Identical or fraternal rant

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Categories Fraternal, Other people17 Comments

Since birth, my boys have never looked (or acted) the same. After reading identical twins can appear different at birth, we did an independent DNA test to confirm zygosity. It was no surprise when the test came back fraternal. We still get the standard “How do you tell them apart?” question and after they turned a year old, it really started to drive me crazy. Here’s why:

Alex has brown hair and brown eyes.

Nate has blond hair and blue eyes.

I won’t even go into all the other ways they look different – different skin tone, different face shape, different body shape, etc. I wouldn’t mind if people asked if they were identical, but it seems fairly obvious how to tell them apart. I’ve yet to think of a witty reply except:

 “One has brown hair and brown eyes. The other has blond hair and blue eyes.”

Suggestions welcome on this one.

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Product Review: 5 Products You Can Live Without

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Categories Ask the Moms, Products4 Comments

I surveyed the moms behind the scenes about their least favorite baby items. Tested and tried by a variety of twin moms, none of these products made the grade.  

1. Wipe warmer. Every mom thought this was a waste. First there’s the issue that you constantly need to restock it. You go through a LOT of wipes with multiple babies. And most multiple parents have multiple changing stations, particularly those of us with two-story homes. Wipe warmers are known to brown wipes, dry out wipes, and spill water. And really, most newborns don’t like diaper changes regardless of whether the wipes are warm or not.

 2. Peepee teepee. Seriously? A teepee to catch urine? Here’s how to handle sprayers (boys and girls) without porting around peepee teepees. Open diaper to expose cold air to sensitive area. Before spraying commences, press diaper back onto area until spraying is done. Then remove diaper and replace with new diaper. Voila. I just saved you $10.

3. Baby oil. This has one use in my house – removing MY mascara. We didn’t even use it for Alex’s cradle cap because olive oil worked better. American Wife has a great write-up on this.

4. Ear thermometer. We recommend a fast rectal thermometer instead. You can use the rectal thermometer under the arm or rectally. Definitely get two rectal thermometers and label them with the child’s name or initial… for obvious reasons.

5. Bottle sterilizer. Medela makes great sterilizer bags that are much easier to use. You can also put bottles and parts in the dishwasher to sterilize them. Make sure you read the instructions to determine what can and can not be put in the dishwasher.

Honorable mention: Dry-clean only newborn clothes. They do exist… why, I don’t know.

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The post-partum twin belly: there is hope

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Categories Mommy IssuesTags 34 Comments

Looky, Daddy!‘s wife, The Mom, wrote one of my favorite twin blog posts. “The Mom on Going All the Way” is about women who make it full-term with twins. The advice most expecting twin moms get is full-term twins are about as likely as having a completely normal post-partum twin belly. We are told to prepare for premature babies and completely ruined stomachs.

As soon as my twinshock wore off after our 20 week ultrasound, I became obsessed with twin bellies. Besides worrying about the health of my gestating boys, I worried about my ever-expanding stomach.  I googled “twin belly pics” and read twin entries on The Shape of a Mother. I posted my own belly pics on my blog and watched my google hits rise.

During all my obsessive internet reading about twin bellies, I never heard stories like my own. And it is from that perspective that I share today my BIG twin mom secret: my post-partum twin belly is completely normal. I made it to 36w, 3d with 12 lb 4oz of baby in my 5’4″ body. I have no stretch marks, no twinskin, and no abdominal separation. I didn’t do anything special and there is no secret. Just like twin moms who make it full-term, there is no rhyme or reason as to why this happened to me.

I thought a long time before sharing this, because I don’t want women to feel ashamed of their post-partum bodies. But just like stories about full-term twins, stories about “normal” post-partum twin bellies are missing from the multiple moms dialogue. It is rare, but it happens and it happened to me.

36 weeks with twins:

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21 months post-partum:

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frontbellypicdownsized.jpg

 

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Product Review: Top 5 Baby Products You Need to Have for Multiples

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Categories Products10 Comments

Let’s face it – having twins is expensive. I polled the contributors of this blog to share their top 5 must-have products. The lists varied widely but there were some common favorites.

1. The double snap n go. You may think it is a waste of money buying something you will only use for a few months, but it may be the best money you ever spend. This item was the top reason I was able to make it out of the house on solo trips. You don’t have to take the babies out of their infant seats. I can not stress how critical this is when you have two babies. While it does attract attention when you’re out in public, you can easily shield both babies to keep nosey strangers and supergerms away.

