A first… rudeness to one twin?

Oh hello HDYDI readers! It’s me again LauraC.

Remember how I stopped writing for HDYDI when my twin boys turned 3 because we didn’t have much twinny stuff? Well do I have a story for you!

Saturday I took my boys (almost 4.5) to a local park. As we were walking along a greenway, a woman came up behind us and asked the boys how old they were. They both said four and her eyes sparkled with that familiar gleam when she realized they were twins. She started remarking on their differences. One brown hair and one blond hair! One brown eyes and one blue eyes! How different the twins are!

Then she said right to Nate, “You are so beautiful, the face of an angel!” and she rubbed his hair.

Then she kept right on going.

Mama BearC wanted to claw at her back and yell, “WTF lady, you’re going to compliment one twin IN FRONT OF THE OTHER twin and then walk on by? Did you even you see Alex’s sad, hurt little face?”

Instead I just told the boys it was so nice this lady thought they were both such beautiful little angels.

Have you guys encountered this and what did you do?

A farewell to blog

This statement is filled with a variety of emotions: this will be my last post on HDYDI. I didn’t want to fade into the sunset and have people wonder why I wasn’t posting since I’ve been here writing every Tuesday for the last 18 months. As my boys are almost 3.5, I find I don’t have as much to say about parenting twins. At this stage, they are two very separate individual little boys who just happen to be the same age. And I’d love to write posts about How We Did It the first couple of years, but the truth is I don’t remember much except what I wrote on my blog. Sleep deprivation killed those parts of my brain.

(Don’t be sad, I’ll still be posting regularly on Laura’s Mommy Journal. And newborn twin parents, have hope as I detail my non-parenting interests on Laura’s Other Journal. Actually wait don’t go there yet, I need to write a better post before you click that link.)

I thought I would have great HDYDI blog fodder when we potty trained the boys, but even that was not twin training. Nate pee trained in April and poop trained just this past week. Alex pee trained in July and we’re still working on poop. See? I potty trained two boys, it just happened that I cleaned up the pee and poop off my carpet and their clothing at the same time. And really, everyone wants to hear some magical 3-day potty training process. They do not want to hear about the summer my boys held their poop until they could poop at the pool EVERY TIME in swim diapers. And how EVERY SWIM CLASS someone yelled, “I’m pooping!!!” in front of all of our neighbors.

(Crap, actually that would have been a great HDYDI post. Save your money for swim diapers the summer you potty train two boys because you will go through 4-6 for each pool trip. And when you live a block from the pool, you will go there 4 or 5 times a week, using at least a pack a week. AND ALL OF THOSE WILL BE FILLED WITH POOP. And then you’ll think to yourself – let’s not go to the pool for a week. And your boys will store that poop up and get cranky and constipated and then you’ll go to the pool and blow through three diapers for each kid ALL FILLED WITH POOP.)

I could go on and on about the people I’ve met through this blog (Goddess and I even met in person at the Obama inauguration!) and what it means to me. This has been a safe haven for me to talk about the struggles and unique joys of parenting twins. Instead of sappy tributes, I will leave you with my top three favorite HDYDI posts I wrote.

1. Pictures of my NO STRETCH MARK twin belly.  As some kind of karma for posting these pictures, I recently had two melanoma spots removed from my stomach and now have scars there. Also note: I am back to a jelly belly since I spent my summer drinking wine and eating bratwurst. Also note: I will be so pissed if on top of ALL THAT SWIM DIAPER POOP I get even more melanoma spots.

2. Our experience with Alex’s helmet, torticollis, and plagiocephaly. Every week I get emails from parents going through this same experience. If you or someone you know goes through this, I am always here to listen.

3.  My very first post – a twin mom won the first season of American Gladiators. If this does not inspire you to realize that being a multiple mom means you can do anything, I’m not sure what will.

Thank you everyone, for all that you have brought into my life. I’ll still be here, reading along and proving my sage advice. And if you think newborn poop is bad, wait until you get to wet 3 year old wet swim diaper poop.

A laundry story in two parts, with both parts related to twins

PART 1:

While we try to do loads of laundry throughout the week, with two working parents, we often end up doing a mountain of laundry on the weekend. Jon ran a load on towels on Friday night and we went to bed without putting it away. Saturday morning, Jon opened the dryer to find wet towels.

I’m sure the next part of our conversation drove Jon crazy. I proceeded to ask him if he was sure he had run it, did he run it with heat, was he completely sure. I asked these questions because having twins has ruined some parts of our brains and we have no idea when these ruined parts will show themselves.

Shakes fist in air…. TWINS!

PART 2:

Jon was sure he ran it the night before so he proceeded to test the dryer at every setting. It was still not working. He got out the manual (oh how I mocked Jon when I met him for filing every electronics manual and oh how it has come in so handy) and tried everything they suggested to resolve it. Still broken.

We called Whirlpool and they couldn’t get someone out until Wednesday. That is a problem because we need clean clothes for our trip this weekend and after Dooce’s experience with Whirlpool technicians, we were scared. Instead we called a local repair guy who could be here first thing Monday morning and told Jon he would bring the most likely parts since he has fixed this problem on our model many times.

