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Thanks HDYDI Readers.  Because of you, I can write this down and HOPEFULLY I’ll finally, FINALLY remember it.  You don’t know how many times I’ve smacked myself in the head a la “Shoulda hadda V8”  as I’m reminded of this tip.

So read and learn, peeps.  Don’t be me.  Smacking yourself while driving is just not safe.

OK.  Today.  The morning naps were over and Sarah was clamoring for her 18th snack of the day.  “Not plain old raisins, Ma, YOGURT COVERED RAISINS!”



We were housebound yesterday because of the leftover typhoon that hit the west coast and I guess I was still feeling the after effects of early onset cabin fever, because I was seriously over it.  Motherhood, that is.  I was just languishing about in a sea of toys and half crushed Kix, watching Matthew try to smash his sippy cup through the window and listening to Sarah screech about the raisins.  I was frozen in a hellacious moment and hating life.  I even got that, “Should I be a SAHM?” feeling.  (Don’t worry, I shook that off with a quickness.)

I had put a rain cover for the BOB on hold at our local REI, and since I couldn’t walk to the grocery store as planned because of the DOWNPOUR, I figured this was as good a time as any to go pick it up.

Two seconds into the car ride all was well with the world.  They were singing and laughing and dancing in their carseats and I was singing and laughing and dancing right along with them.  I was Happy Mom again!

This is where the self-smackdown came in.  The Reset Button!  Duh.  Whether it’s a major tantrum or just midday doldrums, changing things up with a walk, or a trip the backyard, or a ride in the car will make all the difference in the world.  Like so many other parenting tips, this one seems pretty damn obvious, but in the moment?  It’s anything but.  I just find it so easy to get sucked into the whinyness, the discontent and the overall crankiness and it’s like quicksand.  So….Hard….To…Get….Out….

I think I need to put up post-its all over the house that say “Reset Button”  or even better, “Change it up, Dummy!”  because I can never seem to remember!  It’s usually only out of desperation that I actually implement a change, not out of smart parenting.

It happened again later, too.  We’re not really sure what caused Sarah’s evening tantrum aside from a boycotted afternoon nap, but she screamed for a good 20 minutes.  Actually it might have been longer, but I went for a run.  My husband said he changed her diaper and put her in the crib for a good ole’ fashioned cage match with her brother and she was a new person.  Giggling like you wouldn’t believe and generally acting like nothing had happened.

RESET!  Remember it, friends.

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When will I ever learn?  My kids, like so many others have an early bedtime.  This is an absolute godsend at most times, but occasionally it does bite me in the arse. Am I the only fool who tries to pretend bedtime doesn’t exist on some nights?

My dad is visiting from the east coast and yesterday was crazy.  Morning naps went fine, then we went for a walk to the beach.  Then because we were in between events, we tried to nap them in the car.


So the afternoon went on and right at the kids dinnertime we paid a visit to my aunt and uncle, which was only bearable because of some ducks in the stream out back and a seemingly endless supply of Triscuits.  At about 6:15, though, it was decided we should go out to eat.  AT MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT.


I knew it was beyond stupid to agree to the dinner, but everyone was saying, “Oh they’ll be fine, don’t worry.”  Blah blah blah.  Wrong.  It was a complete and utter flop.  They were ok as long as there were some rice and beans to shovel down their gullets, but once they were full it was all over. Flying tortillas, flailing limbs, the whole works.  I quickly changed my order to get it to go, packed up the runts, and headed home.  No socializing, no sangria, no hot meal for me.

Why did I think it would work?  They were already severely undernapped.  What was I thinking?  I guess the answer is that I knew it wouldn’t.  But I went along anyway.  To please my dad?  Maybe, but what’s pleasant about shrieking grandchildren?  To eat at my favorite restaurant?  Well, ok, but it’s down the street from my house, so that excuse doesn’t really fly.


I think deep down it’s that I don’t want to be THAT MOM.  The one who is so tied to her kids schedules that she never does anything fun.  Earlier in his visit my dad was saying how we should go to this fancy bar for a drink, and incredulous, I asked, “With the babies??”  He thought we should!?  Just because 30Something years ago he and my mom did it with me.  ONE OF ME.  But then that just makes me feel wimpy about playing the twin card.  God, I have issues today!

So anyway, does anyone else fall into this trap of putting off their kids’ sleep even when you know it will make your life pure hell?  If so, why are we such idiots?  And do you tire of playing the twin card, even when it’s totally valid?

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Am I a Fraud?

