How do you do it? Parenting Link Up! #2

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How Do You Do It? is a community of mothers of multiples. We believe in supporting each other, in sharing our experiences and questions, in friendship, and in encouragement. And what better way to do that than to do a weekly parenting link up party, a link party open to all of our readers, whether you have multiples or not, where you can share your wisdom, your favorite posts, your insights, with our online community here at HDYDI.

We want to know: How do YOU do it?

How do you handle pregnancy and everything around it? What’s your potty training secret, your housekeeping kryptonite, or your trick for a good night’s sleep? How do you handle colic or cold, flu and RSV season? How do you handle being a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single parent? How do you find time for your partner?

If you are a blogger and a parent, caregiver, or parent-to-be (no multiples required), we want YOU to link up! When it comes to parenting: How do you do it? How did you do it? How will you do it? Let us all know!

Link parties are a great way to connect with other bloggers, to share your wonderful content and posts, and to be inspired! Plus, each week we will be picking some of our favorite posts and featuring them the following week on our site! Plus, we’ll pin them on Pinterest, tweet them on Twitter, and share them on Google+ and Facebook! Talk about exposure for you!


This week’s featured posts:Get in the Christmas Photo, Mom! Get in the Christmas Photo, Mom! – from Twins Times Two!

We loved Michelle’s five reasons why you, Mom, (and your spouse too for that matter) should be on your Christmas cards!

How I cut my laundry folding time by 30% - scruggbugcorner.comGift of Time: How I cut my laundry folding time by 30% – from Scrugg Bug Corner

This easy DIY tutorial from Herchel for making kid-sized shirt folding boards is awesome! She is saving time on a less than favorite household chore by getting her kids excited to use these awesome folding boards. Win win!

The Sparkle Box - A Christmas Service TraditionThe Sparkle Box – A Christmas Service Tradition from de Jong Dream House

We loved Jen’s post about a Christmas book called The Sparkle Box and how she’s adopted and implemented its premise in her family, helping to teach thankfulness and service to her children.

If you were featured above make sure to grab our featured button and sport it on your blog!

How Do You Do It? Featured Post

 


Parenting Link Up Party

Rules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts! Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page.
  3. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  4. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  5. Tweet about the link party, pin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party! The more the party grows, the more exposure your posts will receive, the more fun you’ll have, and the more encouragement and ideas we’ll all receive!
  6. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page!

Link up!

Dear Pediatrician

I wanted to let you know that I was very dissatisfied, and actually quite upset at one point during my recent visit to your office.

I’ve always appreciated your straight-forward no-nonsense style, but since our twins have been born, the quality of your staff is becoming unacceptable. They have been inexperienced, disorganized, and in my opinion, unqualified to work with young children.

At one of our babies’ first appointments in your office, a nurse wrote the wrong name on one of my twins’ vaccination cards and decided to shred it without my permission. I was close to tears when I found this out. It takes just a little more attention to differentiate my babies. They’re not even identical, in fact of opposite genders, but I get asked every single time which baby is which, often incorrectly.

Every visit takes longer than it should. I don’t expect having two babies’ visit to be the same duration as one child, but it should take less time than two separate appointments. Their measurements, exams, and vaccinations can all be given back-to-back. Some acknowledgement and understanding could be made by your staff for double cranky babies who are waiting up to 15 minutes between each of these steps.

During this most recent visit, your staff was unable to tell me what to do with my twins or my stroller. We were in the hallway, obstructing traffic, until I decided to take the stroller back out to the waiting room. No one offered to help with the babies, so I was taking one after the other into the exam room by myself, first for temp/weight checks, then for your physical exam. This is obviously the most inefficient way to set up a twin appointment. There was a point when I was caring for my son in the hallway that the nurse left my daughter on the scale, at counter height, alone. I wasn’t alerted of this until she cried. She could easily have fallen.

Though I like you as our doctor, I believe the lack of competent trained staff is hurting your practice. If conditions aren’t different at our next visit, I may have no choice but to consider looking for a new pediatrician.

