Yes, they are “natural”! Although most people don’t realize that asking if a set of multiples is ‘natural,’ most of the time they are just expressing their amazement at our double, triple, or even higher blessings. And while the occurrence of spontaneous twins (particularly fraternal) is not that uncommon, spontaneous quintuplets happen in one in several million pregnancies.
This article about a 23 year old Czech mother awaiting her quintuplets is a must read! She has one son already, and was initially told she was expecting twins–then it was amended to quads–and then last month, a fifth baby was revealed.
Alexandra Kinova, the MoM to be, says she’s had no real complications during the pregnancy, and she looks beautiful and healthy. Her C-section is planned for this weekend, although the article doesn’t mention how far along she is. She hopes to breastfeed her new babies as she did her firstborn child.
These will be the first set of quintuplets in the Czech Republic.
I read some of the other quad momma bloggers out there, and they are truly super moms.
Or they lie.
Or they don’t blog about the hard stuff.
OK, that’s not entirely true either, over at Littlest Lesnaus, Krista had a blog not to long ago about struggling and finding life difficult.
This past week we had two doctor’s appointments, a PT appointment for Alyssa, and Infant Development twice. School break was coming up for our 4 year old. I haven’t been sleeping well at all. Not because of babies. I just can’t sleep. Greg had a rough day, then I had a major meltdown.
No, maybe three times.
OK, if we’re being honest, perhaps it was a lot of times.
Yup. It has finally hit us.
We have many visitors in our home… yet life is lonely.
If I hear “oh I don’t know how you do it”, “I couldn’t do it”, “wow you’re organized”, “your babies are always sleeping”, “everything is under control”, I think I might just lose it.
Maybe I have lost it already.
This week maybe I’ll trash the house and screw the schedule.
Friday was a terrible terrible day. So I checked out of my life Saturday afternoon. I really did. I left home, and said someone else can deal with it.
And you know, sometimes I wonder if Gods sense of humor is messed up.
Really messed up. No joke this truly happened:
Friday afternoon my sister-in-law said that I could go to their place in Newmarket as they were coming to visit anyways so I’d have the place to myself. Awesome. Friday night, all four babies got sick. No big deal, lots of people around to help.
Saturday morning I got sick.
No big deal, right?
Saturday afternoon, I drove to Newmarket, spenr lots of time in tears, hating the world, not understanding life, but I told myself to buck up and get it together. Sunday morning I thought I’d go out for breakfast. Car wouldn’t start.
No big deal, I’ll use sister in laws car and deal with mine later.
Drive to Timmie’s, and roll down window. I get my breakfast. Window won’t go back up. Awesome.
No big deal. After about a half hour the stupid thing went back up.
Go back to parking lot, then decide, “You know, maybe church is where I should be.”
Drive to church. The pastor speaks, and his first point was how God is the perfect parent. Are you kidding me?! Go back to house, call CAA, dude #1 couldn’t get it to start, he calls dude #2 who gets it to start and says, “You better drive straight home. Who knows if it will start again before you get there?” How relaxing is that?
The stupid thing is, the whole time I was away I didn’t read, I didn’t catch up on anything, I didn’t shop.
I laid around and worried about home. About life. About my oldest daughter. About not spending time with each kid. About the friends that used to call. About the family who doesn’t come. About the people who say “call me anytime” but never answer. About a church that I no longer feel a part of. About the people I thought were friends that have ignored us completely. About the friends that I’ve helped when they’ve needed it. About the big things. About the stupid little things.
Worked myself into quite the downward spiral.
The more I thought about it the worse it became.
I know there people who care. I do.
I am SO thankful for our parents.
I am beyond grateful for our regular helpers. For the 13 members of the community. For the 6 people from our church. I am thankful for the occasional helpers who come when they can. For my faithful meal makers. For my fellow mommas who do find time to check in. For our nanny who has been incredibly flexible and loves our kids like her own.
It’s just so flippin’ hard.
Since writing this post back in March, some things have changed:
I have stopped pumping every 3 hours, and have gone to just 5 times a day.
I have scheduled life so that at least once a week I have some time to myself.
I have admitted that perhaps I cannot handle everything on my own. In March, I quietly began taking the prescription Zoloft. As much as I hate to admit it, it has helped. While I don’t think I was depressed, I definitely could not find the “off” switch. I would lay awake worrying about things and stressing over daily unimportant things. I would put on a face and say that everything was OK, even though it wasn’t. I had begun to read more into things people said, and that really wasn’t like me.
So all that to say, “Life is hard, but sometimes we make things harder on ourselves.”
MrsLubby is a mommy of four cute 6 month old fraternal quadruplets and a 4 1/2 year old, trying desperately to find a balance.
I thought I would take a moment to introduce myself! My name is Paige, and I live just outside of Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.
