Toddler Thursday: Getting the diagnosis…. Then (whew!) finding out it is wrong

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As a parent you will do anything to make sure your kids are safe and happy. With the first baby especially, you stress and worry and panic and wonder if you are ever going to do anything right. My oldest was an early talker, a very early talker and a late walker. I had always heard that you either talk or walk – that babies focused on one area of development at a time. She talked early and walked at 17 months. Perfectly reasonable and within “normal” ranges, so it is fine.

Fast forward to twins.

Again, I stressed, I worried and I wondered if I would ever get anything right. Don’t get me started on sleep. The twins are now 2 ¾ and we still have sleeping issues…. The boy girl twins, like my older daughter, were early talkers. And late walkers. Sidney walked at 17 months just like big sister. But Spencer did not. He did talk early but at 17 months was not walking. It is ok, he will get there. And at about 18 months he took 5 steps into my arms. And I cried and screamed and attacked him with kisses.

He did not walk again.

He did not even cruise.

At 19 months I emailed the pediatrician and said, “I know you are going to tell me not to worry but at 19 months Spencer is not walking yet”. Her reply was like a dart into my heart. “Maybe we need to get him evaluated.”

I called Birth-to-Three and after a scheduling nightmare I gave up and called the pediatric rehab center on my own. My mother-in-law came with me. Her job was to listen to everything I missed and hold my hand. She did great. Spencer did great. I did not. In my defense, I did not mesh well with the therapist. I am 100% positive she is very qualified and good at her job, but I constantly felt blamed. “If you don’t pick him up he will walk.” That comment had me in tears. And had Spencer in tears. I will never forget his baby arms reaching up for me and his baby screams while this (evil) woman tells me that he is not walking only because I pick him up.

The therapist would hold toys just out of his reach and try to force him to reach for them to build up him muscles. Spencer would give up and move to a different toy. And I don’t blame him. But she did recommend that he wear braces on his ankles.  So I consulted with the pediatrician before making that appointment. She laid Spencer on the exam table and moved/manipulated/rotated his legs. She called them “spaghetti legs”. She could move them in any direction. His muscle tone was low, but she did not think that was a huge cause of worry, he could build up the muscles.

But she saw something else in his legs. “Beth, I want him to see a pediatric neurologist, I think he may have Cerebral Palsy”. And that was all I heard. She did talk me down (ish). She reminded me that if he did have it, it was not the end of the world, it was not a brain tumor (ok, an extreme example but she had a point).

First step, ankle braces. So we made the appointment and Spencer was fitted with baby ankle braces. Everyone told me that these braces were a miracle and that the minute they were on, their baby walked.  Spencer did not. (In his defense they measures the braces wrong and needed to redo them so he wore the wrong ones for a week or so…) Slowly, slowly, he started taking baby steps. But he still preferred crawling or being carried.

And then, one day, with my heart in my throat, I watched my baby boy walk. Those tiny little dinosaur printed ankle braces changed our world. At 21 months, Spencer walked barefoot. He had full control, turned, pushed toys, carried toys. He was there. I tear up now remembering that day.

With my mother-in-law in tow, we took Spencer to the neurologist.

You know when you have those days where every detail sticks perfectly in your brain? That day was one of them. The neurologist pronounced my son (he actually evaluated both kids and pronounced them both) as “perfect”. He said Spencer did have low muscle tone but that he did not even need physical therapy or the braces. I kept him in the braces for a few more months anyway because I bought a new wider pair of shoes to accommodate them. When he sized up in shoes, he left the braces behind.

My gorgeous, amazing, funny, cuddly, little man is perfect. He runs (not well and not fast, but he gets places faster than walking). He might not be a soccer player or football player but that will mean less concussions, so I am good with it. And one day, while waiting for big sister’s school bus, he jumped up in the air. Both feet off the group, jumped into the air. My baby boy. I have never been so proud.

