Meet a How Do You Do It? author

mytwintopia

Yetunde-Olusola was born, raised and married in Lagos Nigeria, had twin girls in Houston, Texas and is currently raising them in Calgary, Canada while balancing an engineering career on the side. So I guess if you had to put a label on that you can say she's an expat, working mother of Sugar and Spice (The Twins). She started blogging at mytwintopia blog when her twin girls were born and loves to share tips and resources based on her personal parenting experiences in the hopes that she stops some frazzled twin parent from re-inventing the wheel. She doesn't do a lot of crafts and recipes and tends to be fairly concise with words. She blames all that on her introverted alter-ego.

Twinfant Tuesday: Separation Decisions For Multiples

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Categories Classroom Placement, Parenting, Preschoolers, Safety, School-Age, Sleep, Twinfant Tuesday3 Comments

“Are you going to separate them?”

“When are you going to separate them?”

Those are 2 questions that parents of multiples will have to answer over and over again as their multiples go through the different stages of childhood. The first time that question has to be answered is when you’re going home with twinfants in tow. Should they share a room? Should they share a bed?

For me the answers were fairly straightforward. Should they share a room? Absolutely! No way I’m going to manage night feedings in 2 different locations.

Should they share a bed? As long as it’s safe to do so was the consensus. What’s safe? As long as they do not have the ability to move or roll over each other, twins can share a crib. With this, my twins did share a crib for the first couple of months until they started wiggling to the middle of the crib to share body warmth. imageCute as it was, it wasn’t safe and that signified it was time for them to move into separate cribs. And so the first of many separation decisions was made based on safety and convenience.image

I wish all the other separation decisions would be as easy as the ones in the infant stage but no such luck. My babies are now pre-schoolers and I’ll soon have to face the question of separating them in school. As with the first decision that was made, the  answer will be a combination of what’s best for the family – convenient for the parents and in the best and safest interest of the kids.

If you’re a parent or caretaker of multiples, how do you do it? The separation decisions that is. What are the driving factors for determining when and how to physically separate your multiples?

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice and she blogs about the twin parenting life at www.mytwintopia.com

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Toddler Thursday: Bored Is Good

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Categories Toddler Thursday1 Comment

3 is such a fun age! Since my twins turned 3, their understanding of the world they live in has grown in leaps and bounds. They now understand choices and consequences. They’ve also learnt to ask to be entertained; usually by me or the TV. I used to give in until one day I was too tired to oblige them. And that’s when I learnt parenting lesson #2-something:

Bored is good.

I find that when the girls ask to be entertained and I acknowledge their request but do nothing, a series of events occur:

Stage 1: Squabbles and arguments that I’m called upon to mediate. It’s hard but I maintain my non-interference (Stay Out of It like Rebecca wrote) as long as things don’t get physical. This is the stage where the twins are competing for my attention and trying to get me into entertainer-in-chief mood. I resist and this stage usually goes away after five minutes. If this stage goes on for too long, I make them stay on opposite sides of the room. The boredom soon takes them to stage 3.

Stage 2: Shocked silence and confusion (this rarely lasts more than a minute or two)

Stage 3: Co-operative, imaginative play starts. The girls start playing with each other and because they don’t want to lose their only playmate, they are nicer to each other. They take turns. They have conversations – one of my twins is visibly behind her sister in language development but when they are playing together, I see improvements in her language skills because she’s having to add to the story line and communicate with her sister. They let their imagination run wild – the play kitchen becomes a fort for a lost puppy to be rescued using a pair of binoculars as a lasso. Suddenly, we have puppies, dinosaur eggs, dragons and unicorns in the house.

Coop_Play

And that’s why bored 3 year old twins can be a good thing waiting to happen. What starts out as moments of boredom ends up building imagination, language, social skills and creativity. That’s something worth turning off the TV for.

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice. She blogs about the twinmom hustle at mytwintopia 

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – A Book Review

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Categories Infants, Parenting, Sleep, Toddlers3 Comments

A mother of 3yo twins reviews Weissbluth's sleep classicThere are arguably seven popular schools of thought regarding sleep training. Those schools of thought are all led by different experts who do not always play nicely together in the sandbox. On the one end is Richard Ferber; popularly associated with the “Cry it out” method. On the other end of the spectrum are Drs. Sears who favor attachment parenting style. Marc Weissbluth, the author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child falls somewhere in between those two extremes.
HealthySleep
I decided to follow the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book in sleep training my twins and 3 years later, it’s a decision I do not regret. I chose this book because it focuses more on building good sleep habits very early in life to forestall problems later. Some of the concepts I found most useful are:

Differentiating between night and day straight from the hospital: Daytime was for cuddles and games with baby but night times were made as boring as possible so the babies knew the nights were for sleeping and nothing else.

Putting baby to bed awake – as opposed to rocking baby to sleep and then putting them in their bed. The author gives some signs of tiredness to look out for with babies. Once you see those signs, put baby in bed and let them self-soothe to sleep. This advice was hard for me because I really wanted to snuggle my 8lbs of sweetness to sleep all the time. THEN I reminded myself that 8lbs of sweetness quickly grows to become 25lbs of defiance.I’m glad I went with the authors’ recommendation to teach kids to self-soothe.

Sleep transitions – As a light sleeper, I got up every time my babies made a sound. Understanding the concept of sleep transitions helped me manage our nights better.

This book and the concepts it teaches may not necessarily be the best for your family but it’s what worked for me. I consider it an essential part of my twin parenting library and even now, whenever my twins start having disruptions in their sleep schedule, I consult the Healthy Sleep habits book for solutions as it contains tips starting from infanthood all the way to adolescence. As a bonus, there’s also a chapter devoted to special family events and concerns – dual career parents, mother returning to work, vacation, twins, adoption, daylight savings time and health issues.

True-Life Testimonial – When my twins turned 3 in November, I thought it was a good idea to move their bedtime to 9 pm as it seemed they could handle staying up for longer and we got to spend more time together. One month later, I was the mom walking on eggshells around her 3 year old because any wrong move could result in a meltdown of epic proportions. In one month, my daughter Sugar had more meltdowns than both girls combined had when they were 2 year olds. I confess that I started to wonder if my kid has previously undetected behavioral issues.

