Archive for March 31st, 2010

Parenting: How we roll.

March 31, 2010

So, some thoughts on how and why we do certain things. You know, our ‘parenting approach.’ I’m going to stay away from wider labels, as I don’t know how helpful they are in the day-to-day of our lives. My choices are not picking on your choices, should they not happen to match. I know there are gazillions of ways to parent, and only on a selective few topics do I really believe that the way we do things is a way other people should try. Most of the stuff is down to each of us as individuals, and I’m not about to shit on your parenting parade.

Circumcision – This is a huge NO for us. We would not consider circumcising Snort; luckily we live in a country where it’s the norm to leave baby boys and their pee-pees alone, but we would have taken this decision regardless. I view circumcision as a violation of another person’s body. He might be a baby, but he does have his own personhood and I’m not about to make irreversible choices that are largely cosmestic.

This seems linked with my idea about babies who are born intersexed – that is, with both male and female genitals. I have known several adults who had their parents make a choice for them when they were days or hours old, and I have never known an adult who was pleased their parents did this.

Sleeping arrangements – Our bed is not big enough for cosleeping, and I don’t know how open we would have been to it in the first place. That being said, when the babies were little that IS what we did – albeit falling asleep while feeding twins in the middle of the night probably isn’t to be encouraged, but we woke up plenty of times with snug little babies in bed. Mainly, though, the babies coslept with each other.

Snort and Coconut shared a crib until they were six months old. This crib was in our room, pulled up next to our bed. The side facing us was lowered, with only about 8 inches of bars above the mattress. By the time they were four and five months old, it took some creative arranging to keep them sharing. By six months, it was a problem. Our room does not have space for two cribs, so they moved into the second bedroom then.

It wasn’t really that bad of a transition, though I think Snort had a couple of wee problems at the beginning. (Coconut sleeps like a brick shithouse.) The past couple of weeks Snort and sleeping have gotten all jacked up, and it is getting to be a ritual to let him in our bed at about 5 am, and occasionally Coconut instead or as well. It’s nice.

Getting babies to sleep – We are not fans of crying it out. I do know many parents do this for valid reasons, but the ones who do it because they want their six week old to go to sleep on their own so they can have a life of their own? Uh, no. I do judge.

Our babies go to sleep between 7-8 every night, sometimes a wee bit later. They fall asleep with us in the lounge – in their bouncy chairs, on our laps, or while being worn in a sling. Once they are asleep, we pop them into their cribs and that is that.Should they wake up in the night – though this is rare – we go to them and cuddle them.

Routine – Apparently I’m a fucked up twin mom, because we do not do routine. I know around 6 weeks I felt desperate and like I should try some routine and began reading lots of scary books. Plus, every book on twin parenting was all about slamming them onto a schedule as quickly as possible.

That’s not how I roll.

As the babies have gotten older, their body rhythms have set a certain natural schedule that doesn’t change  much day to day. Wake up, play, milk feed, nap. Wake up, solid feed, play, usually nap, milk feed. Play, nap, maybe another solid feed. Milk feed, play, then down for the night. Their fourth milk feed happens around 10 or 11, Coconut sleeps through this, Snort wakes up but barely.

Vaccinations – We vaccinate. For us, it makes sense. That being said, we started them a bit late and have had them quite spread out. In our country, you cannot be selective about what jabs you want or not – they are often all mixed in one vial. Our solution to make us feel better is to have two month gaps between each set, which is why they fairly recently finished the course that ‘should’ be finished at four months.

Babywearing – Obviously, we babywear. Not to the point of obsession, but when it is useful. When they were little, ‘useful’ meant the early evening when they went apeshit for no apparent reason. Now, ‘useful’ means out in public rather than a stroller (my body permitting), in the house for naps sometimes, when they are sick and want cuddles, etc.

Feeding (solids) – We do Baby Led Weaning and I have NO hesitations about recommending this as a great option for anyone with a baby six months plus. Though I encourage education – it’s not just about skipping purees, it’s about your babies having choices that are respected. Gill Rapley’s book is excellent.

We chose this as we want our children to know about the real tastes and textures of food from the start. The side benefit is increased development of fine motor skills and problem solving skills. We also want them to develop healthy relationships with food and trust themselves.

We have never given a puree or spoonfed, with the exception of the babies spoonfeeding themselves yogurt or oatmeal. (And indeed, I think me spoonfeeding two babies would be a fucking nightmare.)