Really, when he plays with his friends you would never know what we went through in the spring of 2014. We still have some work to do though. He does not like stairs and prefers to be carried, especially when he is tired. When we hold hands on the stairs, he turns his foot inward and we want to work on that.   When he moves to preschool, he will need to be able to walk down a long staircase to the playground and that staircase does worry me. But we will take it all day by day, step by step and now jump by jump.

As a mom you would do anything for your kids, and if Spencer did have Cerebral Palsy, we would have researched and become the experts at CP. It was only a few months. And in the grand scheme of things, it was nothing. But it was also everything.

I would check on him at night and put my hand on his back and watch him breathe and stroke his cheek and wonder if he would be able to walk without braces, if his peers would be cruel, how a disability might affect him and our family. We are so blessed that we don’t have to worry about these things. But if I ever do, I know that my support system is strong and I want to publicly tell everyone how fabulous the “how do you do it” group is. Because they got me through the beginning. They were a huge help in getting me from the emotional stage to the logical, research nerd stage. You need the emotional part. You need to cry when you get news like this, but you need to hit that research stage hard as well.

Our lives are “normal” now (or as normal as life with toddler twins can be). When I take the twins down the stairs, I hold hands and lead them down one by one and that is our normal. I help Spencer turn his foot on the stairs and that is normal for us. But when he does not want to come inside, I chase after him and now that is normal too. And even while I am chasing after him, I know how blessed I am to have a baby boy who can run away from me, as long as he never ever runs into the street!

 

Beth is known as mommy by a 6 year old and boy-girl twins who are almost 3.  She blogs about life, kids, and DIY, at Pickles in my Tea and in my Soup.

Wouldn’t Do Without Wednesday: Crane Humidifier

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I originally wrote this post singing the praises of our Crane humidifier in 2009. Almost exactly six years later, it’s still serving us well. Now, it helps keep J’s nosebleeds at bay, since we seem to be past our lung issues.

We run a cool-mist humidifier in the girls’ room every night. Our pediatrician recommended getting one during J and M’s first bout of bronchiolitis, at age 4 months. (Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchioles of the lungs. Preemies are particularly susceptible because their lungs are put to work before they are fully developed.)

We noticed an immediate improvement in both M and J’s breathing during that first attack of bronchiolitis when we increased the humidity of their room. The first couple of years, I ran the humidifier every time either of them started coughing. [In the winter of 2008], I realized that the humidifier seemed to prevent coughing in the first place. It ran every night, and walking into the nursery relieved the pressure in my head caused by lovely Austin allergies.

During the first horrible round of bronchiolitis in our tiny infants, my ex ran out to the grocery store and bought the first humidifier in sight, a Vicks Cool Mist one. It did the job, and we dealt with the annoyance of cleaning it. When I noticed mold (eeeeeeew) on the wire, I chucked it in the trash and decided to upgrade. After reading a number of reviews, I got a Crane humidifer.

I’m in love.

This cool mist humidifier is an unobtrusive element of nursery decor and can help decrease a number of respiratory difficulties. Okay, so the thing is cute. In addition to the penguin I selected, Crane makes frogs, bears, pigs, elephants, and other animals. They have an elegant modernist line too.

These crane humidifiers are effective and perfect for nursery decor. What I’m really in love with, though, is how well it functions. The humidity output is adjustable, unlike my old humidifier. Also, and this should be standard on any electronics, but wasn’t present on my Cool Mist, the penguin has an on-off switch. Imagine, not having to unplug the darn thing every morning! I can see the mist being produced, and my sinuses are a testament to its effectiveness.

Cleaning couldn’t be easier; I actually look forward to cleaning the water tank on Saturdays, because I feel like I’ve accomplished something and it’s so easy. Changing the filter is foolproof. The Crane humidifier takes up less room than our old one, but be aware that the instructions recommend not setting it on the floor.

Plus, did I mention that it’s cute?

Humidifer in nursery. cute and effective!If you’re in the market for a humidifier, I can attest to the durability of these Crane ones.

