Two Naps to One

A week and a half of summer break under my belt, and I’m ready for a vacation from my vacation.

I’ve known for a while that the twins’ naps weren’t working, but I hoped that I had more time to enjoy the status quo before upending it all for the dreaded transition. However, it became glaringly obvious that they were NOT going to take their 9am naps anymore, no matter how hard I tried to tire them out. Thing is, I’ve been looking forward to taking them to the Mommy-n-Me class that Big Sis and I attended almost two years ago, which is at 11am. But with my teaching schedule getting out the door by 6:45am, all the kids are used to waking up super early. That means, if they take no morning nap, they will almost definitely be sleeping through that class.

I can’t remember when Big Sis transitioned to one nap, but I am the one who did it, because my mom tells me that after some sort of break from school (winter/spring/summer), I brought her back already switched over to her new nap schedule. I do not remember it because it must have been a pretty natural and easy process. We settled on 11am-1pm for over a year. It wasn’t until her siblings landed on a 12:30-2:30 afternoon nap that I changed her nap to synchronize with theirs. But that wasn’t traumatic either, because she was ready to be awake longer in the mornings and have a later bedtime. There were a couple days of brief crankiness around her prior naptime, but I distracted her with something and she transitioned just fine.

No such luck with these two. There’s been lots of whining and general crankiness, even some food throwing and all-out meltdowns. Part of the difficulty has to result from the fact that there are two of them whose sleep/wake times need to be synchronized, but I think it’s mostly because they’re just not as agreeable as their sister. They’re much more active, and will fight to stay awake. Plus, as they share a bedroom and have their cribs next to each other, they will sometimes keep each other awake or wake each other up.

I’ve been writing down their naptimes for this last 1.5 weeks, and it looks like we’re starting to stabilize. And I’ve kept them more or less on the same schedule:

M 12:30-2 (garbage truck woke them)

Tu 12:45-2:45 (woke naturally)

W 11:30-1 (Big Sis woke them)

Th  9:30-9:45 (in car); 1-3:30 (woke naturally)

F  9:45-10:05 (in car); 1:30-4 (I woke them)

What I’ve learned this past week is that they haven’t been getting enough sleep. They’ve been fussy and unhappy, particularly in the late mornings.  Their nighttime sleep hasn’t been impacted too much by all of this (thank goodness!), other than falling asleep slightly earlier on the one-nap days. On Friday it felt like they were trying to catch up on sleep after being deprived for almost a week. Also the little catnaps in the car indicate they are indeed really tired.

I’ve been trying to force them to nap after lunch (more convenient time for me), but 6am to noon is proving to be too long a span for wakefulness, and too abrupt a change to make. They still need about 2-3 hours of naps during the day, but spaced right in between when they wake and their bedtime, so probably 10:30-1:30, keeping a wake time of 6am and bedtime of 6pm, which is what I hoped for on Saturday. Their actual naptime turned out to be 10:30-12:45. Close enough.

They woke up earlier the last couple of days though. We’re not even getting a full two hours in that nap anymore. And bedtime crept up to 6ish. Not the ideal I had in mind, but there’s also been less crying and screaming, so I guess we are making progress?

Sadly, I had to sacrifice Big Sis’s nap in this transition too. She was sleeping 1-2:30, but with her siblings unable to make it to nap at that time with her, I decided it was time for her to drop her nap entirely and move back her bedtime by 1.5 hrs. Other than her taking little catnaps in the car if I happen to drive over 15 mins in the afternoons, she’s taken to this just fine. And it’s kind of nice they’re all going down earlier for the night.

lunchldyd‘s b/g twins are 18mo, and their big sis just turned 4yo. She is welcoming any good suggestions for making this transition easier.

Toddler Thursday: Weaning Myself from the Stroller

Once our twin girls were a few months old and the pediatrician released us from house arrest, I quickly learned to get out and about with them in tow. The first few trips were a bit nerve-wracking, but once I got the swing of things, I would go anywhere and everywhere with my babies safely tucked inside our double stroller.

My trusty double stroller was like my best friend, always by my side. It allowed me the freedom to be out and about, mostly hands-free. I could run virtually any errand, and my girls loved seeing the sights all around town.