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This post is cross-posted (w/ a few minor changes) from my blog,  Sorry to be playing up the “If you’ve got twins, you must be infertile” stereotype, but I feel like there’s probably an audience here for these thoughts.  And I’m curious to know if other multiples moms post-infertility feel less stressed about a second go-round.  Or if you’ll even go around again?  Read and discuss…

Am I still supposed to be pissed off about infertility? Maybe I’m not one to hold a grudge, but I think I’m kind of over it. Is that wrong? Does it mean I wasn’t suffering enough during those four years? Like, I didn’t want a baby enough? That can’t be it, can it?

But these days I don’t get mad when I read about people who adopt and then get pregnant a month later. I’m happy! I might roll my eyes a little, but I swear, I’m happy! And I barely cringed when my friend with the 18 month old baby called me all down in the dumps about not getting knocked up with #2 after a couple months. I acknowledge her pain, even!

So, what is up? It was four long years of pure hell. Aren’t I supposed to be damaged and bitter? I can’t change how I feel, but I admit I feel like an IF Fraud for getting over it like this.

I guess part of it is that I don’t really want infertility to define me. I so appreciate blogs like Mel’s which was such a huge help to me when I was in the trenches, but I just don’t know how she does it. How can she spend so much time reading about so much struggle and loss? She’s doing such a great service to the infertile community, but I know I couldn’t and wouldn’t devote anything close to the time, energy and heart that she does to the cause. Maybe I’m just a lazy jerk, but the truth is, I want that part of my past to stay in the past. I’m there to support, but I will have a hard time conjuring up the anger.

I wonder if I would I feel the same way if I’d had a singleton. Knowing that I might try again would really keep me “in the game” if you will. But I’m so happy with our family as it is right now, that it’s been very easy for me to chuck my Infertility Anger out the door.

Don’t worry, though. I will never be an actual “Fertile.” Uh uh. I’m just a non-practicing infertile. Until some media type comes on tv talking about how many embryos that fool had “implanted.” Then my inner infertile will rear her ugly head, I promise.

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How I Became a Joiner

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While I was still pregnant, Will and I went to our first Multiples’ Club social event.  Actually, endured is probably a better word.  Cocktail party-engorged cankles and nary a mojito in which to drown my sorrows – the horror!  Those issues aside however, it was a lovely affair.  I was the only knocked-up attendee, so I was duly fawned over and given lots of encouragement and advice.

One piece of advice that I always remembered went a little like this, “The twins club is great for gear and twin-specific info, but join a singleton moms’ group, too.”  Her first reason was pretty obvious to me – you don’t want your kids hanging out will just twins.  Weird!  But I don’t know if I would have thought of her second reason – hanging out with singleton moms means they can help you twin-wrangle!

Ever been anywhere with another twin mom or two*?  It’s a blast to watch the kids run around, and it’s always fun to watch the double takes from passers-by, but once the wanderlust hits, you are on your own, sister!  On the other hand, go on an outing with a couple singleton moms and the grown-up to toddler ratio starts to look a little more manageable.

Keeping this advice in mind, I joined a “straight up” moms’ group when the babies were just about 3 months old.  I paid my dues online and was assigned to a playgroup of 12 other new moms with kids born April – June of 2008.  For those first several months we sat in one anothers’ living rooms, lamenting the difficulties of breast feeding or sleep deprivation, while the other moms’ babies slept sweetly in their carseats/bjorns/ergos.  (Not mine, of course.  Mine always screeched like banshees during those first meetings.  I figure the other gals were heavy handed with the Tylenol or something.)

Recently, though, our meetings have become a bit more..ah…busy.  The living rooms are a thing of the past and now parks are the go-to destination.  Screw square footage, we need acres, man!  Kids are crawling, walking, running and climbing all over, and we moms are on high alert.  The great thing is, we’ve become so close that watching over each other’s children comes naturally.  I even find myself doing it for the other women, at the occasional peril of my own kids.

While, of course I know I can’t just dump my kids off at the park and head off for a nice mani/pedi (YET), it is so comforting to have more people patrolling the toddlers.  I even get to have real adult conversations sometimes! (Albeit, brief ones.)

What it boils down to, is that I highly recommend all new moms, twins or otherwise, join or start a local moms’ group.  Especially when you’re matched up with same aged kids, you’ll have a constant source of support, ideas, and playmates for your kid(s)!  And as a bonus for twin moms, the singleton (honestly, there has GOT to be a better word) moms will constantly be bowing down to your SuperMomness.

