Hello, old friend

It is hard to believe it’s been more than 6 months since I last touched this blog. Logging in, WordPress doesn’t even look the same! Of course, life keeps moving forward, as do all things tech, even when you wish it would just stand still for a minute.

It is not that I did not want to post over the past half year, in fact I must have written more than a dozen posts in my mind. But somehow I never got around to putting them down on (virtual) paper. Truthfully, I didn’t really want to. I find that as of late I have developed a very strong love-hate relationship with social media. And more times than not, I have been far too comfortable to take my quiet spot, hanging back in the metaphorical woodwork, staying out of the fray.

I also honestly just needed to focus on me for a while. It’s something that no mother of three really has the luxury of doing, and yet, I got to a point where my stress was making me physically ill. I was overwhelmed by everything, even writing a damn blog. I needed to just take.a.break. A long break, from a lot of things.

But I think I’m ready to get moving again, even if it may happen at a snail’s pace for a while yet. Which brings me to the real reason I decided to finally jump back on here tonight and post. So without further ado, I’d better get to it….

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22 Months and 6 Days

Yesterday was a fairly significant milestone for us. Ben and Alex were 22 months and 6 days old. I know, you are thinking, “so????” Sure that isn’t one of your more typical anniversaries. But it is important to me. Why?

When Connor was 22 months and 6 days old, his life (and ours) forever changed in an incredible way: he became a big brother. Yesterday Connor was exactly twice as old as Ben and Alex. And I cannot help but feel nostalgic when I think back to his days as a 22 month old, and all of the changes that came.

That morning that we left for the hospital for my induction, I remember blowing kisses to a sleeping baby Connor… my baby. But when I saw him again that afternoon, suddenly he wasn’t a baby anymore. He was so big! It was as if in those 12 hours we were apart, he grew up on me. It is amazing how old a 22 month old can seem when he is sitting next to a 5-pound tiny bundle of joy.

Connor holding Benjamin, just a few hours old

Connor holding Benjamin, just a few hours old

That was a hard transition for me. I wasn’t ready to let go of my Baby Connor and embrace Big Boy Connor. I wanted to freeze time and keep all of my boys little forever…. well, maybe after the twins started sleeping more and crying less…. but you get the point.

Now I find myself looking back at that transition in our lives, and it forces me to realize that Ben and Alex aren’t babies anymore either. I know, technically they have been in the “toddler” category for quite some time now…. But they are almost 2 years old! They are growing and learning and changing every single day. They have embraced the Terrible 2’s, much to our dismay. They can communicate their needs and wants with an extensive vocabulary that continues to surprise us. They can show compassion for one another. They can assert dominance over one another. And they can demonstrate true, deep, endless love for their brothers.

Benjamin, 22 months old

Benjamin, 22 months old

In my eyes, Ben and Alex seem so much smaller and younger than Connor did at this age, but I know that is the same mental trick that was played on me 22 months ago. I have played the “what if” game… what if at this stage in the twins’ lives we were bringing home another baby? I know that they would grow up overnight in my eyes, compared to that brand new sibling. But because that has not happened and they remain my youngest children, I think it is safe to say that they will remain babies in my eyes for quite a while longer.

Alexander, 22 months old

Alexander, 22 months old

Maybe I’m just not quite ready to let go of the baby stage of life just yet… It is bittersweet to watch your children grow… to mourn the end of one phase even as you celebrate the next. So no, I think I will hold on to my “babies” a little while longer, even Connor. They have the rest of their lives to be all grown up, I’d rather not rush it.

Connor, 22 months x 2!

Connor, 22 months x 2!

Stay-at-Home-Mommy Guilt

I really just need to take a moment to tell the world how absolutely amazing and selfless my husband is. We’ve all been through “Mommy guilt,” but tonight I am feeling a serious case of “stay at home Mommy guilt” because every day I get to enjoy the best job I could ever ask for.

What did I do today? I took the boys to the pool. I hung out poolside with Ben and Alex and friends, while Connor and his best friend took their very first swim lesson. Afterward we came home and drank smoothies. Not exactly your grueling 9-to-5, huh? Don’t get me wrong, not every day is this easy and fun. Raising three children, who until just recently, were all under the age of 3, is hard work… very hard work. There are days when I want to pull my hair out and scream from the top of my lungs. But then there are days like today, when I can just sit back and enjoy the three perfect fruits of our labor, and it almost doesn’t even seem fair.

