Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baby Kristina, the Party Animal

                                                  Not the Real Baby Kristina

Last night, as no one in the house was getting any sleep because the baby for whom we were caring had no intention of sleeping, my pseuduouncle made the rather sickly facetious comment, "Wouldn't it be great if you could play with babies until you got tired of them, and then just stick them in a drawer or something and close it until you felt like playing with them again?"  We all know that's not how the real world works, although there are probably parents and caretakers who are just psycho enough to do some such thing.  Most of them, I hope, will end up in prison, or at least separated from their babies for life. For the record, pseuduncle was joking and would never even think of mistreating an infant or child.

Baby Kristina is a twin. Her fraternal twin sister (I'd love to share actual pictures, but the babies' parents are paranoid) who looks so much like her that only their mother, their maternal grandmother, and my pseudoaunt can tell them apart at this point. That's in the daytime.  At night, they're easily distinguished from one another, because Baby Jillian is fed, then goes to sleep. She may wake up for another feeding or two, but then goes right back to sleep. Baby Kritina, on the other hand, is prone to a state of wakefulness in general. She catnaps about six minutes out of every hour so that she'll be awake and won't miss anything for the other fifty-four minutes of the hour, twenty hours around the clock,with about a four-hour stint of sleep in the wee hours of the morning, when little is happening, anyway. One would think she wouldn't grow and thrive on so little sleep, but, while neither twin is breaking any records for growth and weight gain, she's maintaining pace with her sister. She eats just a little more, but it takes more energy to be awake practically around the clock.

Last night  pseudouncle swaddled her and did all the stuff one is supposed to do in order to induce an infant to sleep. She didn't care. She enjoyed the attention, but once he put her in her bassinet, she first did her version of talking, which became angrier and angrier unti it turned to all-out screaming. Some experts would have said, "Let her scream it out," but she's not our baby, and we didn't take her for the night so we could listen to her scream.  Jillian got her up, and we put her on a blanket on the floor and listened to her babble, sing, or whatever it was she did for the next few hours. We could have watched her in shifts, but everyone was having fun with her and no one had to work the next day, so we all stayed up and enjoyed her.

The twins are still only eight pounds each, which is roughly the size of an ordinary newborn, so they still fit easily into a bassinet, though at some point they will be too mobile to be in something with such low walls.  They were a little early and each weighed four pounds, two ounces at birth, but, despite their small size, they seem to be reaching milestones at appropriate ages. They can turn over if not swaddled, and eventually they'll be able to break free of the blankets that bind them, so they'll soon be in full-sized cribs.

Eventually Kristina got hungry, so I fed her a bottle of formula. The mom breastfeeds both of them all day, but takes turns at night so that the father can be responsible for one of them. They trade off babies so the twins take turns being breast-fed at night. There's some expressed and stored milk, but they also supplement with formula at night. After I fed her, I sang her Billy Joel's "Goodnight, My Angel," and she conked out from about 4:00 a.m. until her father showed up at 8:00 a.m. to pick her up. I think she usually dropa off in the wee hours of the morning. Her mom said she usually lies down on the floor with Kristina on a blanket and dozes while Kristina makes all her noises, then wakes up all the way when she needs to be fed, then puts her in her bassinet when she finally crashes.

My Aunt Ilianna feels that this is terrible parenting, and it probably is, but everyone is healthy, and the parents aren't going crazy yet.  At some point the parents will be desperate enough to inlist the services of my Aunt Ilianna, who is something of a baby whisperer and will be able to get Kristina on a schedule in about two days, but this baby may always be one who doesn't need as much sleep as the average child. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, we have a wild and crazy baby on our hands. The picture above is obviously not actually of her. I tried to find a reasonably facsimile, but her parents would neither allow an actual picture of her nor allow me to have her pierced insuch a manner even if they weren't practicing Mormons.


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