Not convinced?  Here’s an example of how the singleton mom to twin mom ratio really worked out for me a few playdates back.  It was at a park near my house and somehow on the 5 minute stroller ride between my house and the park, Sarah’s eye and face swelled up to twice its size.  I rushed her off to the doctor while the moms kept Matty until my mom could come pick him up.   As you all know, hauling two kids to the doc alone is no fun, so it was so great to be able to leave him with my friends.

*Or EIGHT?  I also belong to a multiples playgroup and recently we had eight moms and 16 kids in attendance!  Insanity!

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The Gentle Truth

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A very good friend of mine recently had twins, and since they arrived we’ve texted back and forth.  A lot of hers are variations on, “How did you do this?” or “When does it get easier?”  While I love the opportunity to help out where possible, and to act as an “expert” (HA!), I hate that she’s in the weeds sometimes.  And what I hate even more is confirming to her that the weeds are where she’s gonna be for a while.

Don’t you always want to paint a pretty picture for these moms?  You’ve had them painted for you, so why not pass on the favor, right?  You want to tell them that it will get better!  For instance, when I told my stepsister (a fellow MOT) that my 6 week u/s had confirmed twins, her first words were: “It gets better when they’re 3.”  Wait.  That wasn’t at all helpful.  It was actually more of a buzzkill.  But usually we try to stay positive, right?

Since this new mom and I are so close, I really do try to be as honest as I can.  I sent her links to my old blog like this one,  but at the same time, I do think I’m giving her too much hope for the days of plush toys, gyminis, and exersaucers.   Let’s get real.  Those things are helpful, but they only do so much, right?

Balancing the truth with comfort and hope is so hard!  New and expectant moms – when you’re asking us for help, just how much do you want?  Do you want to know about all the times I sat sobbing between two bawling babies, not sure which one to help?  Do you want to know about the time it took me 2 hours to leave my house because of the Cavalcade of Poo?  Or what about the other time I sat sobbing between two bawling babies…or the time after that?  How about all the “Shut Up Walks” I took Every Single Day for months from 5:15 – 6:15 when my husband would get home?  Or would you like me to do like my stepsis and condemn you to three years in hell and be done with you?

Wouldn’t you rather just hear good things?

“The babies will be over their reflux/sleeping through the night/entertaining themselves by the end of the week for sure!”

“Oh those smiles make up for everything.”

“They really start crying less once they can play with toys.”

In the end, I try to keep it positive, with a small dose of reality.  I think that moms need to know they’re not the only ones who sit home and cry, or hate (for brief stints) the fact that they have twins or want to smack their husbands.  But they also need to stay upbeat and polishing up the old truth can go a long way.

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How I Hack It – Party Edition

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There it is in your Inbox.  The once coveted, but now dreaded…


Oh how I used to enjoy seeing them.  I’d respond or decline, depending on, you know – life. And then if I was interested, I’d follow along with the responses to see who was coming, who could make a witty remark and who was bringing the jello mold.

Now?  I just think about all the logistics involved in attending.  I still love the opportunity to get out and see friends (if not actually speak to them), but man, this twin toddler thing makes partying TOUGH!  And I don’t even mean real partying.  I mean going to someone’s backyard and eating a hot dog and perhaps drinking a beer or (GASP!) two.

Here’s a play-by-play of a recent bbq.

0:00 – Upon arrival scan yard for potential safety issues.

0:01 – Wonder why Matthew is bleeding from the face.

0:02 – Quickly determine they are too numerous to count.

0:03 – Retreat to “greenhouse” (aka former pot growing emporium).  Decide gravel floor pieces are probably small enough not to choke the babies.

0:07 – Realize I was wrong about the gravel size.

0:15 – Head out to the “yard” (aka set of Little Shop of Horrors).

0:16 – Activate the Zone Defense with Will to protect kids from Rose Tree of Death and other menacing flora.

0:30-45 – Defensive shuffling drills to act as human wall between babies and grill.

0:46 – Drink 3 sips of much needed beer.  Consider purchasing one of these to at least ensure adequate alcohol consumption.

0:52 – Spend 30 seconds wondering if friend REALLY left me in charge of his 10 month old child without a word.  Conclude:  Yes.  Roll Eyes.

1:10 – Pawn 10 month old off onto hostess to dash after Sarah. Narrowly avoid solving one of life’s great mysteries:  What actually happens when babies eat lead paint?

1:21 – Cavalierly stick thumb down Sass’ diaper for a quick check.  (Could also read: “Stupidly stick thumb into giant mass of blueberry poo.”)