—————————

I haven’t sent this letter yet, though I’m obviously irate, because I haven’t decided whether I should. I’m afraid conditions are the same at every pediatricians’ office, and what I know is better than what I don’t, I suppose. I’m also afraid of some sort of retribution. What do you all think? Is this experience common? Is it a twin thing?

Ask the Readers: Clipping Kids’ Nails

Photo Credit: Jesse Draper

Photo Credit: Jesse Draper

Could there be anything more mundane or boring than the cutting of nails? Diapers and feeding are topics that put us parents in our element, but nails? This is a subject that never comes up. This is also happens to be an area that I still don’t feel like I’ve mastered 7+ years into this mommy gig.

When my daughters, M and J, were newborns, their nails grew so fast that I could almost see them lengthening during our long breastfeeding sessions. I clipped those 40 tiny nails every day. Only once did I hurt a baby cutting nails, and I cried longer than she did. I caught M’s big toenail a little too close to the quick. I still cringe to think of it.

My father-in-law suggested to me that I just bite the girls nails off when they were infants. Thanks, but … eww! Instead, I used the gift my always wonderful boss gave me at our baby shower at work. I think it was Parents brand, but the Safety 1st one the picture is a decent stand-in.

I’d just grab those teeny tiny fragile hands and feet in my big clumsy hand, slide the bottom blade between skin and nail, wince, and squeeze. Times 40. Every day.

Now that they’re 7, we can get away with tending to J and M’s nails every week or so. I no longer use the baby clippers, only because they got lost in the move to El Paso two years ago. The fingernail cutting is pretty unremarkable. I ask the child in question to please sit still, I grab her hand and try to steady the finger, I remind her to sit still, I remind her that the clippers are sharp and I really need her to sit still, I give up on her sitting still, and I aim and squeeze. I trim whatever’s left and move onto the next finger.

Once we’re done with the fingers, things get difficult. My toenails grow straight out, so they’re easy to trim. The girls inherited their father’s curved nails. He pointed out to me when they were a couple of months old that they would, like him, be prone to ingrown nails, something I never contended with. I’m glad to report that it has yet to come to that.

J isn’t too thrilled about having her toenails trimmed, but she puts up with it. M, on the other hand, goes into a deep panic. There’s crying and begging and even once she’s agreed to the torture, her toes curl up and she shakes and jerks and entreats me not to cut her toes off. The child doesn’t like anyone near her feet. When we got to the nail salon together, J and I get mani-pedis and M gets a manicure. She likes to soak her feet with her sister, but insists on drying them herself when she’s done. She’ll occasionally ask me to paint her toenails, but it’s a (I just can’t help myself) nail-biting experience. (Ba dum ching.)

Yesterday, it was nail-clipping time. The fingers went as the fingers go. J needed to go potty, so M’s toes were up next. I asked if I could see her toes, and about 5 minutes of bargaining later, she acquiesced. We were seriously overdue for some trimming. I picked up her foot, and she got cold feet (am I on a roll or what?). “I can’t do this, Mommy. I just can’t handle this.”

I tried to reason with her and finally offered an alternative. “You’re a big girl. How about you clip your own toes?” Why hadn’t I considered that before? She agreed to try. She still cried, curled and twitched, but at least she wasn’t trying to buy her way out by offering to fold the next decade worth of laundry. One snip in, she decided she couldn’t do it. So I did what I always end up doing. I clamped down on her foot with an iron grip, did my best to not hear the screaming, and clipped as fast as I could without drawing blood.

When we were done, my tear-soaked M had an idea. “Maybe you should just do this when I’m asleep, Mommy.” The child sleeps in a lofted bed 5 feet off the ground.

We’ve tried nail files. M hates them worse than the clipper because they take longer and contact more of her skin. We’ve tried nail scissors. You’d think I’d suggested a light afternoon of waterboarding. I’ve tried surprise attacks, planned sessions, ice cream bribery, movie watching, snuggles, board games. It’s not getting any better.

Help me out, people. Surely M’s not the only one with this level of fear of having her nails clipped.

