Identical or fraternal rant

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Categories Fraternal, Other people17 Comments

Since birth, my boys have never looked (or acted) the same. After reading identical twins can appear different at birth, we did an independent DNA test to confirm zygosity. It was no surprise when the test came back fraternal. We still get the standard “How do you tell them apart?” question and after they turned a year old, it really started to drive me crazy. Here’s why:

Alex has brown hair and brown eyes.

Nate has blond hair and blue eyes.

I won’t even go into all the other ways they look different – different skin tone, different face shape, different body shape, etc. I wouldn’t mind if people asked if they were identical, but it seems fairly obvious how to tell them apart. I’ve yet to think of a witty reply except:

 “One has brown hair and brown eyes. The other has blond hair and blue eyes.”

Suggestions welcome on this one.

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My version of "normal"

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Categories Infants, Other people, Singletons10 Comments

I don’t know what it’s like to have one baby. I’ve never done it. In many ways, I count myself lucky. Because a lot of moms (new or otherwise) looked at me with shock and fear when I said I was having twins. Clearly, they felt that no mere mortal could possibly take care of two babies at the same time. But I didn’t know any different, so I could only get so freaked out. And you know what? It has been fine.

But only knowing what it’s like to have two has warped my perception of all other people. For one thing, a phrase heard frequently in my house goes something like “those people with just one baby, what do they do with all that free time?” I know, it’s obnoxious, but I can’t lie. We think that way. We definitely also have romanticized notions about how much easier this thing or that thing would be if we only had one. I’m sure that I’d think life was plenty tricky if I had a singleton, but because I don’t, I can imagine how delightfully simple it would be. As Rebecca said so well this weekend, I totally get one-baby envy.

I also found myself, from about halfway through my pregnancy, kind of assuming plural whenever I talked about baby-related things. I forgot that most people only had one, that I was the weirdo.  It’s a mindset that’s hard to shake. Oh, you mean you only bought one crib? Where’s your other carseat? You didn’t trade in your Honda Civic for a Toyota Sienna? No? Huh.

When I first mentioned this to my husband (M), he thought I was crazy. Maybe that I was being excessively self-centered or something, locked in my own little world. Oh, how times have changed. My stepbrother’s first child (my first niece!) is due in June, and I was putting together a care package of some of our favorite newborn essentials. I bought three good waffle-knit blankets for swaddling. M looked at me like I was nuts. “Why would you get three?” he asked. “That doesn’t make any sense. Then you only have one extra… Oh wait. Nevermind. They’re only having one. Huh.”

See? It happens to all of us. For as often as people look at you like you’re a freak of nature, or (I’m not kidding) laugh as they walk past you, it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone has two babies at once.  For as many times as I’ve wished I could just pop in and out of the store for a “quick” errand, I look at people in the grocery store with the baby in the basket, and wonder who’s taking care of the other one.  So, if I meet you someday and take a minute to mentally adjust that there isn’t another one at home with dad, please forgive me.  I have a slightly warped sense of reality.

Dueling Exersaucers

So, you’re telling me that most new moms don’t have two exersaucers taking up half of their living room? No? Huh.

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Product Review: 5 Products You Can Live Without

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Categories Ask the Moms, Products4 Comments

I surveyed the moms behind the scenes about their least favorite baby items. Tested and tried by a variety of twin moms, none of these products made the grade.  

1. Wipe warmer. Every mom thought this was a waste. First there’s the issue that you constantly need to restock it. You go through a LOT of wipes with multiple babies. And most multiple parents have multiple changing stations, particularly those of us with two-story homes. Wipe warmers are known to brown wipes, dry out wipes, and spill water. And really, most newborns don’t like diaper changes regardless of whether the wipes are warm or not.

 2. Peepee teepee. Seriously? A teepee to catch urine? Here’s how to handle sprayers (boys and girls) without porting around peepee teepees. Open diaper to expose cold air to sensitive area. Before spraying commences, press diaper back onto area until spraying is done. Then remove diaper and replace with new diaper. Voila. I just saved you $10.

