Thursday, May 31, 2012


The Tale of the Twin Night Terrors

The good news is that we are not in jail for tossing the twins out the window on our first full night in Melbourne!  A 24 hour trip from Delhi, little to no sleep, nausea (which we thought was from exhaustion and coffee but was something more), out of sorts Wild Animal, equally out of sorts twins, equipment spread over 9 suitcases and 5 rooms, chilly temperatures - let's just say that the deck was stacked against us on our first full night in Melbourne.

Yes, it was pretty obvious on an intellectual level that this was going to be difficult and painful and that adjustments would have to be made and routines would have to be set, but man, it's almost impossible to plan for the tricks your mind will play on you when you're heading into 48 hours of no good sleep, feeling sick and trying to comfort irrational nocturnal tiny babies!  I hate to say it but I have new found sympathies for woman who drown their children (not really, but, last night, I could see off in the horizon a desperate dizzy world where that might seem like a solution).  Now don't take me too seriously and start calling child services, this is a blog after all - but man that first night was bad and perspective is not something that seems to accompany sleep deprivation.

Our first mistake was putting the twins in our room.  I was to be in charge of the twins, Jessica was on Neve watch and Hamish was to rest up so that he could jump back into work (but with the twins only a few feet away, Hamish paid the price as well).  At 10pm, I fed the twins in tandem and put them down and thought, ok, not so bad, I can get two hours of sleep every three hours and after four rotations of this we will be well through the night and I should be feeling much better.  This twin thing is a snap!  SILLY SILLY MOMMY!!

As soon as the lights were out, the twins started grunting and moaning like a gaggle of piglets attacking a pile of slop.  Shortly thereafter Gemma started crying bloody murder in her high pitched cat howl voice.  By the light of the blackberry I tried to comfort them both, feed them more, feeling sure that this restless wakefulness was all due to lack of full tummies, burp them, change them, and finally I just began to beg them to GO THE F!@*# TO SLEEP!  Then Hamish began to beg them to TO GO THE F*!?# TO SLEEP! We seriously considered using the cry it out method on 3 week old babies!  By 8am, I turned to Hamish, who had now come down with whatever flu/nausea I had the day before and said, "Call your parents right now and get them over here, we need REINFORCEMENTS PRONTO!!!".

Mick and Sue gamely answered the call and arrived to a house of overwrought adults and exhausted babies, carrying a bag full of medicines to sooth our heads and tummies.  They took charge of the twins and I fell back into bed until almost 2pm - heaven!  I woke up in a panic and listened for crying, but all was peaceful!  Sue was feeding twins, Mick was burping and diaper changing, Jessica was busily cleaning bottles and dishes and Neve, bless her heart, was working on sleeping up a storm (to make up from screaming the entire way from Singapore to Melbourne).  In the meantime, Hamish   had gone to work fixing some of the things we knew had gone wrong on that first night.  He located a super pac n play from good friends in Melbourne so that the twins could be back together  (they were in separate travel cots that first night) and provide each other some comfort and he bought a monitor so that the twins could live happily in the cozy living room far, far away from sleeping adults in beds (in hopes that those adults could, well, do some actual sleeping in those beds!).

The rest of the day was still more defense than offense but we managed to get everyone a bath with fresh water, meals were prepared and taken and all the children were all still alive, so I felt a tiny, tiny bit triumphant.  We made a plan to spread the pain of twin night terrors between the 5 of us (me, Hamish, Jessica, Mick & Sue) and I was to take the midnight to 6am slot on night two.  I went in more prepared but it was still VERY HARD!  Even after my morning nap, I was feeling a little shaken.  The twins had gotten completely out of synch on the second night which violates one of the cardinal rules of twin raising - always feed them at the same time or else suffer the consequences (which are spending all 24 hours of the day just feeding babies).  They did much better but I nearly threw Hamish out of bed at 6am to take over!