I am no way affiliated with Crane USA and received no compensation for this review. This product has served us very well for many years.

Wouldn't Do Without Wednesday at hdydi.com: This week, the gogo Kidz Travelmate.

Twinkly Tuesday – April 28, 2015

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As I announced last week, starting today, we’re joining Lisa and Caro of Mummascribbles and The Twinkle Diaries to host Twinkly Tuesday. I’ve been discovering all these great new blogs and hope you learn as much as I have.

At Twinkly Tuesday, you can share your favourite posts, old or new.

Each week Lisa, Caro and I choose a favourite post for a total of three. It’s not easy with so much great content being linked.

My Tuesday Twinkler for the week is from Practicing Motherhood. Vanessa wrote a thought-provoking post titled “9 Ways Pregnancy Prepares A Woman For Motherhood” on the ways in which the experience of pregnancy prepares us for very real changes that motherhood brings.

9 Ways Pregnancy Prepares A Woman For Motherhood

Lisa’s Tuesday Twinkler this week is from Apparently Awkward, where you can read all about that most awkward of postpartum topics… I quote: “butt problems”.

Miss Bum Bum ... that postpartum discomfort no one ever talks about

Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is from Awesome Austerity. Morna talks about all the ways in which her family has recently made her cringe in public, all illustrated by hilarious line drawings.

How do your family members manage to embarrass you?

Take a moment to read them. You won’t regret it!

On with this week’s link-up!

Be sure to mention me — @hdydi, Caro — @twinklediaries  or Lisa — @mummascribbles, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

We’ll also visit everyone’s posts and leave comments between us.

Lisa and I have been pinning like crazy to the Twinkly Tuesday Pinterest board. Send an email to mummascribbles@hotmail.com or tweet her your email address and she’ll add you to the board. No more than 2 posts per week please :) The existing HDYDI Parenting board isn’t going anywhere, although we’ll only post the 10-30 most pinnable links there every week.

Each week, all three of us pick our favourite posts which will be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

There are a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that it’s fair and everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but we’ve noticed that a few people have been linking and running — without bothering to comment on anyone else’s posts — which isn’t in the spirit of the link up. In order for the linky to work, please be generous with your comments! And please add the Twinkly Tuesday badge to the bottom of your posts. Caro’s going to be rolling out a gorgeous new badge in the next month or so, so look for that!

Please do put the effort in, in fairness to everyone else who always does. We do remove offenders if reminders go unheeded.

  • You can link up to two posts per week — old or new.
  • Please be kind enough to add our badge to the bottom of your post/s
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. If you have time, visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!

The linky will close at 23.55 GMT on Friday.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and look forward to seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

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The Twin Bond and School

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One twin starts to feel sick herself at the prospect of going to school while her sister stays home - and it's not for any lack of love for school! - How Do You Do It?

My daughter M stayed home from school today.

I’m pretty sure her immune system caved in the aftermath of Texas-wide high stakes standardized testing. It appears that M has more in common with me than just our tendency towards perfectionism and gift of the gab. During high school and college, I invariably started running a fever immediately after that last of my final exams, having seemingly exhausted all my immune energies. I did the same after completing my Masters thesis.

The STAAR tests left this bright and high-performing third grader sick from the stress.Even though both my daughters are excellent test-takers, and have aced all their practice tests, the general atmosphere of stress got the better of M. My daughters reported that in the past children have been sent home the day before the tests, after throwing up from the stress. As M wisely noted, when reporting to me that science and social studies were tabled in the run-up to these math and reading tests, “The STAAR is just getting in the way of my learning.” I’ve been looking forward to these tests being over so that the teachers can get back to teaching.

M woke herself up coughing on Saturday morning, following a delightful school field trip we attended the day before. She was most pathetic, but perked up over the next few hours once she had a good breakfast and plenty of fluids. She seemed well enough to attend her best friend’s birthday party that afternoon, but come bedtime, she was warm to the touch and complaining of aching limbs.