Monday morning, the repair guy came and fixed it in 15 minutes. We bought this dryer when we moved into the house, and with all the other electrical stuff that’s broken in our house I wanted more info about this problem. The repair guy showed me the broken heating element and told me Whirlpool downsized this particular part during a redesign and it makes it more likely to break. He said, “You’ve had this dryer about 5 years right? That’s what I usually see.” I said, “No, we’ve had it about 3.5 years, that’s weird.”

When I relayed the story to Jon…. light bulb moment… repair guy said this part would last 5 years, ours only lasted 3.5 years, why would ours break earlier? Oh yeah! We did an insane amount of laundry in those 3.5 years.

Shakes fist in air… TWINS!

Let's play a guessing game!

I will post a picture of myself and you guess how many days pregnant I was! Let’s start with an easy one.

10

Let’s see… flat stomach, looking bored rather than constant multi-tasking, plenty of time to take entertaining photos mocking my telecommuting… that would be zero days pregnant.

Time to guess again! How pregnant am I in the following picture?

36 weeks with twins

My readers will know I was exactly 36w with fraternal twin boys in this picture. My stomach hurts when I see that picture now. Singleton bellies look so cute and fun in comparison, huh?

Last picture… and I want you to think really hard before answering. Look at the two pictures above for comparison and guess how pregnant I was in the following picture:

1LauraAndJon007

Okay do you have a guess in your mind? Have you really thought about it? Make a guess.

Here’s the answer: it is a trick question. I was not pregnant in that picture. My boys were already born! This is the day I checked out the hospital, when my boys were 5 days old.

A couple of lessons here:

* If you’re pregnant with multiples, bring some BIG maternity clothes to the hospital with you when you deliver. The general rule is that you will look 6 months pregnant after birth, but that’s not 6 months-cute-singleton-belly pregnant. Bring clothes that comfortably fit when YOU were 6 months pregnant. I actually wore my biggest clothes home because OUCH twin c-section incision still healing. And the boobs… they continued to grow.

* Keep taking photos. I CRIED when I saw that picture, I mean I really bawled. This is not how you envision you will look post-partum when someone is taking pictures of you with your newborns. But I told my husband to keep snapping and make sure I was in plenty of pictures. I now treasure the photos where I have a huge jelly belly and I am cuddling my sweet smelling newborns because now they are big three year olds. And when my boys turned one, I was still not back to my pre-pregnancy shape (and am still not!) but when I used the above photo for comparison, I felt so much better about the progress I had made. So keep snapping!

If you're going to travel with twins, I'd recommend the Fargo airport

My husband Jon and I traveled a lot before having kids, and had always hoped to continue our travels once we had a family. Jon is from Fargo, North Dakota (seriously) and one of the most expensive flights we need to take each year to visit family is to Fargo. As a kid-less traveler, I’ll confess there is not much going for the Fargo airport. It’s four gates with absolutely nothing after you go through security. In fact, most people linger outside security until right before their flight.

But overall, I would say Fargo is the friendliest airport I’ve ever visited. EVER. On one memorable trip home, I found my very first tick in the Fargo airport bathroom. Having no idea what to do, I walked up to a woman (a stranger!) in the bathroom and asked her what to do. She escorted me back into the stall, where she took off the tick for me.

I should mention the tick was on my upper thigh. A complete stranger took a tick off me in my underwear in an airport bathroom without batting an eye.

Once we started traveling with twins to the Fargo airport, I fell in love. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who works in that airport loves twins. We traveled there this past week with my 3 year old boys and it was the most pleasant airport experience I’ve had. Jon dropped off the rental car while I checked in. The boys were WILD, running around, sliding on the floor, singing, dancing, and generally trying their best to get my attention. The airline employees smiled, commented on how much fun twins are at that age, and engaged Nate and Alex in helping put tags on our bags.

We then went through security and three, yes 3 (!!) TSA agents asked whether they were twins, what their names were, and made comments about how fun it must be to have twins. The guy waving us through the scanner played a game of letting the boys run through it. On our flights to and from Fargo, the airline attendants were incredibly helpful and friendly. The passengers on the plane smiled and checked out the boys as they narrated all the ongoings of the tarmac. Basically everyone we met smiled at us and enjoyed being around kids.

I never thought I’d say this in a million years, but I heart you Fargo airport. Further proof having kids changes everything.

PS. It also helps that I dress them in cute coordinating travel outfits. I consider it that extra little bit of travel mojo needed when flying with kids.

NateAlexTravel

Potty training through twin peer pressure

During the course of parenting multiples, I have a rotating list of least favorite common comments. I know everyone has them. “Double trouble!” “Two for the price of one!” My current #1 least favorite twin comment that started four months ago: “I bet Alex will start using the potty now that he sees Nate using the potty.”

My boys have been in group care for almost three years. Since they moved to the 2s room a year ago, ALL of the kids in the room sit on the potty four times a day. That’s 50+ potty sittings a day that happen in front of my kids. They see plenty of potty use. They talk about potty use. They see other kids in underwear. They see other kids rewarded for potty use. They see plenty of accidents. The words “poop” and “pee” come out of their mouths as frequently as “mommy!” They sit on the potty themselves at least four times a day.

