…Is Discovering the Secret to Baby-Sleep

…& I’m slightly scared to share it.

Ever have one of those nights where it seems the more tired your baby gets, the more it screams, wriggles, and fights sleep?

Do you regularly feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and Cry It Out might suddenly be a viable solution?

Reddit Parenting Fail
I made the Mistake of Asking REDDIT for Parenting Advice Once…

Are you (like us) a parent of TWINS & constantly running at the slightest sound, to at least make sure only ONE wakes up, and whisked the child out of the crib/room/house so as to keep the other twin sound asleep?

I may have discovered the secret to those moments that require a special soothing beyond the power of song or formula.

dfd

Of course, as a parent, I also know the millisecond my secret hits the internet, it will suddenly cease to work on my own children, no matter how many parents I help in the process.

 

Do I lift the box off of the Schrodinger’s Cat of baby sleep?

Alright, no more secrets.

Over the past two weeks, when we hit those moments where natural sleep seems as far off as the next full solar eclipse, I’ve used a unique strategy: I give my child a foot massage.

This has had the most unnervingly positive effect, almost at once disarming the screams, binky-throwing, and rolling around.

Pulp Fiction Jules Vincent Foot Massage
Don’t Be Tellin’ Me About Foot Massages

I had the thought to try it after meeting a baby masseuse at a recent Baby Show.  She suggested full body massages after feeding, before feeding, when baby wakes up, when baby sneezes… essentially I needed to dedicate ten hours of my day PER BABY to massage.

I even asked her about it.  “How the hell do you stick to this regimen if you have twins?!”  I was shocked she didn’t have an answer beyond, “oh, well, my clients all have only one baby.”

That said, a few weeks back, I had a big presentation to give at work on Monday, and Sunday night at 11:15 PM Logan would NOT fall asleep, despite all our soothing efforts, babbling brook sound effects, & our Magic Sleepsuit (which I do attest works wonders, just not a fool-proof solution).

Photo Aug 06, 1 15 40 PM
That’s a Blog for Another Day

On a whim, my mind floated back to that Baby Show & the masseuse, and my hands reached out for my son’s foot.

Within 45 seconds his eyes were closed and his breathing was as soft and regular as his poops have been since we started solid foods.

This trick has continued to work, though I have reserved it only for the worst of times in order to preserve it’s mystical power.

 

Do you have any tricks or tips for sleep time when your baby is especially resistant?

Are you a parent of multiples who has good advice on putting TWO to bed at once?

Leave a helpful comment below.

How Do I Give A Foot Massage?

…is “Optimizing” Our Must-Dos

…Like buying diapers.

Last night I was able to attend a networking event.  I met a dad who, the minute he found out I was a dad, immediately said, “You use Amazon Prime, don’t you?”

Amazon Family Discount
Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. (As evidenced so clearly above)

I laughed and said, “of course!  Who has time to make diaper runs after a ten-hour work day?”

As funny as it was having that conversation last night, more amusing was the timing of coming home today to my sister telling me “We’re going to be out of formula tomorrow.”

Then my wife came home and announced “we’re all out of eggs, tuna, and dried parsley.”

Because dried parsley is super high on dad’s priority list at the moment.

All of these needs, combined with our need to cook dinner, do a two-hour bedtime routine, and possibly see each other and catch up about work (my wife went back this week, she’s amazing).

All I could think to myself was

Darth Vader Dad
…way am I running to the store in LA traffic after working all day!”

Thankfully, living in a major metropolitan city means I can jump on Amazon Prime and get free Next Day Delivery on our Gerber Good Start Gentle without breaking a sweat (or honking my car horn).

Photo May 21, 9 32 25 AM
Stop blogging & get us clean diapers!

And yes, this blog may seem crafted to highlight those advantages for me, having made all of 61 cents from sharing this news.  I hope you dads out there see this as an actual integral part of our lives – how to optimize our time & our money best for our families.

Tonight, in an effort to save and optimize our time even more, I spent five minutes exploring Amazon‘s Subscription features.  Subscribing to bunny litter & food, diapers, formula, and a ream of paper every month saved me an additional 20% on those purchases.

los angeles dad drivers
Yeah, this makes Amazon Prime totally worth $100 a year

Remember, this is on top of the gas, parking (it is Los Angeles after all), and most importantly time spent dashing after these things when we notice we are running low.