What did Alan do today? He climbed a tower and hung out (literally), working in 100-degree temperatures for several hours. While I played at the pool. Yup, definitely feeling the guilt right about now…

But you know what is even more incredible? Alan would never ask me to trade places with him. Even though he would love nothing more than to be able to stay home with his boys and be there for every milestone, every silly conversation… he won’t ask for it because he knows how important it is to me to be doing just that, right now. And I love him all the more for it.

So thank you sweetheart. Thank you for giving me the best gift I could ever ask for, this precious time with my boys. Because I know it won’t last forever, it won’t be long until they are off to school, and I must remember to treasure this time always. And I always will.

A Big Milestone: Walking!

When you think of all the milestones a child will reach in the first few years of life, walking seems like one of the biggest. It’s almost as if a transition takes place in those first few steps: the infant becomes an infant no more. Tonight I shed a few tears, tears of joy but also tears of sorrow, as I watched the last of my children take those first shaky steps out of infancy.

I didn’t expect to feel that way, it kind of came as a shock to me. Honestly, I have been the one encouraging Benjamin and Alexander to walk, eager to help them enter the world of upright travel. Because it is exciting to watch your children grow up and try new things and conquer new feats. I’ve never been one to worry about what happens next or how much harder life will be once they are fully mobile. They’ve already been fully mobile!! When you have to block the entrance to the children’s play place at the mall, as one twin tries to crawl out one way and the other tries to crawl out the other, suddenly having three walking children is no harder than the status quo. So I said, bring on the walking!

I have also been incredibly curious to see when each child would accomplish this feat. Granted, I know better than to compare any of my children. But I am an analyzer, so analyze the data I must… Connor started walking at 10.5 months, early by any standard. The average baby will begin walking right around one year of age, some before, some after. Any of that is within the acceptable developmental norm. But let’s face it, if one of my children is going to be an overachiever, why not all of them?

Alexander was the first to take the plunge. The very day the boys celebrated their 11-month birthday, Alex took several wild, borderline out of control, steps, landing firmly on Alan, laying on the floor. From that very moment, it was as if a lightbulb had turned on. The next day, Alex was walking every chance he got, never phased by falling along the way. That was nine days ago. Since then, he has mastered the art of bending down to pick up an object and then returning to standing, without losing his balance. He still uses furniture to get up initially, but I don’t think that will be the case for long. Even today, I caught him repeatedly just pacing the kitchen, pacing the living room, walking with no set goal in mind, other than to practice and perfect his skills.

Benjamin has taken a different approach to walking. He is the much more cautious of the two boys, so he takes his time until he enters his comfort zone. He has long-since mastered all of the essential skills leading up to walking. He has been cruising on furniture for quite some time. He will happily walk anywhere as long as someone holds his hand for support. And he is a pro with any push toy, so good at maneuvering now he can actually steer around obstacles! But he had yet to find the courage to let go of all support and try on his own… until tonight. Tonight Benjamin took two shaky steps from Daddy’s arms to Mommy’s arms, all on his own! And then he did it again, and a few more times. Tonight was an important step for Ben because he learned that it is okay to let go. And we are so proud of him for his efforts, as we are proud of all of our boys for the things they do!

I can’t wait to see where Ben goes from here, how long until his confidence begins to really build up. And then at that point, look out world, the Knight Boys are on the move!

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Sleep Training: Night 9

I think it is safe to say that this will be my final “sleep training” post. Last night…. drum roll please…. no wake ups!!!!! Not a single one! I am ready to claim victory in the sleep training battle, yay!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t for an instant think that we have 18 years of uninterrupted sleep ahead of us now. There will always be sick kids, nightmares, teething, crazy howling wind…. it’s gonna happen. But I know we are on the right track, and I am so thankful for all of the help and support Alan and I have received in this struggle, from family, friends, fellow parents of multiples… it really has meant the world to us to know we weren’t alone in our sleep-deprived fog.