How do I make the cutting of nails, especially M’s toes, less torturous for everyone? We have dogs for miles around who being deafened by the shrieks.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012 and is usually better able to keep her love of puns out of her writing. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and was delighted to have the opportunity to keep a foot in the blogosphere through HDYDI. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

Twin Activities

Recently I started Toddler in swim lessons. She’s three now, and while we don’t have a pool ourselves, my in-laws and my brother both do, so I thought it was time to learn some water safety. I didn’t know how it would go, particularly because she kind of, sort of, isn’t a fan of water on her face. And by that I mean screaming bloody murder if she’s anywhere near a spraying showerhead. The lessons are also very costly. About a dollar a minute. But what the heck, it’s a heated indoor pool with teachers who are great at what they do. If a few lessons gets her to not be afraid of the water, I figured it was worth it.

And I’m very happy to say that… it’s been a blast! She’s been making steady progress with every lesson. We went from not wanting to put any part of her head in the water at all, to being able to dip her entire head under and pop back up. After only 3 lessons. So, full steam ahead. Hopefully she’ll be able to swim by the time she’s done with our 8 lesson package.

I had no idea that I could be so proud of her overcoming her fears. I feel a little silly cheering for her by the side of the pool when she does a back float, but really that emotion just cannot be contained.

And I realized that I really, really want my other kids to be a part of this too. The twins are 7 months old, too young to participate in these sorts of activities, I thought. But I saw a set of 8 month old twin brothers in the Parent and Me class. And the instructors tell me they take babies as young as 3 months. While I haven’t seen any that young, it’s definitely true that that the babies are the ones who take to the water with no fear. While the 2 year olds are crying and refusing to try stuff, the babies are just happy as can be, kicking the water like they’re in a comfy bath.

So that brings me to the real reason for this post. If I had only one baby I wouldn’t hesitate to enroll in another class. How great would it be to have the peace of mind of knowing your baby would know what to do in an accidental fall-in? But mostly because it would be fun, something all the kids could experience together, and a nice way to spend the summer. I could schedule back-to-back lessons for Toddler and baby, so baby and I could cheer for Toddler during her class, and Toddler can watch or play in the kiddie pool while I’m in the water with baby. However, I don’t only have one baby. The process would be much more difficult with two. I would either have to take them one at a time, or get another person to come with us. Neither option is really all that feasible, requiring the coordination of lots of schedules/people, and they don’t account for my third child.

Unless Husband is really enthusiastic about doing a family lesson on the weekend with all 3 kids (and even that would be a little tough), I’m going to take a pass for the babies this summer. Which is too bad, because I already bought an adorable tiny swimsuit and swim trunks for them.

And I think, will all activities in the future be like this? Mommy and Me classes where we’re the Mommy-and-Me-and-Me? At some point I know they won’t need me as much and joining activities will get much easier, but until then, are we relegated to not attending? What activities, if any, are conducive to a 2 to 1 ratio?

Twinfant Tuesday: Naps

Welcome to a new feature on HDYDI – Twinfant Tuesdays! Every Tuesday, we’ll have posts devoted to the first year of life with multiples.

Let’s kick things off with a post about naps.

Rather, let’s complain, lament, weep hysterically over naps.

This is my biggest How The %#@! Do You Do It moment with twins. Tandem feeding? Check. Double baby wearing? Piece of cake. Chasing two crawlers around the park? Got it covered. Putting them both down for a nap? Get out the rosary and pop open the Valium.

What purer form of torture is there than trying to put people to sleep when you are exhausted yourself? My sweet children have been perfecting this psychological weapon for nine months.

At first, I tried that whole eat, play, sleep thing. If it works for you, awesome. It did NOT work for me. I spent about 3 months failing at that before giving it up. My boys never liked the swing. Only one would take a pacifier. I swaddled them, rocked them, fed them, whatever it took. Usually I’d end up getting M down with a swaddle and pacifier, then have to bounce R on the yoga ball or nurse him, after which point I couldn’t put him down.  Obviously, as soon as R fell asleep in my arms, M would wake up. All this accompanied by lots and lots of crying – from all three of us. No amount of baby juggling would consistently coordinate their sleep.

