Meet a How Do You Do It? author

MandyE

MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

Establishing Them as Individuals at School

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Categories Individuality, Parenting, Preschoolers, School, School-AgeTags , , , , , 2 Comments

I distinctly remember one of the most frequently asked questions during my pregnancy was, “Are you going to dress your twins alike?”  I really hadn’t given much thought to it, and I’m pretty sure I gave a pretty vague answer.

At our baby showers, we got lots and lots of duplicate outfits.  Thus, much of the girls’ first year was spent with them looking much like each other.

When I finally started buying the bulk of their clothes myself, I found them matching about half of the time, and the other half of the time, they wore coordinating outfits.

(There are reasons for this, as I’ve finally realized…from shopping lots of end-of-season sales and often finding duplicates more readily than separate outfits…to the ease of doing laundry…to the simplification of picking outfits for the day…but that’s another blog post.)

For the last couple of years, I’ve let the girls choose what they want to wear.  Some days one will say, “I want to look like Sissy,” and some days they’ll choose something different from each other.  With the exception of a few more formal situations where I like to select their outfits, this has been fine with me.

Before the girls started three-year old preschool last fall, though, I had a revelation, sparked by an incident at a park.  The girls were dressed alike, and a three- or four-year old came up to me and asked, “Why are they wearing the same shirt?

Well, duh, Kid!  It’s because they’re twins.  😉

And then it occurred to me…while it’s super cute to most adults to see pint-sized mirror images, matching from head to toe…that might just seem a bit “odd” to the average preschooler.

Between this and my motivation to try to help the girls be seen as individuals, I promptly went shopping to expand the girls’ back-to-school wardrobe (after I’d originally vowed they had more than enough clothes to start the school year).  I wanted to make sure they had plenty of non-matching outfits, at least to get them through the first month or so of school.

There were a few times I allowed my girls to wear matching outfits to school, but it was long after their teachers – and more importantly, in my mind – their classmates, had gotten to know them as individuals.

This was definitely the most thought I’d ever given to the girls’ “clothing strategy”, and I felt really good about where I’d landed.

And then I had to laugh when, on the first day of four-year old preschool this fall, my B asked, “Mommy, can we please wear the same thing so people will know we go together?

DSC_0448
The girls settled on coordinating outfits for the first day of school

Do your multiples dress alike?  Does that change based on the situation?  Do you think it impacts how people view them?

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and about overthinking parenthood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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To Tell or Not To Tell…Insight Into My Girls’ Personalities

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Categories Classroom Placement, Preschoolers, SchoolTags , 2 Comments

Ahead of my girls starting three-year old preschool last fall, there were pages upon pages of information for me to complete…times two, of course.  In addition to the medical history and six degrees of contact information, there was a blank space where parents were invited to share any insight they felt would be helpful to the teacher.

Oh, where to begin???

I fought against my instinct to tell the teaching staff how brilliant my girls are…how precious are their hearts…how I love them to infinity and back (as we say in our house)…and how I was nervous as a cat about entrusting my biggest blessings to the preschool for six hours a week.

Instead I tried to focus on concrete examples of the girls’ background that I thought could influence their time in the classroom.

I wrote about this being the girls’ first time away from me, save for our college-age sitter who comes one afternoon a week.  I shared that we have play dates with friends from time to time, but that preschool would mark their first time in any sort of organized group.  I noted our discipline strategy (1-2-3 Magic), and that “while some days are better than others, in general, our girls are well-behaved”.  Finally, I noted that we don’t watch TV and we avoid character marketing, so Dora, Thomas, and any of the Disney characters / princesses are unfamiliar to them.

After a lot of deliberation, I chose not to share any insight into the girls’ personalities.

At home, Baby A is the more dominant one.  If given the opportunity, she will make all the decisions for the household…what to wear, what to play with, what books to read, when to rest, and when to run at full speed.  Baby B has always been very conciliatory to her sister…she is usually very content to go along with her sister’s direction, even if it means giving up the toy she’s playing with, or forgoing her favorite book at bedtime.