3. Baby oil. This has one use in my house – removing MY mascara. We didn’t even use it for Alex’s cradle cap because olive oil worked better. American Wife has a great write-up on this.

4. Ear thermometer. We recommend a fast rectal thermometer instead. You can use the rectal thermometer under the arm or rectally. Definitely get two rectal thermometers and label them with the child’s name or initial… for obvious reasons.

5. Bottle sterilizer. Medela makes great sterilizer bags that are much easier to use. You can also put bottles and parts in the dishwasher to sterilize them. Make sure you read the instructions to determine what can and can not be put in the dishwasher.

Honorable mention: Dry-clean only newborn clothes. They do exist… why, I don’t know.

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Little Ways your Little Ones Can Help!

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Categories Family, SingletonsTags 4 Comments

Know what’s super-awesome? When your husband is there to help you manage the two screaming little babies you are now responsible for taking care of. So what do you do when he’s NOT around? If you’re really fertile lucky, you might have an older child around the house that is capable of helping out with small, but important, tasks. Of course, the things that your bigger little one can help out with varies depending on their age and maturity. Twice a week I work a full day at home with all three of the girls and no helper. Let’s just say I’ve become resourceful!

Some of the baby-related jobs that I tricked encouraged the Monkey (who is 5) to help me out with:

  • Nuk-Keeper: She’s like a little detective! Jason blamed me for mis-placing all of the Nuk’s. Peyton found 5 of them under the crib.
  • Toy Duty: She is in charge of the toys. She knows which ones they like, and before we leave she gets them out of the toy basket and gives them to the girls.
  • Bottle-Shaker: OK. One piece of advice: Make sure that the lid is on properly. You don’t need any unnecessary frustration.
  • Pajama-Picker-Outer: We have this really awesome alternative to standard dressers. It is low enough for Monkey to reach, so I can tell which drawer to look in and pick out an outfit when the girls are in need a change of clothes!
  • Diaper-Runner: self-explanatory!
  • Dirty Bottle Finder: She does a quick once-over to make sure there are no dirty bottles that we forgot to put in the dishwasher.
  • Entertainer: We always put the currently unhappy baby in the middle car seat so that Monkey can practice her silly faces, re-insert nuks, hold bottles, or sing songs to said baby to help the drive go a little more smoothly. (see picture above)

Some of the Monkey’s other favorite household jobs to help me out with include (all require supervision!):

  • Laundry: Putting in the quarters, transferring from washer to dryer, folding towels & baby blankets, etc.
  • Watering plants
  • Cooking: Finding ingredients, stirring noodles
  • Kitchen detail: Wiping down counters, putting away silverware

Some things definitely do NOT work (ie: Letting Monkey push the double stroller while at the mall on the weekend. Bad idea all around). So, what has worked for your family? What has not? (Please also share your big kids’ ages!)

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When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues8 Comments

Anyone who has ever heard this saying knows how true it is! Recently, it occurred to me that as the Mama to F and J, my attitude has a direct and important impact on THEIR happiness.

As MoMs we expect a lot of ourselves, and our days are often consumed with tasks, chores, obligations and expectations. We are under a lot of pressure, and most of us collapse into a heap of “used-up-Mommy” at the end of the day. Some days our kids are lucky we fed them and didn’t lose them at the grocery store! Other times, our homes are flooded with illness (and vomit, and snot!), and our caregiver capacity is stretched to the max. Occasionally, we just have really rotten days, or find out that our house needs a new $roof$. And my personal nemesis, PMS, usually rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. And yet, my emotional barometer sets the tone for my whole family. That is a big responsibility!

My son and daughter are still pretty darn young. But they are growing up quickly, and they study me like crazy. They watch my expressions, and consider my movements. For example, anyone who has young children knows that if you cheer when they fall, as opposed to gasping in horror, that they are less likely to cry. Why? Because they are picking up on our cues. (If Mommy or Daddy aren’t freaked out about my tumble, then I must be okay, but if they are freaked out then I must REALLY be hurt!!!)