At some point after the girls turned one, though, I started to think about Life After Stroller. I would see other mamas with one toddler, ambling adorably along beside them. Were my girls missing out, constrained by their five-point harnesses?

It took a lot of courage, but – when the girls were 18 months old – I finally worked myself up to try a [very limited] outing with them…sans my BFF the stroller.

I wanted to buy a loaf of bread at the local bakery. I planned our trip when it wouldn’t be crowded, and when the girls were in an amicable mood. I can still remember the drum of my blood pressure as we made our way across the parking lot, hand in hand. I had prepared ahead, bringing a reusable shopping bag to put the bread in, knowing I wouldn’t have a spare hand to carry it. I had only my credit card in my back pocket. I just had to turn one of the girls’ hands loose long enough to hand over my credit card and stick the bread in the bag. It wasn’t our usual relaxing trip to the bakery…but we did it!

Over the course of the next year, I gradually worked up to the retirement of our double stroller. It was a bittersweet farewell to my former BFF, but being able to walk hand-in-hand with my girlies was a great reward. Here’s what worked for us…

1) Practice. Hubby helped me practice being out and about with the girls. We would go to the mall or to the park and walk, hand in hand. At first I wasn’t up to a larger trip by myself without the stroller, but I think that practice helped the girls learn to walk in public. After a while, the girls and I would practice walking, just the three of us, usually in our neighborhood.

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Practicing with Daddy…coffee shop, here we come!

2) Have an exit strategy. The girls knew that walking “like big girls” was a privilege. They also knew that if they didn’t respect that privilege, Mommy kept the stroller in the car. It only had to happen once that we left our shopping cart at the customer service desk and returned to the car to get the stroller.

3) Enlist their help. Eventually I could offer the girls a little more freedom. Having them “help” me in the store was always a huge motivator. Sometimes they would carry a hand basket to hold small items. Other times they would help me push the cart. Or I would give each of them a particular item to be “responsible” for…Baby A would be fixated on holding the tea bags, and Baby B had a death grip on the bag of salad. It makes the errand a learning experience, too, and can be a lot of fun for everyone.

4) Employ the “one finger” rule. Kids like to look with their hands, and I don’t find it realistic to expect them to keep their hands to themselves at all times. If they absolutely must touch something, my girls are allowed to use “one finger”. There’s limited damage they can do [in most circumstances] with “one finger”, and it satiates their need to reach. Too, the times when they must keep their hands to themselves – like in an area with breakable items – I am able to limit my “HANDS OFF” mandate to when it really matters.

5) Have a few tricks up your sleeve. For downtime – waiting in the check-out line, for example – I used a couple of techniques to keep the girls engaged. Our girls loved shirts and pants with pockets. While I unloaded the grocery cart, I might tell them, “Put your hands in your pockets,” and they would focus on that long enough for me to complete my task. In other situations – like in public restrooms – I would ask the girls to find their very favorite square (tile) and stand on it…or challenge them to see how many squares their feet could occupy at one time. (At age five, they still love that game.) And if we have to wait in line at the bank, even today I quiz them on baby sign language. They get focused on the task at hand, and they forget they’re being good!

My girls are now five. Things don’t always go perfectly when we’re out and about…they still try to push buttons now and again…but they are largely very well-behaved. To those of you in the midst of toddlerdom, hang in there! This is one area that I can confidently say does get easier with age.

For those of you with older children, what are your tips and tricks to maintaining your sanity with multiple littles in tow?

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

Toddler Thursday: Division of Labor

I love life with my 20-month-old twin boys, but man, they are a lot of work. There’s the cooking, feeding, cleaning cycle that never ends, as well as the getting dressed, packing up, going out cycle that only leads into the coming in, who-knows-what-happens-after-that cycle, and that’s about eight hours of your day. Not to mention all the ways curious little hands undo things you have just done and find ways to totally reconfigure an area of the house from functional to…let’s call it “experimental.” In contrast to twinfancy, when Mom the Boob was on call 24/7, toddler years are a perfect time to set up a more balanced work load between parents. My husband, a full-time teacher, and I, a SAHM (going back to teaching part time in August), are enjoying (mostly!) this special time with our young children through a healthy division of labor.