I am happily married to my husband Greg, and we just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We have a beautiful 4 year old girl, and recently welcomed home GGBB quadruplets, who are now 20weeks old, 11 weeks corrected.
I have been blogging throughout our journey at www.lubbelinkhof.ca if you’d like to check us out from the start.
Here are a few things you should know about me:
#1 – I am a Christian, and while I don’t typically blog about this it may come up.
#2 – I have PCOS. I do not ovulate.
#3 – We took medications to get pregnant.
#4 – I breastfeed 90% and supplement 10%. Yes it can be done!
#5 – I tell it like it is. I am not super mom. I do not pretend to be.
#6 – Our oldest daughter is Madelyn Grace. She was born a healthy 7 pounds 11 ounces at 38 weeks. Next up our babies were born at 31 weeks 1 day, and the first is Jessa Joy, followed by Alyssa Faith, Brett Paul, and Colton Gregory. We spent 1 week in the Level 3 NICU in Toronto, then 5 weeks in the Level 2 NICU in Orillia.
#7 – All of our kiddos are healthy, however we do receive support from PT for Alyssa & Colton. Alyssa also receives OT for her “over active” vestibular system, and Infant Development follows all of our kids.
#8 – I love answering questions so fire away! The only way to find out is to ask. Its much easier for me to answer them then to come up with random blogs on my own, so if there’s something specific you’d like to see, let me know!
#9 – Because of the current craziness of life my posts are likely to be sporadic, but I want to attempt my best to post here as often as I can! Please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here.
If you love Valentine’s Day, you’ll love this story. On Valentine’s Day last week, a Texas couple welcomed the new additions to their family–all four of them. Tressa Montalvo gave birth to the couple’s second through fifth sons last Thursday at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas after carrying them for 31 weeks.
The couple were originally told they were expecting twins before hearing four heartbeats. The verdict? Two sets of identical twins! Conceived without any fertility treatments, the chances of this happening are one in 70 million. According to the mother, their plans for this pregnancy “succeeded a little too much.” The boys, named Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan (A-B-C-D), are healthy and could be going home in the next four to six weeks.
I can only imagine the comments people must be throwing at them…from “double the double trouble” to the obligatory “you’ve got your hands full,” to the well-intentioned “now you’re done!” But you might be surprised at Manuel’s reaction to the last one. He’s still hoping for a girl!
Congratulations to the happy family! Who knows, maybe soon we’ll be seeing them around HDYDI?
Ok, so I imagine that most people don’t walk into the gym already sweating. Then again, I am continually reminded that my life is not that of most people! But I was determined.
So the triplets are walking, sometimes running now. There are battles over toys, sippy cups & affection from mommy. There are regular attempts at escaping their corral every day. There are minor injuries, whining and a sudden increase in the most foul-smelling of diapers. (??) There is teething and hair pulling and the flailing of food in every corner of the kitchen. And PS – we’re moving. So there are boxes everywhere (though it looks like I’ve barely made any progress at all). Oh, and our 7 year old now has to be at football practice…four nights a week. And guess who’s helping out with coaching those four nights a week? You’ve got it…my darling hubby! Add that to his one late work night a week & that’s FIVE nights a week I don’t have my tag-team partner enter the house until after 8pm.
Need I say more? I was desperate for a break. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of the tension headaches & the fatigue. I was tired of not seeing the scale move, despite the rare chance I have these days to sit down to a meal. I was tired of STILL not being able to fit into my pre-multiple-pregnancy jeans. I was tired of feeling trapped in our house. So I was determined, single-minded, unwavering – I was going to the gym & all four kids were comin’ with me!
Now I had to be quite strategic about this venture. The child care center at the gym is only open for certain hours of the day and those hours could not conflict with meal or nap time. (We don’t mess with naptime.) It would have to be immediately after breakfast – admittedly the easiest meal of the day – no problem.
Time was ticking. All four kids are fed without any fuss. One by one, the triplets are deposited into the corral to play, whilst mommy cleans up the kitchen. (please take a moment to imagine just what that entails…) Ok, so our eldest is self sufficient & after repeating myself only three times, he eventually follows directions & gets his teeth brushed & himself dressed. I’m already dressed (it’s easy when you go to the gym in the same shorts & t-shirt you wore to bed the previous night – hypothetically speaking, of course). So it’s just a matter of changing & dressing the triplets, packing their diaper bag & loading everyone into the car. ‘I just might pull this off’, I’m thinking. I get everyone changed & dressed & as I run into the kitchen to grab sippy cups, I remember – SHOES! Oh, how I hate shoes. I swear, part of the reason I stay home with them sometimes is to avoid having to put shoes on those six fat, uncooperative little feet. But I can’t let them go the gym barefoot – so I run up to sort through the shoe crate in the nursery, praying for matching pairs & perfect fits. Two out of three go well & after going through two pairs on the ‘eldest triplet’, everyone’s shoed up!
