Sharing a big bed

After putting our girls to bed for the night two nights ago, my husband and I sat on our bed in our bedroom and watched the newest episode of Psych.  While we did so, the girls talked and played quietly in their room, and we were a little too tired to care about how late it was and that our girls were still awake.

So, after our show was over, I came in to their room to tell them it was high time they actually went to bed.  To my surprise, both of my daughters were on the top bunk.  They wanted to sleep together.  The daughter who was supposed to be sleeping on the bottom bunk had even brought up her pillow and blankets.

And I thought it was adorable!  My girls’ first “slumber party.”  While my girls had from time to time previously tried to convince us that they wanted to sleep together, those nights usually ended up with them just playing and talking and never settling down to go to bed.  So, we’ve often been leery about any desires they have had about sleeping together.  After all, they haven’t shared a bed since they were about 4 months old. 

So, I let my girls both sleep on the top bunk that night.  But, I told them they actually had to sleep, and soon, otherwise, one would have to go on the bottom, as it was very late at night.  And would you believe that they did indeed sleep?

Last night, we put one on top and one on bottom, but after we left the room, both of them were soon on top again.  But, we explained, again, that they actually had to go to sleep, and tonight, much, much sooner than the night before.  We put one at the foot of the bed with her pillow and blankets and the other at the head, and sure enough, soon they were asleep.

I am still amazed that they both want to sleep together.  They haven’t ever been those twins who always have to touch each other, or be near the other to sleep.  But, they understand now that they are twins, that they are different, special.  And I love that.  They do have a special connection.

My question now is how long will this last?  Will they continue to want to share a bed?   And should we have just gotten one twin bed instead of the bunks those few months ago, because it looks like they don’t need two beds now?! 

Did your twins ever share a big bed?  At what ages? For how long?

ldskatelyn is a wife and mother of newly turned three year old fraternal twin daughters, and a newborn son.  She writes all about her life on her blog What’s Up Fagans?

Family Planning with Twins

Having twins rocked my world, I’m not going to lie. I never considered twins a possibility when I thought about starting a family and even skipped all the sections on twins in my prenatal books until I found out it was happening to me. Only weeks after my husband and I deciding we were going to start a family, I became pregnant. 10 weeks after that, we found out it was twins. I was shocked, surprised, scared, and any number of S words you can use to describe ones emotions. I kept telling myself that since these twins were natural, I was going to be spared from the laundry list of twin pregnancy risks you are told about. “It was meant to be” was my mantra for 38 weeks and I whole-heartily believe it.

Pregnancy was not what I would call easy, but looking back, it was not terrible either (likely because I do not know any different). I had morning (noon and night) sickness for 18 weeks, I had weeeeeeks of feeling really great, and then I had 3 weeks of bed rest to keep my little guys cooking away as long as possible. Because both babies were breech, I ended up having a c-section at 38 weeks despite my being a student of the Bradley method. My c-section experience was not textbook, I am sad to say, and I ended up hemorrhaging after delivery. Although it was scary at the time, I recovered quite well and have been assured that it was a flukish thing that can happen when you have twins and is not likely to happen if there are future pregnancies.

Now that my guys are 15 months old, my husband and I are starting to reflect on whether or not we should increase the size of our family. I never thought I would be asking myself this question after only one pregnancy. Because I waited until after I finished my PhD and post doc to get pregnant, I figured I would pop out two kids, one right after the other, to make up for not getting pregnant in my 20’s. (Turns out- this is what happened but instead of 1.5 years between kids, there is 1.5 minutes, ha!). I pictured myself having two kids but I thought I would have to have two pregnancies to get them. Now that I have twins, I am wondering if we should roll the dice again and try for more children. I know it is commonplace to be pregnant while you are raising a toddler but, in truth, it scares me. I am (worrying) wondering how you effectively parent twin toddlers while creating the life of a third? How do you start the clock again on sickness, tiredness and breastfeeding baby(ies?) right when your toddlers are bursting with energy? How do you change your parenting techniques to raise a singleton when you are so used to parenting twins?

Deciding whether or not to have children is a very personal decision and I am not asking to have that debate. I am, however, trying to explore the worries that come with being twin parents who are thinking about adding other children to the family. How do you do it?

