Urgh…my subconscious mind is rattled again. I can feel my conscious try and fight it.
“No you are imagining it…..it’s not true….it’s in your mind”
My conscious mind becomes more alert and low and behold the gentle muffles of a stirring child can be heard in the background. A few stand alone cries, they could just be dreaming I say to myself, it’s just the light breathes of the newborn child.
A few gentle sobs builds to a few more grizzly whinges and I find myself lying there with my eyes tightly closed hoping and praying that the next breath is a quiet reliving one and we can all peacefully go back to sleep.
Alas, the next cry in accompanied by a larger whinge and the cry momentum is building! It’s a moment of wind, I reassure myself, one that will pass and not require me to attend to said child!
Once again…..I am foolishly mistaken as the high-pitched squeal of a new born cry pierces the cold silence.
I reluctantly open my eyes and gaze at the clock in front of me…..I can just make out 2.30am….urgh, I think, another 30 minutes until the graveyard shift! Why are you awake! Another piercing cry breaks my thoughts….I find myself staring at the ceiling hoping with some great miracle that my partner will leap out of bed with the energy and enthusiasm of Captain Planet, come to my rescue and rush crying child away to a sound proof room and allow myself to drift into a deep loving sleep…alas a further eruption of screams and some kind of hysteria and reality hits hard…that’s right, graveyard shift is my gig!
I find myself dragging my weary bones off the couch which in the last 2 weeks has become not just my bed but my home. My couch and I have never been so close we eat, sleep, drink together, spend intimate times and seem to never be apart.
I took up residence on the couch once I realized 2 things about twin parenting:
1. You need to be somewhere with a big, cosy, soft work space, where in the middle of the day or night as a solo twin-parenter you can negotiate little limbs and bodies with out risk of injury utlising every cushion and pillow you have ever owned as a barrier and support
2. Less partner disturbance! When all hell breaks loose (which is on average 2-3 times a night) in twin-world I quickly realized I was slightly more resilient than my partner. He is trying to get back to some from of work life so I have granted him what can only be described as a golden ticket of twin parenting a whole 4 hour slot without disturbance!
My body feels like it’s covered in lead weights, I remember scuba diving in Spain and I’m pretty sure that felt lighter than I do right now. I peer over the basinet to observe which one of my tiny criminals is playing up! A bright red, distressed looking face meets me with an almighty cry that simply can’t come from a being with such small lungs. I gently pry said child from the bassinet with the hope that his crying and severe body lurching won’t wake his brother (twins can some how sleep through the craziest noises from their siblings).
For a pint size tyrant, boy these things are strong! With all his will power and hope my little muscle man is pushing against me screaming at the top of his lungs. Amazingly my partner seems to have come pre-fitted with the “Dad’s ability to sleep through anything mode” and I find myself taking on any “mother motion” to ease the crying. Pats on the bum, rocking, pacing the room, in the rocking chair, singing one verse over and over of mary had a little lamb out of tune and resting my bub on my chest.
After 10 mins I find some quietness, eyes wide open, pacifier in mouth, we have found a moment of quietness that may in the next 4 hours lead to sleep (fingers crossed). I now find myself in a some what precarious position. I’m thirsty and bored however my water, TV remote and phone are all just out of arms reach and to go for the stretch may set off tiny ninja child so what do I do? After 2 minutes of staring at a blank TV and feeling overwhelmed with tiredness I make a grab for it. My heart is pounding as I stretch forward, rocking the child from it’s stable position grab the TV remote and water and throw myself straight back….he stirs…..a little cry and…..calm….I seem to have gotten away with it!
Finally settled for a moment I find myself back on the food network, the only channel worthy of my lack of attention at 245am. Then, in a quick moment the night changes again…..I start to hear the restless motions of a 2nd child. I look down at Muscle’s AKA bub #1 still open eyed but quietly resting and hope that once again it’s just a passing wind bubble of twin 2 that will be gone in a moment. Alas, I am wrong….within 30 seconds the process has started again with Little Dude letting off a momentous cry! Right oh….this ones not going to go away either!
I gaze at the clock – 2.46 – 15 mins to feed time, I guess if I get them both out now we can roll on. I place Muscles on the couch and build a fortress around him and rush to scoop up little dude from the bassinet. I just get him in my arms, when Muscles drops his shit from the couch and decides Mum’s arms were way better. The bottom lip is quavering as he screams at the top of his lungs and at the same time Little Dude joins in and the twin choir is off and running…..and my partner’s still sleeping!
I leap back to the couch with Little Dude in arm and using my super Mum powers, scoop Muscles from the couch and some how manage to squeeze to bubs into my arms! A small upper body workout later and I’ve managed to get one twin over each shoulder with my arms bouncing, attempting to pat 2 backs! Nailed it!
10 minutes later and I gaze up at the clock and realize it’s just past 3am and these little guys finally get their midnight treat. Impressed with my ability to stop the crying I look down at Muscles only to find the little bugger has fallen asleep….really…now?!
And thus starts…mission witching hour twin feed. Like a robot I go into over drive…positioning each twin in it’s pillow fortress on either side of me while my trusty mate – “My Breast Friend twin feeding pillow” and I get ready for the onslaught. Boobs out and ready to go I remove each child from fortress and latch them on! Without fail, my trust tiny men will impress me half way through the feed with a giant shart sound that again simply cannot come from such a small being, meaning that I have no choice but to follow up with a change of diaper!
Each bub starts to fall asleep at the boob around the same time then operation detach comes to play. Each child is removed into their fortress where they are let to rest with a spew towel under their head while I remove myself from my own pillow prison. Then it’s one in a rocker while the other goes for a burp – which inevitably ends up with me covered in milk vomit! I’m lucky on the days it doesn’t end up down my cleavage!! Now it’s off to the change room. There’s nothing quite like the mix of baby vomit, poo and wee at 3.30am and of course the mandatory outfit change as we’ve wet ourselves all of which ends up with the subject in hand more awake than they were 30 mins ago! Baby back to rocker and I do it all again with bub 2!
Just shy of 4am and I find myself rotating children between the bassinet and my arms as I battle to settle them once again, hoping and praying that I myself may get a quick 30 min sprint sleep session in between crying fits. Starting to feel a little chilly myself, I look down and notice that in my production line of feeding and changing I’ve forgotten to re-dress myself! My boobs are out and saggy, my bra unclipped and my PJ top round my waist, it’s then I realize just how my dignity no longer exists!
By 4.30am I have both babies down, I’m back on the couch just starting to doze off to the re-run of cutthroat kitchen when an almighty cry comes from the bassinet. Feeling sick in the tummy I lurch up and grab the child knowing there is a wind bubble caught deep inside that’s being a pain to us both! Exhausted and only an hour shy of launching into the process again, I feel overwhelmed at how to cope, then in a little moment, my Muscle man goes all soft in my arms. I look down and his eyes are heavy, gazing towards me with an innocence I have never witnessed before. It’s at that moment, every time, I stop and gaze at my little men, completely dependant on me, and all the tiredness vanishes, the exhaustion seems manageable, just for that moment when they are relaxed and in your arms it all makes sense. Then it happens….his eyes close and he drifts off to sleep….