TMD and I are vegetarians and have no problem with either/both babies eating meat if they want, but thus far they’ve had a vegetarian (and largely vegan) diet. This is because touching meat would make TMD throw up, and because while I probably could cook it without gagging too much, I would also likely poison the babies as I do not know how to cook meat.

Milk feeds – Our milk is powdered and comes in a can, served up in a bottle. I have written about my struggles to breastfeed in this blog, but probably nothing near the truth of what it was like. I loved breastfeeding; I never had a sore nipple or anything but pleasure. That being said, it did not work. If you want to know more about why, please read this. I was tempted to cross post it here and still may do, but in the meantime click the link.

That being said, we bottlefeed in a way that mimics breastfeeding. I usually only feed one baby at a time. I always hold them. I have never prop fed. I allow them to feed on demand, and in some ways they are living a singleton type life in terms of not being pounded into tandem feeds of proscribed amounts of milk. They drink as much or as little as they choose, when they choose. This is roughly every four hours, but as they eat more, this stretches out.

Rather than dropping milk feeds (which we don’t want them to do at this young age!!) they simply spread them out. Smart. See, you can trust babies to sort themselves out in terms of food…

(though when they were newborn and there were big problems with weight and dehydration due to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues, we were on a strict schedule of needing them to eat every three hours maximum)

Education – I am fascinated by unschooling, but for TMD it is an absolute no. This is fine by me. When it is time, our kids will attend a local school – preferably one with no ties to any religion. Not that we are so attached to Buddhism that our kids can’t experience other sorts, but more than Christian values (please, I do not  mean to offend) can be intolerant, and we don’t want that for our children. You know, and their two mums.

Natural parenting – we do it. I’m not saying I am 100% clear on what that means, but for us it means trying to have a more holistic approach to things. We don’t really give medicine (though would, of course, if it were needed), and would prefer to try other stuff than dosing them up. For example: teething necklaces made from baltic amber. Say what you will, but when our kids wore them every day (there is a cumulative effect, apparently, it’s not a as-and-when type thing) they were happy. Coco’s is now missing and presumably covered in rotting yogurt, and since not using them we have red cheeks, red bottoms, more crying.

I am really a total fucking skeptic, but a total fucking skeptic who wants to believe, you know? And I would rather try to avoid seeing ignoring your baby in an outward facing stroller, spoonfeeding nightmares, and giving them baby aspirin for every little thing as the norm.

Diapers – we use disposables.  There was every plan to use cloth nappies if we were only having one baby, but along came two. We live in a climate where you can’t hang things out to dry, where it is rare to own a dryer anyway, and where we had limited floor space to air dry in the house. When they were newborn, we did three loads of laundry a day to keep up with things – cloth nappies would have been a giant, horrid nightmare. Now that diapering is changing, I am starting to consider making the switch. We’ll see. That being said, I feel little guilt (please don’t stone me) about using disposables because we are actually very very super green in all other aspects of our life.

How I am with them, in general – they make me laugh. I have never gotten angry with either of them. I am quite silly and, uh, unrestrained in my fucking weirdness – but much like people in the real world, it seems to make the babies like me more. I talk to them a lot, I make up inappropriate rap songs, etc etc. I kiss them roughly twenty million times a day, each.

I am also a worrier. I have nightmares of them stopping breathing. I try to be super relaxed about health issues, because really they are super duper healthy, but sometimes reading the blogs of less fortunate babies (and parents) terrifies me to my core.

Twin things – We started a chart in hospital to help with breastfeeding. This is a piece of paper on a clipboard, with a watch on it. We are still keeping track of every poop, every feed, and solid foods – along with notes of reactions they may have. This chart also keeps track of their meds. With two babies, it can be difficult to remember who did what when, and sometimes that is important to know.

People say I am super organized when they come over, even before they see the chart, but really – as a parent of twins, you just have to have these little extra ways to help sort things out. It’s not that I am organized or anal, it is that I have two babies.

Sticky hands – Sticky hands have always made me feel ill. I hate when my hands are el grosso. That being said, 20 minutes ago I thought nothing of sliding my thumbs along the very oozy and goopy passionfruit halves to help loosen the stuff along the bottom for the babies. BLW is making me enjoy and appreciate mess, and that is just about miraculous.

There. Did I hit everything up? How many of you did I alienate?

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