How I Do It

A couple of days ago, Mercedes asked us, “Seriously, how do you do it?” This is my answer.

(This is a revised version of a post I originally wrote when my now 6-year-olds were toddlers.)

I don’t think parents of multiples or military families or single parents or working moms are unique in needing to answer this question repeatedly. I suspect all parents get it, because seriously, parenting is a hard hard job. It’s physically, emotionally and creatively demanding, and, although its rewards are incomparable, there are days it’s a thankless slog.

So, how do I do it?

My 2-second answer to the question is, “I do the best I can.”

My 20-second answer is, “I prioritize, and I lower my standards. I figure out what really matters and what’s necessary. Then, I let everything else slide. The kids and my job need a level of attention that cannot be compromised. I have to care for myself enough so that I am mentally and physically healthy enough to manage those things. Everything else has to fit in around those top priorities.”

Here’s the long answer:

My priorities are clear. In order, they are:

  1. The kids’ immediate well-being
  2. The kids’ long-term well-being. Are they on a path to being healthy, happy, wholesome, productive adults?
  3. My job and my immediate co-workers and customers
  4. The kids’ relationships with their family members who don’t live with us, including their father, stepmother and stepsisters
  5. A healthy diet for the family
  6. My mental and physical health (including getting sleep)
  7. Friends and remaining family
  8. Community participation
  9. Housekeeping and home maintenance

I look at the balance of my life in two-week chunks. I might not get to cleaning, talking to relatives, exercise, or even reading with the girls, every single day. I may go a week without making a meaningful contribution to my community. Within each 14 day period, though, each of the areas I value should have had some attention, in proportion to their place on the priority list.

How do I fit this blog into my life? Well, blogging helps me work through the most challenging questions of the day, reminds me that the kids are the primary reason I even try to achieve balance, and keeps me connected with the amazingly supportive and smart community of parent bloggers. Priorities 1, 2, 6 and 8 addressed in one fell swoop. Again, the 14-day balance helps me stay on top of things. I don’t write nearly as regularly as I publish. Some days, I’ll have three things to talk about, and I’ll publish the extra drafts on days when there’s a gap and I don’t have the time, energy or creativity to come up with a timely post.

Here’s the big secret. I don’t do it all. On a given day, I either don’t sleep enough, don’t clean enough, feed the kids junk like mac and cheese and hot dogs, don’t shower, or don’t take any time to sit and breathe.

So, how do I do it? I don’t.

Sadia is a recently divorced mother of 6-year-old twin girls, M and J, having spent 8 years as an army wife. They live with three cats in the Austin, TX area, where J and M attend Spanish-English dual language public school and Sadia works at a large university in information technology.

Ask the Moms – Twin vs Singleton Pregnancy

source http://www.sxc.hu/photo/335717

We’re going to try a new feature on the blog.  There used to be an Ask the Moms column.  I’ve decided to resurrect it to address your questions about having multiples.  If you have questions, email them to me at hdydiblog @ gmail DOT com.  Be sure to put Ask the Moms in the subject line.  I’ll post the questions, and our contributors and you (our helpful readers) can provide your responses.

 

source http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1358376

Here’s the first question.  Shelly posted this question on a post about twins vs singleton pregnancies.  Please share your experiences to help her out.

I need help. I currently have twins and just found out I’m 4 weeks pregnant. I really need to know details on how it may differ for me if now it’s a singleton pregnancy. With my twins I had no pregnancy symptoms at all other then heart burn and delivered via c-section 10 day prior to what would have been my 40 week due date. I had no complications but had several prenatal visit. I really want or need to know how different it may be with singleton. I’m already experiencing symptoms this time around such as dizzy, nausa, headache, backspin, mad tired, irritable as hell. Besides all that, I want to know how many prenatal visit I will have opposed to the tons I had while pregnant with twins. Thanx to all in advance.