One day, in the midst of yet another meltdown, the director of their daycare pulled me aside and asked if Sugar was having trouble sleeping as her tantrums had become much more frequent. The next day we went for dance class and this same child was kicked out for being disruptive THREE TIMES in a 30 minute class. I decided to blow the dust off my sleep training book and see if there was a chapter for older kids. There was! I read it and made changes to the girls’ bedtime routine and sleep habits – moved bedtime back to 8 pm at the latest, included 3 minutes of quiet time in a yoga pose for them to physically unwind and totally ignored all unnecessary requests for water, a fallen toy and other night time shenanigans once the lights went out. It worked!

meditation

By the third day, the girls were staying in bed quietly even when they did not immediately fall asleep and there was noticeable improvement in their daytime temperament. A week into our renewed sleep training, I had reason to say a prayer of thanks for Dr Marc Weissbluth. When I arrived to pick up the girls from daycare, Sugar (the same meltdown mistress of the prior week), went round the class hugging all 8 of her classmates and telling them she’d see them later. She did the same for her teachers. I was close to tears. I recognized that beautiful, bubbly child. I had missed that beautiful, bubbly child. I’d almost forgot what her personality was like before lack of good sleep habits turned her into the equivalent of a PMSing 3 year old with a bad hangover. This book gave me my happy child back

Of course its not all rainbows and unicorns… they are after-all still 3 year olds! 

Advice for other parents of multiples

Explore all possible options available to you for sleep training and choose the one that works best for your personalities. To get the gist of any other book out there, just do a search of the book’s title on any parenting forum. (I used the babycenter.com forums). You’ll find a legion of passionate parents for and against the ideas of whichever book you’re researching. By the time you read through a few threads, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the author is advocating and how it can be applied to your family situation.

Most importantly is to have a sleep plan (hopefully) before your multiples are born. When it comes to sleep and two or more babies, having a sleep strategy can be life and sanity saving.

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice. She blogs about the twinmom hustle at mytwintopia and is almost sleeping through the night now.

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The Wonder Weeks – A Book Review

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Categories Parenting2 Comments

This is a review of the book The Wonder Weeks by Hetty Vanderijt and Frans Plooij. It's a book that I've had recommended to me on more than one occasion. After visiting the book authors' website, my curiosity got the better out of me and I purchased a copy. You can also read DoryDoyle's review of the Wonder Weeks mobile app on her blog, Doyle Dispatch.

The Wonder Weeks. How to stimulate your baby's mental development and help him turn his 8 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward

The concept of wonder weeks is that babies go through certain mental development periods – referred to as wonder weeks – and parents can make transitions easier by understanding what the baby is going through and how to help. In the first one year of life, babies will go through 8 wonder weeks as listed below

Week 5 – The world of changing sensations
Week 8 – The world of patterns
Week 12 – The world of smooth transitions
Week 19 – The world of events
Week 26 – The world of relationships
Week 37 – The world of categories
Week 46 – The world of sequences
Week 55 – The world of programs

Each wonder week signifies a mental transition or leap for the baby and is preceeded by a fussy phase and ends with a cheerful baby once the transition has been made. In the chapters dedicated to each wonder week, the authors explain the mental development the baby is going through, the fussy signs to expect, how the leap will affect the parents, baby's new skills that will emerge post-leap and what you can do to help.

The “What you can do to help” sections were my favorite.

In reading this book, I had a lot of “ah ha!” moments. It was like getting a peek at the world through the eyes of my baby and understanding the overwhelming sensations that cause babies to become fussy and cling to mommy sort of like an anchor. Understanding my role as a stabilizing force in what is a period of great and scary change for my babies gives me a lot more empathy for them. I also used this book as a rough guide to determine the best toys to buy and interactions to encourage for my twins based on their mental stage.

Here's an excerpt from a post I wrote on my blog regarding my daughter's development according to the theory of wonder weeks:

Wonder Week 37 is called “World of Categories”. This is where children are able to understand that particular things belong together. An example the book gave that really stuck with me was children understand something like a striped cat, a yellow cat, a spotted cat are all cats. It took a while, but one day I just noticed that Sugar really demonstrates this in her choice of toys. She always likes to hold a toy in each hand, but guess what? It always has to be two of the same toy in a different color. It's 2 links, 2 balls, 2 weebles, 2 tamborines. Never 1 of each.

If you do not have any real interest in human psychology, this book is not for you. If you've ever looked at your infants and wondered if they've been body-swapped with angst-filled teenagers, this book is for you. Do I love this book? Absolutely. It's awesome and strongly recommended for any parent interested in not just the what, but the also the why of their babies' moods and phases.

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice. She blogs about her twin parenting experiences at mytwintopia.

 

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Twinfant Tuesday: Feeding Utensils 101

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Categories Feeding, Infants, Solid Foods, Twinfant Tuesday5 Comments

Feeding Utensils 101My twins’ first experience with solid foods was around the 6 month mark. Since then, I’ve had more than my share of of hits and misses when it comes to buying their bowls, cups and other feeding utensils.

I used to think it was just a matter of walking into a store and grabbing the cutest cup/bowl I could find. No siree! I quickly learnt the lesson that you can easily waste spend an embarrassing amount on sippy cups and bowls if you start off on the wrong leg.

To date, I know we may have gone through up to 40+ sippy cups (TWINS!) and probably the same number of bowls and plates. If I had to do it again, here’s what I wish I would have known:

  1. Plates and bowls – Should be microwaveable if you make and freeze your own baby food.  When I had bowls that couldn’t go in the microwave, I would have to defrost the foods in ceramic bowls before transferring to the babies’ bowls. For me, it was just additional dish washing that I would have preferred to avoid.
  2. Bowls – To suction or not? Yes babies have a tendency to grab their bowls, wave them in the air (because they really don’t care!) and create a food shower. Bowls with suctions on the bottom can reduce the frequency of this occurrence BUT the thing with suction bowls is that the ones with permanently attached suctions are not microwaveable.
  3. Sippy cups – Valves or no valves? There is a place for both. I recommend no-valves for when the babies are just learning to drink and don’t have enough suction power to overcome the valves.
  4. Sippy cups – What type valve? The Playtex sippy range has a valve system that consists of 2 joined pieces of rubber that fit into the spout and air hole. Guess what? My babies have really strong arms and enjoy banging their cups against the high chair tray. A few hard knocks and the valve becomes dislodged making the cup spill-proof no more. The Phillips-Avent type spouts have a different, less leaky mechanism but they are hard to suck out of. It’s a trade-off.
  5. Sippy cups – Handles or no? To eliminate problem highlighted in #4, I started using the Take and Toss Spill Proof Cups that do not come with handles.
  6. High chairs – Full versus booster? If floor space is an issue, then go for the booster type that attach to normal chairs.
  7. High chairs – Cloth versus plastic? No matter how easy to clean the cloth material is, the high chair is still going to be a grimy mess. Plastic can be wiped clean, cloth has to be laundered. Consider your laundry tolerance when choosing a high chair.
  8. High chairs – Tray washability. A lot of high chairs now boast of trays that are dishwasher safe. The problem is that those trays are not however dishwasher sized. The trays on the highchairs I’ve had did not fit into the dishwasher or the sink. If you really want to be washing the tray in the dishwasher, shop with a tape measure.
  9. Spoons’ bowl size. When the babies started solids around 5 months, some of those cute spoons had bowls that were too wide to fit into their mouths. My recommendation, start off buying spoons with smaller, tapered bowls.
  10. Washcloth. Regardless of what utensils you buy, an easy-to-clean washcloth is the cornerstone of your solids-feeding arsenal because ovens come with a self-cleaning button, babies do not.

