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Archive for the ‘Singletons’ Category

There are so many differences between a singleton pregnancy and birth and a multiple one.  I am so very, very fortunate to have been able to experience both already. I feel like the first time around I was overwhelmed as a new mother. But after having twins, my perspective has changed slightly. So I’m thrilled that I get a, sort of, do-over with another singleton. I am more relaxed and, definitely, I understand that this time will be, at the very least, less physically demanding.

There are so many things that I took for granted the first time around that I’m looking forward to experiencing (with greater gusto) this time. Things like going out with just one baby for a quick trip to the mall. Or, going to the doctor and only filling out the required paperwork ONCE (while entertaining said child in the waiting room). But there are also so many things unique to the multiples experience that I feel this baby — and I — will miss out on.  Here are some examples:

  • I’m looking forward to nursing one baby and savoring the cradle hold. With the twins it was all about the football hold since there were always two on me.
  • I will miss looking down during a nursing session and seeing two little babies instinctively reach out and hold each others’ hands across my chest.
  • I’m looking forward to buying — and stocking — normal amounts of diapers and wipes.
  • I will miss watching this child have a built-in best friend.
  • I’m looking forward to being able to pick up my new baby’s prescriptions in a timely manner because there isn’t any confusion with my insurance company about why I’m filling and re-filling a prescription at the same time! For the life of them — no matter how many phone calls I make — my pharmacy insurance will only work from a date of birth, which means every time the twins have prescriptions filled simultaneously, only Aaron’s is filled. Brady’s is always rejected because they see it as a refill (being filled too soon). Knock on wood, though, we won’t need to fill as many for this child!
  • I am looking forward to a “normal” birth experience; that is, giving birth and getting to hold the baby rather than having him whisked off to the NICU before I can touch him.
  • I will miss the amazing sense of pride that comes with saying “yes, they are twins.”

I am also curious to see how small of a diaper bag I can carry this time. With my first child, I had a bag that could have easily doubled for weekend, carry-on luggage! I was constantly over-supplied and over-burdened with just stuff. When the twins arrived, the size of the bag actually decreased by more than half. Only the bare essentials made the trip. And I learned to stock extras in a small storage bin in my car – there if really necessary, but not a burden to carry around. I’m curious to see with three children under two years, how small of a bag I can pare down to this time around.

With the birth just weeks away, I am excited. I can’t wait to put my new, more relaxed approach to motherhood to work and just enjoy this baby. I hope it will be a more carefree experience than the first time around. I also hope that having gone through the first year with twin boys hasn’t made me TOO relaxed so that this kid turns out to be a holy terror! Time will tell. But I’m so thankful that the multiple experience has mellowed me out as a mom.

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I’m going to shamelessly borrow this activity from my friend EO. She thought up this very clever idea to do at her son’s 3rd birthday party last month. She had an adorable construction theme, complete with a very cute cake. (Pictures of cake at the end of the post.)

She and her hubby got their hands on a refrigerator box and transformed it into a house. All of the kids who attended the party got their own toolbelt and hard hats. Finally, the cuteness continued with paint trays filled with tempura paint, paintbrushes and even paint rollers. The kids went to it and had a great time.

Core Activity: Paint cardboard (sounds dull, but it’s tres fun for the kiddies)

  • Age appropriateness: 15 months & up (whenever you’d feel comfortable giving your kids a paintbrush & paint)
  • Materials needed: cardboard box, paint brushes, paint roller, tempura paint

Activity: We’re painting the house. If you can’t easily get your hands on a giant cardboard box, just use the box your kids’ diapers came in. (I swear we have at least 6 of them hanging around the house at any given moment. Perhaps that has to do with having twins in diapers plus a 3-year who REFUSES TO USE THE TOILET. End of rant. Sorry.) If you need to, cut up a box, draw the outline of a house with a permanent marker, and give one to each kid. Have them “paint their houses.”

Sing.

Make. Another very fun, and very, very easy alternative to this activity is to have your kids paint your actual house. No, seriously. With water! I can give my daughter a paintbrush and a bowl of water and this will keep her occupied for 10-15 minutes easy.

Explore.

Read.

Eat. I can’t exactly recommend that you serve your kids cardboard. But…you could draw a plate, napkin, flatware, etc., on a relatively clean piece of cardboard and then serve your kids a snack or a meal on their pretend table. For style points, add a vase with a flower in it. Just a thought.

Sorry for the last minute post. Since the hubby was home, I was thinking all day that today was Sunday… Hope your 3-day weekend was as relaxing as mine was! And isn’t this cake amazing?!

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This past Sunday my twins turned one. I can hardly believe it. The year absolutely flew by.