Out and about, B is the more social of my girls, though.  While A will only speak if she’s really in the mood, B is much more likely to “perform”…to wish the sales clerk “Good morning,” to answer questions about how old the girls are and who is the older of the two, to place our bagel order at our favorite bakery.

At home I do my best to manage the girls’ personalities.  We have a “kid of the day” who gets to make most of the daily decisions.  I try to keep an ear on the exchanges happening in the play room, to make sure B isn’t always getting bulldozed for the more coveted toys.  Out and about I encourage B not to speak for her sister, to give A time to answer questions that are directed towards her.

Might this be valuable insight for the girls’ preschool?  Certainly I think it could have been.

But I chose not to share it.

Instead I chose to let the girls’ personalities reveal themselves as they would, recognizing that the dynamics in an unfamiliar / group setting might be different than those at home.

So what did I learn???

When I had the opportunity – apart from the girls – I always asked their teachers how they behaved at school in relation to each other.

I was amazed – and thrilled – to hear consistently that they both held their own in the classroom.  They played with each other sometimes, but just as often, they played with other kids.  They were kind and polite and helpful.

And what I loved hearing, most of all, was how they took care of each other.  They were each concerned that they both got stickers at the end of the day, that neither forgot their jackets on the playground.  I heard several accounts of how one would “babysit” the other’s doll while she went to the bathroom.  The teachers thought that was the cutest thing ever.

There was never any mention of dominance or dependence.

We still have our dynamics at home, but it’s so heartwarming to see how the girls support each other away from home.  In hindsight, I’m glad I made the decision not to predispose the girls’ teachers to thinking about them in a certain way.  Kiddos have a way of surprising us, as I was reminded by seeing my girls through another’s eyes.

MandyE blogs at Twin Trials and Triumphs.  Her 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls have just started their second year of preschool.

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice About Both of Them…

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Categories Fraternal, Other people, ParentingTags , , 3 Comments

As a parent of multiples, most of us eventually grow accustomed to the “You’ve got your hands full!”-type comments.  I have my stock answers to those, most of which [I hope] are pretty gracious, recognizing that folks don’t generally mean to be as annoying as they sometimes are.

What really bugs me, though, are comments that I’m sure all parents get…regardless of how many children are trailing them through the grocery store…comments centered on how our children look.  I am working so hard to model the importance of a happy, kind, and caring heart and the joy of curiosity.  Your braided pigtails and the adorable ruffle shirt you have on are no comparison to who you are as a person.

Even being sensitive to this topic, I know it’s hard.  When I see the most adorable chubby-cheeked kiddo, the first thought that comes to my mind usually is, “What a CUTIE PIE you have there!

Since having children, I’ve tried to reform myself.  My stock comment is usually along the lines of “What curious eyes you have!  I bet you love to learn!”  Or I might pick up on a clue about something the child is wearing.  “I see you have a kitty cat on your shirt.  Do you have a kitty at home?  What’s your kitty’s name?  We have a kitty, too!

I know I can’t count on that kind of engaging conversation from the general public.  It’s up to me to respond to the “What pretty little girls you are!” comments with “And they’re super smart, too!” or “They’re beautiful on the inside, too!

That, I’ve learned to handle.

What I think is toughest to deal with is when someone makes a comment about one of our girls in comparison to the other.

Our girls are “very” fraternal, as I like to say…one has blue eyes and fair skin, and the other has brown eyes and a more olive complexion.  B’s eyes are pretty piercing, and they get a lot of attention.  It’s happened more than once that we’ve heard, “WOW!  What amazing blue eyes you have!  They are so beautiful!”  And then the person turns to A, seemingly as an afterthought, and says something like, “Oh, and you have pretty brown eyes.”

Seriously???

Then I feel like I’m in the precarious position of trying to support that both my girls are beautiful, before I can even try to divert the conversation away from the physical.

I love taking my girls grocery shopping, as I think it can be a great educational exercise.  In addition to the meal planning, list making, coupon cutting, and produce weighing, I like that the girls get to practice their manners with a cross-section of people we encounter.

Maybe I should look at it as having twins just makes for more learning opportunities as we navigate what sometimes feels like a landmine of comments.

Do you have any stock responses to comments about your children?  How do you handle when people try to compare them to each other?