The most amazing part of all of this, besides of course getting to sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch, is that we are already seeing a marked improvement in Ben and Alex. They have always been happy and healthy babies, but as of late, the wear and tear of not getting quality sleep has been taking its toll on them. They had been fussy, cranky, hard to console, all around miserable. Now we are seeing more ready smiles again, and I am so thankful that my boys are finally getting the rest their little bodies need as they grow.

Because of the reflux/milk allergy issues, and then teething coming right after, I would not have started sleep training sooner, had I it all to do over again. I think this timing was exactly what our family needed, and I’m glad we bit the bullet, so to speak, and made it happen.

Now the next battle royal for the Knight household… potty training!!! Just kidding, it won’t be a battle, I will be patient, I promise. =) (Andrew, you won’t mind a ring bearer still in diapers, will you???)

Sleep Training: Night 8

Last night was another great night! We had one wake-up around 3:45, and I can’t even remember who it was. Their cry was a little bit different, which worried me, so I made Alan go check it out. Other than that, no issues! And yes, I have the best husband in the world because I can make him go check on the babies for me in the middle of the night, and he will do it without so much as a complaint!

Now if I could just get it in my head to take care of myself for a change, and try to get caught up on sleep. I stayed up until 11 last night, not smart. I’m so burnt out from the months of not sleeping well, I should be taking advantage of the possibility of getting good sleep. But it seems like there is so much work to get caught up on, I get busy after the kids go to bed, and I completely lose track of time until my eyes are swimming. I guess it’s time to give myself a bed time again.

Sleep Training: Night 6

Okay, I’m in shock, absolute, ecstatic, did this really happen, shock. Last night was awesome!!!! I don’t know if it was a fluke, or the start of our new nightly routine, but even just one night of good sleep has given me renewed hope that this is working and we will all be feeling, and sleeping, much better very soon!

I was honestly nervous about last night, and already starting to feel really guilty about things, before I went to bed. The book experts say if you are going to do cry it out, you can’t set a minimum lower than 45 minutes. Could we possibly let one or both babies cry for 45 minutes? Would they hate us for it? So many awful thoughts were running through my head. Alan and I finally decided before we turned in, that we would just be flexible. There would be absolutely no nursing before 5 am, but as far as crying, we would keep a close eye on the clock and adjust as need be. And it turns out, I didn’t have any reason to be worried.

2:08. Benjamin wakes up and starts crying. That’s right, we didn’t hear from either boy until after 2am!!!! By 2:21, Ben had stopped crying and fallen back asleep, I never got out of bed, just watched him on the video monitor.

3:26. Ben wakes up crying again, but literally just for a minute or two. I got up to use the bathroom while he was fussing and was able to hear him settle back down. It was at that point, though, that I realized it was after 3am and I hadn’t heard a peep from Alexander. You know, my twin who has always slept worse, fights naps and bed time, doesn’t like to go to sleep without nursing…. hadn’t made a sound since we put him to bed at 7pm. So I freaked out a little bit. I knew at this point that even though Ben was quiet, he was either still awake or in a very light sleep. I knew going into their room would be disastrous, but I HAD to go check on Alex, just to make sure he was okay. Of course he was fine, fast asleep. And of course I woke Ben back up and he got very upset with me. I comforted him for a moment or two, then turned their music back on and left. I knew my staying in there would just make things worse. I felt terrible about waking him up, but I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I needed to know that Alex was okay.

4:45. Alexander wakes up and fusses. I’m not even sure how long he cried for because I fell back asleep, so it couldn’t have been very long or very extensive.

6:00. Both boys are up for the day with Alan. I sleep in until Connor gets up at 6:45. Yes, I do consider that sleeping in, hahaha.

So that was our night! Other than my freak-out Mommy moment, there was absolutely no reason to go to their room at all…. wow!!!! Now will this happen again tonight? I have no idea. But what I do know is that it is possible at this age and stage in their lives for them to do this, and that’s exactly what I needed to boost my confidence that we are doing the right thing. And other than being incredibly hungry this morning, both boys were in great moods, as am I. I feel almost human again, which I am very thankful for. There is hope.

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