I had been planning to write a little post on surviving your first year with twins, but as I started thinking about what I would say, I started to realize something. This year wasn’t just about survival. Sure, in the beginning, it was a seemingly never-ending cycle of feed, burp, nap, diaper change, repeat. And we did it all in a sleep-deprived haze. There were also the sleep issues and many, many ear infections, and bouts of bronchitis, croup, etc. Maybe THOSE parts were about survival.

But this year was so much more. This year absolutely changed my life. As a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a person.  Here’s how:

  • I no longer procrastinate. In my pre-twin life, I was a master procrasinator. I find that since becoming a Mother of Multiples, I no longer have that luxury. If I have 5 minutes to do laundry, I better do it. If I don’t, it may sit there until next week. Act now or forever miss your opportunity. Things are actually getting accomplished around my house and often in advance of when they need to be done! I’m also more productive in the office because I never know when I’ll need to take an emergancy sick or vacation day to tend to a child.
  • I am learning to be flexible. (I’m still working on this, but getting much better!) In life, things happen. Even with the best of intentions, schedules and routines, there is bound to be a kink in the plans at some point. In the not-so-distant past the unexpected speedbumps in my routine would have thrown me so far off course I couldn’t recover. With twins, the bumps come frequently. I have no choice but to adjust and keep moving forward. We are all happier and more relaxed as a result of Mommy’s new abilities.
  • Immediate family now comes first. Growing up, I saw my immediate family (mother, father, brother and me) as one unit. Our unit was part of a bigger, extended family but I knew that the four of us were our own, standalone group. When I got married and even when I had my singleton, I still saw myself as part of that original core unit. It was only with the arrival of the twins that I’ve realized: we’ve now become our own unit. And I finally feel comfortable scheduling, planning, and standing up for what I think is best for this immediate family.
  • I appreciate the female body (even) more. Pregnancy and childbirth is an amazing experience. But carrying and delivering multiple babies goes beyond words. Then, watching my body provide nourishment for the two babies at the same time…there are no words.The female body is an amazing, amazing thing!
  • I am much more patient. I have developed a much higher tolerance for noise, hair pulling, eye poking and monotonous play. I am content to sit on the floor for 45 minutes and let the kids climb on me; I no longer worry about what’s NOT getting done when I sit there and I no longer worry about moving on to the next activity. This one is fun? Let’s stay with it. As a result, I’m more patient with my husband, my dog and my co-workers. I am not any more patient while driving, but I’m working on that.
  • I want to be there for other people. Having been through the high-risk pregnancy and the NICU experience (twice), and ending up with all of these beautiful, healthy children has made me so very greatful for all that I have. As a result, I have been finding joy in helping others – even others I don’t know. My charitable donations are up, I’m donating more time (yes, time!), I’m just generally more involved in the world around me. And I enjoy it.
  • I love my husband (even) more. I’ve made no secret about how involved my husband is. I didn’t think before the twins arrived it was possible to love him more. But watching him step right up and help with them and our daughter and with me…I guess it was entirely possible. Ditto that feeling for my mom and dad.
  • I consider my situation to be my own and don’t compare it to those around me. I no longer compare my life to the lives of those around me. I feel more free as a result. Is my life crazy because I have twins? Yup. Is your life crazy because you have one baby? Or six? Yes. And Yes. Our situations are not the same; we are all different. There is no point in comparing whose life is harder or who has it better. I just make the best of what I have and I don’t worry about what others are doing.
  • I find the humor in things. Two little boys alternately projectile vomiting at a 3-year old’s birthday party? That would have made me cry two years ago. Now, what choice do I have but to laugh?

So, Happy Birthday Aaron and Brady. You have made me a better person. I can’t imagine my life without you little monkeys!

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Random person: “Oh my goodness, are they twins?”
Me: “Yes, yes they are.”
RP: “A boy and a girl?”
Me: “Yep.”
RP: “Are these your first?”
Me: “Yep.” (wait for it…)
RP: “Oh, how great! Then you’re all done!”
Me: (half-smile, non-committal mumble, keep walking…)

We all get the question: are you going to have any more? The random strangers on the street who simply must talk to us… if you have two boys, you’re asked if you’ll try for a girl. Two girls, if you’ll try for a boy. And boy/girl, apparently that satisfies the universe and it’s assumed you’re all done.

And don’t even get us started on the dads… as much as it annoys me when people make the assumption that I’m all done after my first-time-out boy/girl twins, my husband goes and volunteers the idea to random passers-by. “Yep, and we’re done! Done, done, done!” Nice, honey. One of the HDYDI husbands (Hi, S.M.!) even responded to the idea of this post in haiku form:

Children after twins:
Maybe when they’re older, then
We’ll have time for sex.

In all seriousness, I think everyone has confronted the idea of whether or not to have more kids after multiples. There’s a million different factors to that decision. For one, I think we all have in our heads the “ideal” number of children we always wanted to have. Some people want big families, the more the merrier. Some could barely be talked into having one. And then, the reality of being a parent sets in, and sometimes that “ideal” number changes. Maybe you discover being a mom is the greatest thing, ever, and you just want more. Or maybe you come to the crashing realization of how hard it is, and maybe just these two will be plenty.