At this point we’re only 10 minutes behind schedule. I grab my iPod, my water bottle & the diaper bag, bark at my eldest to go to the bathroom, go myself & head into the family room to grab the first baby to strap into her carseat. Truly, those three were left alone in there for mere minutes, yet I returned to find that one had taken her shoes off, one had taken the elastic out of her hair & the other had decided he would choose that as the perfect time to, well – dirty his diaper…again! I was this close to throwing in the towel. But then I thought about how good it’d feel to be on that elliptical, iPod blasting in my ears, working off this triplet bod…I was resolute! I deserved this, damnit & I wasn’t giving up! I sighed heavily, prayed for patience & did what I had to do.
20 minutes behind schedule & everyone’s in the car. The gym is just around the corner from us, and as I approached it, I wondered just how I would get everyone inside. I’d left the triple stroller at home, deciding that it probably wouldn’t fit through the gym doors anyway. So I manage to nab the parking spot closest to the door & quickly advise my eldest of the game plan: he would walk his brother in, firmly holding his hand and not leaving my side – I would carry the girls & the diaper bag.
As I said, most people don’t walk into the gym sweating, but I sure as heck did that day! What a sight we must have been. Name tags were distributed, brief instructions were given & within minutes, I was warming up. I couldn’t believe it! Sure, I kept an eye on the doorway from the elliptical machine, expecting one of the child care providers to drag me away for one reason or another, but no. I got in nearly an hour before I went back to claim my kids. It was a success and I felt great! And you can be sure I included that pre-gym prep time in total calories burned that day!
Ok, let’s state the obvious – life with one child vs. multiples is, well – completely different. I have to say though that as a parent, I’d always felt pretty confident in the area of discipline. I have a general approach or style of parenting about which I have great conviction – a happy medium that falls somewhere between ‘because I said so’ & merely treating my kids as peers & allowing them to run the show. It’s a delicate balance and takes work & commitment, but ultimately, we’re quite pleased with how our eldest is turning out! And then, there are the triplets…
Part of me feels silly for using the word ‘discipline’ when referring to 14 month olds, but I must confess that I’ve been feeling a little anxiety about the whole thing. It’s not to say that my first didn’t give me any trouble at all but man, I really don’t remember it all being so draining! Again, keeping in mind that we are just entering the toddler stage here, I completely accept that most of what we’re dealing with here is ‘typical’ for their age. It’s just that with our eldest, I never felt that I was dealing with so much redirection & repetition so soon.
‘No, don’t touch that!’ ‘No! No pulling hair.’ ‘No – no throwing.’ ‘Do nice.’ Are the triplets just simply not as well behaved as their big brother? No, I know that’s probably not true. So (for my sake) let’s put it in perspective…
The fact is, I AM repeating & redirecting a lot more – after all, three is more than one! For that matter, there wasn’t a pint sized playmate for our eldest – someone whose hair was begging to be pulled, someone who would fight you for a toy, someone with whom you had to share mommy & daddy’s attention. And so with multiples, there is more, shall we say, antagonism for them to deal with. Ok, got it.
It was very validating to discover that there’s even a name, a very formal name for one aspect of this – it’s called TES or Twin Escalation Syndrome. Can you guess what it is?? That’s right – it’s “the tendency of multiples to intensify & expand their behaviors in reaction to each other”. We’ve all been there. Little Susie starts banging her cup on the highchair & so Little Bobby bangs his…only louder! Little Joey throws a toy into the coffee table & Little Annie throws hers too – until all of the toys have been emptied out of the play area. The list goes on & on…
Then there’s the whole concept of having a captive audience. Why pay attention to mommy’s reprimands through gritted teeth when my little buddies over here are laughing at me??? I’m funny! And hey, mommy’s giving me her undivided attention!
So it really is a unique dynamic…one that is challenging & potentially quite stressful. I’ve been disappointed so far at the lack of information available ‘out there’ that addresses this issue for parents of multiples. Although these articles were somewhat helpful:
In the meantime, simply reminding ourselves that it is a challenge & that it will get easier can begin to take the edge off. (It has already for me!) Perhaps this falls into the category of so many other things related to life with multiples – things that we have to keep in perspective & take in stride. They are learning & so are we.
I’ll be attending my first twins/triplets club toddler meeting later next month, where the topic will be discipline. I’d be happy to share any other pearls of wisdom we discover there.
So what works for you? Are there any resources specific to multiples that you’d recommend?
Phew! Just got back from our 8 day vacation down the shore…hence, the late post.