So take advantage of my 30-Day Amazon Prime Free Trial if you need, or just sign right up for yourself.  Whether I get your click or not, you’ll be grateful for how it makes you look to your wife and kids:

Best Item on Amazon

…is Putting the Kids Down For Bed

5 1/2 months old: Is it normal to feel like you spent “all night” just putting them down for bed, one getting startled just when the other is finally asleep, starting all over again, trying every binky, song, rocker, stuffed animal, multiple burps, finally letting the one who wants to be a Roly-Poly do so on your bed with five different pillows until he gets snuggled just right – 3/4 on his tummy with his legs splayed different directions (supervised the whole time of course), only to sneak out of the room & realize it was really only an hour and half and you suddenly feel victorious?

Cover Photo of a much more peaceful nap time this weekend for good measure.

Who has a similar story of a night they’ll never forget?

…is Admitting You Need Each Other

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in awhile.  Or it never crossed your mind, since bloggers slip in and out of the blogosphere constantly, losing steam, getting derailed, or simply running out of things to say.

Well that’s not me.

I’ve got a backlog of products I want to share from our past month, baby and parent tools which have helped ease (somewhat) the transition from 4th Trimester into full infanthood.

Photo Mar 12, 9 02 46 PM
Studies Show Babies (& Dads) Need 12 Hours of Sleep a Day

Right around the time of this transition, our live-in help (my wonderful sister) decided to take a three-week vacation.  While vacation timing is never great, this probably worked best considering my wife returns to work soon and the chance at a vacation then will entirely evaporate.

So for three weeks starting the last week of May, we were entirely on our own at home with two twins we were suddenly going to attempt to sleep train.

A few days into this period, fellow dad-blogger Doyin Richards reached out and asked me if I wanted to take part in a shoot for Today: Parents.  Like any responsible, caring father, my immediate reaction was SIGN ME UP!

Our shoot was timed so the video could release the week of Father’s Day, and our shoot went incredibly well with some other amazing dads.

Photo Jun 03, 7 51 48 PM
Recognize the leaders of our L.A. Dad’s Group?

The premise of the video is a great one, and one that many other dads have had negative experiences around.  Simply put, don’t call a Dad “the babysitter” for taking care of his own kids!

And my line made sense – I was the only dad of twins on set, so naturally I would say “Thanks, but I can handle them all by myself” while both boys are on the ground needing a diaper change.

I’m a dad.  I got this.  Rise to the challenge!

Heck, I actually have done that with them both before, in an alley behind a restaurant so my wife could enjoy her food when we had a “Double-Double” so to speak.

And while it works wonderfully in context of the video, as an individual I still feel a responsibility to my wife to clarify.

Photo Jun 03, 9 31 55 AM
Yeah, I got this!  …for one, three-hour stretch, while they nap…

While I can handle them for a time by myself, both of them, including feeding time… OH MY GOD I NEED YOU AND CAN’T DO THIS ON MY OWN!

I think it is backwards that we praise dads for being around and present for their kids.  I know I was blessed to have a dad who raised me, not “babysat” me.  I’m proud to have been a part of this video and even reading the Facebook comments, many others agree or wish that they didn’t feel this way when a father in their life engages briefly.

Still, after three weeks without help, and even the two weeks since, I have no clue how I would survive if my wife weren’t the amazing Wonder Mom she has been to our lovely and ornery boys!

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Click the Picture to Watch the Video

Are you a dad who’s “got this”?  What is your best advice?  Leave a comment below or tweet us @beingagrownman

…is Tolerating Change

…in the Bedroom!

No, this blog post is not a fortune cookie.


Nor is it the tell-all my 17 readers have been hoping for about what happens behind closed doors.

Rather, it is the story of why I haven’t blogged for a week.

Last Friday we decided it was finally time to move the children out of the living room and into our bedroom.

Pros: we can both go to bed at the same time.

Cons: we both get woken up at the same time.  Every time.

Some nights have been better than others; Night Three went off without a hitch!

Then there was last night.

Don’t get cocky…

 

Every two hours was one of them (never both at once) enlisting us with a new set of demands, which required a range of interpretation on our part because all we heard was “WrRaRAAArAAA!!!”