One more free tip: Just because a baby can use a spoon, doesn’t mean you should leave them alone with a bowl of yogurt

Feeding Baby

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice.  She blogs at mytwintopia and has officially learnt to never take her eyes off twin babies with yogurt.

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Ask the Moms: How to Organize Kids’ Clothes

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Categories Ask the Moms, How Do The Moms Do It, Multiple Solutions, OrganizationTags , , , 7 Comments

Reader Manojna P., currently expecting twins, asked us how we organize our kids’ clothes. Organization is key. Manojna, you’re already on the right track by asking the question!

That said, reader Michelle W., who has two sets of twins, commented, “Organise… what’s ‘organise’??” Several other readers made similar comments. There are times when you need to dress your kids right out of the clean laundry hamper and that’s okay too.organize

Modify your system as children grow

Ask any two parents how to organize kids’ clothes and you’ll get two different answers, even from parents who share a home! Different organizational systems work for different families. Different systems work for the same family at different times. Don’t be afraid to change things up if what worked a month ago isn’t cutting it any more.

Some siblings share all their clothes. Others have separate clothes from day one. There is no wrong way or right way to approach this.

Early on, RachelG dressed both her son and daughter in gender-neutral stuff, so keeping their clothes apart didn’t matter. Sadia‘s girls share clothes to this day, at age 7. Wiley‘s girls are slightly different in size, but she upgrades them both at the same time. Little Allie always looks like she’s growing into her clothes, but it’s worth it for the simplicity.

Reader Kristin G. wrote, “When my [quadruplet] daughters were first born I had everything organized in drawers labeled by the type of clothing: onesies, sleepers, socks, etc. Around preschool they started picking out their own clothes, but I realized that they were only picking from the clothes at the top of the drawers. I now hang all of their tops in a closet and, because I once worked retail and can’t fathom hanging any other way, the tops are hung by color (ROYGBIV). It makes it easier for my girls to figure out what will match with their pants and skirts. For whatever reason they have figured out which tops and dresses are “shared items” and which tops belong to a specific sister (given to them for birthdays, Christmas, etc) and so far there have been no arguments over one sister wearing another sister’s special top. This, I am certain, will change once they get closer to their teen years!”

Find an organizing principle

Photo Credit: MT_bulli
Photo Credit: MT_bulli

Keep things predictable so you don’t have to scrounge up brain power in the middle of the night when a baby needs a new outfit after a diaper blowout. Keep like with like, whatever that means to you.

For Beth, organizing is her closet hobby (ker-ching!). She reorganizes closets and drawers as often as once a month, searching for that perfect set up. She’s still searching, but the process of seeking order works for her. Check out the great closet section dividers she made.

Jen Wood has always hung all her boys’ clothes except for diapers and underwear. When they were in infant sizes, she organized clothes by size with dividers. She stores similar/coordinating outfits together.

SaraBeth has one drawer for pajamas, one for tops and one for pants. She has two separate drawers for fall/winter clothes in the next size up and spring/summer clothes.

Sadia has one small drawer of pajamas, one small drawer of socks and panties, one large drawer of tops, one large drawer of bottoms and dance clothes. Dresses, jackets and dress-up clothes are hung on a clothes rack inside the closet, since the built-in rod is too high for her daughters to reach.

RachelG doesn’t have a dresser. She confesses that she lives out of bins and baskets and is unsatisfied with the current arrangement.

A note of caution. What makes sense to you may not make sense to your spouse, other caregivers or even the (older) children themselves. Balance the effort of finding a compromise with the effort of finding the clothes you need. If you’re the primary caregiver and your spouse only needs to look for baby clothes every few days, do it your way. If you anticipate a more equitable division of duties, talk it through until you find a mutually agreeable system. If your children are old enough to be responsible for dressing themselves and/or putting their own clothes away, let them have a say in how things are organized. Sadia‘s daughters tried sorting everything by colour alone before they agreed that it wasn’t a sustainable system.

Systems by developmental stage

Infants

Infant clothes may be the easiest to sort because you don’t have little hands constantly undoing your work. They’re also the hardest because you don’t really know what to expect. Aim for convenience. If you’re going to be changing your babies’ diapers and clothes on a changing table, store clothes and diapers within reach of (or inside) the changing table. If, after the babies show up, you realize you’re more of a sit-on-the-floor changer, move the clothes around to put them within reach. Don’t forget to have a convenient laundry hamper nearby for the dirty clothes!

Make sense of a jumble of baby paraphernalia by storing like with like. Photo Credit: unfurl
Make sense of a jumble of baby paraphernalia by storing like with like. Photo Credit: unfurl

Itty bitty clothes may not be worth folding. If you’re the type of person who folds your panties, fold those preemie and newborn shirts and pants and bloomers to your heart’s content. If you think that’s ridiculous, consider storing onesies, burp clothes and cloth diapers flat (or even crumpled, if you have the room) while hanging footie pajamas and other outfits. MandyE hangs just about everything that can be hung.

We all streamline where we can. For pants and onesies that went together to make a single outfit, Sadia used to place the pants flat on the onesie, fold both in half together once, and place them in the drawer. There was no need to search for the pieces of the outfit because they were always stored together.

RebeccaD started out with the top drawer for daytime clothes, the second drawer for nighttime clothes and the third drawer for bundling layers. When her fraternal boys got to be different sizes, she switched her system. Her top drawer became for diapering stuff, medicines, and the like. The second drawer was for Baby B and the third drawer, for Baby A.

Hanging clothes can be a nice alternative to folding and stacking them. Photo Credit: katypearce
Hanging clothes can be a nice alternative to folding and stacking them.
Photo Credit: katypearce

Beth uses a closet and tall dresser for her boy/girl twins. The top drawer has 3 baskets, one each for her socks, his socks and hats, bibs, and whatever else lands in there. The next drawer down has her pants on the left and his on the right. The next drawer down is clothes they will grow into soon. Most baby clothes go in the closet, with each baby having his or her own rod. Within each section Beth groups onesies, then shirts, then overalls and dresses and, finally, pajamas.