Anyway, this was our first ‘real’ vacation as a family of six. And, OMG – we not only survived, but we really SO enjoyed ourselves & actually relaxed! I was even able to read AN ENTIRE BOOK, people!! As I sit here back at home, bags yet to be unpacked, I am full of gratitude for those few days. I knew that we needed to get away, but it wasn’t until vacation day 3 that I realized just how necessary that time was.
First, the setting:
- the guest house on my grandparents property at the Jersey shore…a small, yet cozy little cottage (hey – less to clean!); an immaculately maintained in ground pool outside our door; a patio overlooking the river, complete with a hammock, garden & grill; our choice of boating, kayaking or crabbing off of the dock; seafood restaurant/bar AND Dunkin’ Donuts within walking distance; the beach/boardwalk within a 5 minute car ride. Top that with a little nostalgia for all of the childhood memories I have there and well, as my husband said, ‘it’s a little piece of heaven’!
Ok, so day 3…the weather was perfect and I had woken up early. The triplets had slept in (meaning past 6am) and I practically bounced down the stairs. I was invigorated by the day, our new surroundings and the fact that my husband was going to be around for a full week to not only help with the kids, but to enjoy them with me. I grabbed my sneakers & my iPod, informing my husband that I would be walking to Dunkin’ Donuts for our morning coffee.
I don’t remember what song I was listening to at the time, but I had only been walking for about ¼ of a mile when it occurred to me…I was walking by mySelf, listening to my music and walking to someplace I really wanted to go. It happened rather suddenly & filled me up completely. Yes, I’d realized that I could use a break – a change of pace, a more relaxed environment, my hubby around for an entire week to co-parent with me…but on that walk, in the quiet sunshine I was able to hear my own voice again! It was like re-connecting with an old friend – someone you feel completely comfortable with, someone you really like. This, I thought, this makes me happy. I really like this song. I love being outside, I love to walk & I love my morning coffee. So big deal, right?
Very big deal! You see, in my former life, I was a Life Coach. My practice focused primarily on mothers – supporting them in re-connecting with themSelves, helping them to see themselves beyond the role of mother. So many of my coaching sessions, so many talks I’ve given centered around trying to convince mothers that filling themSelves up first was the only way to give to their children. A simple concept, a complex commitment. I thought that I had been doing a pretty good job of it, but what I had become good at was ignoring my own needs, or at least at putting them last.
It was easy to preach self-care with only one child at the time! The universe needed to put me in the thick of it to really understand. As MoMs, the challenge of staying connected with the HER within the mot’her’ is, well…multiplied! Pre-vacation I was done, taxed, stressed, tired – I remember telling my husband that I felt like a well that had gone dry. That simple little shore vacation – taking those morning walks & giving myself permission to read a WHOLE book – allowed me to breath a little deeper. It gave me the space I needed to find my center again – to be present. And I assure you, I was a more pleasant wife & mother for it! I haven’t enjoyed just being with my family like that in awhile. I realized that I’d been carrying some BS belief that vacation was an indulgence – a guilty pleasure. Where’d THAT come from?? Vacation, especially now, will be a matter of course in our home, a commitment.
So now that we’re home, I’d like to come up with ways to stay in ‘that place’. So how do you do it? (No pun intended!!) What commitments do you keep to yourSelf?
Here’s the continuation of my post from two weeks ago. I hope you are all enjoying the weekend.
Rich and I had walked into that ultrasound appointment hoping to hear that our baby was healthy and wanting to know if that baby would be a boy or a girl.We were in such a state of shock by what we were told that we never even thought to ask if the babies were boys or girls.In fact, it would be hours later before we even realized that, as identicals, they would be ALL girls or ALL boys.
Later that night, as we tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep, I saw an image of three little girls dressed in red velvet holiday dresses sitting on my piano bench.It was like a dream.I rolled over and whispered to Rich, “We are going to have girls and that baby is going to be fine.She’s going to be able to walk on her own.I saw her and her legs looked normal.She wasn’t wearing leg braces.”
At my next appointment, the nurse made the comment of, “Well, you know the odds.”It was in regards to a successful outcome of this type of pregnancy.After she left the room, Rich asked me, “What are the odds?Did they ever tell us exactly what the odds are?”I responded with, “No.Don’t ask.I don’t want to know.”
This pregnancy proved to be ripe with complications but thankfully, there was nothing serious enough to endanger the girls.I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem during my first trimester and then I failed both the one hour and three hour screenings for gestational diabetes.There were two nights that I ended up in Labor & Delivery after experiencing too many Braxton Hicks contractions.Thankfully, again, an IV of fluids kept real contractions at bay.