On Sunday, the cough continued and was joined by a runny nose. Although the fever stayed away, the headache she complained of in the evening made me decide to keep her home on Monday. Her twin J asked if she could stay home to care for her sister and I responded with a straightforward, “No.” Both J and I had runny noses, although Austin allergies could have very well been to blame. We got into a rather detailed conversation about the nonspecific immune system, which I enjoyed thoroughly. J complained of no other symptoms….

Then morning came. I asked J to get ready for school. She brushed her teeth and then remembered that M would be staying home. I saw the realization dawn on her face and she suddenly got very pale.

“I don’t feel good, Mommy. I have a headache and an everything ache and I think I have a fever.”

I checked J and felt nothing approaching a fever.

“But I’m sick, Mommy. I’m queasy. I don’t think I should go to school.”

I told J that if she continued to feel ill, she could ask to see the school nurse, who would call me if she needed to come home. I was quite certain, though, that her queasiness was more to do with being without her sister than fighting off a microbe. After all, it was she who felt most strongly that she needed to be in the same classroom as her twin.

“But mom,” she explained, quite patiently, “the nurse will only send me home if I have a fever. What if I need to come home with no fever?”

Against the protestations of the usually very reasonable J, I loaded both girls in the car to go to school. M sensibly suggested that we switch their booster locations so that J would be able to exit the car in the school drop-off lane without having to climb over her sister. For entirety of our short drive, J attempted to illustrate how genuinely ill she was, coughing dramatically and clutching her belly. I told her that I was completely convinced that both she and I were fighting off whatever had rendered M unwell, but that our immune systems were up to the task.

I was struck by the contrast between this and M’s reaction to J staying home sick earlier in the school year. M was concerned about her sister, of course, but it never occurred to her to miss school. She certainly didn’t feel ill at the thought.

As soon as we got home, M headed to the bathroom. She washed her hands and opened that door saying, “Hey J! Let’s play Webkinz…. Oh. I forgot.” She was able to laugh at her own forgetfulness. She and I spent much of the morning playing pretend with my “grandchildren”.

Mommy and daughter play pretend.
This is Balance, my grandson. Or perhaps grandcat. He knows he’s a cat and likes to groom and bunny-kick his siblings, but he can talk and is getting lessons in literary analysis from his 8-year-old mother.

M didn’t mention J again until after lunchtime, when she asked how many hours it had been since we dropped her off. When we picked J up from school, I asked her how she’d felt. She said that around 1 pm she had developed a headache and gone to see the nurse, who had told her she had no fever and recommended a good night’s sleep. J’s symptoms could very well be entirely physical, but I suspect a strong emotional component to them.

In the car, on the way home, the girls exchanged notes about their days. J told M that science was back on the menu at school and that they were working on the life cycle. M was disappointed to had missed the lesson. J had picked up M’s homework and was glad to report that they didn’t need to write a reading summary this week. M was disappointed. She loves homework and gave herself some today while she was home with me.

M told J about her day, and noted that she couldn’t find her tiny stuffed hippo, Oliver, anywhere. “Bad parenting!” J responded with a giggle. Oliver was located minutes after our return home, after I insisted that the girls’ dirty clothes make it inside, rather than in the general vicinity of, the laundry basket.

Today reminded me of the time when J, home with an ear infection around 6 months old, cried inconsolably for hours. I was convinced that she’d ruptured her eardrum, but the doctor saw evidence of nothing beyond run-of-the-mill ear infection. As soon as I picked M up from daycare, where I’d taken her to be able to focus on J, J calmed down. She had been missing her sister, not crying from pain.

J is very protective of her sister, at least when they’re not arguing. M adores J, but sees no reason to mother her, instead projecting her maternal instincts on her stuffed toys. Identical they may be, but their relationship isn’t particularly symmetrical. I don’t think it needs to be.

How do your twins react to being apart?

