So last night we tried something different for the twins bedtime routine. Since the previous night was a disaster, we decided to start the whole process earlier and skip the massage since the babies didn't seem to fond of it. (Perhaps we'll try that again after they grow a little more). Right after their 7pm feeding they were alert, so we took that opportunity to do Tummy Time. We put them down face to face on their yoga mat as we always do, and this time the most amazing thing happened... They started communicating with each other!! Granted it was primitive, but definitely not something they had done before. One would make a cooing/squeaking/yappy type noise and the other would do it right back. They did this several times throughout their TT session. It was SO unbelievably cool!
We let them have a long session so they could move around, practice lifting and turning their heads, and push off of our hands with their legs to scoot. After that we gave them each a bath, brought them to our crib in our room, and read them a story. We turned their sound machine on and tip-toed out the door.
Everything I've read says to try and establish a bedtime routine as early as possible so when they sleep through the night the transition will be smoother. It's to promote a Pavlovian response by having a step by step ritual for them to start to learn that those steps lead up to bedtime. The confusing thing is right now they eat about every four hours, so if we put them to bed at a decent time (830/9) they'll still be waking up twice to eat, at least at this current time... They say to eventually eliminate the middle of the night feeding, but if they eat at 7 they'll be hungry TWO times through the night, so that's the part I'm unsure of on how it's supposed to work. I think for now we are just trying to instill the concept of daytime is for being awake and nighttime is for sleeping.
Anyway, we brought the monitor out to the living room to keep an eye on them and make sure they were okay. Well they were still wide awake and fidgety. We were watching TV but I couldn't help but keep glancing over at the monitor. I just felt so guilty leaving them there all awake in the dark. Up until then we had been watching TV with them laying on us at night before we went to bed. The problem with that is that they sleep their hardest when they are all cozied up on Mommy and Daddy. So they'd drink their bottles around 7 and fall asleep on us until they get hungry again around 11 but then because they slept so well on us once they finish their 11pm feeding they are wide awake and keep us up with their chatter in the crib! So that's no good. We need our sleep to function!
I tried my best not to let it get to me that they were awake in the other room, but my mom (who has been staying with us along w my dad for a few days a week to help out) kept saying things like, "aww they are wide awake and you're going to leave them in there" so that certainly didn't help the fact that I was already feeling guilty! Then Riley started doing this new thing she began doing this week... she doesn't really cry ever unless it's something bad or she's REALLY unhappy (which is rare and even when she does it's more of a quick screechy cry that doesn't last, just enough to let us know something's not right). Well this week we noticed if she's awake and we leave the room she makes this kind of a squeaky squawk every 10-20 seconds or so, as if to be calling out "Mom.... Dad... Somebody.... Hey...." because when she's done it once I go pick her up she stops. I feel like that little girl is one smart cookie, wise beyond her years somehow. Unlike her brother who will pitch a royal fit when he wants or needs something, it's almost as if she knows she doesn't have to have a meltdown to get what she wants. Just a little patience and persistence before someone will hear her and ultimately come meet her needs. Which is exactly what I wound up doing. It was only an hour away from feeding and they had been awake during the time we wanted them to be, so they would hopefully be sleepy after their next feeding.
Personally, I felt much better after picking her up but I know a lot of that was because I really love being snuggled up with them. So it's a double-edged sword... it's the only time my hubby and I are home together during the week and it's so comforting to relax as a family at night, but the downside is the babies sleep at the wrong time and then keep us up at night. And that's no good for anyone. Having two walking zombie parents wouldn't benefit the babies at all!
So while we still need to tweak our bedtime routine, I do at least feel one step closer in the right direction in figuring it out. I just want to do the best thing possible for G and I, the twins, and preserve our sanity by getting enough sleep!