MandyE is a SAHM to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and reflections on parenthood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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When You Don’t Have “Help”

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Categories Infants, Parenting11 Comments

While I was pregnant, my husband and I talked about how we’d handle things once the girls were born (at least as best as we could anticipate, given these were our first children).  We have a very small family, and no one lives nearby.  My husband planned to take some leave from his teaching job, but we didn’t otherwise have plans for “help”.

Our girls were born at 34 weeks and spent 10 days in the hospital.  During that time – an obviously emotional, hormonal time, at that – I can’t begin to count the number of people who asked what kind of “help” we had scheduled.

My best friend’s mom (250 miles away) was very adamant.  One newborn is very challenging.  There’s no way we could handle two babies all by ourselves.  The nurses in the NICU confirmed that most people do have “help” at home.

I began to panic.  We can’t do this alone!  What was I thinking??!!!

The nursing staff posted a “Help Wanted” sign in the nurses’ lounge on our behalf.  The community education coordinator at the hospital put out the word with the nursing school at the local university.  And I spent an entire afternoon on the phone with various “home care” services, all of which I ultimately discovered are designed to help the elderly take care of basic household tasks.

I had nothing.

On top of the emotions of having newborn twins…on top of navigating the NICU experience…I felt ill-prepared…and very alone.

When the girls were 10 days old, we were thrilled to have them released from the NICU.  We hadn’t been able to line up any “help”, but we were ready to have everyone under one roof.  We knew we’d figure it out, one way or another.

That first week was super hectic.  It was full of uncertainty.  We didn’t have the luxury of another set of hands…an experienced aunt or grandmother.  There were only the two of us to make trips to the grocery store, and there was no one to relieve us for a peaceful nap.

But…we did it.  The first week evolved into the second week.  By the end of the first month we were finding our groove.  By the time my best friend came to visit when the girls were seven weeks old, I was feeling mostly human again.

And – to the point Sadia made in a recent post – although we didn’t have the traditional hands-on help, we felt very fortunate to have a sense of community surrounding us.

Our neighbors brought us meals, and I am truly forever grateful for their kindness.  The nurses at our pediatrician’s office were nothing short of fantastic.  I may not have had a grandma to call upon, but they answered every last question I had, even the [frequent] crazy-new-mom ones.  I had a couple of girlfriends to whose phone calls and emails I credit a big chunk of my sanity.  (At the time, I wasn’t on Facebook or a part of the blogosphere, and I had no online community to support me.  I often look back and think how much help that would have been, too.)

So often the importance of “help” seems a central part of advice to new MoMs-to-be.  There are beautiful stories of mothers and mothers-in-law who help make the early days of having newborn babies easier.

Would I have loved to have had such help?  Of course.  But I write this post to say, to those of you who don’t have that kind of help…it will be OK.

Find your community.  Ask for specific help where you need to.  And don’t underestimate your motherly instincts and your ingenuity.

MandyE is mom to 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and her journey through motherhood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Go As Planned

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Categories Attitude, Breastfeeding, Formula, Frustration, Infants, NICU, Parenting Twins, Prematurity, World Breastfeeding Week Blog Carnival6 Comments

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***

I had every intention of breastfeeding.  In all the baby gear I amassed while I was pregnant, I didn’t even have one bottle.  As a SAHM, I wouldn’t need bottles, right?

But then our twin girls were born six weeks early.  By multiples standards, that’s not too bad, really…but there was NICU time, and concerns over weight gain.  Although I pumped just a couple or hours after they were born, they were given several bottles of formula by the time I saw them the following day.

This was not how I’d planned things.

I kept at a rigorous pumping schedule.  To my dismay, I wasn’t getting much milk.  I drank water by the liter.  I ate lots of calories.  I eventually took prescription and herbal supplements.  I never got more than a couple of ounces.

Still, I breastfed the girls with the help of the lactation consultants at the hospital.  Weight checks before and after breastfeeding, though, showed they weren’t transferring any / very much milk.  I was encouraged to pump / breastfeed the girls, but I was told I had to supplement with formula.