1:26 – Realize that the travel wipes are all dry.  Curse loudly.

1:37 – CAKE!

1:51 – Start making a move to leave.

2:35 – Actually drive away.

So, that’s how I party, twin-style!  I didn’t used to be like this.  I figured I would be the relaxed mom, not worrying about what kind of trouble my kids get in.  I don’t know if it’s that we’ve got twins, or if it’s just the mom gene or what, but I’m kind of a jerk about safety.  I even annoy myself sometimes, but I can’t seem to help it.

Does anyone else find they have trouble attending parties these days?  On the car ride home, once we catch our collective breath, Will and I always wonder, “Why did we just do that? We’re still hungry and thirsty and we didn’t talk to anyone!”  It’s kind of a drag, really.  I want to be able to enjoy these things, and I know the time will come, but for now, I’m feeling a bit whiny about it, I must admit. Please tell me I’m not alone!

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3 days in a petri dish
36 weeks in utero
3 months in the same crib
11 more months spending their lives side by side.

And then BAM!

5 days spent 3,000 miles apart.

My cousin recently had twins* and I’d been chomping at the bit to go see them. Originally I’d planned to go on my own. My mom was going to watch the Littles during the day, and my husband would have them in the evenings. But my mom’s got a bum knee, and even without that, two toddlers is tough duty. (I’ll pause while our readers nod their heads and give a big ole “Mmmm Hmmm”) PLUS my dad and most of his side of the family lives near the new twins and I was told that my plane would be turned back if I didn’t bring at least one kid along for the trip.

This seems to shock everyone, but once it was decided that I’d be bringing a baby along with me, choosing which one was just about the easiest decision I’ve ever made. We’ve got one baby we call “The Ambassador” and one we only semi-jokingly call “The Project”. Who do you think got the nod? Of course, Butts, our Family Ambassador. He is just always happy wherever we go and easily inserts himself into every situation. Sass, on the other hand, needs an adjustment period for most new environments. He’ll go to anyone, she tends to prefer me. And thankfully, she’s recently been digging my mom. As you can imagine, the choice was a no-brainer.

I was taken aback, however, at how many people were surprised that it was so easy for me to pick. It wasn’t about who I like better, or fairness (Hello, they’re 1!) or anything but practicality. Who would do better there and who would do better here? And of course, who would do better on the plane? Let’s face it, who’s gonna get me an upgrade, Sir Flirts-A-Lot, or Madame DeathStare?

As it turned out I chose very well. Sass ended up with her first ear infection and was extremely unpleasant to be around. Butts, on the other hand, glad-handed his way around Central New York like he was running for office. It’s hard to know if Sass missed her brother at all because she was in so much pain, but Butts definitely missed her. We stayed with my dad and since they’re his only grandkids, there are giant photos of the babies hung all over the place and every morning he would come down and want to touch her picture. SO CUTE! And he loved looking at pictures of her on my phone.

I think it was great for him to have this time on his own, and for us to bond even more than we have already. The other cool thing is that during those moments when he was happy and not needing anything, I could just watch him “be”. I didn’t need to worry about what Sass might be doing or needing or destroying. It was a really peaceful feeling, and one that we multiples moms just don’t get to enjoy all that often. I had recently spent a short afternoon at an outdoor concert with Sass and had a brief snippet of the same feeling. (Once her hour-long adjustment period was up, of course!)

Can I recommend to you readers to spend some one-on-one time with your kids? With such limited whole-family time these days, it might seem hard to justify, but I promise it will be SO worth it. You take one kid to the park while your husband takes the other to run some errands. A couple weekends later, switch it up! You’re not going to be able to do it all the time, nor might you want to! I just hope you’ll find the time to do it every once in a while. You’ll all benefit, I promise.

*For all those people (like me!) who always want to know all the deets about twin babies here ya go:

2 boys
5lbs 2oz and 5lbs 3oz
2 to 3 weeks in the NICU, no major issues, both home on the same day

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How I Hack It

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After entering the contest to become a new How Do You Do It contributor, I got a little worried. What if I win? Don’t you kind of have to know what you’re doing to join a panel of writers telling folks how they do it? I spend half my life in the proverbial weeds, people! How do I do it? No clue.

Recently I was asked how I go to the grocery store. I’ve heard of these people who push the stroller, pull the cart and happily get it all done. They probably go home and make a freaking pot roast, too. Yeah, not me. Here’s how I “do” it.