Mytwintopia takes a minimalist approach. She limits her daughters’ wardrobe to enough everyday clothes for one week. That way she doesn’t procastinate with laundry or end up with too many clothes. She hangs almost everything, and hangs the clothes complete outfits on each hanger to avoid the struggle to match clothes in the morning. The underwear and socks go in bins or drawers in the same closet. For now, the girls do decide who owns which item without parental intervention.

Toddlers

An alternative to stacking folded clothes in drawers is to place them vertically, with the fold up. This allows you to see all your kids' clothes at once. Note that this system is frustrating for kids who put away their own clothes. They can retrieve their favourite item easily, but putting the clothes away and keeping them folded requires some mature dexterity. Photo Credit: peyri
An alternative to stacking folded clothes in drawers is to place them vertically, with the fold up. This allows you to see all your kids’ clothes at once. Note that this system is frustrating for kids who put away their own clothes. They can retrieve their favourite item easily, but putting the clothes away and keeping them folded requires some mature dexterity. Sadia uses this technique, but needs to tidy her daughters’ drawers at least once a week because items have come unfolded.
Photo Credit: peyri

Toddlers’ clothes can be tricky. You may find yourself needing to toddlerproof your clothing storage if clothes turn out to be an obsession. Sadia had to put child locks on her daughters’ dresser drawers because of midnight organizing extravaganzas on the part of her daughter M. Shoes had to go in a childproofed drawer too, after Sadia caught both girls trying on different shoes in the middle of the night.

Generally, though, infant clothing organization strategies still hold.

Your kids’ growth will probably slow and you won’t have to switch to the next size up quite as often. However, as your toddlers lose their baby pudginess and begin to run around, you may discover that you need to be pickier about finding clothes that will stay on and be comfortable. Around this age, those of us with slimmer children can find that pants and skirts with adjustable waists work best.

If your kids share clothes, there’s no need to find a system to keep them separated. Many boy/girl twins, though, will have separate clothes, especially as they get older. Also, your twins may end up being drastically different sizes such that they’re wearing different sized clothes. They may simply have different preferences, or you may choose for each twin to have individual clothes. In each of these cases, it may be simplest to organize all your multiples’ clothes similarly, for the sake of consistency, as Beth described doing above.

Preschool and school age

This is exactly what an elementary schooler's closet often looks like. Clothes are hung and shoes paired and in their place. Sports jersey are up and out of the way because it's winter. Everyday clothes are within reach of their wearer. There's overflow on the floor, which is why Mommy needs to come in an enforce cleanup every so often. Photo Credit: master phillip
This is exactly how an elementary school kid’s closet often looks. Clothes are hung and shoes paired and in their place. Sports jersey are up and out of the way because it’s winter. Everyday clothes are within reach of their wearer. There’s overflow on the floor, blissfully ignored by the kids in question, which is why Mommy needs to come in and enforce cleanup every so often.
Photo Credit: master phillip

Reader Nancy C. commented on our Facebook page, saying, “When they shared a room, each had a dresser and half the closet.  Although identical, my boys did not wear the same clothes as each other. In fact, they would adamantly protest if I had accidentally put one of their brother’s shirts in with their shirts.”

Mommy Esq. started out with her boy/girl twins splitting their closet. One had the upper half, the other the lower. Each had a drawer. As she points out, “That only works though for the ages/stages where mom dresses them. Now everything has to be at their height since they pick their own clothes.

Sadia’s daughters, at 7, are old enough to dress themselves. They share everything but panties and socks because they have different preferences for those items. All their clothes are within reach of the children. They have a clothes rack inside their closet since they can’t reach the built-in rod. They share their drawers. Their socks and panties get lumped together; they know which belong to whom.

Sadia is working toward giving her girls complete ownership of their clothes, apart from wash/dry time. She still helps them fold clothes, but putting them away is completely the children’s responsibility. If the girls complain that they can’t find room for things, she encourages them to purge items they no longer wear to make room. Sadia no longer answers the question, “Where is my [insert name of clothing item here]?” mostly by responding with, “I am out of the business of knowing where your clothes are. Your clothes, your business.” If a child wants to be sure a particular item of clothing is ready to wear on a certain day, she must give Mommy at least 24 hours notice.

Claroux also has 7-year-old girls. She writes:

They share an 8-drawer dresser. I have these nylon bins from Ikea in each drawer to separate the sizes since they wear two different sizes now. That is, the underwear drawer contains a bin for M’s panties, a bin for C’s panties and a bin for undershirts. The same is true for socks, pajamas, leggings and tights).

Everything else is hung by type (dresses, pants, skirts, tops) and then grouped by color. That makes it easier if one is looking for their ‘purple soccer shirt’. As far as ownership of each item, they just know what fits them and what doesn’t.

Teens

The oldest of our combined kids is Sundy‘s son, making her the resident expert on all things teen. In short, teenagers are old enough to take care of their own clothes. Arrangements can run the gamut from the teen being required to wash, dry, fold and store his or her own clothes to being required to honour Mom’s organization scheme. As above, you’ll make more headway partnering with your child to develop a system that’s mutually agreeable than by decreeing a system from on high.

Children of different ages

Several of us with multiples often have kids of different ages living under the same roof.

When Wiley‘s oldest son, Trajan, outgrows things, they are stored in boxes for his younger brother Chiron. Once Chiron has outgrown those clothes, with a few exceptions kept for his younger twin sisters, they are immediately evicted to find new homes with children that fit them.

For day to day storage, Elizabeth uses dressers in each room. Her two older boys share a room so their clothes are kept together. They wear the same shirt size but different pant sizes. They each know what size they need and check the tags. She puts labels on each drawer so they can put away their own clothes. Mom doesn’t care if the clothes are folded but the drawer has to be able to close. Key to making any system work is knowing which battles are worth fighting!

Elizabeth’s 2-year-old Oliver’s clothes are in a labeled dresser in his room. The boy/girl twins share a dresser. The top drawers are boy clothes and the bottom drawers are girl clothes.

All the kids’ shoes and socks are kept in baskets by the garage door. Elizabeth’s house has a mud room with a bench and shelves, so storing them there is easy. Backpacks, Elizabeth’s purse, the diaper bag, and infant carseats are also kept in the mud room. One shelf in the mud room is filled with kids toiletries (brush, hair spray, lotion, tooth paste, tooth brushes). The children use the half bath in the mud room for teeth and hair. She organized things this way so that everything the family needed to get out the door is in one contained place. She hated running all over the house for shoes and trying to keep up with who still needed to brush their teeth.