Still determined to give my girls the gift of breast milk, I breastfed a baby, then bottle-fed that baby (to make sure she got the calories she needed), and then I pumped (to try to increase my supply)…six to eight times a day.

It was exhausting, of course…but it also felt very demoralizing at times.  Why couldn’t my body respond to the needs of my tiny babies???

After lots and lots of frustrated tears, I finally set a goal of three months.  I would give my girls every ounce I could for three months.  That would carry them through cold and flu season.  By that time, they should be on the growth curve.

After that time, my girls were formula fed.

As I look back, four years later, this is still an incredibly emotional subject for me.

I am not writing this to ask what I could have done differently.  Could I have done something to be more successful in nursing?  To have upheld the “breast is best” ideology I believed to my core?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I don’t know.

To be perfectly honest, I still look with some degree of awe and jealousy at the moms I see breastfeeding their babies poolside, or at the coffee shop…my best friend nursing her precious newborn on the couch in my living room.

Four years later, though, I’m getting through the guilt.  I am finally to the point of looking beyond the sustenance our girls got during their infanthood, and that’s a big step for me.

My amazing girls are healthy, vibrant, curious, sometimes mischievous.  I know things won’t always go exactly as I’d like them to, but above all, I want them always to see a mama who loves them heart and soul for exactly who they are.  There’s great value in that “sustenance”, too.

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls, A and B.  She blogs about their adventures at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 5 with all the carnival links.)

  • An Unexpected Formula-Fed Attachment — Kyle (of JEDI Momster and) writing at Natural Parents Network, exclusively breastfed three healthy babies. So when she was pregnant with her fourth, she assumed she would have no breastfeeding troubles she could not overcome. Turns out, her fourth baby had his own ideas. Kyle shares her heartfelt thoughts on how she came to terms with the conclusion of her breastfeeding journey.
  • It Take a Village: Cross Nursing — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utah shares how cross-nursing helped her baby in their time of need, and how that experience inspired her to create a community of cross-nursing and milk-sharing women.
  • Random little influences and Large scale support communities lead to knowing better and doing better — amy at random mom shares how her ideas and successes involved with breastfeeding evolved with each of her children, how her first milk sharing experience completely floored her, and how small personal experiences combined with huge communities of online support were responsible for leading and educating her from point A to point D, and hopefully beyond.
  • Mikko’s weaning story — After five years of breastfeeding, Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how the nursing relationship with her firstborn came to a gentle end.
  • My Milk is Your Milk — Lola at What the Beep am I Doing? discusses her use of donor milk and hhow she paid the gift back to other families.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Celebrating Each Mother’s Journey — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy lists her experiences and journey as a breastfeeding mother.
  • Working Mom Nursing Twins — Sadia at How Do You Do It? breastfed her twin daughters for 7 months. They made it through premature birth and NICU stays, her return to full-time work, her husband’s deployment to Iraq, and Baby J’s nursing strike.
  • So, You Wanna Milkshare? — Milk banks, informed community sharing and friends, oh my! So many ways to share the milky love; That Mama Gretchen is sharing her experience with each.
  • Milk Siblings: One Mama’s Milk Sharing Story (and Resources)Amber, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, shares how her views on milk sharing were influenced by her daughter receiving donor milk from a bank during a NICU stay, and how that inspired her to give her stash to a friend.
  • Humans Feeding Humans — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares ideas on how we can celebrate all the different ways modern mommies feed their babies. While we are comfortable with the breastmilk-formula paradigm, she proposes that we expand our horizons and embrace all the different ways mamas feed their infants.
  • When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Go As Planned — MandyE of Twin Trials and Triumphs shares the challenges she faced in feeding her premature twins. She’s still learning to cope with things not having gone exactly as she’d always hoped.
  • Taking Back My Life By Giving Away My Milk — When Amanda Rose Adams‘s first child was born, he was tube fed, airlifted, ventilated, and nearly died twice. In the chaos of her son’s survival, pumping breast milk was physically and mentally soothing for Amanda. Before long her freezer was literally overflowing with milk – then she started giving it away.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare — Nona’s Nipples at The Touch of Life discusses why we care about breast milk and formula with everything inbetween.
  • Finding My Tribe of Women Through Milk Sharing — Mj, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center shares her journey breastfeeding with low milk supply and supplementing with donor milk using an at the breast supplemental nursing system. She shares the impact milk sharing has had on her life, her family, and how it saved her breastfeeding relationship. Her article can also be found at her blog:
  • Human Milk for Human Babies — Sam at Nelson’s Nest shares her perspective on milk-sharing after an unexpected premature delivery left her pumping in the hopes of breastfeeding her son one day. Sam’s milk was an amazing gift to the other preemie who received it, but the connection was a blessing in the donor mom’s life too!
  • Sister, I Honor You — A mother feeding her baby is a triumph and should be honored, not criticized. Before you judge or propagate your own cause, go find your sister. A post by Racher: Mama, CSW, at The Touch of Life.
  • Every Breastfeeding Journey Is Different, Every One Is Special — No two stories are alike, evidenced by That Mama Gretchen’s collaboration of a few dear mama’s reflections on their breastfeeding highs, lows and in betweens.
  • Quitting Breastfeeding — Jen W at How Do You Do It? share a letter she wrote to her boys, three years ago exactly, the day she quit breastfeeding after 9 months.
  • A Pumping Mom’s Journey — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utah shares about her journey pumping for her son, who was born at 29 weeks.
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Confessing Our Girls’ Sleeping Arrangements

