Now that we have settled a bit more into daily parenting life, the hours between 11pm and 1am have become invaluable to me. More often than not during this time, the babies have fallen properly asleep, Matt has gone to bed (as he wakes up early for morning baby duty), and I get my first proper chance all day to have some time alone to myself. Even the dogs are usually asleep at this point, which means the house is almost completely quiet.
With twins, there are very few free moments – everything must happen in between cries and diaper changes and feeds and cuddles. Overall, this is fine with me – it is what we signed up for when we got pregnant, and what we couldn’t wait for when we were in the NICU – but it does get a little bit stressful to feel like you are never quite on top of all of the things that need to be done on a daily basis. One thing many seasoned parents like to tell you when you have newborns is that you need to let go of the housework and all the other things extraneous to infant care. This is most definitely a helpful suggestion when you are first home, but eventually you will run out of clean underwear and THAT is a situation that nobody wants to be in. Even though I now spend the majority of my days completely behind the eight ball in regards to chores and general adult daily life responsibilities (especially given the fact that Matt so generously allows me to sleep in late every morning), this little nighttime window gives me a chance to finally feel in control of something now that my life is mostly ruled by the two tiny humans who will one day call me Mom .
I can tidy up, wash laundry (and actually see it through to the ‘putting it away’ stage), pre-make bottles to warm up later, draw out meds for the babies in preparation for their next feed, sterilize bottle parts, wipe down the kitchen counters. I get a chance to restock the supplies in the nursery like diapers and Q-tips and syringes and linens (you can take the girl out of the NICU, but alas, you cannot take the NICU out of the girl). Sometimes I get to watch a TV show. Yesterday I read a magazine. I can catch up on the text messages and Facebook posts that go largely unanswered during the day. I can make something to eat, and actually eat it while it’s still hot.
When my lovely evening window kicks off every night, it is always met with a mixture of relief and excitement. Finally, things are calm again. And then I think all of the things that while you are pregnant you hope that you won’t think – I hope they don’t wake up with poopy diapers, I wish they didn’t need to eat so much, oh how I miss the days when I could sleep straight through the night without anyone crying. In other words, I almost start to miss my old, baby-free life.
But then 1am rolls around, and I know that the babies will each need clean diaper and a bottle if they are to sleep until Matt wakes up at 5 or 6. I scoop up Madeleine (it is usually always Madeleine), and she is warm and sweet and snuggly, and we have our usual 1am hug in the dark before I grab her bottle. Sometimes in the buzz of daily chaos, the babies constant cries and demands can seem so overwhelming. But having that time in the middle of the night gives me a chance to remember that these babies are trusting Matt and I to be there for them, to keep them fed and warm and safe and loved, and that it is a privilege that not everybody who hopes for children is guaranteed. It is the part that gets you through the crying spells and the exhaustion. It is my favourite time.