As F and J’s Mom, I am challenged to make the most of our days, especially when the weather, the world or wiping noses is getting to me. This really isn’t a “how to” post, rather, I am writing to remind myself and others, that as moms, we have the power to infuse our homes with laughter, joy and happiness. OR we can be a black and angry cloud that rains down on our family.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not super-mom. There are days when I have to hide from the kids or take a bathroom break just to have a few minutes sans-crying, or I will lose my mind. But I know that if I pick up the screaming child and do a little jig and make funny faces I can usually stop their crying. In a way, I guess that does make me a super-powered, super-mom!

My sister-in-law was housebound with my 2 year old niece during a stretch of particularly nasty weather. You know what they did? Built a fort in the dining room and read books with a flashlight! Now that is how you turn crummy circumstances (AKA Pennsylvania weather) into a good memory.

We at “How Do You Do It?” would love to hear how you creative MoMs out there keep family life in perspective, and work at being Happy Mama’s!

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I'm Still Here, You Know

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Categories Behavior, Family, Mommy Issues, Preschoolers, Singletons, ToddlersTags , , , 3 Comments

After recovering from the initial shock of hearing I was having two babies instead of one, my next thoughts were of my older child. She was our princess, our angel. For 22 months we had essentially been at her beck and call. Spoiled? No. But definitely used to a certain amount of attention. How would she cope with the colossal change in her little world?

Things started to change for her when I was put on bed rest. It is hard for a 2-year old to comprehend why suddenly Mommy won’t get up anymore. But, she was a trooper during most of that time. And a little really went a long way towards reassuring her. The best investment we ever made was in two breakfast trays from Bed Bath & Beyond. We would enjoy meals together (albeit in the living room or in my bedroom),  color or play with play-do. We also did a lot of reading together, although now she had to sit next to me as my lap had all but vanished!

Finally the babies were born and we were all home together as a family. Unfortunately, most of the time Mommy’s two hands were occupied by … two babies. And, even though the babies ate at the same time, their nap schedules didn’t always jive. So, usually there was one baby awake needing … something. That didn’t leave a lot of time for one-on-one time with the Big Sister.

So, what’s a MoM to do? Obviously I’m meeting all of their physical needs, but am I doing enough emotionally for each? How do I make sure everyone is getting enough “Mommy Time”? And how do I keep myself from being consumed with guilt when my Big Kid seems to feel left out? Here are a few lessons I’ve learned:

First, accept that you can’t be everywhere at once. It is physically impossible to meet the demands of three (or more) crying or whining children at the same time. The sooner you accept this, the better. In our house we take a triage approach. It’s not necessarily who is crying the loudest that we tend to first, it’s who has a greater need. For example, a poopy diaper wins over “I need a snack NOW”. And getting a potty-training toddler onto the toilet wins out over a baby who just happens to be done in the exersaucer NOW.

Second, stick to routine. We kept our daughter in daycare throughout my bed rest and for the first six weeks after the boys were born. That way, she knew what a good portion of her days would entail. Now routines help us to manage her expectations of we can do for/with her in the course of the day. For example, the boys’ bedtime routine ends about an hour before her bedtime. So, while she may lack the attention she desires in the evening while we bathe/dress/feed them, she knows the end result is undivided attention from Mommy and Daddy before she goes to bed.

Third, recognize the cries for attention and try to make up for it where you can at a later time. A toddler or preschooler may not have the words to say “I really need you to pay attention to me because I miss you.” But even the best-behaved children will try to relay this information through their actions. Here are some things we’ve seen in our house:

  • Potty regression (if I have an accident, they’ll have to stop what they’re doing and deal with me)
  • Refusal to eat meals when served (Dinner is important to Mommy. If I say I don’t want it, she’ll put her attention into getting me to eat)
  • Tantrums (self-explanatory!)
  • Bedtime troubles (they want me to sleep and will do all in their power to get me to do so)

While we try our hardest not to give in while a tantrum is taking place, we do try to give her a little extra one-on-one time in the following days because we know the behavior was her way of trying to tell us something.