Shelly,

Congratulations! My first thought it that every pregnancy is different. The number of prenatal visits will depend on your doctor or midwife, your health, the baby’s health, whether there are any complications or other health concerns, where you live (Canadian moms seem to have fewer ultrasounds than American moms), etc.  Just for comparison, I had 2 ultrasounds with my singleton and 6 or 7 with my twins.  With the singleton, I had one appointment a month in first trimester, and 2 month in the second and most of the third trimester.  In the last month I had weekly appointments. Jenna

Double the Gear?

I am writing this post for my brother who is expecting twins in the spring. The first trimester is finally over and everything is going well. One of the things I wanted to help him with, and I’m sure many other expecting and new parents of twins want to know, is what gear do you need two of, what can you get away with one of and what do you need differently. I found that when it came to gear there was very little I needed two of. 

Yes, I needed two carseats, two cribs and two highchairs. I had b/g twins so I needed two sets of clothes. I also have two booster seats now that they are getting into the toddling years.

I still only needed one dresser, one changing table, one diaper pail and one rocker. I almost never got two of the same toy (so they had more variety instead). I still only had one diaper bag (just a really well organized one).

When it comes to the stroller though, I actually found that I needed one double stroller and one single (cheap) stroller. I did the single stroller for when I was running errands and only taking one baby in tow (made things a lot easier for me).

I had two bouncers but I wish I would have had one bouncer and one swing. I had two exersaucers but I wish I had one exersaucer and one walker.

What items did you find you needed two of, could get away with one of, or just needed something different?

Meredith is the Twin Momma of 18 month b/g twins.

Making the Bed Transition

Hello, I’m Meredith and this is my first post on HDYDI. My twins, Elizabeth and David, are 16 months old. I consider myself quite the Twin Momma (capital TM) and have all the shirts and coffee mugs to show it off. When it comes to my kids though, I acknowledge I have two very different children that happen to have been born at the same time.

I am a major planner and the thing that has been on my mind lately is planning the kids’ transition out of the crib and into a bed. I know I am still a little early since they are only 16 months old but as I said, I am a planner. I struggle because I also need to separate their bedrooms. Part of it is that they are boy/girl but the bigger part is that the bedrooms are so small in our house, I do not think I can fit two twin size beds into one room.

The logistic side of me says when they are ready to leave the crib and move to a big bed just move their rooms then. I was thinking we take a weekend where the kids can stay at Grandma’s and my husband and I can play musical rooms. Then the kids can be totally surprised and excited about each having their own room with their own stuff and it will be lots of fun.

Then the motherly side of me kicked in. No longer in the safety of their crib, no longer in a room with their sibling, and poor David will be in a completely different room. I worry that it would be a huge shock to their little bodies and no one will sleep for months (I can’t go through that again!).

So far, the best thing I thought of is when the time comes, still take that weekend, play musical rooms but keep one crib in each room. That way each room will contain one twin size bed and one crib. My hope is that that will let them deal with the transition of being apart and get used to their new rooms while still having the comfort (and confinement) of their cribs. Let them be in that arrangement for a few weeks and then start to use the twin bed.

What did you do to transition your children from the crib to the big bed?
Did you separate their rooms?
How old were they when you made these transitions?

Climbing Toddlers

Andrew's infamous window climb. Window was taped off with cardboard shortly after.

I thought I’d given myself enough time for this post, but once again, I’ve procrastinated. …and by procrastinated, I mean I’ve cleaned, chased babies, did laundry, made meals, and cleaned some more. Hello, I’m last minute Margie from Double the Giggles.  I’m so happy to be a new addition to HDYDI, a blog I’ve turned to for multiples advice many times in the past.

As a mom to two very active ‘almost‘ two year old boys, I face many challenges.  Daredevil was never something I’d thought I’d have to deal with…well, not just yet, I guess.  My little Andrew is very strong and loves to jump, leap, climb and flip.   The kid does a better summersault than I did after years of gymnastics class.  That’s problem #1.   Problem #2 is that my little Wesley is not as coordinated (ahem, bull in China shop) however, has a severe case of the Monkey See, Monkey Do’s.

Insert Band-Aid here.