Things got dire. I had two options: let them sleep on the double nursing pillow after breastfeeding (sometimes they liked to stay attached for the. whole. nap.), or walk them around in the stroller. They would still cry in the stroller, but not for as long. However, a motorcycle or gust of wind was sure to wake them up after 30-40 minutes. Whenever they were asleep, I was a prisoner – no going to the bathroom, let alone time for myself. We did that for a few months.

Then we sleep trained at night, and I was finally able to just nurse them down for naps. We had a big floor bed (large mattress right on the floor). I would sit in the middle with the double nursing pillow, load them on, feed them, and lay them down on the bed when they were done. Then I’d creep away and hope they didn’t roll onto each other. That worked for a while.

Then they got mobile and the shenanigans started big time – romping around the room, crawling over each other, coming over to the door and crying. One would perk up just as the other was finishing eating and curiously poke at his brother’s eyes. Tandem nursing was becoming impossible.

We switched to bottles for naps and got cribs. Now I feed them bottles at the same time, and one of three things will happen:

  1. Instant sleep! Move carefully into cribs and creep away. Throw silent parade in my own honor.
  2. One sleeper, one scamperer. Protect sleeper who is finishing bottle from brother who is trying to climb on his head. Put sleeper in crib, gather scamperer and give him the rest of his bottle. Put him down once he’s done. Reward self with five minutes of facebook, after which the first sleeper wakes up.
  3. Two insanely awake children who faked me out completely by showing every tired sign known to man just minutes before. Breathe deeply while the boys crawl over me, laugh, throw their bottles, and otherwise put on a baby circus. Place both in cribs and leave to a chorus of hysterical crying. Pour giant glass of wine and blog to distract self from flood of CPS calls that are surely being made from other units in my building. Wonder if it’s actually possible to drown in shame.

M usually falls asleep. If R falls asleep and M is crying, I can go in and easily soothe him. If R doesn’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, forget about his nap for today. I could kill those people who say, “Maybe he just isn’t tired?” Babies need sleep. Fussy, ear-pulling, yawning, lethargic babies are ready for sleep. I do my absolute best to hit that magic window of tired but not overtired, but some days that window is only 5 minutes wide and despite all my efforts, I miss it. And I pay for it all day.

The root problem has been the same for nine months: they need two different kinds of individual attention, and they need it at the exact same time. M needs lots of cuddles and a little independence to go to sleep. R needs to be soothed to the brink of drowsiness, then quickly released into his crib at the exact right moment. And they have very different sleep needs – R sleeps less and has a harder time falling asleep. He would prefer to have me near him. I have to disappear quickly when I put him down, or hold him for the entire nap. M sleeps much more and enjoys lots of cuddles as he gets sleepy. I can rock him to sleep in two minutes and he will rest peacefully for 1.5-2 hours. But if I stay in the room, he gets amped up and will cry.

You can see how these styles don’t exactly mesh together.

The truth is, I need the small freedom nap time gives me. NEED. IT. I have to do chores, like cleaning and preparing meals, that I can’t do when they are awake. And more importantly, I need a break from the constant vigilance and interaction that is child care (more so because they are not sleeping through the night yet). If I don’t get it, I become angry, annoyed, impatient, checked out. Not the mom I want to be, certainly not the mom my kids deserve.

My husband, a teacher, is off for the summer and helping A LOT by putting one baby down while I do the other. It’s awesome. And terrifying. How am I going to continue to give them the individual attention they need when I am back by myself in the fall?

I feel that a new evolution is heading our way with naps. Increasingly, the boys are showing their thoughts and wills through action. R will point to the bedroom when he’s tired. Today they crawled over to their own bottles and started in before I had changed their diapers. Ideally, I want to shift the responsibility of their sleep from me and onto them. Instead of “putting” them to sleep, I want to set up the environment for sleep (proper timing, white noise, sleep sacks, dark room, bottles, etc) and and let them do the actual falling asleep part. In my perfect dream, I do a sweet little nap routine and place them in their cribs wide awake; they settle quickly and fall asleep.

But I waver. It is really hard to commit to a new level of responsibility for your kids, and be consistent about it. Can I stand to hear them cry sometimes when I know I could soothe them (at least one of them)? Can I stand to keep being a slave to their sleep, even though it makes me angry and resentful? Is this a time for me to reach a new level of resolve or a new level of compassion and patience?