I waddled into the hospital at 35 weeks and 6 days for my scheduled c-section.The girls were delivered without incident and I was able to see Anna and Emily before they were taken to the NICU and the Special Care Nursery.Rich was able to spend time with Allie, which is why the nurses did not bring her down to see me, and to see Anna and Emily in the operating room.Allie and Emily spent two days in the Special Care Nursery for observation and then were released to my room.
The girls never showed any signs of twin-to-twin transfusion in utero.Their birth weights were 5 pounds 3 ounces, 4 pounds 13 ounces and 4 pounds 13 ounces.
Anna’s first surgery occurred within hours of her birth.A neurosurgeon closed her exposed spinal column.A few days later, she underwent another surgery to place a shunt in her brain to drain excess fluid to her abdominal cavity.The shunt required revision surgery a few days later after the doctors determined that it was not functioning properly.
I look at my girls today, more than two years after their birth, and I am still in awe of their being.I find amazement in all that they do and say.They are so much more than I could have ever dreamed of.
Did you experience any complications during your pregnancy?How did you cope/manage with any negatives?
Ok, so I have to start with a disclaimer…I am writing right now with a bit of a ‘bad taste in my mouth’. May as well put it out there – I’m in ‘a mood’ because I made the error in judgment to turn on ‘E!’ whilst tidying up the tornado the triplets left behind in our family room today.Anyway, ‘E!’ was featuring a special – ‘Jon & Kate – Separate Lives’.I know, I know…but again, mindless background chatter to decompress to after a long weekend.
Bottom line – I was appalled.(And that is not a word often found in my vocabulary!)The show was obviously focused around the couple’s recent marital troubles, including suspicions of infidelity on Jon Gosselin’s part.Now, regardless of what your opinion is of:
A)the show itself
B)Kate & her personality
C)their decision to expose their children to a reality show
D)Kate’s hairstyle or WHATEVER!
…they are human beings.They are parents with the task & responsibility of raising EIGHT human beings.As I do not find myself in that particular situation, I choose to reserve judgment.The media (and many others) however, apparently feel quite justified not only in chasing these people down, but quite harshly & presumptuously judging their lives, their choices, and their audacity to “overwhelm” the employees of a jewelry store by bringing their “entourage” in so that the kids could make their own jewelry!The nerve! Next time, Kate, keep your “entourage” at home, behind closed doors.Don’t you know that you have no right to lead a normal family life??
I know – maybe you’re rolling your eyes & talking aloud to your screens right now, reminding me that they signed up for this – the celebrity, the spotlight.Trust me, I’m not saying that their choices align with mine either, but do they have to?
This is the thing.It’s somewhat raw for me because it’s all just a little too close to home; especially this weekend.No, not the mansion on fifty acres or whatever it is, not the book tours and box seats to Phillies games.It’s the attention and the assumptions.It’s the judgment and the lack of consideration when people choose to speak – to speak about a situation about which they have no clue.
Now that the triplets are no longer diggin’ spending their days surrounded by toys in their corral, we try to get them out fairly regularly.(Admittedly sometimes more for my sanity than theirs.)
This weekend we were on the move more than usual.The itinerary included a local carnival, our son’s seventh b’day party (seven is both his age and the number of parties I think he had this year…) and a Father’s Day outing to IHOP and the park.
Now, I get it – triplets are not ‘common’, and triplets ‘plus one’ is, well – even more!But seriously, I just don’t think we’re the side show everyone makes us out to be.There was the usual:
“So do triplets run in the family?”(aka – Did you do IVF?)
“Boy do you have your hands full!” (Yes, do you have any to spare?Because one of my kids is getting away as I take the time to acknowledge the biggest understatement of the century.)
“Wow – you must be busy!” (Yes, yes I am. Appreciate the insight.)
But what irked me this weekend were the less frequent, more insidious ones like:
“We only have two; I’d kill myself if I were you.”
“Wow – I feel really sorry for you.”
And “You come out (to the carnival, to IHOP, etc) with ALL of them?”
Believe it or not, that last one really got me. It’s not as often as we’d like and it takes much longer to get out the door than we’d hope, but yes, we do go out!It takes more work, more patience, more prep time and more equipment, but what’s the alternative?Our family may not be typical, but we are ‘normal’ in terms of needing to get out, experience new things and enjoy living life together. So what is it about seeing a family with multiples that suddenly robs others of social graces & good judgment?
Alright, so maybe I’m projecting a bit on J&K+8.Maybe they don’t mind the attention and scrutiny quite as much as I do.Maybe it’s just growing pains on my part as a MoM.Maybe all of the attention and the comments just start to fade into the background with each passing outing? Well, here’s to hoping!(Us MoMs are good at that!)
