is that there is no real method to the madness.

In this way we could cruise through between four and six diapers at a feeding, in the dead of the night. I would sleep with my head dangling off to the side, because no matter how you slice it, you can’t nurse two babies while sleeping in any natural position. So this is how it would go. Eventually I would wake back up with my arms asleep and neck hurting and two infants konked out on top of me.

So one night we had followed the routine up to this point when I woke with a start and the feeling of desperation. I needed to lie down; I needed to set these babies down. But, I also needed them to stay sleeping. So, I tried to wake Luke up. Nothing. Well, since leaping out of bed gracefully with two sleeping infants who were propped up on pillows, and then somehow gently getting them into the crib with one arm apiece was out of the question, I kept trying to wake him up.

I started kicking. Just a nice quick toe-punch to the shins. I wouldn’t say nothing happened, but it wasn’t much. After a lot of kicking and sort of sharp whispering, he sat up. I was relieved. But it was pre-mature. He didn’t do anything. Slowly, he got out of bed and turned to lean on it. Then, after a minute or two, he gathered himself up and headed out of the room. I don’t think I need to tell you that I was firing off lots of urgent questions at this sudden development, but he was on a mission and couldn’t stop to talk.

After a bit of frustration and an effort at moving the kiddos myself, I bit the bullet and waited. Presumably he had decided to use the facilities before helping his wife out. I was annoyed in that sort of middle-of-the-night kind of way. After a few minutes he reappeared in the door, but passed the room by.

At this point I was pretty much whisper-shouting, which is hard to do, but if you practice you can get it. He passed by the door again and I saw it – he was bouncing a baby. Patting it on its little air back, and soothing it back to sleep. He was being the most selfless and kind Daddy, walking the hall in the middle of the night with his dream baby. I hate to admit how totally unamused I was. I was frantically (whisper-shouting) “Stop it! Stop it! YOU do not have a baby, I have the babies! Wake up! Wake up! Get the babies! THAT IS NOT A BABY! WAKE UP! YOU ARE NOT HOLDING A BABY!! I HAVE THE BABIES, BOTH OF THEM AND YOU MUST WAKE UP AND TAKE THEM!!! WAKE UP! LUUUUUUUUUKE!”

Eventually he did wake up and just came and took them and sweetly tucked them in as though nothing had happened at all. And you know, I think I was asleep again before he had even finished laying them down. To all of our credit, we had a really good laugh about it in the morning (when I was not at all annoyed), and it is now one of our fondest memories of the early days with the twins.

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24 thoughts on “Blanket for the man-child

  1. My husband and I are in our fourth month of twin-raising. It has been quite the adventure for our marriage. This really made me laugh. Would be most grateful for any tips. Thanks for posting!

  2. Wow– the blanket is beautiful! And thanks for the great story. My mom said that when I was a baby she could have had me swathed completely in pink, and people would have told her what a cute little boy she had. Problem ended when I was three and finally had a more or less substantial head of hair. 🙂

  3. Rachel, I can totally relate to this story!! I experienced my share of lack of sleep hallucinations thinking I had one of the babies when I really didn’t. Your story is hilarious.

    Love,
    Aunt Monica

  4. Aimee – the pattern (I meant to mention this before, but got carried away in my story) is from a lovely blog (www.attic24.typepad.com) you can find it in her side bar, it is called “neat ripples”.
    Cailan – hurray for you! Twins are truly one of the sweetest things. My best advice can be summed up pretty quickly: always take a shower – even if everyone screams the whole time, and wait twenty minutes before panicking. Every time things got insanely crazy and overwhelming, it seemed like twenty minutes would bring some kind of foothold for sanity! Twins are a handful for sure, but when you have a toddler or two around, things can get pretty dicey! I’d always call my mom or sister to tell them what was happening, and telling the story would make me laugh about it, which helped us all to move on!