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I started making a list of my tasks and my husband’s tasks, but the totally un-even-looking columns stopped me in my tracks. I realized that the number of items isn’t as important as how much work you feel like you’re doing. A good division of labor means that both parents are happy with the arrangement.

Some Tips to Maintain a Healthy Division of Labor

  1. Let go of some control. If you want everything done YOUR way, then you have to do everything, and that’s no fun. Accept that an alternative approach is fine.
  2. Play to your strengths. Discuss the tasks that you prefer and listen to your spouse’s preferences too. It is actually more stressful for me to let go of certain tasks, like making breakfast, than it is to do them. Doing the dishes may feel like 90% effort for you, but it’s only 30% effort for your partner. A certain time of day may be a low point for you, but your spouse needs a break at another time. Feelings may change, so keep talking about what tasks take less effort for you and even which tasks you might enjoy.
  3. Be transparent in your process. Did you already pack the diaper bag? Let everyone know. Plow through the constant interruptions from the children and keep talking to each other instead of making assumptions. We’ve started saying to the boys, “Mommy and Daddy are going to talk to each other about our outing now.” Then we focus fully on our conversation for 3.5 seconds (bliss!).
  4. Recognize, state, and honor your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, someone else will have to, and that places a burden on your family. It’s better to say, “I need a 10 minute break,” than it is to become a weepy, angry, chaotic mess (I know from experience!). What kind of model do you want for your children – a martyr or a healthy person capable of self-care?
  5. Remember that your partner is working hard too, and therefore should get some credit for all that they do. It’s easy to see all that you are personally doing to keep the family ship afloat (and I bet it’s a lot). Some of your spouse’s daily acts may go unnoticed. Make it a point to thank each other, compliment each other, and generally acknowledge the many positive actions that are going on amongst the two of you. One word, smile, or hug goes a long way.
  6. Even if the labor is divided, it’s still a lot. There are times, especially during transitions and illness, that you and your partner will both be working to capacity. I sometimes get frustrated with my husband when I feel like I never. get. a. break. Then I pause the pity party and notice that we’re both overwhelmed (see #5.)
  7. Cut yourselves some slack. Guess what happens if the dishes don’t get done? The kids don’t eat a meal prepared from scratch? The toys don’t get picked up? Actually, nothing. Let it all slip once in a while, even if just to remember what’s really important – the people in the family. The infrastructure is just there to support them.

What does the division of labor look like in your household? How do you keep both parents from taking on too little or too much?

Toddler Thursday: It Gets Easier

Moms and Dads of toddlers… It gets easier. I promise. It really does.

It wasn’t long ago that my boys were extremely busy toddlers. I’m actually surprised we made it out of that stage without any broken bones or stitches. To say my Wesley and Andrew were active and fearless is an understatement.

I remember running into another mother of multiples at our grocery store’s “play center” about a year and a half ago.  Her b/g twins were about 6 years old, and mine had just turned 3.  We didn’t chat, really, but after we both acknowledged being part of the ‘secret mom of multiples society’, she left me with a simple statement that has stayed with me.  Before now, it was something I held on to with hope, and now I still hang onto it because it was the truth.  She was so right.  So right, that I am sharing it with you now.

Here is what she said to me:

“It gets easier. Just wait until they are four. It gets so much easier.”

Now I completely realize that not all children follow the same developmental timeline, and what a blessing it is to have two children the same age to witness those differences in development, firsthand.  That being said, her “4 year” mark was right on target for both of my boys.  So right on, that when they were 3  years and 363 days old, I was still in the “hope” phase of her statement. Shortly after they turned four, I repeated her words to myself, and slowly began to notice the changes happening right before my eyes.  Amazing.

The toddler years pass, and then it really does get easier. Doesn't always feel like it will, but it does.Toddlers come with their challenges.  Everytime we’d be frustrated or overwhelmed with one thing, it would soon pass and we’d be on to a new one.  They climbed on EVERYTHING (but mostly on things dangerously high).  They were curious of the contents of every single drawer and cupboard.  I remember spontaneous back arches and flips making diaper changes difficult and messy.  Then it seemed like we had to wrestle our boys into their pajamas on some nights. When we started with ‘timeouts’, our main goal became trying to sit the kids in the designated ‘timeout’ zone for more than ten seconds as opposed to the actual discipline aspect of it all.  My boys are really good kids, but at times, it felt like we were losing a battle against a small team of toddlers.