Fourth, invest in a baby carrier. As previously stated here, a carrier is a must for any MoM. So, get one baby down for a nap, strap the other one on and then use your TWO free hands to play with your big kid(s). It is amazing how much more you can do if you have one of these!

Fifth, communicate with your child. Saying things like “I can’t right now” may actually sound like “I don’t want to” to a 2 or 3 year old. Try being more specific, like “I’d love to read that book to you. Let me just finish changing this dirty diaper and settle your brother down. We’ll both enjoy the book more if he’s quiet.”

Sure, there are days when you’re going to feel pulled in a million different directions trying to be there for all of your children (oh yeah, and your husband may want some attention too!) But if you really try to accept that you’re doing the best you can with the time you have, you’ll feel a lot better.

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The man in your bed

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Categories Family, Identical, Infants, Mommy Issues, Multiple Types, Pregnancy, RelationshipsTags , , , , , 10 Comments

Some time around the 3rd month, I rolled over one morning after a (blissful!) 4-hour stretch of sleep to find a man in my bed.  As I rubbed my sleepy eyes to get a better look, I wondered…”who was this mysterious fellow that I had, apparently, spent the night with?”, and then I noticed that he looked suspiciously like an exhasted version of the man I married a few years back.

When B and I first found out that, “Surprise! It’s twins!”, after the initial shock, I found myself more in love with my husband than ever before.  Those 9 months of waiting and anticipating were amazing!  We’d go out to dinner and talk endlessly about how, in a few months, we’d be bringing our boys hiking, camping and out to dinner.  We found ourselves constantly repeating, “I can’t wait when the boys….XYZ”.  We’d plan our future as a family right from the dinner table. 

What was missing from all of our discussions was how having twins would affect our marriage. 

Fast forward 9 months and, although the love was still there, our relationship as husband and wife changed.  Drastically.  For the first 3 months, instead of B the Husband, I was now co-habitating with B, the Father of my Children.  He went from Husband to Teammate/Nightshift worker/Sandwhich maker/Diaper changer/Guy who poured my miniscual amounts of EBM into little plastic bags to be frozen.  Our deepest conversations usually happened at 2am (the end of his “shift”), when my Teammate would give me a quick report on what time each kid peed, pooped, slept and ate.  We’d slap eachother’s hands with a “TAG!  You’re it!” gesture and we were off to our respective posts.  B to the bedroom for some zzz’s before getting up to go to work and me to the family room where I would watch over the babes. 

Oh, those first months were tough!  Between sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuations, doctor’s appointments, visitors, and breastfeeding struggles, there just wasn’t enough time for “us”.  Rarely did we kiss, rarely did we hug, and rarely did we have enough energy to ask how eachothers’ day had gone.  For two people who once decided to share the rest of their lives together, this was quite a change.

No book, magazine, pre-birth class or best friend can prepare you for the post-birth relationship that you’ll have with your spouse.  There’s the BAD:  You’ve just washed the 21st bottle of the day and the sink is finally empty until your husband decides he can’t take the extra 1.3 seconds to put his dirty silverware in the dishwasher (where it belongs).  You yell.  He yells.  And then the babes start yelling (even louder than you both combined) and procede to projectile vomit all over the couch cushion that you just steam cleaned for the millionth time since D-Day.  And then, of course, you forget what you were even arguing about because you are both attempting to rescue a kid from Lake Vomit.  And then there’s the GOOD:  The kids are both quiety asleep in their bouncers, keeping their Soothies in place.  The dinner that your neighbor graciously prepared is piping hot and ready to be enjoyed.  You both sit down at the table (at the same time!).  And finish the entire meal, all while engaging in conversation that doesn’t include the word “poop”, before the kids wake up to be fed.