The transition was multiplied by the fact that suddenly, “because they are rolling”, we are no longer allowed* to swaddle them. Wife’s rules.

*I don’t purport to be a safety expert, so please don’t take my opinions as evidence of what you should or should not do with your child.

Thankfully, we are allowed the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, arguably the greatest named child’s outfit ever.

 

Instant Sleep – It’s Magic!

Unfortunately, we only have ONE Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

#TwinProblems

Adapting to this change was difficult at first.  I had actually gotten used to our system: my wife going to bed early, my staying up late to feed, and then her relieving me around 1 AM.

I felt some guilt the first night as my wife bore the brunt of their furtive sleep, since she was on the side nearest the crib.

The best thing about our relationship is that we don’t hold on to moments like that as currency.  The next day, rather than use her sacrifice against me, my carried on as usual with what needed to be done.

We are Partners, Not Competitors

Which, in turn, made me step up my game even more in order to honor her duty.

Honoring her, we got thru the next day, the next night, every night since, & guess what?  We’ll get thru tonight too.

The funny thing about change is, we adapt or die.  I chose the former.

A week later, it hardly feels like change at all, just the new normal.

Now we just need to figure out what to do about the dog…

This couch is too big for just me!

What were some of the toughest adjustments you had to make to your routine as your kids developed?

…is Letting Boys be Themselves

Today at work, I received the following text:

 

Now you can imagine the number that text did on my heart strings!  My baby boys, cognizant, noticing each other, acting like joyful old friends reunited at only 16 weeks old.

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Or “Peanut Butter & Peanut Butter”

As one of four boys, I can only hope my sons have the close bond I will always share with my brothers.

 

As twins, society (& us parents) can also carry an expectation that they WILL be close, best friends, identical.

The main thing I struggle with even as a new parent is finding the balance between wanting the best for my children, & wanting what my children want for themselves.

Will my boys be baseball fans?  If I try to make them baseball fans, will that turn them off?  What if they are… Cardinals fans?!?

And every class we took before our kids were born reiterated the point: treat each twin on their own terms, never assume they are close or even like each other!

So when I see a situation I have zero control over, such as their first reactions to noticing each other, the joy when it goes “my way” is immeasureable.

Now I just need to know how to handle it when they finally react the way I DON’T want in a situation.

“Alright, one cute vid & we can have them all fooled for life!”

…is Hitting the Gym Again

Since the twins were born, I’ve had one selfish complaint: why does my wife instantly get to drop twenty pounds of her pregnancy weight while my pregnancy weight remains?

The stupidity of this complaint is wrapped up in the cause itself.  My wife never demanded I eat like crap during her pregnancy. 

In fact, for the most part she ate relatively healthy while I let stress & work fatigue influence my decisions.

All that changed this week when I finally resolved to get my body back.

Clever cropping can only do so much for those thighs of mine

I may not be taking the all-or-nothing approach of our pre-wedding diet.  That said, I find every time I go to the gym for even half an hour, I make better choices over the next 12 hours.

Smaller portions come more naturally.

I think to stand up to burp a child instead of sitting.

Popping out an extra ten push-ups or squats before jumping in the shower for work Is no sweat.

While 180 was awesome, I’d settle for 205 with energy

I was using my career & time as an excuse.  “Once they allow me a personal chef, trainer, & SoulCycle membership, then I’ll get back to my aspirational body.”

Unfortunately, as dads we have a responsibility to be healthy.  My forties are closer than I realize, & if I’m saving for two colleges I want to be sure to see my kids graduate! 

So until the day when discipline comes easy, it’s up to me to find the will myself.

Thankfully my wife fully supports my choice.

Then again, why wouldn’t she?

Team Lovegren-Wierzbicki 4 Life!

Special Thanks also to Krave Jerky for supporting our family health goals!  

They hooked it up with a bag of products at the recent Great Big Family Play Day & it has been making post-workout simple snacking easy.

Click the pic for 10% OFF your 1st Krave Jerky order

What simple tips have you used to keep your #dadbod at bay?  Comment below for a chance to win a Krave Jerky bag/bar/stick combo from us!

…is Heeding the Call of Duty

…& I don’t mean on XBox360.

Dads: do your partners ever come to you with a need, & at the same time apologize for making that request?

