Adam and I have done a great job not calling Leo and Zoe, “the twins” very often. They are individuals and deserve to be treated separately. But sometimes it just makes sense to refer to them together. When I wrote my first monthly update, I deliberately decided to do one update for both of them because otherwise I knew it would be too overwhelming and I’d drop it. They sleep in the same room, so are we seriously going to call it “Zoe and Leo’s room?” We feed them at the same time so are we seriously going to say, “Time to feed Leo and Zoe?” No. There is something to be said for efficiency in these matters. But because we had it in our heads not to call them “the twins,” in these moments we subconsciously searched for a nickname, and somehow they became “the Beasties.”
Wow – look how much more mature they are at four months! The way they are holding hands is typical. They grab at each other all the time, and if they’re hungry, they’ll suck on each other. I’ve caught Leo sucking on Zoe’s head a couple of times. She might be our Cylon baby, but he’s our zombie baby.
The biggest event in the Beasties’ life during their fourth month was their transition to their own cribs. (See, we’re promoting their independence!) There was really no reason we couldn’t have just started out with two cribs, but we were considering going to a floor bed after a few months so we just bought one crib to get started. That turned out to be a wonderful decision because it was so sweet to have them together in the same bed. But early in December, they got too big to lie them down crosswise, and they were starting to poke each other and scoot around too much. So now we have two cribs in their tiny bedroom. Adam managed to set it up so that they can see each other, we can reach everything we need, and the video monitor can cover them both. It was one of his best packing jobs, ever!
Speaking of cribs, both Leo and Zoe are still sleeping well. Sometimes we have to wake up and feed both of them in the middle of the night, and sometimes it’s just one of them. Once, both of them slept right through. We aren’t pushing them on this issue because they seem to be on board with the project, only having setbacks when they are ill or otherwise discombobulated. They remain on a three hour schedule during the day – Eat, Activity, Sleep, Repeat five times each day. I’ve given up worrying about when they will transition to naps. They seem content this way, and it works for me, too.
Sleeping is their number one job. Eating is number two. They’ve had some issues with eating this month. Both of them are more distractable now. Leo is tuned in to sounds and Zoe is tuned into visuals, but either way, it takes them away from the bottle. Zoe still breastfeeds well and Leo is still lazy, but we’ve kept at it, and I mostly enjoy it. They both went through a brief biting phase but that seems to be over, thank god! The best part is that they are big enough now that I can nurse them lying down. That’s a little bit of heaven, right there.
Their third and final job is play. They’ve been spending the majority of their awake time on their Gymini activity mat.
They lie on their backs and bat at the hanging toys or talk to each other or look in the mirror. But they are getting too big to share the Gymini, and I don’t think it’s worth buying a second one since they’ll be beyond it soon, developmentally. They’ve also been spending time in their bouncy seats (which they hated up until recently), their Bumbos (but only for a minute at a time), and on their tummies in the Boppies. They hate tummy time on the floor, but they seem to like the Boppies, which is nice because they both look especially gorgeous in that position.
I still don’t take them out much. The weather has been mild enough to go for walks, but it’s just too much trouble. But when we do take them out, they’ve been really easy to deal with. When we took the whole family to the mall to see Santa, Adam got his first real taste of what it’s like to be out in public with twins. People want to find out all about them and fuss over them. So far, we both enjoy the experience, but I’m sure it will get old.
Individually, Leo continues to be a bit more advanced than Zoe, but not by much. He is only about a half-pound bigger than she is, and because she’s a girl she is actually in a higher percentile on the growth chart. Leo grasps objects very well now. He can hold a rattle and shake it a little bit before he drops it, but he can’t yet pick something up off the floor. Both Leo and Zoe grab their hanging toys, and of course, try to put them in their mouths. Sometimes they succeed. Leo also is working on holding his own bottle, but that just means that he knocks it out of his mouth – but I swear, he wants to hold that thing. Both of them are putting weight on their feet, which is so cool. Leo is amazingly strong and seems to love standing up. That boy worries me, sometimes. I had a dream that he started walking at four months and he ran into the bathroom and slammed the door and wouldn’t let me in.
For a while, Zoe was the more verbal of the two, but Leo has caught up with her. They both make many consonant-vowel sound combinations like GA, BE, WA, and UNG. And everyone but me thinks that they are both laughing. I call it proto-laughter – a kind of repetitive grunting along with a smile. But they did it for a while and now don’t do it as much. I think real laughter is yet to come. I’ve always been amazed that laughter happens so early in human development. I wish I understood why.
We’ve noticed that Leo gets startled more easily than Zoe. If you come at him too fast or make a sudden noise, his arms and legs stick straight out and his eyes get wide and scared, but it’s never enough to make him cry. Zoe continues to be unflappable. But when something is really wrong, boy oh boy, you’ll know it.
While Leo works on physical skills, Zoe is still busy observing. She studies everything in her visual field with such focus. She likes all computer screens, and a row of brightly colored objects can hold her attention for many minutes. Her favorite thing is a face, so when she meets new people she really looks at them and I think, along with her amazing smile and big, expressive eyes, this instantly wins people over. I swear, that girl is sweetness, personified. Unfortunately, her fascination with the camera means that I rarely get photos of her smiling and Leo seems like the bubbly one. They are both actually very happy, easy babies. When we come into their visual field, there is a brief delay while they try to figure out who it is, and as soon as they recognize us (Sam, Adam, our babysitter, or me), they break out into huge grins and wiggle around and kick their legs. It doesn’t get any better than that.