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The other night, at about 3 am,  I am trying to understand why my 5 1/2 month-old twins only sleep for two to three hour stretches at night.  And I dread having to sleep train them because as a mother I find the process completely tortuous.

“Sleep Training” or “Crying It Out” or “Blaring the Television to Muffle the Cries as You Drink Wine and Pray for Your Infant to Sleep” (however you refer to it) worked brilliantly with Dylan.

And not one tiny bit with Summer.

So that leaves me perplexed as to how to proceed with the twins.

I’m thinking about all this in the middle of the night while I nurse Harlowe or maybe it’s Chase or maybe both of them (who can really keep track) and I hear this chirp.

And then again.

And yet again.

Oh bloody hell. In my groggy state, I finally deduce that it’s the battery to the smoke alarm. So I get up, find the step ladder and proceed to open up the alarm and take out the battery.

And then the alarm company calls. Apparently, our smoke alarms are hooked up to our alarm system. I can’t even begin to contemplate this because I hear it again.

Another chirp. How can the alarm be chirping if I already took out the battery? So either I’m in an episode of “Modern Family” or there is something seriously crazy going on here.

And then I hear crying.

Rick decides to search for the source of the chirping while I tend to Chase or Harlowe or maybe both of them.  And thank you God for my smart husband because he realizes that it’s coming from the carbon monoxide detector that is plugged into the wall.

Why is the carbon monoxide detector going off?

We call the fire department and they tell us to vacate the house.

Oh mother of cheesus.

So we wake up all four kids, put their jackets on and coral them downstairs when the fire department arrives.  Ordinarily I would be quite interested in young firemen arriving at my home but…

1. Its 3:30  am.

2. I don’t have my contacts in so I can’t tell if they’re hot or not.

3. No one will let me back upstairs to get my glasses.

4. I don’t have the nerve to ask my husband if they’re hot.

The hot or maybe not so hot firemen check out the carbon monoxide detector and one of them tells us, “The battery just needs to be replaced.”

“Battery? What battery? We plug it into the wall.”

“Yes, but it has a back-up battery and that needs to be replaced.”


So we truck upstairs and tuck everyone back into bed. Well, not the firefighters. They return to the station. And not the twins. Because all this excitement has really whet their appetite.

And there I am again, nursing the twins and wondering how I am ever going to get them sleeping through the night.

mama bird notes:

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37 Responses to one long night in westchester

  • Jenn-Jenn says:

    I used to make the Bunny’s 10pm feed a formula feed (she breasted the rest of the time – is there such a word???) and she slept through to 5am. My aunts son was a particularly hungry boy and she would boil oats porridge and add the water to his formula which filled him up nicely so he slept through. Dunno if you can use any of this, but it worked for me, so I’ll pass it on gladly – sleep should not be a gift (even though it’s something we’re TOTALLY grateful for when we have babies).

  • Nicole says:

    Oh you poor thing, sleep training is tough, especially when you aren’t getting enough yourself. When our CO2 thing went off I just assumed it was the battery or it was broken, even though ours too plugs in…don’t know why I have one if I would never believe it anyway 🙂

  • Abby Siegel says:

    I’m going to post this for all to see because it’s a life lesson. My grandmother died because of carbon monoxide poisoning and therefore I am extremely sensitive to this topic. A year after she fell ill to this I almost died due to the same situation in Baltimore, MD at a friend’s home and it was terrifying. So, anyone out there who thinks it’s a joke and/or hasn’t checked their batteries in a while please do so as it literally is a silent killer and can leave you and/or your family comatose and/or debilitated like it did my incredibly vibrant grandmother. I am not at all saying that Kelsey and Rick find this a joke by any means, but that anybody reading this please check the batteries to their CO2 detector to make sure it works properly.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have never once regretted tucking a fireman into bed. The trick is in looking past that “I have to get back to the station line.” They just say that to be polite. And hot.

    (Glad you’re all safe. Scary.)