By size, season and child

jackets
Winter jackets can be very bulky to store, so consider using space saver bags from which you can suck out the air with your vacuum cleaner hose. The bags will expand some during storage, but not if they’re packed together tightly enough in some out-of-the-way corner!
Photo Credit: dharder9475

Most of us have various sizes of children’s clothes in the house, even if we have only one size and gender of children. Whether we have hand-me-downs from friends and family, clueless friends who bought clothes much too big, or we’ve shopped in advance of the next growth spurt, we likely have clothes that aren’t in circulation.

All the HDYDI moms divide kid clothes in our houses into those that currently fit, those that are too big and those that are too small. Those that don’t fit are separated out and put away. Some of us also sort things by season, putting away bulky coats in the summer and shorts and sleeveless tops in the winter. Let’s talk about how to manage the clothes that aren’t in use.

Clothes to grow into

Photo Credit: if winter ends
You could store future sized clothes with the tag on for easy identification, but it’s wise to wash new clothes before dressing a baby in them, since sizing can irritate delicate skin.Photo Credit: if winter ends

To manage clothes that don’t yet fit, SaraBeth and Sadia both use big plastic bins stored in the garage, sorted by size and clearly labeled. Victoria has a different bin for each size, which makes it very simple to grab the next size she needs. With space at a premium in ldskatelyn‘s apartment, she stores some extra clothes at her in-laws’ house.

SarahP has three drawers in her kids’ dressers that contain both the size they’re currently wearing and the next size up. The rest of the clothes are organized by age in a box in storage. She always has the next size up because she’s found that her kids grow into some items faster than others depending on the brand. Clothing labels that display the same size may be attached to drastically different sized clothing.

Jen Wood keeps the next size of clothing in her sons’ closet. She always has a bin with the next sizes, picked up at clearance or on resale, plus hand-me-downs. She goes through the bin as needed.

Wiley has plastic sweater boxes from the Container Store which are all labelled by gender, size, and type of contents. Current clothes are kept in each child’s dresser or closet. The next size up resides in its boxes in the top of the closets while other sizes are stored outside.

Outgrown

Photo Credit: raffik
Photo Credit: raffik

If you have or are planning to have more kids, it makes sense to hold onto outgrown clothes for the next child. Otherwise, purge, purge, purge!

SarahP and many of the other moms donate their clothes to friends, Goodwill, or other charities. SaraBeth divides her kids outgrown clothes by gender (boy, girl and neutral) to simplify passing them on.

When Victoria notices that items are getting too small, she puts them aside to be donated and take out the next larger size. For instance, if she’s dressing her girls and notices that the pants she tries on are too small, she puts them aside immediately and takes out a larger pair of pants. If she didn’t do it right away, it could get out of control because she’d forget.

Sadia didn’t know any other girl/girl twins in her area who were smaller than hers, so she ended up dividing up all their matching outfits from the first year (except two preemie footies and two Christmas dresses kept for sentimental reasons). She sent each of two friends across the country a huge diaper box filled with baby clothes. She now keeps a donation bin in the kitchen next to the trash and recycling to make it part of daily life to identify things ready to be rehomed.

RebeccaD goes through her kids’ drawers to move out the old and bring in the new about every 3 months. “The key,” she says, “is to get rid of stuff immediately and be realistic about how many clothes your kids really need. Mine are only in T-shirts and diapers unless we leave the house anyway.”

Elizabeth has an especially effective system for handling hand-me-downs. She and her sister-in-law have 5 boys between them, all very close in age. They share clothes. They keep them organized by size in clear plastic tubs with lids. After an item has been outgrown it gets washed and thrown back in the tub. They don’t separate by season.

Once a size has been completely outgrown by one boy, the next mom who needs the size stores the tub. The sisters-in-law use their individual judgment as to when to get rid of an item or replace it. If they have a sentimental attachment to a particular outfit, they either keep it out of the bin or mark the tag with the word “save”. As you might imagine, this has worked really well for them.

Now that the biggest boys are getting older and have an opinion as to what they want to wear, they do find themselves buying and keeping more clothes. Elizabeth still keeps them sorted by size in tubs to hand down to 2-year-old Oliver.

Photo modified from original by Micah Sittig
Photo modified from original by Micah Sittig

How to organize kids’  clothes, in summary

The short version of everything we’ve said is this:

  • Avoid clutter.
    • Sort clothes by size.
    • Keep handy only those clothes that fit.
    • Give away outgrown clothes unless they will be reused in your home.
    • Don’t keep more than you need or have space for.
  • Find a system that works for you.
    • Drawers, hangers, or some combination of those two seem the norm for current clothes.
    • For clothes that don’t fit, labeled bins work well.
    • Pick your battles.
  • Change the system when it stops working.

How do you manage your kids’ clothes?

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Making the Holidays Special for Young Toddlers

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Categories Holidays, Toddlers1 Comment

My girls are now officially preschoolers according to the regular emails I receive from Babycenter and Pampers. However, I still remember the earliest years and a few things that worked to make them feel included in holiday celebrations.

Santa BabyOne year old babies don’t see the world like we do so it takes a lot of simplification to make the holiday season and especially Christmas day special for them. Here are some things I’ve implemented in the past that worked really well for us:

  • Remove their toy gifts from the packaging before wrapping. Looking at the packaging some toys come in, you would think they contained the nuclear codes or something. You know what I’m talking about right? The hard plastic tied to cardboard with rubber coated wire packaging. Takes a full grown, fairly dexterous adult 5 long minutes to unravel. 5 minutes of a baby whining, screaming and trying to push the buttons on the toy while you’re trying to remove screws and tape and Styrofoam. If you have twins, make that 2 babies. Save yourself, unpackage before they unwrap
  • Speaking of wrapping, wrap in shiny wrapping paper that rumples but does not rip easily. Babies/toddlers love shiny wrapping paper and it will sooner or later find its way into their mouth. It’s a good idea to have paper that does not dissolve in the acidic saliva of a teething baby
  • Go easy on the wrapping tape or skip the tape. That way, the baby can grab and “unwrap” the present without help. The way I “wrapped” presents, the babies could shake them loose from the paper without much effort
  • Remember them in the menu – dice or puree the foods, dilute the “safe” drinks and give in sippy cups.

Not a whole lot, but it can make a big difference for the little ones.

How do you do mix little ones and holidays? Any special tips you would want to add?

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice.  She blogs at mytwintopia and will be channeling her inner Scrooge this Christmas and letting the kids discover new joys in their old toys.

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The Road to Motherhood: A Twin Birth Story

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Categories Birth Stories, Theme WeekTags 2 Comments

Prematurity Awareness Week 2013: How Do You Do It?

