I Wasn't Expecting This

My son and daughter were born in May of 2007. And as predicted, that first year with twins was exhilarating and brutal. I chronicled sleep-less nights, nursing woes, hip dysplasia x’s 2 and 12-month-long-reflux over hundreds of blog posts.

I cheered on other MoM’s whose little ones were sleeping through the night. I read all the information I could on breastfeeding, pumping and weening. I was delighted in my children, but struggling with regular first-time mom stuff, like how to balance exercise, friendships and my marriage when everything I did was colored by pure exhaustion.

Outings were performed with military precision, complete with an escape route. Nights were long and bled into the days. Laundry was never ending, and I took solace in the fact that my work as a mother was legitimately much harder than that of a mom with only one newborn.

Life was just…so hard.

Months 12-24 were busy, busy, busy. Most of that time was spent trying to keep Faith and Jonathan from prematurely ending their lives. Oh, they tried! Eating crumbling concrete, launching themselves off of high surfaces, careening around on play ground equipment and even a choking incident or two colored my blog posts. Heck, there were even several smothering attempts!

And still, I reassured myself that the amount of stress I was experiencing on a daily basis was the direct result of having 2 same-aged children. I sometimes marveled at my mom-friends with only one child. I never scorned their struggles, I just longed a little bit for the way they seemed to enjoy mothering when I was trying to keep my head above water.

However, and I didn’t see it coming, something amazing has happened. All of those mom friends with one child? Well, they got pregnant and have given birth to their second born. And here is the kicker: my life with 2 two year olds? It is much, much easier and less difficult than having a toddler and a baby! I can hardly believe how much fun I can have with my munchkins with minimal planning, packing and stressing. I honestly have a lot of compassion for my friends who are chasing after a non-napping toddler during the day and are nursing a baby through the night.

I wasn’t expecting it, but having two-same aged children actually seems easier than having two singletons!
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What are your thoughts on this topic? How do you weigh in on the twin vs singleton debate?

Guest Post: Manly Expectations

Mommy, Esq. is a lawyer at a Big Firm and mom to almost 12 month old twins, Edmund (Ned) and Penelope. In between conference calls and deal closings she thanks her lucky stars for an unbelievable Husband (and co-parent) and nanny. You can find her blog about Big Law and the three loves of her life at www.mommyesq.com.

My son Ned is a cuddler. He likes to “stop by” as he cruises the playroom to be picked up and put his head on your shoulder. There are “kisses” too – although sometimes biting would be more accurate. But when Ned gets frustrated he shouts and hollers at the world, tearing up and sometimes throwing himself backward to have a tantrum (I thought that was in our future!). The nanny and I rub his back when he’s upset and tell him “he’s okay”, and will pick him up for a cuddle.

Ned will not like to be diapered and dressed after his nighttime bath. Partly this is because he’s pretty tired by the time bedtime has rolled around and partly because he’s getting out the rest of his energy. I diaper him standing up and lotion and dress him as he barrels around his bedroom. My husband thinks we should be teaching Ned that sometimes you just have to lie still for a few minutes and “get it over with”. I give Ned 3 chances of standing up in the bathtub (dangerous!) before I just take him out (I do say “no” with the ASL sign (the only one I know)); my husband’s approach is to say “no” and putting him down until bathtime (for both kids) is over.

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My husband thinks I coddle Ned. He wants our son to be strong and to problem solve and not always go running to mommy. I sort of laugh because, I mean, he’s a baby! But it has gotten me thinking – how do you turn your little boys from babies into men? We spent so much time this first year of their lives just “surviving” that promoting self reliance and discipline has fallen a bit by the wayside. When both parents work you try to maximize the fun, loving time instead of working on utensil use or self-play. And I know the number of things they will need to learn to do on their own is just going to get longer!

Do you see a difference in the expectations you or your spouse have for sons and daughters? In what ways do you encourage self-reliance in your kids?

