what I wish someone told me

I was asked if I could talk to a mom who is expecting twins by a teacher at our preschool drop in.  Long story short, the expectant mom is a neighbour who I see almost daily walking her two kids to school though we have never got beyond a nod and a “hello, how are you?” before.  She is usually walking by while I’m wrestling my toddlers into their stroller and yelling at the dog to just “BE QUIET ALREADY!”  (It’s been surprisingly difficult to tone down my language and drop the “shut ups” now that we have kids but that’s another post. I never say “shut up” to people, just my dog. He’s very yappy.  Anyway.)

So we finally had a “quiet” moment to talk while all our kids were busy playing or at school.  My new friend already has two kids, one in school and one still home.  She appears to me to be overwhelmed by the surprise of two babies on the way and I feel real sympathy for what is ahead of her in the next year.

When I had my twins almost 19 months ago, they were my first and I was lucky enough to be able to stay home on (almost) bed rest for two months before they arrived.  I could just nap and eat. And once they were here, it was challenging to say the least, but I had no other little ones to care for.

What did I need to hear when I was pregnant with two?  That it would be OK.  That it would be hard, but that we would get through it.

My friends with kids warned me that “You’ll never sleep again!  Ha! Ha!”  The sleep deprivation was no joke.

That breastfeeding can be very challenging for some and that most likely you will need to supplement with formula until your milk comes in and you get yourself some rest. That there are ways to boost your milk supply with diet, herbs, pumping, and/or medication.  See a lactation consultant before you even leave the hospital if need be.  Oh, and pumping sucks.  You just gotta do it.

That if you can afford it (and I couldn’t) get yourself a night nanny so that you can take care of your babies with a clear head.  That they will stop crying.

And don’t do it by yourself.  When people offer to help, take it.  When people want to visit the babies, ask them to bring food.  Do the dishes, wash the bottles, walk the dog, fold the laundry, take the babies for a walk in the stroller.  You don’t need to  do it all yourself.  People want to help you, they just need you to tell them how.

We are in year two now, and though it has it’s own challenges, life is so much easier than in those early days with two newborns.

It does get better.  And you can do it.  And it’s so worth it.

What do you wish someone told you when you were pregnant with multiples?

You can catch up with me and my toddler twin boys at http://littlegrovers.blogspot.com/

To Talk or Not To Talk

In those first few crazy, housebound, sleep deprived months after we brought home our twin boys, what saved me was knowing I was not alone. I love reading blogs about fellow multiple mamas and have learned a lot from the  HDYDI community. Fast forward 17 months, and the challenges have changed just when I was getting the hang of life with babies.  My name is B., and I’m excited to have the opportunity to guest post here.  You can read more about life with my boys at  http://littlegrovers.blogspot.com/.

When you have multiples, you become a mini celebrity.  As soon as people spot the double (or more) stroller, they want to see the babies and ask a few questions.  Now who doesn’t want to show their babies off?  Ummm, sometimes I don’t feel like stopping to talk.  Chalk it up to chronic sleep deprivation and feeling like I’m always on a clock counting down the minutes of happy toddler time to hungry/tired/grumpy toddler time.

Everybody says the exact. same. thing.

“Ohh!  Twins!”
Mmm hmmm.
“A girl and a boy?”
Actually two boys.  Dressed in all navy, green and generally masculine colours.
“Oh they look EXACTLY the same!”
Well, they are brothers so there are some similarities, but they are fraternal. Blankstare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are not identical twins.
“Did you have fertility treatment? That IVF stuff?”
No.  Actually I did but I don’t discuss personal stuff with total strangers.  Unless it’s on my blog.
“You’ve got your hands full”  OR “Double trouble!”
OK.  See ya.

Now up til now, these conversations are a minor annoyance at worst and at best I can appreciate a friendly chat with neighbours.  But now that my toddlers are comprehending more I’m concerned about what they’re learning from all this.  Are they thinking: “Do I look the same as my brother?  Do I look like a girl?  Am I a lot of trouble for my mommy?”  Do I need to clarify these things for them?  I don’t want to argue with a stranger about whether my boys look alike, but I want my boys to know that they are both their own little people.  And they look like little boys. And though they can be trouble, I consider myself very blessed.

There’s a lady in my neighbourhood with quadruplets and one older child. I pulled my stroller over to let her pass with her enormous stroller on the sidewalk and heard myself say;
“You’ve got your hands full”.
I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth when I hear it multiple times a day and hate it!  Sheesh.  I still cringe thinking about it.

How do you respond to strangers comments about your multiples? When they ask if you had fertility treatment? When they comment on your kids gender incorrectly? Or insist that they look the same when they don’t?