…and then four came.

…and guess what?

IT. GOT. EASIER.

Don’t get me wrong, we still face our fair share of difficulties.  Restaurant manners one time. Restaurant rebels the next. Testing limits. Talking back.  BUT, there are so many things that have gotten easier in the past 6 months.

The boys dress themselves.  This saves us so much time, and allows us to give a direction, secretly knowing the boys will succeed.  We are proud and they are proud.

The boys stay near us.  For the longest time, I would not enter a store if I was unable to confine the boys to a shopping cart (have you seen those tiny carts at the chain drug stores?). Four year olds still have curiosity, but they are better able to follow simple rules and we are able to shop with the boys trailing right behind us or next to our cart.

They totally get consequences.  Last night, Andrew cried over his lost possibility of having a popsicle treat, but I can be sure he knew exactly which of his actions led to his freezie-pop downfall.

Hang in there.  The twin toddler phase seemed more difficult to me than the twinfant stage.  The term “terrible twos (and threes)” didn’t just invent itself.  Hang in there, laugh, lean on friends for support, and enjoy the bright spots amongst the chaos knowing it will all be ok.

Toddler Thursday: Potty Training at Different Paces

It’s been 8 months since we dipped our big toe into the waters of potty training, and we now have one child who is completely day time potty trained  and the other who is not.  Basically daycare started the training in September when they moved from the junior to senior toddler room and for nearly two months now Molly has been in big girl underwear with minimal accidents (maybe one a week).  Jack however continues to use the toilet two to three times a day and is content to tell you when he’s just gone so you can change it immediately, he’s make strives towards training, but he just isn’t there yet, so we’re encouraging him slowly.

538px-Toilet_with_flush_water_tankImage courtesy of wikipedia

When we first started Potty Training I came up with a list of things that we didn’t know but should have probably guessed about the early stages of potty training, below is the revised version to reflect things I didn’t know about Potty Training toddler that I do now, 8 months later.
1. The potty is a “cool” hang out spot when a toddler is bored, plus it also is a great excuse to delay bed time and insist on stories at nauseum.

2. The first significant leap was when the toddlers told us when it was time to change their diapers, not that they actually have to go, next comes the two minute warning, and eventually the five minute warning (most of the time).

3. Toddlers don’t realize the odious nature of fecal matter, they think it’s an extension of their body and don’t understand why you don’t want them to touch it.

4. The girl thinks that any sound or function that comes out of her body is “poop” and recently, on taco night, after Daddy passed gas she proclaimed, “PooPoo Daddy! Tell Mommy!”

5. The cup in the potty can also double as a hat and will, more than you can imagine.

6. Reading stories about potty training on the toilet is an effective way to “inspire” your toddlers. (I recommend My Big Girl/Boy Potty by Joanna Cole).

7. Be prepared for accidents, especially when you take the training wheels off.  Keep a spare set of clothing (including socks) with you at all times.

8. The training toddler will generally be more upset than you are about the fact that they peed their pants in the produce section of the grocery store, but only a little bit.  Remind them that everyone has accidents.

9. Never underestimate the motivational power of “big kid” underwear to a toddler, especially when it has Smurfs or Disney characters on it.

10. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the bathroom.

11. Be patient, they’ll get there at their own pace, not yours.

SaraBeth is a Toronto, Canada based writer and working mom of girl-boy twins. Her blog, Multiple Momstrosity earned fourth place in voiceBoks’ Hilariously Funny Parent 2014 competition and was named one of Toronto Mom Now’s 2012 Top 30 Mom Blogs.

Traveling with Toddlers and a Preschooler

Having twin babies was overwhelming, having twin toddlers is exhausting, and having a preschooler and full time job on top of that is mentally draining. This is on a daily basis, in a confined predictable environment. So when Hubby suggested a trip away during my spring break last week, I was trepidatious, to say the least.

TravellingOur twins have never taken a trip of over a few hours at a time, we’ve never been out on vacation together as a family, and our preschooler hasn’t spent a night away since she was with Grandma when her siblings were first born almost 1.5 years ago. Suffice it to say, it’s been a long time. I also really wanted to go.