The store is just two blocks away, which sounds convenient, but really it’s more of a pain since it means I’m there more often. I can’t justify driving since it’s so close and because the thought of putting the kids in the car seats for a 2 block drive, just to put them in the stroller, then lugging a cart behind me while shopping, most certainly knocking over several displays of canned goods, then putting them BACK in the car seats, then driving home and unloading it all…oh my god, I need to stop. I’m on vacation right now and this is killing my buzz!

Ok, so I walk. I throw my hair into a sloppy bun (not the cute sloppy, either), change from my housepants to something more appropriate (dog-hair covered yoga pants) and load the runts into the double BOB. Once at the store, I rest a basket or two on the handlebar. I way overfill the basket(s)* and put milk where the kids’ feet go. It’s only a matter of time before their feet are long enough and strong enough to boot the milk to the curb. (No idea what I’ll do then. Maybe get a cow for the backyard?) After being stopped by every single person in the store to discuss my children, I finally reach the checkout where I fill my reusable bags WAY too full with stuff and sling those over my shoulders, and then carrying the plastic bags in my hands my pathetic parade makes its way home, with Grand Marshall Me sweating profusely and losing the circulation in my fingers.

Oh, and I usually bring the dog along, just to make my life really difficult. Many days it’s her only walk. 4 blocks. Whoop dee doo. Once I forgot her and was almost home before I remembered. I seriously considered not going back.

Oh and one time I got home to find out that I had poo on my sleeve. That was special.

People who see me like this must think, oh man she must be having a tough day. Maybe her nanny called in sick or something? But no, this is my every day! Every day I have frizzy hair, nearly exploding fingers, poopy sleeves and a whole host of other issues.

If I ever pull it all together and figure out a smooth way to do this, or any other twin-related task, I’ll be sure to post about it. For now you readers will just have to make do with these snippets of my reality. Hopefully I can at least make you feel better about your life!

*None of the food I buy ever seems to add up to a meal for my husband and I, though. Argh.

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All The Toys…And Then Some

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When we found out we were having a boy and a girl, the first thing out of my husband’s mouth was, “We get to buy ALL the toys!” It was so freaking cute!

But, despite this apparent free pass to clean out the aisles of ToysRUs, we have actually held back a bit with toys. We have eight gazillion tiny little things that probably fall under the category of “rattle” but we definitely have (Um…had. You’ll see.) fewer big toys than most folks.

Then I volunteered to serve on our Parents of Multiples club’s annual Garage Sale Committee. While I was working on the sale – writing updates for our club’s online forum and maintaining the PR database – I started to salivate a little about how much money I was going to make hawking my spit-up-upon wares: the exersaucer, the jumperoo, bouncies… Those space sucker-uppers that you can’t WAIT to get rid of, you know? I thought a bit about what I might buy at the sale, but not much, since we don’t really need anything.

Until people started showing up with their items to sell. TOYS, GLORIOUS TOYS! How could I have forgotten about the toys? There were nearly two days of seller “check-in” during which I mentally purchased approximately $50,000 in Fisher Price inventory. But surely I wouldn’t go bonkers once the sale actually started, would I?

Yes. Yes, I would. We committee members were allowed to shop first and I gluttonously directed the Hubs to haul countless items up to the checkout. This includes a nearly life-sized school bus, a basketball hoop, a ride-on zebra, blocks, megablocks, trucks, a motorcycle, puzzles, tents, tunnels, pool toys, and a kangaroo climber… Geez, I’m over-stimulated just typing that!.

Here’s the thing, though. We brought the toys home and they were very well-received. The school bus, especially.


But my kids like to keep me on my toes. As proof that toys do not make the baby, I did some other shopping that day and the haul from that trip seems to be more popular than any toy ever could.


Yep. A diaper box. HOURS of enjoyment, I tell you. Whether they’re pushing it, sitting in it, or just playing with its flaps, it doesn’t matter. They are enthralled! I could have saved the $150 I spent at the sale and just littered my house with cardboard. What was I thinking???

That’s when I realized (duh!) that the toy-buying is all about the parents. All my kids need is Tupperware, cardboard boxes, pots and pans, plastic water bottles, wooden spoons, an old (or new) cell-phone. Recently Butts has even become obsessed with a bottle of vodka we received as a gift. But I’m thinking that’s a subject for a different post.

Honestly, though, no matter how much joy they get out of the stuff we’ve got lying around the house, I’m sure we’ll keep buying toys. The Garage Sale provided us our first good hit of Plastic Ecstasy and now we’re hooked!

Toy Industry – 1

Our ING Account – 0

What about you? What kinds of household items are your kids hooked on? And are you hooked on buying toys?

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