Hello Everyone! Enormous thanks go to our wonderful MoM’s who have agreed to “try out” for HDYDI! We are beyond thrilled that so many of you are reading along with us, and we hope you enjoy our contest week. Please vote for the author you would like to hear more from, as the authors with the most votes at 12:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, June 7th, will be invited to write for HDYDI. Enjoy and PLEASE VOTE!
Post #1: What Happens After the Stroller? by Jennifer W.
Our story begins with two Aggies meeting on E*Harmony in 2005, and getting married in February 2006. We started our family early; we had our first child in August 2006. While still getting use to our first son we were pregnant again. Thinking nothing of it I went to the doctor to find out that we were having spontaneous triplets. So I carried our triplets for 36 weeks 6 days and had the perfect pregnancy with no complication or limitations put upon me. Four months later we were pregnant again with our last child. So if you are asking yourself, “I do not think they know how that happens!” We do and we finally decided that we would have 20 children unless we had surgery to prevent that from happening. So we are a family of 7 with 5 children under the age of 3. When our children were small we called them the “zoo” because they were gated in our house. Now that they are older we call them the “safari” because they roam my house. You can find our adventures, experiences, and the confessions of a tired mother on our blog: The Wilcoxson’s.
After we found out that we were having triplets there were several things that went through our mind, one of them being that we could not logically escape being a minivan family. With that dilemma out of the way we had to find a stroller. We decided that we would get a triplet stroller and still have our single stroller as well. The nice thing about strollers is that you have some protection from the public and some warning when the grandmother or curious mother gets too close to the stroller. What happens when the stroller is no longer an option or something that your child dreads?
With our oldest almost 3 and the triplets turning 2 they are at the stage where they no longer want to be strapped into the stroller, but want some of the freedom that comes with being in a family with singletons. With that want and need for independence my husband and I had to find a way to give that desire to our children. Independence was not going to come at the cost of safety though. Holding hands was not an option because my husband and I do not have enough hands. We like to tell people that we cannot play man-on-man with our children but zone defense. So the searching began.
There was an option for leashes, but I could see that in the newspaper: “Mother of 5 decides to walk her children like a dog walker.” We did not need anymore attention than we already receive when we are in public. Then one day I was looking at educational toys on the internet and found the solution. With a little engineering and some common sense we were going to make this work for us. You see I found a toy for beading animals or cars at One Step Ahead.
We decided that a rope with 5 animals on it would do the trick. So my husband and I ordered the beads, got some nylon rope and decided that we were going to put the tractor and the barn at the end so that mommy and daddy could have a bead as well. Each child gets an animal and then there is a loop for their hand when they get older and do not want to hold onto the animal any longer.
After we put our “leash” together we had to try it out before we went into public with it. For about three weeks we walked to the mail box and around our street to get the kids use to the walking together and the distractions around them. Then we moved up to using it at church for about a month. Now my kids will not go anywhere unless they know that the animals are in the bag. I am so proud of them because they do not let the animal go unless we give them permission and they do not let other people distract them from the “mission” at hand.
I have found that as our children grow older the independence and freedom that their singleton friends have will take some strategic planning on our part to give them the same freedom or a resemblance of that freedom. No matter if we are in a stroller or walking we will always attract attention and people looking on like we are aliens from another planet because we have more than our normal quota of children in our society.
Post #2: I Have Two Turning Three, by Alix
Alix is mother to nearly-three-year-old identical twin boys, Nathan and Max. She spends her time in one of the following ways: working from home (read: balancing her lap top in one hand while reading Cool Cars for the forty-seventh time while simultaneously microwaving leftovers for dinner), staying up late (read: loading dishes and folding three hundred size-3T tee shirts), and relaxing (read: actually sitting down while the boys run circles through the house). Luxurious, it is not. But fun? Oh, yeah! Alix works part-time, mostly from home and shares child care with her husband, a university professor.
I found out I was having identical twins at 9 weeks. Just for the record, this is not a post about the always-humorous but repetitive “I fainted on the ultrasound table!” or “My husband threw up on the ultrasound tech!”. Or even, “I thought I was having a heart attack!” (O.K., I actually did briefly think I was having one, but that’s for another post). However, I will say that for the most part, the weeks following this very unexpected news are now a total blur. One of the few distinct memories I have from that period is of my mother-in-law saying to me, “I’ve gathered that parents of twins say the first three years are the hardest.” She wasn’t saying this in a patronizing way. On the contrary, I think she felt a bit of the overwhelming sense of awe and fear that I’m sure I was feeling (but can’t really remember now). THREE YEARS?? That moment I do remember. That moment is stamped so clearly in my mind I can actually remember the glare of the fluorescent kitchen light overhead as I tried to absorb this concept (and, of course, failed). Who can absorb three years??