  • christy says:

    So sorry bout that crap ass night. Google ’12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old’. Find the reviews on amazon.com and read them, then buy the book. The section you need to read can be read in like an hour. It tells you how to get the twins on a daily eating schedule – by distracting them – getting them eating only every 4 (or 3ish) hours or so…then slowly eliminating the nighttime feedings one at a time. It worked for our daughter when she was four months old (the first time we tried it.) We had to do it three different times for our son when he was 5, 5.5, and 6 months old, and I did have to sleep on another level with a noise machine on…but it eventually worked. You guys can do this! Sanity will be restored (sorta!). But I know you know how much better it will feel…and no matter what method you employ, you all WILL eventually sleep through the night! Big hug!

  • Emily says:

    Dying for you Kelsey! Hilarious, but nothing is hilarious about losing more sleep when you already don’t sleep. I remember the first night Charlotte slept for longer than 4 hours… and then the smoke detector starting beeping. Incidentally, the SAME thing happened to us last night. Jimmy and I were all Modern Family around 3:30. Just go to show me, I really SHOULD replace all the batteries when the clocks get rolled back/forward an hour. I am punished otherwise.

  • francine Kasen says:

    Don’t worry Kelc, they WILL be sleeping 12 hours (through the day) when you and Rick are paying a gazillion dollars for them to be at college!

  • Peta says:

    Oh God how I hate those friggin things!!! We have hard wired one (required by code at a ba-gillion dallars each) and the STILL chirp – damned back-up batteries!! drives the dogs craZy. The only thing my alram system was good for was waking the kids when I set it off. That said, I’m glad it was a false alarm and everyone is safe.

  • Mary says:

    God, how am I always right there with you? My 51/2 month old is doing the same thing. It’s like reading my life (minus the two other kids of course, and the extra twin!) Jude insists on waking up every 3 hours to eat no matter if I top him off right before I go to bed or what. Every three hours, every single night … I’m there with you. And as for smoke alarms, ours hooks up to the electricity somehow and so it goes off randomly for no reason, and as far as I can tell, there is no fix. Yay. Keep blogging and helping me not feel so alone!

  • Brooke Anna Roberts says:

    You truley make my day, or every other one ( or which ever days I can manage to set aside lifes (liveliness) and check your blog.) It is refreshing to “hear” a realistic voice, and it brightens my day. You never cease to leave me without a laugh (or a few) each time I visit.
    Glad y’all are safe though!

  • Sandanista says:

    Sleep deprevation = every Mommies nightmare! I feel for you. I’m glad you didn’t take the C02 thingie lightly. We had a close call 1 time, and the ‘chirp’ was a life saver. Now, as for the firemen …why is it they are always HOT? I actually miss tucking my lil guy into bed because he’d much rather sleep at the station! They love those middle of the night calls, where they get to wear all their cool gear, and go save Mommies in distress. They also love it if you drop by the station with some fresh baked cookies 😉

  • Erica says:

    I could go on and on about smoke detector and CO2 issues! I think they have a light sensor because have you noticed the batteries only die in the middle of the night!

  • Nancy Walton says:

    I think Sandanista offered the solution to the “were the firemen hot or not” question. . .bake cookies and drop by the station. Don’t forget to wear your glasses though so you can report back truthfully just how hot they actually were. Oh, and if those particular firemen who actually showed up at your house are not there, willingly accept any substitutes. Pictures would be nice too. Just sayin’.

  • Dana says:

    We had a Modern Family-ish smoke detector episode too. The smoke detector was out in the front yard for a while… I feel your sleeplessness pain. I was horrible at sleep training – I mean crying in the kitchen trying to pretend to make dinner but then not being able to hold out and going back in anyway.

  • johanna says:

    Why oh why do batteries only beep at night? Ours will never ever go off during the day but awaken me at night so that my heart is racing with terror and can’t get back to much needed sleep. Sorry to hear of all the trouble evacuating for a simple battery. Worse yet you couldn’t check out the hot firemen with no contacts 🙂

  • Our kids are constantly disabling our alarm system (which s connected to a light switch), so I’m familiar with that “chirp” in the middle of the night.