If you can answer all that, please send me a bill :o

How do you put your twins down for a nap? Moreover, how did you come to terms with the shortfalls of your method?

Am I Being Responsible?

I keep assuming that my experiences this pregnancy will be similar to the ones I had in my singleton pregnancies. I have been wrong over and over again. My first Ob appointment was no exception… totally different.

My Dr. started my first visit by saying ” I know since you’ve done this three times you feel like you’re an expert, but you’ve never been pregnant with twins”. He then went through a whole list of ways this pregnancy would be different: 2 gestational diabetes tests, more weight gain, more caloric demands, no more running, more appointments, more ultrasounds. None of those phased me. Then he hit me with “Now you know you’ll have to labor and deliver in the OR and you’ll have to have an epidural.”

What?

He then went on to explain that he understood how I felt about having natural births, but I needed to get comfortable with a very different experience “For the safety of the babies”. When I asked if I could try laboring without an epidural he said that it was my choice but “he’d just put me under when it was time for my C-section”

I literally didn’t know how to respond. So I didn’t.

With each of my births I have used less and less intervention. W’s  had the works: pitocin, epidural, the Dr. broke my water, and constant monitoring. G’s had a little less. O’s was intervention free: My water broke at home, no pain meds, no IV, and intermittent monitoring. I am proud of and happy with all of my births. They each resulted in a healthy baby. One of my friends asked me recently why I prefer natural birth. I explained to her that she competed in triathlons and I had babies. I love the challenge of getting through the pain and watching what my body can do. I am seriously weird in that I look forward to labor.

When I found out I was pregnant this time my husband and I decided that we’d like to use a midwife and deliver at a free standing birth center. He’s an ob/gyn so this decision didn’t come easily for us. We talked and talked and read and read. We felt confident in our decision. Then we found out it was twins and our plans changed.  We agreed that we both felt safer having the babies at a hospital. We felt better knowing that if something did happen we’d have experts on hand to help and  we wouldn’t have to waste time getting to a hospital.

So here’s my dilemma: How much intervention is needed in order to be responsible?  I had already happily come to terms with delivering in a hospital.  I’d also decided that I could deal with having  to labor and deliver in the O.R., but is having an epidural really necessary? Also, why is my Dr assuming I’ll have to have a C section?  And telling me he’ll “just put me under”? is he being flippant?

All I want is the CHANCE to have these babies vaginally without an epidural.  Is that being irresponsible?

I’ve had one more visit with Dr. Doom (my new name for him) since the awful first one.  I didn’t have the nerve to bring up our discussion.  I didn’t ask any questions and realized I was smiling and shaking my head a lot.  If you asked him I’m sure he’d say the visit went fine.  I left the appointment feeling like I either need to find a new Dr. or  have a very open conversation with him. Neither of those options sound particularly fun.

Per my usual I have launched into research mode. I’ve questioned other twin moms about their experiences, I’ve read all I can find on birthing multiples, and I have talked with my husband and a midwife friend about their approaches to delivering twins.  I’ve learned a lot and in the end I think I’ve realized that I still need to know more. So much of this decision to birth vaginally or by C section and with what interventions is dependent on my babies.

Right now my plan is to become comfortable with not knowing how I will give birth to these babies. This is very hard for my type A uber organized self.  I still want the chance to deliver naturally, but I won’t dig my heels in and refuse other options. I think being open is the only responsible choice.

Talk to me about your birth experiences. Anyone deliver their babies naturally? How much intervention did you find was truly necessary? Would you change anything about your birth?

 

Elizabeth lives in Central Texas with her husband and 3 sons.  She is 13 weeks pregnant with twins. 

 

Can Moms of Multiples Have It All?!?

Something I have considered from seemingly every angle before getting pregnant was whether or not I’d want to return to work after having kids. I forwarded Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” (The Atlantic) to my working mom friends, or friends of child-bearing age, followed the Yahoo CEO story closely and am looking forward to reading Lean In when time allows.  Love these discussions, whether I’m talking to a SAHM or a single woman who never sees themselves having kids.  Now that I’m pregnant, it feels like I’m admitting to a crime when I say that, while I can discuss my opinions about maternity leave pay in our country, or gender-specific expectations around child-rearing, etc, etc, the deep down truth is that I always wanted to work after kids (and still want to return).