Fast-forward to May 2009. My identical twin boys, Max and Nathan, will be turning three in one month. This is definitely not a post about how everything has suddenly become efficient, peaceful and orderly in our home, nor is it a post about how I pine for those oh-so-difficult-yet-magical early days with two babies (really, I don’t, but again, that is for another post). Rather, this is a post about the evolution of our family, and the ever-changing challenges of raising two boys born on the same day.
My husband and I spent the first year or so reminding each other that the boys would eventually sleep through the night (they did), they would actually use the bathroom and thus eliminate the need for refrigerator-sized boxes of Costco diapers (again, they did) and would become more independent (still waiting on that but optimistic). And at every point, we were surprised that the things we waited so eagerly for happened so quickly that we only remembered how eagerly we awaited their arrival after the fact. I have no idea if this is the same for parents of singletons, but certainly we were so busy and exhausted that all sorts of things in our household were only noticed after the fact (lack of clean laundry, groceries, gasoline in the car, etc.).
The second year of the boys’ lives, the death grip of exhaustion lessened. I was still nursing, but only in the mornings and before bed, which felt incredibly liberating compared to the hours I’d spent nursing every day during the first year. The boys were now sleeping, eating regular food, and walking. Somehow, though, people seemed to think that life must have gotten a lot easier for me than it really had. People would stop me and say, “Wow, that first year with two must really have been rough, eh?”. Or, “I bet you feel lucky to have survived that first year!”. And as I madly chased after two toddling boys incessantly moving from one source of danger to another (and often in opposite directions), I thought to myself, “What the hell?? I’m still just surviving here, people! Isn’t that obvious?!” And my mother-in-law’s words came back to haunt me.
And I knew then, I just had to make it to three.
And here we are.
I decided to host a birthday gathering for the boys, their first big celebration of this sort. They are really excited to have a party, and I realize that I am, too. I feel as though this celebration is for all of us. We have made it this far. We got to three. We got to three!!
The boys’ third year will, I know, bring its own round of challenges. The boys will start preschool in the fall and my husband and I are finding it hard to imagine not having them running through the house trailing laughter and chaos all day long. This will be a big transition for all of us, one of many. I remember a parent of twins saying to me, “The days pass so slowly, the months and years, so quickly.” So true.
Three, here we come. I think we’re ready.
Post #3, By Sarah
My name is Sarah and I’m a mid-thirties mother of four. After a seemingly normal full-term pregnancy, my first baby, Abigail, was born sleeping in June 2006. In an odd twist of fate, I became pregnant with spontaneous identical triplets a few months after Abigail’s death. Against the odds, the girls were delivered at 35 weeks, 6 days gestation. I work full time in the wonderful world of tax and enjoy photography, writing and running in my very limited free time. I currently blog about our daily craziness at http://thegreatumbrellaheist.blogspot.com/
Today, as I pushed over sixty pounds of toddler in our triple jogging stroller, I thought of that common question asked of parents of multiples everywhere. When does it get easier? If you peruse any message board for caregivers of twins, triplets and more, you will see that question asked over and over and the response is usually the same. It doesn’t get easier. It just gets different. So now, as I listen to my three toddlers scream in their cribs because going to bed is such torture, I really do wonder when it will get easier. My husband, Rich, and I have told ourselves that the magic age will be five. It seems better than choosing three or four and then being disappointed and I don’t think I can make it to seven or eight.
We moved into our current home approximately 18 months ago. The girls, who were 6 months old at the time, began to share a bedroom. It was a new experience for all of us. My husband and I debate the room sharing situation on what feels like a daily basis. We can discuss and theorize all we want – the hard truth is that our standard builder’s special only has 3.5 bedrooms. The .5 room is an office and seeing as Grammy, my mom, sleeps over quite a bit, we only thought it appropriate to give her a bedroom. That leaves us with three girls in one room.
I have good friends who are twins and they shared a bedroom until their early 20’s. I remember being slightly jealous of their camaraderie because I was not lucky enough to have a sister. I have convinced myself, through a sleep deprived thought process, that once the girls are older, they will enjoy sharing a room. I expect there to be a lot of comforting going on. You know what I mean. One of them wakes up afraid of the dark and her sister will tell her that it’s okay. Okay, maybe if I believe hard enough, it will happen.
When the girls were about 18 months old, we pushed their three cribs together to form a big square in the middle of the room. We thought it would be fun for them to share books and dollies during that wind down period prior to falling asleep. For the most part, this crib configuration worked out. We experienced a few incidents of book stealing and book tossing. And by book tossing, I’m referring to a book landing on someone (possibly on the head) while she is sleeping. It’s not very pleasant – I can assure you. But then there was the night that I crept into their room to check on them and found Emily and Allie holding hands through the crib slats, asleep. My heart just about burst open.
