I really should be sleeping. At least, I should be lying in bed, hoping for sleep. Tonight is the first night of my new sleep plan for the boys.
Sorry I went MIA for a while, there. To be honest, I've been a little down in the dumps about all of this, and felt like I didn't have anything interesting to say about it. I tried for a week to institute some changes, a week of fighting for naps. fighting for nighttime sleep, and really, I didn't get much of anywhere. The average number of hours didn't budge. I started managing to put the boys down awake some of the time, letting them drift off the rest of the way, but that was really it.
I spoke to our sleep coach earlier this week. I chose to have our consultation by phone to save some money, and she basically has a long intake, we make a plan, and then she offers email support week by week. Our plan is to focus on Max first, since he wakes less throughout the night. The plan is to teach him how to fall asleep in his crib, without being bounced on a yoga ball or given a binkie. I'm supposed to encourage him to suck his thumb for comfort. I was clear that I wouldn't be comfortable with letting them cry, but that I could tolerate some fussing. She was willing to work with my preferences... so I'm going a little more strongly than the No Cry Sleep Solution, but not as extreme as the method prescribed by Ferber. This afternoon and tonight, I managed to put him in his crib and sit with him while he fell asleep. It took about 20 minutes, and he did fuss and whine and cry a little, but I was with him the whole time, and I really do believe he can do this. I want this for him - to be able to soothe himself when I can't be there. To be able to do that so that if he really does wake up and need me, I can differentiate. Does that make sense? If not, I promise, it's because I'm operating on less than three hours of sleep, and it's almost 10:30pm.
What might prove to be harder than putting him down to sleep may be getting him to fall back to sleep without picking him up (unless he's really upset, of course) or giving him his binkie. I have to get up at least 10 times a night to give this little guy his pacifier, and he can't yet pick it up for himself... so he's got to learn another way of falling back to sleep. Part of me hopes he just sleeps until his feeding at 3 or 4, and the other part of me knows that we've got to learn this.
My sister has Shoghi in her room for the next few nights. I expect that we're all going to be hurtin' for several days as Max learns this new skill. Our doula-turned-babysitter is going on vacation, so we're going to work on Max, and then take a break, working on Shoghi more intently after E comes back. Meanwhile, I'll be using the gentler techniques with Shoghi to hopefully get him closer. He's going to be the really hard one, I just know it.
April posted a comment, asking for advice about her baby who wouldn't nap except for on her. Boy, that's a hard one. I haven't really had this problem, because my boys have never had the chance to get used to this. But I have to tell you, swaddling works wonders for us. I continue to swaddle the boys for all sleep except in the car, and that wrapped feeling allows me to put them down without waking them. I'd definitely try that. I also used a Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch to get them to sleep sometimes, and could often manage to keep them in the pouch but lift it off and keep them somewhat wrapped up. Maybe these strategies could help. If I think of anything else, I'll surely post about it.
I'd love to be able to take the time to share some of the things I've read with you. I've been doing a lot of skimming through parenting books of late, and boy, there's a lot of useless crap out there. A lot of information on stuff like ages and stages that doesn't give any strategy, or focuses mostly on the newborn stage. In fact, I haven't yet found a really good twin parenting book that doesn't seem to totally minimize the challenges. It would be fun to be able to take some time and write a good old essay about this... but I just don't have the time right now. I'm thinking, though, that I should find some way to write a book about surviving the first year with twins. Everyone says "just get through the first year and it will get better" but no one tells you how to do that. If you've come across anything, let me know. I'm dying for more help.
I might not be able to post about sleep updates every day... but I might. You never know. This is a very emotional journey for me, and I'm really worn out. Thanks for asking after us, though. It's a relief to know there are so many cheering us on.