World Prematurity Day November 17In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely, 1 in 10 in Canada. Worldwide, over 15 million babies are born too soon each year. While not all multiples are born prematurely, a multiple birth increases the probability of an early delivery. Babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk for health complications in infancy, some of which can have long-term effects. Full-term infants are not all free from their own health complications, of course.

In honor of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, led by the March of Dimes, How Do You Do It? is focusing this week’s posts on The Moms’ experiences with premature deliveries, NICU stays, health complications, special needs, and how we’ve dealt with these complex issues.


It’s been a humbling experience to read the so many brave stories that have been contributed as part of the Prematurity Awareness week on HDYDI. I stand in sisterhood with all those who have shared their heart stories and am blessed and grateful to be able to share my birth story.

This time 3 years ago, I picked up my hospital bag and headed to Methodist Hospital Houston to deliver my fraternal twin girls. I was 39 weeks pregnant. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t have a birth plan. I was going to wing it on hope and prayer because in my wildest dreams, I did not imagine an ending as surreal and ordinary as me walking into labor and delivery to have twin babies on just another Tuesday.

It’s not that I’m a pessimist, it’s just that there had been so much water under the bridge.

At 8 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding and this continued for 7 more weeks. My doctor put me on bed rest and I worked from home lying down on the couch. With every doctor’s visit, my heart was in my mouth until I got confirmation of 2 heartbeats. Then I could breathe again.

At 31 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with a shortened cervix. My doctor said all the indicators showed that if my cervix continued to change at the same rate, I would deliver my babies within 3 weeks unless I went on a very strict bedrest. I spent the next 5 weeks at home in bed; only getting up for 10 minutes at a time to eat and shower

At 36 weeks pregnant, I exhaled. I finally called my parents, family and friends and told them that I was pregnant. I know I left it late, I just couldn’t bear the thought of sharing more bad news with them should something happen with my high-risk pregnancy. Living so far away from most of my family and friends made it all the more easier to be silent about my pregnancy.

Finally it was the 16th of November 2010 and I went to the hospital for a scheduled induction. I changed into the hospital gown and settled in. After 10 hours of watching TV and epidural-induced motionlessness, I was wheeled into the operating theater. Around 7pm Houston time, my baby A announced herself to the world with the sweetest little cry. I think that moment of knowing “yes, she made it!” would stay with me forever. I was ready to meet my second child

But nothing happened. The doctor started asking for instruments. A few minutes later, a second and more senior doctor walks in. They confer and then he comes to my side of the bed and tells me my second baby’s heartbeat is getting weaker. I just stared at him blankly like he was speaking Greek. I had spent the last 39 weeks in a deliberate state of emotional numbness and I wasn’t coming out of it soon. They installed heart rate monitor for her and I waited some more. A few minutes later, the doctor ask me if I wanted them to use a vacuum to deliver the baby. I said no I’d prefer to push. After 2 pushes and the scariest 20 minutes of my life, my second baby girl was born.

3 years later, the birthday party is over and the girls have finally settled in bed. It’s mama’s time to write the story of the day they were born.

I know a lot of women pregnant with twins will come to this website for advice and find it. I know they’ll read all the shared stories and wonder how their story will be written. I hope that they’ll feel the love and hope in all the stories that have been shared this last one week. I want them to know that 3 years ago, I had 2 sets of premmie clothes in my hospital bag that my girls did not get to wear. I want them to know that many paths lead to destination motherhood and each path has its own story. Thank you for letting me share mine.

Yetunde-Olusola is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice.  She blogs at mytwintopia and loves to share tips and resources based on her personal parenting experiences in the hopes that she stops some frazzled twin parent from re-inventing the wheel.

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Equal but Different

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Categories Parenting, Parenting Twins5 Comments

Before having twins, I considered myself to be a fair and balanced person. I didn’t know exactly how “bad” that could be until I gave birth to 2 little girls on the same day and then it started to happen

  • Spice has a poopy diaper and I keep peeking into Sugar’s diaper expecting the same miracle. I call it miracle because Spice was a twice-a-dayer while Sugar was every other day
  • I cuddle with Spice for 10 minutes, feel guilty about the imbalance in cuddle time and put her down to cuddle with Sugar for 10 minutes – this ends with both babies in tears because Spice was perfectly happy to cuddle for hours and Sugar was perfectly happy counting her toes and I just ruined both their afternoons
  • Spice has started drinking 8 ounce bottles so I start trying to feed Sugar the same. The result? She just throws up the 2 extra ounces

All that was in the first year and after that year, I got it. Both babies may have been wombmates but they are two different individuals with sometimes very different sets of needs. I find that my sanity as a twin mom is better preserved when I remember this fact. My twins adapted to solids differently, they potty trained differently, they like different colors, they even have different sleep styles – Sugar is all over the place while Spice stays cuddled under her blanket for the night. I take them to the Disney store and Spice can’t stop exclaiming “this is so beautiful mama!” Sugar on the other hand is trying to drag me out of the store.

Sleeping_Twins

There’s no hiding from it. As the twins get older, their differences have become more pronounced and I have no choice but to adapt with them. Though I love them equally, I can’t love them the same. Twins are individuals and need to be treated as such. It’s a concept I’ve slowly come to embrace. I’ve even started dressing them “slightly” differently though I confess that if they wear 2 different outfits, both still have to be from the same brand. No mixing of your Gymborees with your Old Navys here. Nah, I’m not ready for that yet!

Am I alone in this? Do you sometimes find yourself over-tilting the scales in an effort to be fair and balanced with your multiples?

Yetunde has 3 year old twin girls and dishes about her experiences on the blog aptly titled mytwintopia.

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Grocery Shopping with Twins and More

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Categories Ask the Moms, Household and Family Management, How Do The Moms Do It, Multiple Solutions, Parenting Twins, PerspectiveTags , , , , , 2 Comments

 

You Can Do This!

Twins in a shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com
Yetunde‘s pair are ready to roll!

You can run errands with twins or more, including multiple infants or toddlers. You can do this. Yes, alone. If you must do so alone, or just want to, you should give it a try. We’re going to tell you how The Moms go grocery shopping with kids in tow, from twins to quadruplets, with some singletons thrown in for good measure.

This post assumes that you have access to a car, are walking, or are riding a bike. Taking public transportation with multiples is a topic for another day.