The boy’s latest feat is the bookshelf in their room.   The bookshelf has been stripped of it’s many toys and books (by the boys, themselves) and is now used as a playground toy.   Fear not, it’s firmly bolted to the wall.  My husband and I have come up with all sorts of innovative baby-proofing in our house, but where does it end?  If I tape poster board over the lower shelves to deter climbing, it will only get torn off.   The changing table/dresser has already been removed from their room due to climbing… Is it time to remove the bookshelf now, too?  Is it crazy to have just beds in their room?

My question to other moms of multiples who have dealt with this is:  When saying “Don’t Climb” and/or “Feet on the Floor” don’t work, and your toddlers are determined to climb and jump beyond where it’s considered acceptable (say, at a playground or in a bounce house), what tricks worked for you in keeping them grounded?  I have endless kisses for boo-boos, but all these Band-Aids are getting pricey…

let's collaborate on a tip sheet re: why it's important that my child's teachers can recognize him

Thank you for all of your advice and support after my last post[-ing binge], regarding my suspicions that my boys’ kindergarten teacher has mixed them up more times than is really excusable.

After taking some time to cool down, I’ve decided:

  1. Their teacher is a good teacher. She is kind, she works really hard, and she cares about the kids.
  2. Ignorance regarding the importance of facial recognition seems to be widespread.

To turn this into a useful experience, I’ve decided to compose a letter/pamphlet/flyer/something to hand over to the principal or the local board of education, that explains why it is so important to learn to identify look-alike twins, triplets, etc. by sight.

I’d also like to touch upon some tips or information along the lines of: What do I wish my kids’ teacher/s knew going into the school year?

If any of you have experience putting your multiples in daycare, preschool, camp, elementary school, or beyond, please comment (or email, if you’re shy) with your tips and suggestions. Or share ideas based on your own experiences, if you are a twin or triplet.

My email is jen.diagnosisurine at gmail.com, but consider posting a comment because your thoughts might spark some ideas for other readers. It would be great if we could come up with a piece that we all could use as we’re putting our children in new situations.

A first… rudeness to one twin?

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

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

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

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

Then she kept right on going.

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

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

Have you guys encountered this and what did you do?

Back 2 the Future: Child-proofing

Griff Thena Phe recliner3 121605
“Child-proofing” is a term that gives me a good hearty chuckle, like “potty trained.” We child-proofed the heck out of our house when we were expecting the twins. Magnetic locks on all the cabinets, with the magnet stored up high. Gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Locks on all the door handles, outlet covers out the wazoo, chemicals stored up high (except personal lubricant)… The kids had the run of the living room, kitchen, dining room and hallway, but couldn’t get anywhere else.

That was perfect, until the twins learned to walk.

From: me
Date: 12/20/05 21:09:12
To: NorthernWarrenCountyOhioFreecycle@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Freecycle] ISO baby gates PLEASE!!!

Please, for the love of all that is sacred, if you have a spare baby gate, would you consider giving or loaning it to me?

I have 16-month-old twins and I just cleaned the kitchen trash off the floor for the 9th time today. This is AFTER I taped the lid shut. They just used their twin powers for evil and lifted the lid right off.

We have two gates but they are on the top and bottom of the stairs. I never would have dreamed we’d need to gate them out of every part of the house. Silly me.

So please, I am nearly in tears because they think they are hilarious but I can’t take this anymore! If you have a gate you aren’t using I PROMISE I will return it to you if you can loan it to me. Or maybe I can trade you for something. We just don’t have any $ for gates until at least the new year, and even then… Gates are crazy-expensive.

Thank you in advance!

[Note: The twins thinking they are hilarious frequently coincides with me nearly being in tears. That hasn’t changed in the last four years.]

This post resulted in an intimidating fencing system cobbled together from various semi-broken baby gates. On the plus side, the boys were finally confined to the living room and hallway and were no longer free to roam and plunder the garbage. Sadly, my 3-year-old had to be able to predict her need to urinate in enough time to press the release button – which only sometimes worked – on the hall gate blocking the babies from the kitchen/dining room/bathroom. And my blog is named “Diagnosis: Urine,” so we all know how that worked out for me.

Any good “child-proofing” stories in your past?

Jen is the married work-from-home mother of 7-year-old Miss A, 5-year-old boys G and P, and 3-year-old Haney Jane. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.