  5. Oh yes! Lovely story! Reminds me of one night when Peter did much the same thing. I had poked him in the ribs for some reason or other, and he jumped guiltily and resumed patting his chest, right where he had left off (no doubt) only hours before. Of course, there was no baby there by this time.

    Gorgeous blanket, and way to protect Titus’s masculinity.

  6. This story was so funny I was crying! I have not had twins but many sleeping babies in my bed when I didn’t want to wake them. Husbands just seem to be able to sleep through everything, even “getting a crying baby.”

    The blanket is beautiful, something far too difficult for my limited needle talent.

  7. I love how you called Titus “man-child”. My brother calls his son The Man-child and his daughter, girl-child!
    Love both the story and the blanket. It’s so fun to hear new parent night-time stories!

  8. Thank you for sharing a pic of the lovely blanket you made and such a funny story. I recently discovered that we are expecting twins (we have a 6 yr old, 4 yr old and 2 yr old) and we know we’re in for quite an adventure. I went back and read a few of your entries about being pregnant with twins and they are all cheering and encouraging! Thanks for the laughs and please share more stories when you have a chance.

  9. Great story! Very fun read – took me back to those sleep deprived years – not so very long ago! Thanks for sharing your story and giving my a laugh!

  10. My husband also used to change the newborn’s diaper after our middle-of-the-night feedings. Once when our youngest was only a month old or so he commented in the morning, “Wow! He slept through the night last night!” That shocked me since I had watched my same husband get up that night, change diapers, and return the newborn to the crib, while carrying on a short conversation with me! It’s amazing any of us survive childhood!

  11. You had me laughing out loud! We have twins, and an almost identical experience happend to us during those early days – minus my husband pacing in the hall. He just woke up and started burping an imaginary baby. Twins do take both parents – even if one of them is asleep! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  12. HAHAHAHA!!! I laughed so hard at that one!!! I haven’t had twins (3 babies in 3 years felt pretty close though) but my brothers are twins and I can remember helping my mom with them (they’re 5 years younger than I). Great story, thanks for sharing.

  13. My husband and I made a deal never to hold each other responsible for the crazy things we say in the middle of the night….and we do usually laugh about it in the morning. :o)

  14. Oh wow! Rachel…I am 37 weeks pregnant with baby girl #2 and we have a 20 month old at home.
    Needless to say, this post literally may have just put me into labor!!! I was laughing hysterically with tears just rolling down my cheeks.
    Thanks for the much-needed comical relief and I’ll let you know if labor starts tonight!
    Melissa

  15. Thank you for posting such a great story!!! I had five kids in five years, and our last two were twin boys. I will tell you that we had some pretty similar nights and really the only thing you can do is laugh!

  16. Soo funny to read this cute story. My husband will love it.
    When our twins were infants, (5 quick years ago) for a while, I had to pump the breast milk in the middle of the night, add calorie rich formula to each one every 2 1/2 – 3 hours throughout the night and then my husband and I would each pick a baby to feed. He always picked the one that drank faster. 🙂 Diapers? ooohh I hate to admit it, but if they weren’t soaked through or oozing, I just waited till the next feeding. (of course that can backfire)
    Although you didn’t ask me, Cailan, 🙂 I hope you don’t mind if I offer twin advice, too. When I was overtired and they were crying, I often just laid my head down over them and thanked God for them, for their health and for the double blessing. God is so good to us! 🙂

  17. that is hilarious. i have tears in my eyes from laughing. i’m reading this while my hubs is asleep with his mouth open and a newborn on his chest. the baby’s head is positioned nicely in an armpit. they both look quite comfortable. sort of.

  18. My wife and I have 8 week old twins and one night I had just finished the dual diaper change and had gone to lay down while my wife tandem fed with her 8 pillows. One of the babies did the ominous grunt followed by a sharp squirt. I was notified that he needed another diaper change. I looked up, totally sleep deprived and said maybe the sound was me wiping my nose and sniffling. The morning brought lots of laughter.

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