So, fully willing to accept getting no sleep, dealing with cranky children, and having no fun at all, we went… And it was GREAT! Completely exceeded all my expectations. For those contemplating travel with young multiples, it is possible. Here is what we did that I believe, contributed to a wonderful mini-vacation for us:

Location, Location, Location

We decided not to go too far, but far enough to stay overnight. Hubby’s suggestion of Legoland was perfect! Less than 2 hours away, nice hotel on site. We figured we’d give ourselves time to really explore, and we’d probably want to be taking it easy with so many young children, so I booked a two-night stay, and bought us 2-day hopper tickets.  We planned all our driving to coincide with the kids’ naps so that we’d have a nice quiet ride both ways.

Don’t Stress

Being very Type A, I knew beforehand I had to let go of some control. I had to force myself to relax my Nazi sleep schedule for the trip. I made a decision to prioritize nighttime sleep for the entire family and allow naps to be skipped/shortened for a couple of days. This was not easy for me, as I believe sleep is the foundation of everything for young children, but it was a necessity to balance the needs of everyone the trip. Obviously we knew what times the kids would all be sleepy, and sort of worked around those times (allowing twins to lay down in their stroller, taking it easy after lunch and returning to the hotel for a siesta), but for the most part I just loosely let naps be how they would.

Similarly, I only roughly planned the activities on this trip: What times we’d be driving, check-in/out times, the buffet hours, hotel entertainment events. I didn’t even know the layout of the park until we got there and explored it together. Besides a little mixup with our luggage being delivered to our room the first night (which of course was out of my control anyway), everything worked out great with my unplanned planning.

Eat at Buffets 

Our hotel stay included a breakfast buffet, and our kids ate free during the dinner buffet. Though we could have gotten dinner probably for less in the park or elsewhere, the convenience of food being an elevator ride away from our room, and the abundance of highchairs and kid food available at a place catering to children (an entire buffet section was at kid height) can’t be beat. We ate there for dinner both nights. Since breakfast was included for everyone staying at the hotel, it got to be very busy around 8:30am every morning. Not a problem for us: our kids are up and hungry by 6:30am. We ate breakfast there both mornings too.

Lunches we had in the park. As with all amusement park food, it was expensive and not the greatest. Factor in waiting for the food while your children are hungry, and you’d come to the decision to eat at a buffet whenever possible too.

Sleeping Arrangements 

When booking our reservation, I asked for a room on the top floor, away from the elevators. I knew that with so many kids staying in the hotel it would be loud, so I wanted to eliminate the noise as much as I could. I also brought a loud fan from home to use as a cover for any small noises we would make moving around the room. Again, this hotel is pretty spectacular that all their rooms are like mini-suites with a section for children that includes a bunk bed. My preschooler has never slept in a bunk before, so it was very exciting for her to look forward to being up high.

The hotel offered pack-n-plays, so I requested two of them. I was a little worried that there would be no space for them both, but going without them was not an option so we just had to wait and see. Thankfully, both cribs fit with plenty of space. We kept them at the foot of the adult bed. Knowing from traveling with their big sis at a younger age that being in an unfamiliar place might mean they would have trouble sleeping, I made sure to pack the bedding that they’re used to from home. The sheets and blankets took up almost half of the larger luggage we brought (the kids’), but it was worth it. They made not one peep either night. The fact that we all got a full night’s sleep really was the best part of this trip.

Ultimately, as with most things, I was much more worried about doing this than I should have been. I think now that I have 3 children instead of just one, I am learning to go more with the flow. Though damn expensive, this trip has taught me that some planning and the right attitude go a long way. I can’t wait for our next family vacation!

(As an aside, Legoland is such a wonderful place for young children. I would say it is perfect for kids aged 4 to 10. It is much smaller than Disneyland, easily walkable for young children without getting too tired. It was also less crowded, and if you don’t go during peak times there are no lines. Going almost anywhere with a double stroller often means a lot of maneuvering and blocking traffic, but Legoland was full of doubles, and we never had a problem getting around. Even “stroller parking” seemed plentiful. The Legoland hotel was the highlight of this trip though. Catered specifically to this age group, it had so many conveniences and amenities that made the trip super easy for us. Highly recommended.)

lunchldyd is mom to an almost-4yo and her 17mo b/g twin siblings. She is a high school teacher in a suburb of Los Angeles.