Your Registry Cheat-Sheet

This might be a day late and a dollar short for most of you, but I would love your help compiling advice for expectant mother’s for when they are faced with the daunting task of preparing their baby registries.

Personally, I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of buying/choosing/registering for what seemed like a huge amount of baby gear. In fact, I requested a veteran mom walk me through Babies R Us and I took notes while she pointed out the various items I may or may not need. I was so grateful for her help, because it is a huge job to research all of the items for safety ratings/effectiveness/price comparison. And since most of my friends were all having their first baby(s) at the same time, we tended to fuel each other’s drive for baby stuff…especially any item to help with breastfeeding or sleeping!

Would you please leave a comment about what worked or what you would have done differently in terms of baby gear? Thanks!
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Krissy’s Registry Cheat-Sheet

  • As far as car seats go: several friends of singletons have since had baby #2. Many of them had the super cute Chicco travel system (stroller and car seat). The problem is, as far as I can tell, Chicco does not make a double front-to-back stroller, and the mom’s are limited to other brands of double strollers that will accept the Chicco car seat. If you hope to have more than one child, you might want to factor this in.
  • Car seat under mats are a worthy addition to your registry. When you first bring home your newborn, it is hard to envision their little feet hanging over their car seats, dripping muddy or snowy water onto your upholstery, but that time will come, likely around their first birthday.
  • In my humble opinion, the one item that I would insist on buying new is the crib mattress. My son has been sleeping and jumping on his mattress for 2+ years, and it has shown considerable wear and tear. The middle is still nice and firm, but the sides have taken a real beating. There is now enough room between the crib mattress and crib slats for a newborn to get stuck. I know, because his stuffed dog (newborn sized) often ends up wedged down there.
  • The big stuff: exersaucers, bouncy seats, bumbos and swings all have a VERY short life span…borrow them or buy them used if you can. The amount of space they will require in your home is enormous, and you will resent their perfectly matched presence even more if you paid full price for them!
  • One of the biggest wastes of money for many moms are infant carriers. The problem is, you don’t really know what will work for you (how it feels, fits, any area’s of back pain, infant head support, etc. ) until you actually have the baby in your possession. For example, I personally hated the Moby wrap I bought during my pregnancy and never used it. The Baby Bjorn worked for my husband, but hurt my back. However, the consignment store Snugli worked wonderfully for me. Several friends have told me they regretted buying the sling/carrier, etc. that they did because it didn’t end up working for them. If you do decide to buy ahead of time-keep the tags on and save the receipt!

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Jonathan in a borrowed walker.
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Faith in a borrowed Exersaucer…I loved it while we needed it, and loved it even more when I returned it to the owner and it didn’t have to fit in my overflowing storage room!

Okay ladies! Help me out! And for those of you researching your baby gear options, here are a few HDYDI product reviews:

15 Minutes of Manners

Parenting is hard. Really, REALLY hard.

I often tend to focus on the negative aspects of parenting, without acknowledging the really great times. And there are a lot of really amazing aspects of our days…it’s just that they come in small bursts and tend to get overlooked by the tantrums in Target and constant sibling rivalry!

So, Jonathan and Faith, I dedicate this post to you. I urge you other mama’s to chime in and brag about your kids! Let it be an encouragement to the rest of us when we are having a particularly difficult day!

15 Minutes of Manners

On Tuesday of this past week, I took my two 2-year-olds to Panera for breakfast. We arrived sans stroller, sippy cups in hand. The kids stood in line with me while I ordered a cinnamon crunch bagel and a blueberry bagel. I asked them to run them through the bread slicer, and they presented me with a tray of neatly sliced and easy to eat bagel pieces.

I asked Faith to pick a place for us to sit, and she ran to an open table and scampered up. Jonathan climbed into his seat, they bowed their heads for prayer, and we started chowing down. They calmly and politely ate all most all of their bagels. I told them to stay in their seats and I walked back up to the counter to get a to-go bag. I nervously checked back a few times to see if they were in their seats-and THEY WERE!

