August 3, 2005

One more story about how lack of sleep messes with your mind

When it comes to life with twins, schedules are good. Being off schedule BAAAAAAD. Imagine how it would be when you feed one baby, burp one baby, change one baby, put one baby to bed and then have to do it all over again with baby #2 after just a few moments of rest. After a while it seems that we are feeding, burping, changing babies all… day… long.

So, the rule around here is obey the schedule. When the schedule is followed, everyone is happy. Mom is happy, Dad is happy and, for the most part, babies are happy. The only problem with schedules is that TheMonk and Swee’Pea act like they didn’t get the memo about how important these schedules are. Every now and then, one of them insists they need to eat again after just an hour and a half when clearly the schedule says they shouldn’t be hungry for another two hours. Then, when it IS time for a dual feeding, one baby wants to sleep while the other is ravenous. This is how the ugly cycle of chaotic non-schedule begins. Needless to say, we try to avoid this.

So, with this in mind, the other night at around 2:00 a.m. TheMonk starts to cry, telling us “Hey guys, I’m feeling just a tad bit hungry over here.” Yeah, right. It’s more like “HEY YOU TWO, SHAKE YOUR TAIL OVER HERE AND FEED ME BECAUSE IT’S BEEN THREE WHOLE HOURS SINCE I’VE EATEN!!! ARE YOU TRYING TO STARVE ME AROUND HERE???!!! MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT!!” Now, when this happens we usually grab the pre-measured, already prepared bottles and scoop up a baby and go to town. This night, however, Andrea wants to breast feed TheMonk to ease some discomfort in her breasts. She grabs TheMonk and heads out to the loft to feed him. Meanwhile, I glance down at Swee’Pea, marveling at the fact that TheMonk’s eardrum piercing scream didn’t wake her. I decide, since it will take a while for TheMonk to finish eating, I can let Swee’Pea sleep a bit longer and still feed her in time to keep up the ever important schedule. (Okay, okay, I wanted some more sleep, so sue me). So, anyway, I lay down and the next thing I know Andrea is in the room handing me a baby. She says something to me. I nod and take the baby while Andrea exits the room. Andrea’s words do not register with me. I hear “Mmphysm blmsksls, I nakdkdk ajaj ajajaja.” What she in fact said, I learned later, was “Take him and change him while I go pump.”

I do not take him and change him. Instead my mind tells me that I’m supposed to be feeding a baby. I figure there’s a baby in front of me, so I better get to work. Some time goes by and Andrea returns. She looks at me, sitting in bed, half asleep feeding a baby that has already been fed and asks the obvious question, “Why are you feeding TheMonk?”

My mind starts to whirl. I’m aware of conflict – what psychologists call congnitive dissonance – and struggle to reason why I’m feeding a baby that’s already been fed. Finally, I can come up with no other answer than a feeble, “I… don’t… know.”

I get up, change TheMonk and pick up a stirring Swee’Pea. I proceed to the loft to feed her while Andrea returns to bed. Swee’Pea is very hungry at this point and sucks down her bottle in record time.

I return her to her crib and slide into bed for a few hours of sleep before I go solo at the next feeding. When I awake at 5:30 a.m. they are both ready to feed.

For the moment, the schedule is saved.

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