Because hindsight is 20/20, I compiled a list of little things that you and your spouse can do during the first (exhausting!) months in an attempt to shift the focus back to the real reason why you started out on this Great Adventure called Parenting:  LOVE!

  • Say “please” and “thank-you”.  It sounds lame, but they aren’t called The Magic Words for nothin’.   
  • Take a break, alone, at least once a day.  And no, pumping breast milk in a quiet (and kid-free) room does not count. 
  • Take a break, together, once a day.  When both kids are asleep, try to spend a few minutes re-connecting, even if it’s just doing the dishes together for 10 minutes (though, this isn’t really a “break”).  Talk about your day, ask your spouse where he’d like to go on vacation (in 2 years), or what book he’s looking forward to reading (and yes, you will read for pleasure again one day!  I promise).  Just don’t talk about how exhausted you are and that you’re not sure if you’re going to make it through the next day without a stiff martini.
  • Hug and kiss your spouse.  Seriously.  It only takes a second.
  • Focus on the positive.  The first few months are rough, but they will also be filled with some of your most cherished moments.  Enjoy the little things that matter.  Sure, feeding two infants at once is anything but easy, but really…how many people in this world get the chance to do this?  Just knowing that you ARE doing it is and, by god, it’s working!, is reason to celebrate!
  • Don’t keep a tally.  Maybe you had to fold the 4 loads of laundy that have been sitting in the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper for 2 days straight, but your spouse fixed the wobbly wheel of your used Snap-n’ Go (without having to ask him!) that you discovered after today’s pedi appointment.
  • Plan your first night out.  Someday…soon…there will be a time when you and your spouse can get the hell out of the house.  Together, sans the bundles of joy.  It’ll be exciting and it will be terrifying.  But, it’s got to happen sooner or later…and, anticipation is the best part!  What restaurant will you go to?  What will you order?  Will you be able to finish an entire glass of wine without feeling highly buzzed?

It was’t until the sixth-month mark that I finally started to recognize the man in my bed.  Even if I’d occassionally find that same man on the couch, after kicking him out in the middle of the night to make room for two squirmy kids.  

Our babes are almost 13 months now, and B and I are still attempting to figure out the delicate balancing act between career, children and marriage.  They say you can’t have it all.  But damnit, I’d like to try.

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Product Review: Top 5 Baby Products You Need to Have for Multiples

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Categories Products10 Comments

Let’s face it – having twins is expensive. I polled the contributors of this blog to share their top 5 must-have products. The lists varied widely but there were some common favorites.

1. The double snap n go. You may think it is a waste of money buying something you will only use for a few months, but it may be the best money you ever spend. This item was the top reason I was able to make it out of the house on solo trips. You don’t have to take the babies out of their infant seats. I can not stress how critical this is when you have two babies. While it does attract attention when you’re out in public, you can easily shield both babies to keep nosey strangers and supergerms away.

Although this costs $100, you can usually find used ones through your local twins group. I bought mine second-hand for $50 and sold it third-hand for $25.

natealexfirstwalk.jpg

2. Two boppies. You are not going to be able to use a boppy for tandem breastfeeding twins. The boppies are for everything except breastfeeding – bottle feeding, tummy time, sitting time, just hanging out. You will use the boppies every day and they will make an appearance in many photos, so make sure you get covers you like.

talkinginboppies.jpg

And if you ever wondered how to bottle-feed two babies at the same time….. two boppys!

jonfeeding.jpg

3. Two pack and plays (PNP). My boys are 21 months old and we still have a PNP set up.

* At first, you can use the bassinett attachment so they can sleep in your room.
* You can move them to the big part for naps in places other than their cribs. This is particularly helpful if you have a two-story house.
* Use the PNPs to give your multiples space to play away from each other.
* A PNP is a great place for new crawlers to be contained when you want to take a shower or need them to be in a safe place.
* Fill a PNP with toys to entertain one baby while you bathe the other.
* PNPs are perfect for stopping walkers from destroying a room while you are attending to the other child.
* PNPs are easily transportable for travel.

boysinplaypen.jpg

4. The Skip Hop Duo Double diaper bag. This is the first diaper bag designed for a side-by-side double stroller. Between the size and the pockets, this is universally one of the favorite diaper bags in the multiples community. While on the pricier end, you will be using a diaper bag daily for years. It is worth it to invest in something functional that you love.