Although this costs $100, you can usually find used ones through your local twins group. I bought mine second-hand for $50 and sold it third-hand for $25.

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2. Two boppies. You are not going to be able to use a boppy for tandem breastfeeding twins. The boppies are for everything except breastfeeding – bottle feeding, tummy time, sitting time, just hanging out. You will use the boppies every day and they will make an appearance in many photos, so make sure you get covers you like.

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And if you ever wondered how to bottle-feed two babies at the same time….. two boppys!

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3. Two pack and plays (PNP). My boys are 21 months old and we still have a PNP set up.

* At first, you can use the bassinett attachment so they can sleep in your room.
* You can move them to the big part for naps in places other than their cribs. This is particularly helpful if you have a two-story house.
* Use the PNPs to give your multiples space to play away from each other.
* A PNP is a great place for new crawlers to be contained when you want to take a shower or need them to be in a safe place.
* Fill a PNP with toys to entertain one baby while you bathe the other.
* PNPs are perfect for stopping walkers from destroying a room while you are attending to the other child.
* PNPs are easily transportable for travel.

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4. The Skip Hop Duo Double diaper bag. This is the first diaper bag designed for a side-by-side double stroller. Between the size and the pockets, this is universally one of the favorite diaper bags in the multiples community. While on the pricier end, you will be using a diaper bag daily for years. It is worth it to invest in something functional that you love.

See pictures and get more information here.

5. Some type of baby carrier. While opinions are mixed on the Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap, Maya Wrap, and other baby carriers, a baby carrier is a must-have item in a multiple household. You will not believe the things you can get done while carrying a baby on you. While carrying one twin in a Bjorn, I was able to change the other twin’s diaper, make telephone calls, surf the internet, brush my teeth, wash dishes, do laundry, eat a meal, watch TV, and use the bathroom. Some days I put one child in an infant seat and one child in a carrier to go grocery shopping.

Since these are major purchases, I recommend you try to borrow one of these from a friend before investing. I loved my Moby Wrap for the newborn stage when I had a helper around, but I loved my Bjorn for solo time because it was so fast to get on and off. We ended up with two Bjorns so my husband and I could each carry a baby while getting some much-needed fresh air.

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Next week – Bottom 5 Baby Products You Can Live Without!

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How American Gladiators ended a friendship

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Categories Famous Twins, Multiples in the News, Other people7 Comments

While on bed rest for over three months, I picked up a nasty habit – gorging myself on television. The internet, terbutaline, and my husband Jon were my constant companions but TiVo was my best friend. TiVo gave me something to look forward to besides doctor’s visits and ultrasounds. TiVo was always there for me to help me find a way to laugh or cry. I thought things would change when the boys came along, but then Jon and I watched countless hours of TV while feeding babies. When the boys finally started sleeping through the night, we were so exhausted the only thing we could do was veg in front of the TV.

Being a child of the 80s and a newly confirmed couch potato, you can imagine my delight when I heard American Gladiators (AG) was coming back. I ALWAYS wanted to be on AG, but this time around, I’m a twin mom with a full-time job and a husband who travels for work. I have a million reasons why I’m not back in shape yet, and about a bazillion reasons why being on AG is out of my reach.

I’m going to assume you did not watch the season finale. Monica, A TWIN MOM, won the whole shebang. She is going to be a Gladiator next season. During the season finale, she said, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have twins.” Did you notice how she qualified her statement? She tried to think of the only thing harder than AG and it was TWINS. Maybe it’s because I’m in the trenches of twin toddlerhood (or one might say terrible twos times two), but if a twin mom says something is harder than having twins, that something has to be insanely hard.

Seeing a twin mom win AG opened my eyes. Having young twins, I often think, “I can’t do XYZ because  ______.” Instead of thinking about what I can’t do, Monica has made me think about what I CAN do. She made me realize if I can be a mom to twin toddlers, there’s very little I can’t do if I set my mind to it. I already do so much – being a twin mom takes patience, dedication, energy, physical stamina, creativity, and perseverance – that I’m ready to see what else I can accomplish.

I have no more excuses for being a couch potato. TiVo was my best friend when I needed him, but it’s time to for us to part ways. After so much time giving to my boys, I need to reclaim some of that time to focus on gaining some of me back. I may not end up on American Gladiators, but at least I won’t be sitting around watching other twin moms accomplishing their dreams.

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