Here’s a helpful hint for anyone who comes into contact with parents of twins. (Actually, this is good advice for dealing with parents of newborns in general) There is one word that you should never use to describe yourself: Tired.
Come to think of it, there are many words that you probably shouldn’t use around twin parents, but tired tops the list.
Do not tell us how tired you are. We do not sympathize. You may think you are tired, but you have no idea of what tired truly is.
Oh, you were up late doing work? That’s a damn shame. Had a bad dream that woke you up? Poor baby. Your neighbor’s dog woke you up early? My heart goes out.
You still probably got at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep at some point. You should consider yourself extremely fortunate.
Tired is waking up three times during the night to feed your children or attend to some other need that has caused them to start crying. Tired is then forcing yourself out of bed in the morning, and attempting to get ready for work while also trying to cajole your sporadically cooperative older daughter into getting ready for school.
Tried is then heading to work for a full work day, coming home to help out with dinner, putting the even more sporadically cooperative older daughter to bed, helping to feed the twins, getting lunches ready, and then preparing for bed so that you can repeat the process the following day.
There’s at least one point every night when I question if I can continue to do this. I’ll be sitting cross-legged on the floor, the room dimly illuminated by a night light. Each hand will be holding a bottle in a baby’s mouth, and all the mental energy I can muster is dedicated to fighting my body’s desire to just keel over and pass out. (Don’t worry, I think I’ll have enough presence of mind to collapse backwards, away from the babies)
Even when I’m sleeping, it isn’t an overwhelmingly restful process. My body has become so used to the frequent wake up calls that I tend to wake up on my own if I go longer than three hours. I’ve also become jumpy, and have heard phantom baby cries more than once.
But at least the hallucinations have mostly stopped!
For a couple of weeks after the twins were born, I would wake up thinking that there was a baby in the bed with me. I would then panic, and scramble to move the baby so that it didn’t get hurt.
There were a few instances when I opened my eyes and believed I actually saw a baby lying in front of me. Imagine my confusion when I reached out and couldn’t feel it with my hand.
One night, Mrs. Cutter was sleeping with a stuffed animal, and I kept trying to pry it out of her arm, because I was convinced that it was a baby and she was going to roll over onto it.
Apparently, the human brain does not function at 100% when sleep deprived.
The rest of my body isn’t faring so well either. After gaining a some sympathy weight during Mrs. Cutter’s final trimester, I’ve continued to add pounds. I haven’t been particular about what I eat, and it is rare that I have both the opportunity and motivation to go to the gym.
Plus, all those hours sitting on the floor while feeding the babies haven’t done my back any favors.
People at work have remarked that I don’t look as exhausted as I should. (I maintain that they might just be saying that to be polite.) I am thankful that – as I first learned with the Cutlet – I can function decently well without a lot of sleep.
My co-workers are especially shocked when I tell them that I’m not depending on caffeine to stay alert.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker (this already made me a bit of a freak in previous offices) and my body doesn’t always react well to caffeine. I figure that I don’t get many opportunities to sleep, so I don’t want to take anything that might screw it up further.
That doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily been on top of my game at work. I’ve made at least a couple of mistakes due to fatigue, and thankfully, all my co-workers have been mostly understanding.
But this too shall pass, right? I’m sure that at SOME point, these kids will start sleeping later, although it doesn’t really seem that way. In recent weeks, they seem to be actually going less time in between feedings. (Growth spurts are awesome!)
Every night, I go to bed thinking maybe tonight will be the night. Maybe tonight will be the night when their little stomachs remain full and they actually go a full six hours between feedings. Maybe tonight will be the GREATEST NIGHT EVER!
As the rapper DMX once said, “But at least he died hoping.”