See pictures and get more information here.

5. Some type of baby carrier. While opinions are mixed on the Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap, Maya Wrap, and other baby carriers, a baby carrier is a must-have item in a multiple household. You will not believe the things you can get done while carrying a baby on you. While carrying one twin in a Bjorn, I was able to change the other twin’s diaper, make telephone calls, surf the internet, brush my teeth, wash dishes, do laundry, eat a meal, watch TV, and use the bathroom. Some days I put one child in an infant seat and one child in a carrier to go grocery shopping.

Since these are major purchases, I recommend you try to borrow one of these from a friend before investing. I loved my Moby Wrap for the newborn stage when I had a helper around, but I loved my Bjorn for solo time because it was so fast to get on and off. We ended up with two Bjorns so my husband and I could each carry a baby while getting some much-needed fresh air.

babybjorn.jpg

Next week – Bottom 5 Baby Products You Can Live Without!

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There Are Two Things In Life For Which We Are Never Truly Prepared: Twins

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Categories Family, Pregnancy9 Comments
Clarity and Moxie at 7 weeks

“What do you mean, TWO MORE?”

That was my exact reaction to the ultrasound technician when asked us how we’d feel about having two more babies, in addition to our first daughter. The thought of having twins made me want run for the hills never crossed my mind. The tech was nice enough to send me on my way to the bathroom to empty my obnoxiously full bladder. I remember walking down the hallway thinking “What the hell just happened?!” On our way out, the staff expressed their congratulations, to which I just muttered, “Ha. Yeah. Thanks.” Then I cried. I cried for a good twenty minutes. I cried when I told my parents that we weren’t just expecting one baby. We are not talking tears of joy here. These were tears of absolute fear of what was to come in October. How are we going to handle two full-time careers, two babies, and a five year old?! How will we afford to feed and clothe everyone? How will we afford DAYCARE?! At one point, I even thought to myself, a lot of pregnancies start off as twins and we are only seven weeks in. There’s always a chance of losing one, and that might be for the better.

Around week twelve, after a night of some – ahem – one on one time with my husband, I noticed some spotting as I went to the bathroom. A quick call to my OB’s office led me to believe that I could be possibly suffering a miscarriage of one or even both babies. Once again, there were tears. After only a few weeks of knowing that I was pregnant with twins, I became confident in my ability to handle fact that life was going to get a whole lot harder in a few months. I wanted to meet both of these babies. This is how it is supposed to be! No way was this happening to us. Thankfully, we were able to see them the next morning at an emergency ultrasound. Two strong little heartbeats inside two little tiny black blobs.

Here comes the mushy part. All of the fears that I felt at the beginning are now completely overshadowed by the feeling that comes over me when the twins smile at us, when I see them looking at Monkey (my big girl), and yes, even when they have smelly butts. Now I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have had only one more. Oh wait, yes I can. Do I wish I had that? Absolutely not. Besides, playing Guitar Hero is more fun at night once everyone has gone to sleep.

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The First Months: Actually Leaving the House

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, Formula, Infants, Pregnancy, Travel5 Comments

After a particularly successful outing with my nine month olds, I was reviewing the trip, analyzing it to figure out exactly why it went so well. And although I doubt I could duplicate the success of the day, I have noticed a few themes that occur more often than not on our good days. As such, I would like to pass along a few tidbits I have learned over the last few months…most of which I learned the the hard way!