We live in an age where we are encouraged to do things out of love, passion, excitement.  “Pursue your dreams.”  “You can be whatever you want.”  “Don’t tell me what I’m supposed to do.”

While I approve of all of those as reasons FOR doing something, they also shouldn’t be excuses for NOT doing what is your duty.

Dads can pout too, can’t we?

I can’t stay home from work just because I “love my son(s) so much.”  Similarly, I can’t ignore my wife OR EXACT EMOTIONAL REVENGE ON HER for waking me up at 4:30 in the morning.

Because we are a team.

Because she stayed home last evening while I went to a work function.

Because she provides 75% of their daily food out of her own body.

What our babies would look like if I had been in charge of their growth for 9 months

And here’s the kicker:  when your partner hits you with a request at your most inconvenient time, SMILE while you do it.

She’s coming to you because she is exhausted.

He needs help because he’s at the end of his rope.

She waited until the last possible moment to interrupt your sleep, & did it feeling guilty for doing so.

Don’t just do the action, perform the task in a way that makes them proud of the team they chose.  Make”Duty” your call sign, even if that call comes at 4:30 AM.

Zero Dark 4:30 – Operation Giggles in full effect

…is One Step at a Time

Yesterday I had a client cancel a meeting.  I used this “opportunity” to stop by the local LA-mega-complex that included a fine off-the-rack retailer, a grocery store, & of course Target for the necessaries.

Because fatherhood means being prepared!

I was immensely proud of myself, because when I arrived home I could present my wife with a treasure trove of things we had needed.

Of course, the second I came in the door Rexford needed to go out, one baby was crying while she fed the other one as quickly as possible (a feat only mothers can do which amazes me – how do you make them eat faster?!), & I was carrying two grocery bags, a Nordstrom Rack bag, Target essentials & my messenger bag with laptop in hand.

FYI – if you take your laptop with you to work every day, do NOT get a 15″ screen!

My magic moment gone, I immediately rushed to the tasks at hand.  Proud to say I rose to my wife’s level & we got those kids fed, changed, laid down, right back up again & fed, & finally to sleep by 9 PM for her to start resting.

It feels good to be king.

Until you look over at 11:45 PM the NEXT night & realize you forgot to put away the two most important things from your trip:

I still haven’t put folded the Laundro-Crib either…

…is New Uses for Old Items

Happy Easter Sunday!

Our boys’ lovely GiGi (Godmother) invited us to a very special brunch today at a country club in the hills. The boys have been great in public (so far), & we were excited for the chance to have a spruced-up holiday.

The reservation was for 1 PM; my wife told me at 9:35 AM, “we are going to be sooo late.”

Spoiler Alert: We Do Make It, Eventually

It was her that pointed out to me that we were down to our last two burp rags.  I did mental math & figured, we can totally get TWO loads of laundry done before then.  Easy-peasy.

1st load in, timer set, walk the dog, swing by the dog park, ding*!

“For efficiency’s sake, let’s take Rexford upstairs & grab the next load before flipping the first one.”  Sensible thought, right?

WRONG!

How my wife does it when I’m away at work, I will never know.

At 11 I finally had a second to think about the laundry I had yet to flip.  We needed to leave at 12:30 to make it on time… still a possibility even with the 2nd load to wash!

I run downstairs with the 2nd load & my quarters, put the 1st one confidently in the dryer.  We got this.  Timer set.

42 minutes later, the timer goes off.  My wife & I each still haven’t showered, Baby A is covered in spit up, last night’s load of clean undershirts is still in our one Clean Laundry Basket.

And that’s when I begrudgingly invented the Laundro-crib.

#beingagrownman

Between our showers, diaper changes, Easter outfits (incl ties), car seat adjustments (every dang time at this age!), packing the newly-cleaned burp rags into our diaper bag, & finally leaving the one clean laundry basket on top of our still-in-use dryer in the community laundry room, we managed to get out the door by 12:38.

Is this parenthood?  Looking at each other in the car & breathing a sigh of relief together – “we’re only 8 minutes late, they’ll understand”?

He Is Risen Indeed!

The Laundro-Crib made it all possible by solving the one problem we didn’t have time to deal with.

I still haven’t figured out where the time goes.  Thankfully my wife is patient and supported my decision in the moment.

…& I have a commitment to fold every item tonight.