I had to wait in line no more than 2 minutes, but still! They remained in their seats! I packed up our leftovers for munching in the car, we threw away our trash, and left Panera holding hands, and I know my face was beaming with pride.

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I won’t comment on the rest of the day, in order not to tarnish this lovely story of my children’s obedience. But once in a while, don’t you think we need to cut ourselves some slack and say, “I’m not too bad at this MoM thing, and my kids are pretty amazing little people?!”

Please share your encouraging story of good behavior and/or manners!

Guest Post: Counting Higher Than Two

Mommy, Esq. is a lawyer at a Big Firm and mom to almost 10 month old twins, Edmund (Ned) and Penelope. In between conference calls and deal closings she thanks her lucky stars for an unbelievable Husband (and co-parent) and nanny. You can find her blog about Big Law and the three loves of her life at www.mommyesq.com.

Goddess in Progress has discussed her struggles around whether or not to go for number three and Laura C has also blogged about knowing she is happy with two rambuncious boys. This may shock some of you moms of multiples out there but my husband and I decided to start trying for a third kid right around month 5 with our newborn twins.

If I saw me through a lens I would think we were crazy. After all, I work too much, Husband travels too much, we haven’t even figured out how to be parents – why add another baby into the mix? You may be toying with the idea yourself so I thought I’d let you in on all the discussions we’ve had since deciding to take the plunge:

1. Parenting is Fun. Husband and I originally decided to have kids because “hey, that’s what you do”. If you love each other and want to pass on your values and genetic code you force the next generation to suffer through your parenting mistakes. We both can’t believe how much we like it. It’s not always pretty but we think someday we’ll love our kids not only because of their genetic code but because we helped raise them into loving, self-sufficient (here’s hoping) adults.

2. Did You See My Gray Hair(s)? We started trying for kids before I turned 30. Two years and 2 rounds of Clomid later, we discovered we were having twins. My mom had her FOURTH kid at 32. I’m not getting any younger so I want to have another kid while I can – ideally before I’m 35. The bigger and as-of-yet unresolved issue is whether we undergo any fertility treatments if we don’t have any success in the next 6 months. Husband says no way. I say, hmmm…. [noncommittal noises].

3. TWO MORE? Since I’m a triplet there is some possibility – and every mom of multiples fear – that we could end up pregnant again with two (or more) even without fertility treatments. We’re okay with that. Seriously. I not-so-secretly think having two babies at once is more of a joy than one even when factoring in the headaches that go into two babies. I also think that the third kid might feel a bit left out so why not have another set of twins?

4. Little Helpers vs. Bring On the Chaos. Lots of moms wait until multiples kids are older to have more kids. I’m more of the mindset that we lump the diapers, the potty training, the assertion of independence right in a row so we “get it over with” (can you tell I’m not a big fan of the “newborn” phase?). My brother was 6 years younger than my sisters and me and while yes, we were able to make him breakfast and eventually drive him around we weren’t close or “played” together in any way until he became a full-fledged adult. As my kids have started to go through the development leap phase (as of yet unsuccessful) and I have spent some time with my 2.5 year old nephew I know it will be hard, very hard to have 3 kids under the age of 2 or 3 (since time is ticking without any results). But won’t it be better once they are all 5 and 7, right? Right? Plus if we delay then we could love the self-sufficiency of having older kids so much we don’t dare create new chaos. To be honest I was sort of hoping I would get pregnant my first month back at work so I could keep everything off balance.

5. Logistics/Money. It’s not going to be cheap and it’s not going to be easy. We’ll continue with our retirement savings goals and try to save for their college costs. Our primary financial goal is that we don’t want to have to rely on our kids to support us in old age – even knowing that social security and Medicaid will likely be bankrupt when we retire. I’d like to tell you we carefully looked at our finances but frankly it’s a crap shoot. We have enough faith in ourselves that we can make it work.

Our family would be complete without any more kids; but we have room in our hearts for more. What about you, readers: When is the best time for another kid after multiples (if ever)? Would you go for more if it involved fertility treatments?