HDYDI Parenting Link Up – A New Beginning

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Parenting Link Up Party

Thanks to all who linked up. We’re looking forward to new posts from all of you this week… but not until tomorrow, when we host Twinkly Tuesday for the first time!

That’s right. The HDYDI Parenting Link is merging with Twinkly Tuesday, cohosted by Lisa and Caro of Mummascribbles and The Twinkle Diaries. Check out our very last featured posts in this format below and come back tomorrow to link up!

Last week’s featured posts:

Last week‘s most clicked post was from Heather at Books and Giggles. It was titled “The Best Secret Reason to be a Stay-At-Home Mom.” She talks about how staying home instead of pursuing a career allows her the joys of living slowly instead of the rush, rush, rush of the do-it-all life.

The Best Secret Reason to be a Stay-At-Home Mom

As always, I am in awe of the amazing parents at Extreme Parenting. They described their lovely day out to an island for some family geocaching, including the prep work and planning involved with their large special needs family. I can honestly say, I’d never thought about the planning it would take to change a 10-year-old in diapers when out and about.

A day trip to an island with a large family with multiple special needs.

While Mary at Advocacy in Action wrote her post on preparing for adulthood specifically with autistic children in mind, her points are a valid reminder to all parents. She takes into account many different levels of ability in her post “AUTISM: Preparing Your Child for Adulthood“.

Preparing children with autism for adulthood, taking into account each child's abilities.

If you were featured above grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog!

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HDYDI Parenting Link Up is Now Twinkly Tuesday!

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We have absolutely loved hosting our Monday How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up. It’s time to grow!

As of next week (April 28, 2015), we’ll be combining with Twinkly Tuesday, the wonderfully vibrant link party hosted by Lisa of Mummascribbles and Caro from The Twinkle Diaries. Look for us every Tuesday!

How Do You Do It? and Twinkly Tuesday are joining forces for increased exposure for all linkers!

Twitter

Twinkly Tuesday is all over Twitter with the hashtag #twinklytuesday.
I’ll be tweeting @hdydi, and you can find Lisa @mummascribbles and Caro, @twinklediaries there too! Use the hashtag, and we’ll retweet!

Pinterest

We’ll continue to keep our HDYDI Parenting Link Up Pinterest board fresh, but consider following Twinkly Tuesday’s Pinterest board too.

Follow Mummascribbles’s board Twinkly Tuesday on Pinterest.

Facebook

As before, all 3 featured posts from the previous week’s link up will be shared on the HDYDI Facebook page.

Toddler Thursday: Outdoor Photography

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I’ve posted before about photography sessions in general with young children here, but this one will be specifically about photography outdoors.

Since the twins have been born, it seems we’ve actually begun taking more professional photographs. We used to take one annual family portrait around Thanksgiving for our  Christmas cards, but it’s gotten to be too difficult for me alone to capture all the kids in the same frame, much less looking in the same direction. And having only the most rudimentary knowledge of photography, I don’t know enough about how to get the right look I want (or get the shot in time to catch the right moment, or to avoid the blur of kids running around, etc etc). Now we do another photo shoot sometime in the spring/summer too.

So it was about time for our semi-annual photography session, and I decided to finally try an outdoor session in natural light. Many friends much prefer this type of photography, and I love the natural light too, but I’ve always been too terrified of my three kids running loose out in an open space. The great thing about studio photos has always been the controlled environment: the contained area, the comfortable room temperature, the choice of backdrops and props.

However, an acquaintance does freelance photography, was charging an affordable price, and had some time available during my spring break. I went for it. It did not end up being the experience I had dreaded; in fact, it was quite nice. Below are some contributing factors:

Logistics are important.

We chose a location very familiar to the kids. We are members at a local arboretum because the kids love it so much; we go almost once a week. It’s only about 15 minutes away. We like to go let the kids stretch their legs, be with nature, and see some peacocks. Turns out all the giant trees and gardens also makes for a great backdrop for photographs!