It was a beautiful day today, our second day in Melbourne and it was hard to feel too down about things.  We all took a walk to the park, the twins in their very fancy Mountain Buggy double stroller on loan to us and Neve in her lovely pink butterfly stroller, also on loan.  Neve played like a mad person - this being the first time in a month that she was really permitted to run around outside.  The weather was cool and refreshing and the sky was a perfect blue (something you never see in Delhi due to the pollution).  Neve spent a good amount of time at the park chasing a magpie bird who seemed a little lame but kept safely out of her reach but not far enough to deter her from continuing the chase.  The twins soaked in the fresh air and slept all cozy in the pram.  When it was time to leave, Neve went into convulsions and refused to be strapped into her stroller - SHE WAS NOT LEAVING THAT PARK!  We pried her away and I promised she could come back every day - even twice a day and she ok but please carry me, so I did.

Coming out of the fog of new jet lag, twin adjustments and illness, I finally looked around with fresh eyes and could not believe our good fortune.  We are staying at the house of a very good friend of Mick & Sue's whow is currently visiting her son and his family in New York - it's a bit of a house swap which really made this part of the trip possible for us.  Not only was is it a very generous and overly hospitable act of kindness to lend this crazy clan a house for a month - the house is absolutely wonderful.  It's on a beautiful quiet street in a very nice part of Melbourne, we are a short walk to a nice grocery store (good for those of us challenged by driving on the wrong side of the road!), there are parks and running paths galore outside our door, the house itself is a lovely Edwardian style home full of beautiful antiques with more rooms that we can use and there is a wonderful garden/yard with flowering plants and trees and a vegetable garden.  In short, we are going to be very happy in this lovely home for the next month and will cherish our time here.

Well, the sun is rising following our third night in Melbourne and I better sign off and crawl back into bed.  Night number 3 was a great success if we are measuring (which I am).  Twins are tandem feeding and making it 3+ hours between feeds, everyone is pitching in and we are starting to work like a well oiled machine.  On top of being on top of Neve, Jessica is a baby whisperer and is wonderful with Gemma and Ronan and Mick and Sue have just arrived to take the 7am shift.  They are providing wonderful support on every level and we could not do this without them - that's for sure.  I slept almost 6 hours straight last night and I feel good, maybe even great!!

Take care and lots of love,

G H & N R G

Neve chasing the magpie.

Daddy and Grandpa Mick with Ronan.

Peaceful family at the park!

Grandpa Mick and the Wild Animal - her hair is growing in curls that go straight up!

Can you believe how green and beautiful this place is!

Granny Sue and Aunt Marga

It's tough being a twin.  You have to learn to feed yourself!

Hamish in his new grand office.  Finally the beautiful desk he deserves!

Lovel kitchen where we spend most of our time.

View from the kitchen back to the yard with flowering plants everywhere!

This one reminds me of mountain laurel - my favorite flower! 

View from the new baby suite.

Front of the house - beautiful right?!

Ronan and Gemma back together.  
"Where have you been?  I am so mad that I am not even going to 
look at you until you apologize for leaving me alone."


  1. You guys are troopers....
    A year from now, you will only remember the good nights and your rock star parenting skills....okay, you may remember the sleepless nights too but you'll be impressed with how you handled it all with such grace!

  2. Can so totally relate.. I was suffering flashbacks and PTSD reading your blog!!! Lol.. but as Edward says in 1 years time it will be a memory... and you wil then have 3 wild animals to contend with!
    Enjoy Melbourne .. it is a lovely city

  3. Happy to hear you made it out of India. Your new place in Melbourne looks fantastic. Reading your update reminded me of the first two months of life with my twins. I hallucinated nightly due to lack of sleep...strange thing was my hallucination was always the looking for the crying third baby that I couldn't find!

  4. I can't believe I haven't seen your blog until now since Neve was born. If you are having any problems with wind with the babies try 'Infants friend' that you can buy from the supermarket in Australia. It is a natural wonder concoction that only a mum of twins can love so much. Good luck.