Leaving the House

Plan and Pack

As with most things related to caring for babies, grocery shopping with twins or more starts with good planning. Pick a time that works for you and your kids. Do your babies fall asleep in the car and nap well out and about? Consider going shopping during nap time so that they can sleep through the whole thing. Are they happy and social in the morning? Go shopping then. Make a complete shopping list so that you can minimize followup trips required to pick up things that you forgot during your main shopping haul.

diaper bag and contents from hdydi.com
Photo Credit: dhgatsby

Pack your diaper bag with the things you’ll need. The basics usually include things for diaper changes, something to wipe up spills and messes, changes of clothes in case of mess, something for the babies to eat, and something for them to play with. You’ll also need to have a transportation solution at the ready, whether it’s a stroller-carseat system, baby wrap, wagon, or all of the above.

Twinfant Tuesdays: Errands with Lots of Little Ones from hdydi.com
If your child is old enough to sit in a cart but not big enough to stay propped up, a rolled up blanket can help, as demonstrated by Sadia‘s daughter J at Ikea. M is wearing, or rather worn in, an Evenflo Snuggli. Please see our baby carrier post for our thoughts on wearing twins.

Older kids don’t need all the diaper paraphernalia, but they might need something to keep their hands and minds occupied, like books or toys. A small container of fruit or cereal is a good thing to have on hand for when blood sugar dips and tempers rise. Depending on the ages of your children, you may have traded in your diaper wipes for antibacterial hand gel… although you may find yourself wishing you had wipes, even with school-age kids!

Before you head out the door, make sure that your kids are clean and fed. If they’re just fussy, and you have a constitution that allows you to drive with a fussy child in the car, just move on to loading up. Sometimes you’ll need to drive through the crying to get to your goal.

Don’t forget your shopping bags, cooler or insulated bag, and transportation solution.

If you do make a habit of shopping with your multiples, you’ll need to be prepared to be a minor celebrity. Especially during the first couple of years, when it is obvious that your children are the same age, people will want to stop and talk to you about multiples. Budget extra time for discussion with curious strangers. Arm yourself with standard answers for common questions.

Load Up

3 infants buckled up at home: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com
3 infants in a car: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com Sadia’s daughters and a friend’s son went shopping together regularly. M wasn’t too happy about it.

Put your kids in the car last. That way you’re not distracted by their demands while you pack up. Make sure that they’re somewhere safe, like a crib, swing or playpen, while you pack your car with your stroller (or wagon or baby wraps) and diaper bag and other equipment. Janna kept bouncy chairs in the front room and strapped her boys in on the way in and out of the house.

If you’re using bucket-style infant car seats, it may be easiest to load and strap your babies in in the comfort of your home, then install the seats in your car, complete with babies.

If you’re walking or bicycling, the same general approach holds true. Load the kids last.

Out and About

You’ve loaded up and arrived at your grocery shopping destination with your twins. Now what?

Parking

If you’ve driven to the store, check to see whether they have designated Customer with Child parking spots. If you can score one, it will likely be near the cart return closest to the main entrance to the store. You can maximize your chances of reasonable parking by shopping at off-peak hours such as weekday mornings, but this isn’t feasible for everyone.

Walking and Biking

Janna and RebeccaD walk almost everywhere. RebeccaD purchases only what she can fit in the undercarriage of the stroller. She hits the store with her boys every couple of days. She uses her double stroller for most errands. Janna walks to the pharmacy, grocery store, post office, thrift store. The workout is a bonus!

Once her boys turned a year old, Janna switched to a trailer behind her bike. This isn’t always possible, of course, if your errand is too far away or the weather is too hot or cold, but it works great for her family most of the time.

Implement Your In-Store Strategy

The Moms have a plethora of ideas for containing and transporting kids at the grocery store. Yetunde has actually written about this in the past on her personal blog. If you’re planning to use a store cart, parking near the cart return can make it easier to snap up a cart without having to stray far from your car.

  • A common solution for infants is a double car seat/stroller system, such as the Double Snap-N-Go or Graco DuoGlider. MandyE was once able to run three quick errands within an hour thanks to the ease of baby transfer! Where do the groceries go, we hear you clamor. One option is to use the basket under your stroller as your cart. This severely limits how much you can purchase at a time. Another option is to push your stroller with one hand while pulling a store cart behind you with the other. It looks a little crazy, but it works well.
  • 3-seater cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com
    Target has carts that seat 3 kids with ease, demoed here by MandyE’s precious duo.

    More and more stores are offering shopping carts that seat two or more children. In our experience, such stores include Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and many branches of the Texas grocery store HEB. Sadia found it to be worth driving a few extra miles to go to a store that had two-seater carts standard.

    Twin boys crying in a two-seater shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.blog
    Jen Wood‘s boys don’t seem to appreciate two-seater shopping carts as much as The Moms do.

    Don’t have any stores nearby with carts that accommodate two seated kids? Let your store manager know; the company may simply be unaware of the demand.

    This brings us to another point: “Shop” around and choose stores that work for you. Find places where you can maximize your effort and where you can shop effectively. One-stop shopping is your friend. SarahP typically goes to Costco first, then to Walmart because she can price match there and get all the other odds and ends. Use the grocery store pharmacy. Look for wide aisles. You may find it worthwhile to invest in a cover to keep little fingers off germy cart parts and/or disinfecting wipes to wipe down the cart before transferring your kids.

  • MandyE (in the photo) and Sadia both used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins.
    MandyE used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins. Note that most car seat manufacturers recommend placing car seats inside the car rather than in the seat area. Check your manual!

    You can wear one baby and put the other(s) in the shopping cart. Wiley typically wore her twinfant girls, had her toddler son seated in the cart, and had her school-age son walk. The trick to reaching things on low shelves without spilling a baby is to squat. You’ll have thighs of steel, so that’s a benefit of this approach. Note that many car seat manufacturers advise against placing car seats in cart seats the way MandyE demonstrates and many of The Moms do regularly. Try using the cart strap to secure the seat the way you would with the seatbelt in your car.

  • Twins hiding in the paper towels: Grocery Shopping with Multiples: hdydi.com
    Jen Wood’s guys remind us that our kids are also pretty creative, so be careful when letting them walk in the store.

    Get creative. SaraBeth has seen parents bungee two carts together. Sadia has shopped with her kids in a Radioflyer wagon. SarahP keeps one baby in the car seat in the main area of the cart, puts her 2-year-old in the sitting area of the cart and straps the other baby to herself in a Baby Bjorn. The groceries go under the cart and around the seat. It may look like a circus, but it works! Carolyn – Twintrospectives used her stroller as her cart. When she had too much bagged stuff after paying to fit elegantly back under the stroller, she used a couple of mommy hooks to hang bags off other parts of the stroller. Janna used to hang reusable grocery bags from the double stroller handles.