We, unfortunately, separated their cribs last month after I caught Allie pulling Anna’s hair. The girls didn’t complain too much about the new set-up – not that they really could, anyway. We were hoping that having some space between them would lessen the number of times that they awaken each other. It hasn’t.
Of course, having the girls share a room means that there is a constant source of entertainment for us when listening in on their conversations. The latest phase is Allie, the oldest of the three by 30 seconds, telling her sisters to go to sleep. That’s exactly how she says it. “Emmy, go to sleep.” You see, although my girls are genetically identical, their sleep habits are not. Allie seems to require and/or want more sleep than Emily. Anna, the middle child, varies. Allie has decided that the other two should conform to her sleep schedule.
So back to when does it get easier. At six o’clock Sunday morning, an alarm went off in the girls’ room. We keep a sound machine and a Bose CD player in there and apparently, one of the girls accidentally set the alarm while they were “exploring” their room before either nap or bed. And by alarm, I mean the annoying beeping kind. Rich ran in there to turn it off and optimistically thought he could sneak out unnoticed. I listened to events unfold over the monitor from the warmth and comfort of my bed. Rich picked up Emily, who was the first to spot him, hoping to prevent her from awakening the other two. Anna started in on one of her uncontrollable crying jags while Allie yelled, “Anna, go to sleep.”
In some sense, life is easier, although different, now. It is far easier for one adult to care for three toddlers versus three infants. When mornings such as these occur, my husband and I take turns napping. I can nap at any point during the day so I always offer Rich the first adult nap slot and I take the next one.
And yes, at almost 26 months old, my girls still sleep in their cribs without crib tents. I am blissfully unaware of any attempts of crib escape. Believe me, they will be sleeping in those cribs for as long as possible.
Do your multiples share a room? If they do share a room and you had the resources, would you separate them?
Post #4: Best-Laid Plans, by Jen from Diagnosis: Urine
I’m a freelance writer, and mom to a 6-year-old, 4-year-old twin boys, and a 2-year-old. I worked full-time until February 2007, and since then we’ve relocated for a job, lost that job, experienced unemployment, and have lived to tell about it. My blog, diagnosisurine.blogspot.com, is an attempt at entertaining people with my angst over transitioning from breadwinner and go-getter to stay-at-home mom to a tiny quartet of destruction.
Like many others before me, I was at my most knowledgeable during my first pregnancy. I had researched it all. I had a birth plan, an infancy plan, and a toddlerhood plan.
But, alas, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men…” You can guess how long my plans lasted.
Having twins two years later was like my first go-‘round all over again. I relearned everything, from the mechanics of breastfeeding to the mechanics of folding the double stroller. I did it while working full-time, mostly from home, while caring for a 2-year-old as well.
A baby’s cuteness blinds people to the reality of caring for a newborn. “Enjoy every minute of it!” kindly grandmothers admonish in the grocery store, and you smile and nod but fight back tears thinking of how very tired you are, and how the baby only sleeps when you’re out of the house, and how the longest stretch of sleep you’ve had in a week, is 30 minutes.
The baby-blindness goes double for twins. I remember getting a lot of, “Oh! You’re so blessed!” But I didn’t feel especially blessed. My boys were healthy and for that I was grateful, but in all honesty we’d tried for one baby, and we couldn’t afford two. I spent the twins’ first year steeped in guilt for all the times they cried and I could only comfort one of them, for the times I snapped at my daughter, for the way my marriage and the housework were neglected, and for the concessions my employer and coworkers had made for me.
When people saw me out with three kids under three and said, with a chuckle, “It only gets worse!” I wanted to cry or smack them, depending on the day.
I’m here to tell you the truth: It does get better.
My twin boys are four now. My oldest daughter is six, and we even added a fourth – our youngest daughter is two. I work for myself now, so I get to stay home and figure out my own hours. It is worlds easier than our lives were four, three, or two years ago.
Now, because I’m here to tell you the truth, I’ll also admit that it still sucks sometimes. There are speech delays, potty training crises, typical childhood phobias and obsessions that are only magnified by the presence of four children experiencing them simultaneously under one roof. Yes, there are days I hate this.
Today, for example, wasn’t out of the ordinary, but I’m three hours past the deadline for submitting this post. There were fevers and diarrhea and encounters with neighborhood dogs and trampolines, and minor squabbles and tricycle jousting, and that was in the course of about an hour. I do the best I can. Most of us do. Sometimes my best involves a “teachable moment” and a cute blog post with pictures, and other days it turns into me growling at the kids, each word punctuated with brief, terse silence; followed by a blog post lamenting my numerous failures.
So, in case this is the only post of mine you ever read – especially since I am late and will be lucky to be included at all – please know that it does get better. I promise you, what you go through during the newborn and toddler years with your twins is exhausting and punishing and of course it’s worth it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not 18 years away.