And it was a four month gap between the time that Nate trained and when Alex trained.

It’s not like we did nothing to prepare the kids for potty training. The above list represents only what day care did. At home, we had booty camps and potty sits and practice runs and sticker charts and incentives. One cold rainy March weekend, Nate decided he wanted to wear underwear. After a weekend booty camp, he was trained. Alex had no interest and peed all over the house the weekends we tried underwear.

At 3 years 2 months, Alex’s tipping point became Nate. Since Nate was potty trained, he got to move up to the 3s room while Alex had to stay in the 2s room. It took one week of Nate being in the 3s room without Alex before Alex decided he was ready to wear underwear. One weekend booty camp later and we have two potty trained boys.

In some ways, my least favorite twin comment is correct. Alex became interested in potty training because Nate was potty trained. But it had nothing to do with watching Nate, seeing Nate’s success, or seeing Nate’s incentives. It was because Alex did not want to be apart from Nate. Knowing that fact makes listening to all the crazy twin comments totally worth it.

The unexpected side effect of separating multiples in day care

My 3 year old fraternal twin boys have been together in group care since they were 3 months old. One of the reasons we chose our day care was that it provided the option to separate the boys at any age group. Our original plan was to separate the boys for a year before “real school” to give them an easier transition. Over the last three years, changes have taken place that limit our opportunities to separate the boys, so they will be together until they go to kindergarten. As we love love love our day care, we are reluctant to move to a new place just to separate the boys. When it comes to quality care for your kids, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

It’s that time of year that day care transitions happen. To move to the 3s room, the boys must be potty trained. Nate is fully trained while Alex is fully in diapers. As we strive to treat the boys as individuals, we opted to move Nate to the 3s room since he is ready. There’s a spot waiting for Alex when he is trained, and we are not-secretly hoping that being separated from Nate will provide Alex with some inspiration to use the potty.

So far, the boys are dealing easily with being separated all day. They run to give each other hugs at the end of the day. But my husband and I have experienced unexpected growing pains! Water Play is Tuesday for Alex, Wednesday for Nate. Show And Tell is Wednesday for Alex, Tuesday for Nate. On and on. The boys have always shared sunscreen, diapers, wipes, and clothes. Now we need to provide two sets of everything. After three years of doing drop off and pick up in the same room and the boys being on the same activity schedule, all of a sudden we need to remember different stuff for each kid for each day.  It seems minor but with the morning scramble already so crazy, it’s a new challenge for us to continually remember who needs what and when.

Mind you, I am not saying it is hard. It had just gotten so EASY to drop them off in the same room with the same stuff on the same schedule. I always think of these day care years as practice for real school so I’m glad we’re going to have a short period to practice life with two kids in different activities. And believe me, when Alex moves to the 3s room, I am going to celebrate our time back on easy street.

Summer housewarming party! (aka bloggy giveaway!)

Hello dear readers and welcome to our new home, HDYDI.com!

To help launch our new site, we are proud to be hosting a summer giveaway. One lucky reader will win a tote bag filled with two kids’ beach towels, kids’ sunscreen, swim diapers, and some sand and water toys. The summer tote will be customized to the winner, so if you don’t need swim diapers, we’ll substitute something else.

There are FOUR ways you can help HDYDI get launched and earn entry into the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment on this post to let us know you are here!

2. Follow us on twitter! (twitter.com/hdydi) After you follow us, leave *another* comment on this post.

3. Tweet about our site launch or this giveaway. Post your tweet in *another* comment on this post.

4. Write a post on your blog, linking to this giveaway or site, and leave *another* comment on this post.

Got that? Only comments on this post will be eligible in the giveaway,  but you can enter up to four times. Deadline for the giveaway is Wednesday, July 1 at midnight EST. Don’t forget to update your bookmarks, blogrolls, and feed readers.

Phthalate exposure in NICU babies

My boys were born at 36w3d and each weighed over 6 lbs, but they ended up in NICU for a week due to feeding issues, breathing issues, and weight gain issues. I have since made peace with their stay and the emotional toll it took on me and my husband. I have mourned the loss of a “normal” birth experience. The three years since our short NICU stay has given me ample time to get to a place where I can write that first sentence without tearing up or feeling overly emotional.

Then I read this story on NPR about phthalate exposure in NICU babies. Those little tiny feeding tubes in Nate and Alex’s noses and those IVs? They need soft plastic to function correctly and that soft plastic has been shown to impact sexual development in mice. The study in the article showed phthalates leach out of those tubes and bags into babies.

natealexnicu

The good news? Limited studies have shown no long-term impact to NICU babies. The bad news? “any effect on ICU babies is likely to be subtle — a slight delay in puberty, or fertility problems later in life.” At the end of the day, those tubes saved my boys’ lives. I know this rationally, as a former environmental engineer.  And while obviously much more research is needed into this topic,  I couldn’t help but want to title my post “Insult to Injury.”