A Tale of Two Babies

It is really interesting to see the twins' personalities develop more strongly as time goes on. They certainly haven't changed in the past three months, and, in fact, they have the very same demeanor as they had while inside me...

River: Ah, the one who entered the world first. From the time I could actually start feeling kicks, he was letting me know he was there. As an avid soccer player in the womb, he would kick and move frequently letting me know he was there and it was "game on!" He had the hiccups on a regular basis, which I could not only feel, but would see it whenever we went to an ultrasound visit. We would also see him repetitively kicking Riley in the head! From the word Go I was saying that this kid was gonna be trouble... And sure enough he's living up to that theory in his few short months of life! Actually, Riv started being demanding before he was even born! He wanted OUT before it was time and despite the efforts of all the doctors at the hospital, he got his wish. That 8 days I spent on bed rest in the hospital he kept getting lower and lower trying to make his debut into the world. The doctors could even feel his hair, he was so low!

In the early days at the NICU, the nurses fell in love with River. He was a tiny little guy with a huge personality. He had this thing he did with his leg where they would swaddle him tightly but had to keep one foot out that had his O2 sensor on it and he would wave that leg up and down and stick it straight up in the air. We called this his "mailbox flag" move...

Throughout the two months in the NICU, we noticed he was getting more vocal, especially when changing his diapers. He did NOT like that one bit. But he did love to be held. From the start, he would almost instantly fall asleep on us when we'd kangaroo him. As he got bigger, he was showing signs that he was dreaming. His eyes would move rapidly under his closed lids and he would do things like suck and smile and move his hands. It was SO cute!

Here he is now three months old (one month corrected) and his personality is already in full force! Still hating getting his diaper changed and definitely let's us know it! We've learned to wait until AFTER he's had his bottle before changing him, otherwise he'll scream like you're amputating his legs! He's much calmer on a full belly, and that pretty much goes for anything: Diapers, changing clothes, bath time. As long as he's full, he's a lot less crazy! He is quite adept at letting us know when he's unhappy or uncomfortable by crying, but it's never for no reason. It's just a matter of figuring out what's bothering him (which is sometimes challenging). He LOVES being held and around people in general,  but seems to favor Mommy most of all. Sometimes anyone can hold him and he settles down, but other times he's not happy until he's nestled in Mommy's arms. He'll go from screaming to silence in an instant. It's pretty crazy.

He does love to eat! When drinking his bottle he lays across our laps kicking his feet, crossing and I crossing his legs, or straightening both out in the air throughout the feed. He's pretty entertaining to watch! When holding him upright against us or when doing tummy time he can lift his head up high, hold it there and look side to side. He is even getting some head control when we prop him up. When we put pressure on his feet he pushes off into sort of a drag/slug crawl (which I affectionately call "scooting"). This little guy is very strong! He also loves to sit upright. When he is awake and alert, he will dart his eyes all over the place taking in all the lights and shadows around him. Every once in a while he will focus his eyes directly into mine when I am talking to him and I feel this amazing connection...  but it's pretty rare so far. I'm hoping that will happen more frequently as he develops further.

So... all in all, River pretty much rules the house right now because if he's unhappy, he will make as much noise as possible by crying and whining until he's perfectly comfortable... Which can be quite the production at times! If Riv is happy, everyone is happy. LOL

Riley: This little girl has the total opposite demeanor of her brother. While River was practicing the Can-Can in my belly, Riley was kicking back just enjoying the ride. She was always in the same sideways (transverse) position in the womb (except for the last minute, after River was born, when she flipped breech and caused an emergency C-section!) and didn't kick nearly as much as her brother. Amazingly enough, she did kick when Daddy would get home and talk to my belly! Also, in ultrasounds when we'd see River kicking her in the head, the good news is she was kicking him right back in the stomach! At least we know she wasn't going to put up with his crap!

Initially in the NICU Riley was so tiny and frail, she barely opened her eyes. But by the second half of her stay that had changed drastically. She ultimately became the one who was more alert. I always made sure when I talked to them - in the womb AND once they were out - said the same few lines (Riiiiver or Riiiiley... Mommy's here.... Mommy loves you) --and still say that all the time-- so they'd recognize me and my voice. Well the last few weeks in the NICU, and ever since, when I say that her eyes fling open and she stares with recognition and sometimes even smiles! It's pretty amazing. She was a breeze to change in the NICU and wouldn't make a peep if either G and I were working on her. The nurses said she'd get vocal with them, but never once with us. It was like she just trusted her Mommy and Daddy and felt safe with us. The only time we'd here her let out a cry was when she'd hear her brother cry out. It would actually upset her! She also proved to have great strength for her tiny size. In the incubators they were allowed to sleep on their tummies. Well this little peanut used to push her legs into the bed, putting herself into a Downward Dog position, and would actually flip herself over on her back! It truly baffled the nurses!

Pan to three months later and Riley is as sweet as ever. She still doesn't get upset when you change her, or pretty much do anything to her. She's always serene and content with almost a constant smirk or smile on her face, like she knows the secrets of the universe and just won't tell. On the rare occasion she does let out a shrill wail, so you know it must be something bad. And even then she'll only let out one or two cries. When she's hungry she'll start rooting (sucking on things and snacking her lips) and she'll get fidgety and kind of whimper and moan a bit, just enough to let you know she's ready to eat. She doesn't eat as much as her brother, but she's still gaining wait every day so it's okay. When she's done with her bottle she'll purse her lips tight or push the bottle out with her tongue! The poor little girl gets really bad reflux though. She's on medicine, but still suffers sometimes for a little while after feeding.

Riley likes Tummy Time as well. She can also scoot and lift up her head, although she's not quite as strong and her brother yet. But definitely pretty close! She doesn't like being held as much as River. She'll let you know by either sweetly cuddling up and falling asleep when you hold her, or she'll arch her back and pull away from you if she doesn't want to be held at that moment. I think she is going to be a lot more independent and a lot less needy than River. She's a sweetie pie and so good all the time, the yin to her brother's yang. Riley also occasionally locks her eyes with mine. I have read that right around now they should start being able to mimic your facial expressions if you can catch them while they are alert. I've tried a few times, but usually they are both too stimulated by their surroundings to focus solely on my face. But ONE time the other day I was able to hold her attention so I stuck out my tongue and wouldn't you know she immediately did it right back! It was amazing! Of course then she went back to looking all around her, but it was such a cool feeling. I can't wait 'til they start doing it more!

When the two of them are together they are at their maximum cuteness. More often than not, Riley is much more aware of her brother's presence. While he'll usually calm down when he's close to her, she'll just stare at him with a look of amazement. And KEEP staring for a long time. He can flail and whack her in the face and she'll still be laying there staring at him contently and even smiles a lot! Sometimes she'll immediately lock arms or legs with his and snuggle close to him. Occasionally River will be the one to cuddle up to her if he is the one who is sleepy and she's awake. I can't imagine what they think or know of each other, but they definitely have some kind of connection. I just can't wait to see how it blooms!