Toddler Thursday: When Your Toddlers Aren’t Toddling Together

We’ve all heard the common question, “How do you do it?” That is how we got our name. Another common phrase I have heard over the years, as many parents of prematurely born twins do is, “They’ll catch up on their own time.” I hate to say it, but sometimes this phrase is like a Band-Aid trying to cover up a bigger “owie” than it can. Sometimes it’s the only thing people can think to say to try to make the mother feel better, when she is wondering if there is a bigger problem to be addressed.

Take my little guys, for example. Growing and progressing a little more slowly than the average baby, but also born much earlier than the average baby. We always take their early arrivals into account. We don’t want to overshoot and stress them out during their development, yet, as a mother I don’t want to undershoot their capabilities by overprotecting or making excuses for them. I believe mothers of premature children may be a little more likely to overprotect their children at times, and that’s okay. Everyone has been through a lot! I also believe there is a balance and it can take a bit of time and self-reflection to understand your parenting style.

My twins are about to turn 4 and when I think back to two years ago, I remember twin b was not yet toddling. Meanwhile his twin had started motoring around on his own. Twin b was able to walk everywhere on his knees, but not his feet. Alarm bells were going off in my head, but I tried to ignore them and give my son more time to figure it out. We shouldn’t compare our twins, as they are individuals and they often do learn things at different times. I kept watching him closely and mentioned it to a few people now and then. I often heard, “he’ll figure it out on his own time.” Hmmm…Are we sure about that?

After lots of watching him in silence, assessing and reassessing; working with him one-to-one to try to get him to walk, I finally trusted my instinct. Something was NOT right. As he approached 24 months corrected/27 months actual we looked at his feet closely. I knew he was able to walk if he had the right support for his feet. I had inspected his feet closely, compared them to his brothers (sometimes comparing twins IS helpful,) watched what he was doing when he tried to toddle and cruise along the couch. I put 2 and 2 together when I realized he could cruise without a worry, but as soon as he tried to stand in the middle of the floor or walk, he’d collapse. His teeny tiny feet just couldn’t keep him standing upright because his feet were very flat and one was practically turning over. We weren’t seeing it because we were trying to promote his walking by keeping him in supportive shoes most of the day, which was supported by his physiotherapist. Once I realized his feet were likely the problem, I contacted our PT and she said my instincts could be correct and he was seen later that week. She yanked off his little shoes, assessed his feet and confirmed that his feet would benefit from the use of orthotics. He was fitted with a custom pair of ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs).

The day we picked up his custom AFOs, the physiotherapist helped him put them on as the orthotist watched. First we had to dig through a box of extra shoes at the centre to fit the larger sized AFOs. Once the AFOs and shoes were on, twin b was set in the middle of the floor…and…HE STOOD…and then…HE WALKED! ALONE. It was amazing to see unfold. One moment he’s a non-walker, the next he’s toddling around the assessment room on his own! I could not hold back my happy tears! They were also likely tears of relief, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

The moral of this story? Trust your instincts and if you feel something isn’t making sense or you’ve said and heard, “he’ll catch up on his own time,” maybe a few too many times, it’s okay to put your foot down (pardon the pun) and ask LOTS of questions to get the answers you need.

Letting Toddlers Dress Themselves

It’s amazing to think that children as young as two years old can develop their own sense of fashion and clothing preferences.

When Mister and Missy were between two and two and a half, they started dressing themselves (“I do it myself!”). Proudly putting on their own pants, socks and even trying to remove/put on their diapers! (that’s when we knew they were ready for potty training) At first we thought it was limited to dress-up time.

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Twins dressing up and getting dressed


Then at some point, they started paying attention to the clothes I would set out for them the night before. Then things got interesting and their personal clothing preferences came out. We quickly discovered that Missy is all about pink, purple, dresses and generally complicated outfits. She would be the one trying to zip up her jacket and fiddling with buttons.