  • 7-year-olds helping mom push a shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com
    Sadia’s daughters can help her steer the cart, although they’re just at the height where they can’t see where they’re going. They now prefer to walk alongside the cart and help calculate the best values and keep mommy within budget.

    Kids don’t have to be contained. If your kids are old enough to walk and trustworthy enough to be free, invite them to help you push the cart or give them carts of their own. Sadia’s kids still, at age 7, walk between her and the shopping cart, embraced within her arms and “helping” her push. If they wish to walk alongside the cart, they are each assigned a spot on the side of the cart to keep a hand on. They are not permitted to let go without explicit permission. SaraBeth determines which twin goes “free range” based on who has been better at listening that day.

  • Twin boys push miniature shopping carts in the store: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from hdydi.com
    Jen Wood’s sons are on a mission. Having his own cart keeps each boy close to mom and focused on shopping.

    Avoid the store altogether. Shop online. Subscribe to a CSA that delivers to your home. Use a drive-through.

There will be days when your kids will be in rare form, screaming bloody murder, and you’ll wonder how essential food really is. We’ve been there. On balance, though, shopping is doable, often even fun. If you treat it like a fun outing, your kids will have fun too. MandyE and Sadia will talk about making grocery shopping fun and educational in a later post.

Ask for and Accept Help

Twins in a double shopping cart seat: Grocery Shopping with Twins from hdydi.com
The Moms love these double seat shopping carts, modeled here by Carolyn – Twintrospectives’ boys. If your store doesn’t have them, see if a manager can order a few. Once they see how popular they are, they’ll get the message!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Janna often asked strangers to hold doors for her. Sadia asks store staff to help her lift things down from tall shelves. Carryout services offered by some grocery stores is golden. If you let the staff member load groceries into your car, it frees you up to load up your kids.

Unique Circumstances

Special Needs Children

Marissa‘s son A was very sick as a newborn and was essentially quarantined until he was 6 months old, by order of his doctor. This meant keeping D in too until he had his 3rd DTaP. Marissa’s husband, mother, and grandmother ran almost all of the errands, since A required extensive care when not hospitalized. We know, we said you could do it, but sometimes it’s best that you don’t run errands with your kids, for their sakes.

Grocery cart with infant seat attached: Grocery Shopping with Twins from hdydi.com
Some grocery stores provide shopping carts with infant seat already (and securely!) installed. If you wear one baby, these are great for parents of twins.

Now A is doing much better, but he couldn’t sit in a shopping cart until he was about 14 months old. Marissa wore him most of the time and had D sit in the cart. In addition, A is tube-fed and she does not let that stop them from participating in any activity, even though people are far more likely to stare than when witnessing public breastfeeding. One of Wiley’s daughters needs to drink thickened liquids to prevent aspiration, so they keep individual servings of thickener in their diaper bags now. Due to the aspiration issue, she had to drink pumped milk, so Wiley and her family had to travel with a cooler even though her twin sister could just breastfeed on demand.

Sadia’s daughter’s frontonasal dysplasia does sometimes force her family to contend with awkward comments and questions, but she has a stockpile of canned responses at the ready. She also talked to both her daughters about others’ perceptions and comments, since keeping them out of earshot is not a realistic option.

Higher Order Multiples

Mrslubby‘s husband loves to take her quadruplets and their 4-year-old big sister shopping, if nothing else to prove he can! He loads up two babies in one cart and two babies in another. With their older singleton standing on the end of a cart, he pushes one cart and pulls the other. While Mrslubby cringes at all the looks she gets from strangers with her brood, her husband basks in the acknowledgment of his juggling skills.

Pregnant MoMs

At the moment, Marissa is too pregnant with her third baby to wear her son A facing out in a front-carry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like back-carry much, so she usually only take one kiddo on errands. Once again, her husband does most of the errands, because that’s what works for her family. As we said earlier, asking for help is an important MoM skill, as is accepting help when it’s offered.

Single (or Functionally Single) Parents

Janna and Sadia were both functionally single parents when their twins were very young, thanks to Janna’s husband’s extended work hours and Sadia’s (now ex-)husband’s repeated deployments. They had no alternative but to run errands with their kids, so it never occurred to them that it should be difficult. On the other hand, RachelG and her husband share equally in family tasks such as grocery shopping, so there is no need for either of them to master solo groceries. Do what works for your family’s needs.

If you’re a working single mother like Sadia, chances are that you have very little flexibility in your schedule and no one to watch your kids without prior planning. Work a weekly shopping trip into your routine so that your little ones know to expect it. Consider having a backup supply of canned and frozen goods to carry you through if you hit a week during which you just can’t make it to the store. Moms do occasionally get sick. Cars break down. Roads flood. Don’t be caught without food and toilet paper.

Unloading at Home

Unloading your groceries with young kids around can also take some planning. Your multiples and other kids may be especially demanding on returning to the safe environment of home. As on the way out of the door, make sure that you have a safe place to keep them while you bring your shopping inside.

Grocery Shopping with Twins and More from hdydi.com
Photo Credit: malloreigh

Consider using a cooler or insulated grocery bag for frozen or refrigerated items. This allows you a bigger window to tend to your kids before you return your attention to the groceries waiting to be put away. If your store has an especially competent bagger, do what you can to get in their checkout line and avoid careless baggers. Alternately, you can oversee the bagging yourself or simply communicate to the checkout staff that you need your things bagged in a particular order. It helps them out if you load groceries in logical groupings while you’re checking out.

Sadia keeps a tote in the trunk of her car to help keep things sorted. Refrigerator items go in the tote, everything else straight into the trunk. When she gets home, she can pick up everything that needs to be put away quickly at once. The rest can wait.

Not Just for Moms

The post has been written about moms going shopping with kids because we’re moms who go shopping with kids. This advice is for everyone else too, though: for the DoMs who do just as much in the way of home and family maintenance as MoMs, for nannies and au pairs who are out and about with the kids, for grandmas and grandpas, whether the grandkids are visiting or are in your permanent care.

Katelyn‘s husband carries one kid on his shoulders. Marissa’s husband wears a Moby like nobody’s business. Just yesterday, Sadia had a lovely conversation with a dad of 9-month-old twins while he wore one baby and had the other lying in the built-in infant seat in the store cart. When she got fussy, dad just scooped her onto his hip. He still had a free hand for the cart. Wiley’s nanny tends to wear one girl, put one in the cart seat, and put her middle boy in the body of the cart while the oldest is at school.

We all find ways to get things done, even if it takes some creativity.

Do you have specific types of errands, family situations, or location-related limitations on which you’d like The Moms’ advice? What grocery store trip tips did we miss?

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