When I brought home my two little screaming bundles of joy from the hospital, I was so relieved to be freed from the confines of my pregnant belly, that I couldn’t wait to get out and about without the careful chaperoning of my husband. However, as a new MoM, I wasn’t going anywhere with out said shrieking bundles. The first few weeks I had lots of family help, and was chauffeured as I wasn’t able to drive post c-section. But bright and early on a Monday morning, 3 weeks after Faith and Jonathan were born, I was on my own. So what did I do on my first day flying solo? Well, I went to the mall.

I desperately needed to be around people, and simply could not tolerate being in the house another day without going a little stir crazy. I can’t remember much about that trip, but I do remember the drive home, because both babies were WAILING the whole time. My hormonal nerves were frayed, and I begged each red light to change. Obviously, I had pushed the envelope, and was now paying for it. I arrived home with two babies who were certain they were starving, and were going to pass out if they were not fed right now! After feeding them, they quieted, and my stress level lessened. I realized that I should have fed the babies prior to loading them into the car and heading home…and that is tip #1. Always plan your outings around your feedings.

Babies with full tummies travel and tolerate changes much better than hungry babies. Expect your newborns to need to be fed while you are out and about, and prepare for it. If your babies are drinking their milk in bottles, they can be fed two at a time while in their carseats. If you will need a private place to breastfeed, consider nursing in your vehicle, or in a handicapped changing room. The handicapped rooms have enough room for maneuvering a double or triple stroller, and are great for quick diaper changes, far removed from the prying eyes of all those interested in your “double trouble” duo.

My second tip would be to #2. Quit while you are ahead. And by this I mean, reconsider your time-line. Before I was a mom, I could easily go from one store/activity to the next, with barely a bathroom break in between. But my little ones do not have the ability to go from location to location without a break. Lets face it, no matter how scheduled we try to be, there is nothing like two or more infants to throw a wrench in your perfectly choreographed day. If you overbook your day, or your expectations are too high, you might find yourself frustrated, and itching to check just one more thing off of your to-do list. I vividly recall feeling so annoyed that my babies would barely tolerate one (1.7 mile) trip around the park….didn’t they know that Mama does two laps? I definitely had to change my thinking.

Today, we left our outing with enough time to get home for naps, and before the kids melted down. In this way, I ended the trip feeling quite pleased with our day, rather than put out that I couldn’t window shop/walk/sip my coffee longer.

Lastly, I want to talk about # 3. Technique. The idea of loading and unloading my kiddos from the house to the car and getting them into different restaurants/stores/doctor’sappointments was overwhelming for me. Before I gave birth, I couldn’t imagine how to do it. My babies were in infant car seats from 0-6 months. To get us out the door, I would:

  1. Load babies into car seats, and place by front door.
  2. Run purse, water bottle and diaperbag out to car, and start it with A/C or heat on, depending on the weather.
  3. Carry the babies to the car and snap them in. When they got older and heavier, I would leave one on the front porch, and snap the sibling into the carseat base.
  4. Repeat.

From six months on, we have been using convertible car seats. The trick that I employ is placing a pac-n-play by the front door as a “staging area.” I will take one child out to the car and come back for their sibling, who was contained in a safe place. This has become especially useful as the babies have recently started to crawl. Using the pac-n-play provides me with peace of mind as I shovel the walkway, or scrape ice from our windshield.

I also like to keep a bjorn or similar carrying device tucked into the basket of my stroller. This has come in very handy during meltdowns, and I can comfort one by carrying them while having my hands free to push the other baby in the stroller. It is hard on the back, but then again, nearly everything about motherhood hurts my back!

Also, whenever possible, I park near handicap entrances, and utilize the ramp, automatic doors and lower curbs. And a good trick for grocery shopping or doing your Target run…place one infant carrier in the front of the cart, and carry the other in a bjorn or sling. This leaves your cart free for your purchases.

Leaving the house with two babies is absolutely possible, and totally necessary for the mental health of MoM. Remember, you are strong and capable! The way I figure it, the very worst thing that could happen is both babies could cry/scream/poop/pee/vomit and you could turn into a hormonal pile of mush. Face it, that could just as easily happen at home! But at least this way, you can make good use of the Starbucks drive-thru!

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