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Categories Parenting11 Comments

I didn’t plan it this way.  And I’m not particularly proud of where we are.  But at this point, “it is what it is,” as they say, and I’m hoping we’re none the worse for wear in the long run.

At just over 4 ½ years old, our girls are still in their cribs.  I’m not talking about toddler beds with the side rail, either.  Cribs.

I can explain.

I know a lot of moms transition their children to toddler beds when their kiddos start climbing over the sides of the crib.  To date, our girls have never tried to escape their beds, so I didn’t have that as an impetus to make a change.

Knowing our girls couldn’t stay in their cribs forever, I had said I would transition them to toddler beds when they stopped napping.  My thinking was that the girls would stay in their beds at nighttime, but I was worried that the lure of playing when they were supposed to be napping – having access to their bookshelf – would be too much.  Much to my great surprise, the girls napped until just a couple of weeks ago!

So…that’s how I wound up with my 4 ½-year olds still in the same beds they’ve had since infancy.

We’re moving to a new house in a few weeks, so we’ve decided to make the transition then.  I’m hopeful it won’t be too bad…but I’ll admit I’m really, really nervous.

Like many things I’ve dreaded (potty training, taking down the baby gates, dispensing with highchairs, just to name a few), I know the anticipation and worst case scenarios that play in my head can be the worst of the entire experience.

I’m trying not to drive myself crazy, and I’m certainly trying not to project any nervousness onto the girls.  They’ve always been great sleepers, and I should expect that will continue, right???  (Please tell me I’m right!!!)

We took the girls to the furniture store to pick out their new beds.  They seem very excited, so I hope that will be a big part of keeping them where they’re supposed to be.

Between that and our “OK to Wake” clock [a life-changing product that deserves its own post], I hope that the girls will go to bed after our nighttime routine, and get up when their clock turns green, as they’ve done for the past two years.

So…while my lower back is really looking forward to not lifting 35 pounds of baby in and out of their cribs twice a day, I can’t stop thinking about some awful scenarios, like a midnight raid on the art supplies, resulting in mural painting on the bedroom walls.

Am I overthinking this?  Does anyone else have experience moving older kids to big-kid beds?  Any tips and tricks for making this a smooth transition?

MandyE is mom to 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B.  She overthinks virtually every parenting decision, and she blogs about it (and various other adventures) at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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How Do You Introduce Technology?

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Categories Parenting5 Comments

Before our girls were born, I remember reading the AAP’s recommendation that children under age two not have any TV / screen time.  I felt like that seemed reasonable.  When the girls turned two, I stepped back to consider our TV policy.  Our days felt very full with blocks and books and crafts and playtime at the park, so I decided not to make any changes to my approach.

Over time, I developed some convictions that – in my mind – extended from that line of thinking.  By in large, I’ve stayed away from electronic toys altogether.  The girls’ kitchen makes some noises when they “sauté” something on the stove, and they have a small electronic piano, but we spend very little money on batteries during the course of a year.