Of course, an angle I didn’t quite consider is that I might have twins, and have the daycare costs for twin infants, the emotional impact of leaving behind TWO infants and perhaps double the sleep deprivation to contend with in the early days back at my desk. When we started trying to have kids, I was in a very stressful, unhealthy work environment, and it only took about six unsuccessful months of trying for me to question whether my stress level was impacting my fertility. I started looking for jobs elsewhere, took a pay cut and began my work in an area in which I was less passionate, but allowed me to get out to the increasingly frequent reproductive endocrinologist’s appointments and take more time for myself.

I felt guilty taking a new job, knowing that we were actively trying to get pregnant, and decided to tell my boss about our fertility treatments early on. I do recall her giving her support, as long as I was planning on returning to work. (Of course, this was probably unnecessary, as it still took another 8 months to get pregnant.) While I occasionally miss some of the more passion-driven days at my old job, I definitely have settled into a new role where I can do things like (ahem!) write blog posts in my down time and relish waking up a little later and still having time to do yoga before work. Upon finding out I was expecting two babies, some questions started popping into my head: If this doubles the cost of daycare, is it worth it to still work? If we break even with my salary and day care, is it STILL worth it? I don’t know any moms of twins in my life who returned 5 days per week (well, ones without ample help). Am I crazy for considering this? Will weekends and minimal time at night during the week feel like enough time with my little ones?

I have always worked two jobs. Like, for the last 14 years. (Don’t worry-I only have three weeks left of job number two, and will only be returning to one after the babies arrive.) While I absolutely strive to maintain other parts of my identity (artist, aspiring chef, yoga enthusiast, world traveler, wife in a healthy marriage) other than employee, I am not going to lie: I enjoy working full-time, being needed in a work place, and possibly most importantly, feeling part of a community, both in the sense of working people in the world, and also in my small non-profit. I decided to commit to returning full-time, taking comfort in the fact that I now have a VERY short commute, have found a nanny who is amazing, and have a very laid-back work environment.

In the eight weeks or so since I announced that I’m pregnant at work, my boss has resigned (the head honcho of our agency) and more recently, the chairperson of the board that oversees our whole agency announced his plans to step down. My perfectly-laid plan of returning to a stress-free environment seems to be crumbling before my eyes. I’ve questioned whether I may want to apply for said head honcho role, to ensure the laid-back attitude prevails. And I’ve questioned whether I will be able to get through if someone new is hired who cracks the whip a little more… Yes, of course, another lesson in, (big shocker here) things I cannot control! I feel pretty certain I’ll return either way and see how things go…

I realize there are previous HDYDI blog posts on working moms. I’d love to hear from working moms, especially those in leadership roles, who have thoughts about returning to work after 12 weeks off.

Mom Ninja

We’ve got two babies (at least) and two arms (if you have information on how to grow a third, please post here immediately!). If we ever want to eat or pee again, we must develop a special set of skills to get basic things done. We must become…Mom Ninjas.

Super Skills of the Mom Ninjas

Level 1: Holding two babies at once. Let’s face it, even though we MoMs usually take this for granted, holding two babies, seated or standing, is a skill.

Level 2: Feeding one baby while rocking/feeding/changing/soothing another. AKA your life for the first 6 months (give or take a couple years).

Level 3: Leaving the house by yourself and all your infants. And coming back in one piece.

Level 4: Changing a poopy diaper in the middle of the night without waking the sleeping non-pooper. Keeping your cool when the non-pooper poops too, even though this is the first thing they have managed to do on the same schedule all @#$% day. And we’re breathing…

Level 5: The ol’ Switcheroo – trading babies with your partner by handing them over simultaneously.

Level 6: Picking up a dropped toy/keys/diaper with your foot while holding both babies.