Having a set of multiples adds several new dimensions to the discussion, and not just in the “more than you bargained for” sense. First, there’s the issue of pregnancy. Many of us do not have fond memories of our swollen feet, ankles and legs, of bedrest and high blood pressure, of the aches and pains and stress that go along with a multiple pregnancy. For those who had “spontaneous” twins, there’s the fear: what if it’s twins again? (Um, hi Laura N.) Even the ones with identical twins, who have no higher likelihood of having a second set… still, we wonder. Will lightning strike twice? For those who had to deal with infertility, there’s the question: do I want to go through all of that again? The hormones, the shots, the stress… Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be one of those couples who has a surprise pregnancy post-IVF. Wouldn’t that be nice? And finally, many of us feel as though, if there are any more kids on the horizon, maybe we’ll wait longer than we might have if our first were a singleton.

Many of us, for whom our twins are our first kids, have dreams of experiencing a different kind of parenthood. We’d like to see life through they eyes of a singleton parent. Wouldn’t it be so much easier? Oh, the cute single strollers we’d have! (Sadly, I think we’d be disappointed to learn that even singleton newborns are challenging, but whatever…) There’s also the idea of being a more experienced mom, and the things we imagine we’d do better/differently if we “knew then what we know now.” Again, it probably wouldn’t all go so well as we imagine, but it’s a nice dream.

There’s a million reasons people have for wanting more kids, or for being d-o-n-e DONE. But as with many things, it’s important for you and your husband/partner to be on the same page about whatever decision you make. Certainly, we don’t always agree! Remember that moms can have some crazy, instinctual, hormonal stuff that causes you to block out how much you hated being pregnant, and eventually make you want to do it again. Evolution is smart, that way. Your husband does not necessarily have the same selective memory, and remembers quite clearly how much you swore at him when he was trying to help you roll your enormous ass off the couch. One way or another, if there’s disagreement on how many kids to have, you need to sit down and talk about it. You need to figure out not only why your husband, for example, does not want any more kids, but also why you do. Self-examination is a good thing. Forcing or tricking a spouse into something is not. After all, you’re going to need him around to help with all of those extra kids…

And hey, sometimes surprises happen. Sometimes the passage of time softens the edges of your memory, and you think having more kids wouldn’t be so bad. Sometimes, even dads change their minds. As M and I were discussing this issue (for the record, his vote is usually NO NO NO, and mine is “ask me when they’re older”), and talking about the fact that there’s a halfway decent (I’ve heard 8-12%) chance we’d have another set of twins, we shuddered a little. And then he said, only mostly joking…

But, having them one at a time… doesn’t that seem a little… inefficient?

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*Ahem* Yes, the above mentioned title refers to yours truly. To look at me, you would think I was just an average minivan driving suburban mother of two.  But I can spy a double stroller faster than my kids can pull all of the wipes out of the container.   I know that a lot of families have double strollers for their non-twins families, but I am especially good at identifying the strollers housing two from the same womb. And then, I actually approach these people and talk to them! Strangers! People who are avoiding eye contact with the rest of the world, hoping to ward off the “are they twins?” comment. So yes, I am a self proclaimed twin mom stalker.

 There is just something magnetic about other mother’s of twins (and more!) Finally, women who “get” me, women I can identify with, learn from and commiserate with. Friends with singletons are wonderful, but the instant support and understanding of MoM’s can’t be beat.

It is pretty cool, belonging to this “twin club.” It comes with some instant celebrity, which was in itself rather surreal. (And rather unwelcomed during the infant stage-”Don’t these people know I have 3 seconds before meltdown to GET OUT OF THIS STORE?!!!”)  I have never belonged to a secret society, a popular club or sorority. But having two children from the same pregnancy has opened up doors that a secret handshake could never compete with.

 I really like being a mom of twins…most days! I like a lot of the attention, the looks of admiration as I juggle my twosome, the “I don’t know how you do it” comments from friends having their first child.

 But the funny thing is, our celebrity is fading…my babies are quickly turning into toddlers, who don’t look very much alike. They are now 3 lbs and 1/2 a head apart. We don’t get very many double takes, because I don’t think people recognize them as twins. And really, that is okay! I actually don’t want the kids receiving a lot of attention from strangers just beause they were born on the same day. When they are old enough to understand, I don’t want them to feel like  people are always watching them…I wonder if we as a family will attract less attention because my kids aren’t identical…or triplets.

 But for now, while it lasts, I will enjoy our twin celebrity status, and continue seeking out all of those mom’s like me, because it feels great to belong to a group, especially the MoM’s group!

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