In contrast, we noticed that Mister started resisting wearing anything with collars, buttons or zippers. That meant no more jeans or cute hoodies over the winter. It also meant no traditional Pakistani outfits comprised of a tailored collar tunic and baggy trousers. When my cousin got married a few months before their third birthday, it was nearly impossible to get him into the cute traditional “kurta pajama” for the wedding festivities. It took 3 people to coax and wrestle this screaming toddler into the clothes. If this wasn’t a family wedding where Mister and Missy were part of the procession, we would’ve compromised.

To this day, Mister prefers to wear his Elmo jogging pants or any track pants with a stripe down the side. His favourite and only tops to wear are slip-on shirts, preferably with a favourite character on the front. To make weekday mornings easier, I would take out at least 3 outfits each and hang them up in both their rooms. It definitely helps to plan out kids outfits beforehand so we are not searching their closet in the early morning darkness. Once they turned three, our twins started to pick out their own clothes.

A few weeks ago we were going to a community luncheon where Missy wore a traditional outfit (purple) and I wore a red one. Although Mister refused to wear the outfit I picked out (shirt with a collar, buttons and dress pants), he chose another outfit to match what I was wearing. He came over, showing the red long sleeved shirt he picked out with black fleece pants. My first reaction was to tell him to put back the fleece pants. Then I noticed the excitement on his face and sensed he was seeking my approval. The look of pride on his face when I said: “Good choice! It match!” was enough to make my heart melt.

Missy likes to be cozy and will layer her clothes. One day this past winter, she wore 6 layers: undershirt, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, dress, hoodie, and coat. And on her head were 2 headbands, 1 hair clip, and her usual requested hair style featuring three (yes, 3) ponytails… a la Punky Brewster.

There have been some (many) mornings when one or both would fight with us on their clothes choices, and even want to wear pajamas to daycare. The daycare educators suggested we offer up two choices for tops so they feel like they have some control. And let them wear pajamas if there is great resistance. That appeared to help a bit but we still had our morning challenges.

Amazingly, in the last 2 months or so and as Mister and Missy are nearly 3 ½, they have taken full control over their clothing choices. They even learned how to take their clothes off hangers and how to put them back on (their closets are child-sized).

Here is a description of recent favourite outfits:

Mister: Spider-Man underwear, blue top, blue Elmo jogging pants with white stripes, Elmo socks

Missy: Pink underwear, pink pants, pink long sleeve top, fairy dress, white & red Canada hoodie, pink socks

What’s the fashion in your house these days?

2Cute is a Canadian mom to 3 year old Boy/Girl twins who will be starting Junior Kindergarten this coming September. Their new school has a dress code (navy blue and white), which is going to cramp her twins’ sense of style.

Toddler Thursday: The Games We Play

One of the best things about parenting toddler twins is watching them play games together. Even though it was TOUGH parenting twin toddlers (ohhh, the double melt downs on the sidewalks were brutal!!), I always tried to find the virtues  they brought to each others lives.  I loved to just sit back and watch their creativity and playfulness develop with each other.   They are now 7, and I still see the virtue of their “twin-ness” help them to develop these creative outlets, through play. 

Here are some examples of games they played when my Deuce were almost 2 years old:

Spot Throwing: They each stood on a small round rug (ikea, $3) and they’d throw the ball back and forth to each other. If they got off the circle, they must get back on before throwing again. *This was a game they made up themselves!

Tickle-fest: They chased each other with a high pitch scream and tickling fingers. This often lead to tears however, because they were not quite sure how to tickle appropriately. For instance, eye sockets are not very ticklish.

1,2,3 Splash: I posted this video on our blog. It never gets old.

Whhheerrrre’s…(insert child’s name)? : This game is kind of like pee-ka-boo and hide and seek game put together. It involves a big loud celebration when the person is found.

Flashlight hide and seek: This game was so much fun to join in on! Turn off all the lights in the basement and run around like a mad man.

Party in the Wardrobe: I had emptied out an old wardrobe that we are planning on getting rid of. The kids came up with a game where they both go inside, shut the door, and scream and laugh as loud as they can. Then they step out quietly, look at each other, laugh, and go back in again for more. It never got old.