I know there’s a time and a place for everything…and different things work for different families…but to date I haven’t felt like my girls were missing any developmental opportunities without TV / technology at their disposal.

But…

Our girls are now 4 ½.  I feel like it’s time we introduced “technology” to them.  And I have no idea where to start.

Last year, the girls attended three-year old preschool two mornings a week, and they’ll have a similar schedule this fall in four-year old preschool.  I know they have limited exposure to iPads.  That’s really my only baseline as I have tried to start shopping for something for our family…and the options seem pretty overwhelming.

Ultimately, I find myself asking, What is it I hope that my children will get from using technology?

I know that there are endless apps one can purchase…ones that focus on letters and numbers and geography…and I’m sure there are a million others.  The little voice inside my head questions, though, that the girls have learned so much, and so easily, to date without the use of technology.

But if there’s value in self-exploration – in the form of apps – will a Nook, or a Kindle, or a Leapster suit our needs as well as an iPad?

Or, is what our girls really need at this age the exposure to navigating technology?  And if so, would the iPad, with the more universal “language”, be the better investment?

Obviously, cost weighs into this decision.  I can easily buy two Nooks for the price of one iPad.  And that, of course, brings up another question…to share, or not to share?

So…I’m looking (as I always do!) to the awesome community of MoMs for some advice.

What do you see as the overarching benefit of technology for the preschool age group?

Do you have one medium (laptop / iPad / Leapster) for your kiddos, or does each kiddo have his own?

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls, A and B.  She blogs about their non-technological adventures at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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How Baby B Stopped Sucking Her Thumb

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Categories Parenting3 Comments

My Baby B started sucking her thumb when she was about four months old, about the time she voluntarily gave up her pacifier.  I would pull her thumb out of her mouth from time to time, but I didn’t worry too much about it.  By her first birthday, she was only sucking her thumb while she slept, but she was very passionate about it.

Around the girls’ third birthday, we started talking with B about her thumb.  I knew she’d need to break the habit at some point, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  I’d seen pictures of braces people put on their children’s thumbs, and I knew of the foul-tasting nail polish, but I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go either of those routes.

We decided not to push things with B.  We occasionally would compare her healthy left thumb to her gnarled right thumb, and encourage her – in a light-hearted way — to give her poor thumb a rest.

Over time B agreed she wanted to quit, and she tried really, really hard.  She would go to bed with her hand under her pillow, or wrapped inside her blanket.  “I’m not going to use my thumb tonight!” she’d vow…but when I would check on her after she’d gone to sleep, she’d be sucking her thumb.

I knew B’s thumb sucking habit was one she couldn’t control once she was deep in sleep.  On a whim, I asked B one night if she’d like to wear a sock on her hand to remind her not to suck her thumb.  She was giddy with excitement, and she was so proud to go to bed sporting a bright purple sock.

I had read one time that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so in my mind, I thought I’d encourage her to wear her sock for a month.  A month later, B hadn’t sucked her thumb once.  Like with potty-training, once she was ready, the process was quite simple.

But…B became very attached to her sock.  She only wore it for sleeping, but before each nap and nighttime, it was like she was being reunited with a long, lost friend.  The girls have never had a lovey, but B’s affection for her sock was pretty close.

This June marked one year of B’s sock habit.  Occasionally I’d ask her if she wanted to retire her sock, and she would always say, “NO!  I LOVE my sock!!!

A week or so ago, though, out of the blue, B told me she wanted to sleep without her sock.  She gave it a hug and a kiss and left it on my nightstand for safekeeping.

Over the next few days, she would shower her sock with affection before and after bed.  She even pretended to host a birthday party for her sock one day.

Those affections were pretty short-lived, though.  The sock is still hanging out on my nightstand (not necessarily because B wants it there, but – truthfully – because I haven’t tidied up in a week).  B hasn’t mentioned it, though.

It’s time I move B’s sock from my nightstand into her baby book.  It served us well!

MandyE is mom to 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, A and B, who between them have four pristine thumbs.  She writes about their adventures at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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