Level 7: Listening to and retaining information from the bank/insurance company/doctor’s office while wrangling two busy little bodies determined to a) roll across the room and eat cat food, and/or b) deafen the neighborhood with screaming for no apparent reason.

Level 8: Picking up a baby up from a car seat/putting a baby into the car seat while holding another (possibly both are crying hysterically. Actually they definitely are. Otherwise no one would attempt this insane move. Please don’t tell CPS.).

Level 9: Knowing, in the midst of a Double Meltdown, whom to go to first and the subsequent order of problem-solving to get back to relative peace.

Level 10: Walking down the street, pushing that awful Double Snap n’ Go that your kids refuse to ride in because we woke up, mommy, so you’re carrying one in the Ergo and the other on your hip and maybe even talking on the phone (it’s the sleep consultant, guys) when some kind, misguided soul whispers “Oh my god, quadruplets,” as you pass. Actually, if I had quadruplets, I’m pretty sure I would leave the house in a better state than this. If I left at all. Which I wouldn’t.

Level 11: Standing up with two sleeping babies on the double nursing pillow, possibly still attached to the boob, walking to the bathroom, peeing, pulling up your pants, and returning to the couch – without anyone waking up.

Level 12: See Level 11, add jeans.

Level 13: Doing it all again tomorrow, without much sleep in between.

You know you’ve done all this and more (MoMs-to-be, don’t worry, you will too). So tell us, ladies – What are your ultimate Mom Ninja moves?

RebeccaD is a SAHM in San Francisco. She is currently in ninja training with her 6-month-old fraternal twin boys, who are ruthless taskmasters but big on hugs and kisses for a job well done.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

I’m a big believer in teaching by example.

If I’m going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk. If I want my children to make healthy food choices, I need to make healthy food choices myself. If I want them to treat others with compassion, I need to do that in my own life. If I want them to be honest and open with me, I need to be honest and open with them. Whether or not my children are watching me, I try to model the things I want them to learn.

The problem is that I am messy. Really, really messy. I am good at many things, but tidying is not one of them. I am so bad at putting things away that two of my friends came over to help me move in and save me from myself. While the husband took all our kids to the nearest park to play, the wife walked me through my home, telling me where to put my things.

I’m great at cleaning, but lousy at tidying. In an hour, I can leave a bathroom sparkling and germ-free. My dirty laundry doesn’t pile up. Dirty dishes in the sink? Forget it! However, my bathroom counter is cluttered. When it comes to folding clean clothes and putting them away, I’m an abject failure. My kitchen counters are covered with mail, kitchen appliances, and spice containers. My dining table has a pile of books on it. My buffet is covered with paper. I moved into my house in August, and half unpacked boxes take up half my garage. The last time my daughters had a friend sleep over, she told me that I should really clean my room.

How can I realistically expect my children to clean their room when I leave the rest of the house, inlcuding my own room, a mess?

The one area of tidiness where I am consistently successful is the containment of dirty laundry. My dirty clothes always make it into the hamper. Therefore, I feel that this is an area in which I can insist the children follow suit. They don’t, though. Their bedroom floor is littered with worn clothes.

A month ago, I laid down the law. My daughters are 6 years old and dress themselves. I think this means that they can take ownership of discarding worn clothes appropriately. I would no longer wash clothes that didn’t make it into the girls’ laundry basket. Over the last several weeks, I have pushed their dirty clothes scattered on the carpet to the side of the room instead of helping them into the basket. I’ve only washed what the girls toss in their basket.

The first thing they ran out of was pajamas. These girls LOVE their pajamas, so imagine their dismay at having to sleep in daytime clothes. (I used to make them sleep in school clothes. I’ll tell you about that another day.) Next, they ran out of sweatpants and tights. They live in sweater dresses and tights or sweatpants and T-shirts during Texas winters, so this was The End of the World.

It worked. Last Thursday, M told me that she had picked up part of the growing pile of worn clothes and moved it to the laundry basket. By the time she woke on Friday, I’d washed and folded every last item she’d taken ownership of. I placed them in the bin from which they are supposed to put their clothes away, and she dressed herself in sweatpants in deep gratitude.

My girls aren’t going to do what I say, unless I do it myself.