    As for getting twins to sleep for more than short stretches…honestly, I can’t even remember. But I do know that at 4 months I stopped waking twin #2 up to eat with twin #1. This meant that I went from getting up 3 times a night to feed them to getting up 4-6 times a night to feed them. In the beginning it really was horrific – but the point was to let them sleep as long as they wanted so they’d hopefully start sleeping for longer stretches. Eventually, I ended up with one good sleeper who only woke up once around 2 a.m. and one mediocre sleeper who woke up once before midnight and then again around 4-5 a.m. Still kind of exhausting – but by the time they were one, I only got up once at night. Keep in mind that all of my children were horrible sleepers though, including my first, so for normal babies, the numbers would probably be much better. Also – C&H may be waking up more for attention than food. So you could always try just soothing them every other wake up or making them take the less appealing bottle. You know what? Forget everything I said. My now four year old twins still wake up in the middle of the night and now even climb into bed with me, so I don’t think I should be handing out advice to anyone. I apparently really suck at sleep training.

  • Leigh Ann says:

    I will tell you…sleep training twins is rough. Ours would cry together, then one would fall asleep while the other cried, then they would cry together again, the other would fall asleep….it took hours the first night, but all in all it only took 3 nights. With Z it was so much easier because 1)she left me almost no choice when she quit letting me rock her to sleep, and 2) there was only one of her.

    The best part, other than them learning to fall asleep on their own? They would snuggle up together as they fussed themselves to sleep and we would find them with their heads together sound asleep. 🙂

    Good luck mama.

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Aren’t you filling their little bellies yet with cereal before putting them to bed? A good full belly stuffed with comfort food works for me…and if not I take a sleeping pill. Do they have ‘baby sleeping pills’ yet?

  • CSY says:

    HAWT firemen and you couldn’t SEE them?!?! FOR shame! When I was in NYC in 2006, I MADE my husband find me a firehouse so I could take some baked goodies to them…unfortunately, they were all out of the house (except one). Gonna try again this summer when we come up…

  • Valerie says:

    As a mom of twins, don’t bother trying to sleep train unless you intend on putting them in separate rooms. Futile. Mine sleep great as a result of getting all their feedings in during the day and only going to them when actually crying at night (not talking or fussing). Sleep training did not work for our older kids either- at least not long term. Any disruption (teeth, ear infection, or vacation) and we were right back to it. Not worth the heartache in my opinion.

  • Nanette says:

    OMG. I am loving the TV references. 🙂 As my son would say, “This was O.S.M” (that’s 6 year old spelling code for awesome!)

  • Slow Panic says:

    For all our sakes I say they were hot firemen.

    I never could do the sleep training thing. I held them and rocked them and walked them and eventually they learned to sleep.

    I’m still trying to retrain myself though

  • Amy says:

    The comments were just as good of a read as the blog! I vote HOT firemen, like that I’m not the only blind mama who misidentifies the kids at night & I have 6 kids, they all learned to sleep in their own time. You’ll get there. Eventually. Thanks for a great blog!

  • layla solms says:

    at least your big girls aren’t asking for the boob! i watched “babies” on netflix watch-it-now… it seemed that any number of hungry/thirsty children were stopping by for a milk snack on that mother…

  • Mwa says:

    What a night. Was it any consolation that you got a brilliant post out of it? Probably not so much, considering how little comfort I get out of that when I only have to nurse one baby in the night.

  • Torrie says:

    The SAME thing happened to us a couple of nights after we moved into our new place. The heat guys had just been there a couple of days before, so it was totally feasible that we had a carbon monoxide leak. The fireman said it was the battery, so we replaced the battery, and it STILL BEEPED. So, we called them back and they said it must be defective. My husband had to drive around at midnight looking for a new detector. The worst part- when the fireman were done in our house, the walked outside and said to all of the neighbors who had been woken up by the sirens “It’s just a battery!”. So, we looked like idiots to all of our new neighbors.

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kelcey kintner