Dance Party: We’ve always had dance parties with the boys, but they decided to step up the party with removing the huge rug (by themselves!), insisting all their clothes come off, and spinning and jumping around like little crazy monkeys.

Cooking: They liked to pretend to cook while I’m cooking. They’d pull mixing bowls out, fill them with a few golf balls and stir them around, adding salt (pretend salt) every now and then.

Stump jumping: When they got tired of ‘cooking’ they would turn the bowls and pans over and arrange them so that they can jump from ‘stump’ to ‘stump’ with out touching the ground. It was pretty impressive to watch.

Butt scoot/ knee walk/ gallop: Basically they seemed to encourage each other to come up with different ways of getting from point “A” to point “B”. The butt scoot was hilarious to watch… it looked kind of like the crab walk, but with their butt dragging on the ground and they used their legs to pull them. The knee walk was cute, but got old when they were both doing it when you’re trying to walk across a busy parking lot. Not fun.

Bu-bye: They were really exploring their independence by saying “bu-bye” to us and then walking out of the room. They would come back and yell “hi!” and then seconds later they are saying “bu-bye” with a wave over their shoulders. They also often held each other hands as they waved “bu-bye” to us… like they were going off together to cause nothing but trouble.

Oh, don’t I know it :)

What games have your twin toddlers come up with to play together?

Toddler twins play the best games! Are your kids' favorites in the mix?

 

Toddler Thursday: Dealing with a Toddler and Bed Rest

One year ago today I got hospitalized for one week because I went into pre-term labor with my twin boys. Things worked out really well and I was fortunate enough to go home for the remainder of my pregnancy, but on strict bed rest.

One of my biggest worries with the sudden change of events was my toddler, who was just a few months shy of 2 at the time. Most of my stress was put at ease by my amazing mother-in-law who was able to put her life on hold for a month so that she could come stay with us and help out, but I still felt badly that I couldn’t take care of my own son.

I felt like I couldn’t do some of the things that I had hoped to do with Cameron before the babies came. I really wanted to make him feel special, because I knew having two new babies in the house would be a radical change for him and I suddenly felt like I couldn’t have that bonding time with him.

Thankfully I was able to move past that idea and I realized there was still a lot that I could do from where I was sitting. I was still able to have that special time with him and you can too if this is something that you’re dealing with in some form or another. Injury, morning sickness, fatigue, or just a down right bad head cold.

Some great ideas for spending time with your toddler while you're on bed rest

Here are just a few suggestions of things you can do with your toddler(s) with very minimal physical effort:

  • Read books. Kind of no-brainer, right? My son loves books. You can make them more interactive by pointing out colors, animals, emotions, etc. Ask them to find things, ask them what sounds the animals in the illustrations make, ask them to imitate scenes, help them fall in love with a series. Books can go a long way.
  • Coloring. Markers, colored pencils, crayons, Do-A-Dot, dry erase markers on white boards or pictures in page protectors, Color Wonder markers if you’re nervous about them getting marker on the couch/bed.
  • Camp out by the bath tub and let them have at it with shaving cream or water colors all over the tub and tile.
  • Cameron loved stickers, so letting him go through his sticker book and putting stickers all over papers was a hit.
  • Let them play trains or cars gently on your tummy. You could put tape on your belly to create lanes.
  • See if they’re interested in interacting with the baby/babies in mom’s tummy. Can they feel them move? Can they hear them? What would they like to say to them?
  • Let them snuggle up to you and watch a movie or video clips on YouTube. I pulled out a lap top and watched some of my sons favorite animal clips all the time.
  • Have your child put on a show for you. They can put on some dress up outfits and you can turn on some music from your phone for them to dance around to.
  • Pretend that your child is a doctor and you are their patient. They can check your vitals while you lay down.
  • They can “write” a letter to Grandma/Grandpa. Have them write alphabet letters on a piece of paper as if their writing words. If they aren’t old enough to actually write alphabet letters, maybe have them type on a lap top or computer keyboard. You can make the font really big so they can see it better and they can just type away.

Life throws us lots of curve balls, so save this list for a rainy day. No need to feel guilty about not being able to invest your normal amount of effort each day when you are under the weather. Your children can still feel your love for them and appreciate spending time with you all the same.

Rest on, Mom.