Now tell me: How do I teach myself to be neat so I can teach my kids?

Sadia fails to keep house in the suburbs of Austin, TX. She is a single mom of 6-year-old twin girls, and works in higher education IT. Her desk at work is disarmingly clutter-free, and her electronic folders well-organized. Her desk at home is another story.

Stroller Insanity

Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed about strollers. As the twins are now 3 months old, and I HATE the double Snap-n-Go that we currently use, I’m ready to get a nice double stroller. I feel so insane scouring the internet for stroller reviews and watching YouTube comparisons for hours. It’s not a small purchase, but if I could just make a decision already I’d be able to spend more time playing with my kids or sleeping!

With our first I bought a travel system. I looked for a 3 wheeled one (called a jogger, I now know), because I think I once saw one at the mall and was intrigued that it looked different from the traditional 4-wheeled ones. I must have been more frugal then, because I looked for the cheapest one I could find and didn’t consider the others at all. I don’t think I even test drove any at the store. We ended up with a Baby Trend Expedition, which cost all of $199, including the carseat! But I soon learned that it was pretty bulky and heavy. Recovering from a c-section in the first few weeks, I opted to use the Bjorn when going out with baby. It didn’t get much use as a travel system either, since I ditched the carseat at 6 months, but it’s still a pretty good stroller. Nice big wheels, very comfortable to push and sit in.

When baby was about a year old, we decided it was time for a family trip somewhere out of town. We picked a place not too far, San Diego, and planned some kid-friendly activities like going to the zoo. Suddenly, I realized that our stroller wouldn’t work. It would fit in my car, but with a pack-n-play and all our luggage for the trip, that was a lot to move around. Plus what if we took a tram at the zoo, or used any other sort of public transportation? So, at the last minute, the night before we planned on leaving, I searched Craigslist for another stroller. I happened to find a Maclaren Quest that was a couple years old, made the deal for $100 early in the morning, and picked it up as we were leaving town. I didn’t even know how to open/close it, so we just figured it out as we used it. I think it weighs something like 12 lbs. I liked it so much that after the trip I considered buying myself a new one, but at $100 and in good condition, there really wasn’t any need. It’s serviced us well.

Both those strollers are now collecting dust in the garage. Toddler doesn’t need to be pushed in a stroller anymore as she likes to run around, and though we think of “jogging” in our jogger now and then, laziness always overtakes us.

It’s time for a new stroller. This time a double. This time more pricey. This time more well-researched. This time, weighing somewhere between the last two. Loving our Maclaren, I was all set on getting the twin version. It’s been sitting in my Amazon cart for months. Grandpa has already given us money to pay for it. But the more I thought about it, the more I read about strollers, the more I was doubting my choice. I’ve come to the conclusion that a double just doesn’t work as an umbrella stroller. Too much to fold up and bulky anyway. Plus it weighs almost 24 lbs, which puts it in the range of non-umbrella doubles.

So, I’ve been looking into other types of double strollers. Turns out there are sooooo many! Tandems, side-by-sides, stacked, re-positionable, carseat adaptable, forever-air tires, one-hand fold, independent recline… one can get sucked into the madness that is stroller comparison. The problem is, since twins are not as prevalent as singles, double strollers are not usually out on sales floors, and for the same reason, you wouldn’t have a “friend’s” to see/test. And the reviews are never-ending, sometimes contradictory, and always refer to yet another previously unresearched stroller for comparison. UGH!

I am leaning towards the Baby Jogger City Mini Double. At under 30″ wide and less than 27 lbs, it’s not too big to stroll around nor too heavy to discourage use.

So the shopping begins. Currently the newest model is the 2012 version. It retails for $450 and I haven’t seen it on sale for much less. The 2011 model is being clearanced, and I have found an orange one for $300. What a steal, right? But I can’t decide if I want to the better seat padding, easier access to the underbasket, and the auto close clip in the newer version. Plus buying the older version would be like buying last year’s car model. A little anti-climatic. Still haven’t decided…

What are you all pushing around?

lunchldyd is mom to a toddler girl and 3 month old b/g twins. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs who would probably enjoy a walk outside with a new stroller.