We made sure to chose a good time for them too, steering clear of their nap. Mornings usually work well for us, so after breakfast and getting ready, we got there at 9am. It was an hour session, so we were done and home well before naps at 11. The hour was nice too, because it gave the kids time to warm up to the photographer and get comfortable with the situation. (This is usually missing in studio shoots that I’ve taken. Those are more in the 30 minute range.)

Spring 2015 (8 of 28)

Preparation is also crucial.

I planned their coordinating outfits weeks in advance. Matching three children is not an easy task, and I always work hard not to spend too much money or pick pieces that could only be worn once. I made the skirts and hair clips this time too, so that required getting the proper materials and time learning on my sewing machine. I also had the kids try everything on and make adjustments to ensure all the outfits work together and everything fit.

I was prepared with snacks and juice for the kids. We usually do snacks around 10:30, but I thought I’d bring stuff just in case they needed a break from the camera. They did, and it worked. We bounced back from our 5 minutes of crackers and captured some more great images afterward.

Spring 2015 (66 of 124)

Luckily, some things just worked out for us.

We had some great cooperative weather. It was a slightly cloudy, brisk morning. Most of our photos were taken in some really beautiful, soft ambient light. The kids were not hot and sweaty running around. Towards the end of the session, the sun was just breaking through.

I gave the kids freedom to go where they wanted. I didn’t want to force them to be unnatural, but I was also worried that without my husband we’d have trouble keeping the kids together. It wasn’t a problem though, because we were able to focus their attention on things along the way. There were some sculptures that they played with, some fountains they all looked at together, and benches that were able to hold their attention for a bit. It took a little coaxing at times, but they did not scatter in three different directions as I feared.

Spring 2015 (43 of 124)

I learned to step back and let the photographer do his thing. He had a very laid back quality about him, never forced any poses on the kids, let them go where they wanted, and was very patient. I did not intervene except to fluff the skirts when they got ruffled and reposition a cap when it got out of place. As a result, no one was stressed (I am usually extremely stressed during photography sessions), and everyone was pretty relaxed and happy.

Spring 2015 (23 of 28)

 

lunchldyd is mom to 2.5yo b/g twins and their almost-5yo sister. She loves taking and looking through photographs of her kids.

Wouldn’t Do Without Wednesday: Our “OK to Wake” Clock

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I originally wrote this when my twin girls were three, as a review on our local MoMs’ group blog.  My girls are now six, and my love for this little gadget is still as strong as ever.

***

Since our girls started sleeping through the night, until they were about 18 months old, I could usually count on them waking up around 6:45 in the morning.  And then, when they dropped to one nap during the day, they began sleeping until about 7:30.  Those were the days!

When we began potty training, around 27 months, though, we experienced a drastic change in the girls’ morning routines.  I appreciated that they woke to use the potty…but there were some painfully early starts to our days for quite some time.

I then discovered a wonderful gadget that has made a huge difference in our morning routines, the “OK to Wake!” clock.  [There are several iterations of these in clocks and stuffed toys…just search “OK to wake”.]

OK to Wake

I set the clock to 6:30, at which time it glows green.  (As much as I’d like them to sleep until 9am on the weekends, I wanted to set a “realistic” goal.)  I tell the girls, if you wake up and the clock isn’t green, you can roll over and go back to sleep.

There are times when I hear them stirring shortly after 6:00, but they don’t usually call for me until 6:30…on the dot…and then I hear, Mommy!  The clock is green!  I slept well!

There are times that they wake up early, sometimes needing to sit on the potty.  After they use the bathroom, it’s been great to have an “impartial party” — the clock — to cite.  “The clock isn’t green.  It’s still sleep time,” I’ll tell the girls.  They almost always accept that they need to go back to bed.

I was worried that the clock would somehow wake them up in the mornings.  Its glow isn’t so bright that it disturbs them, though, and a handful of times they’ve slept an extra 15 or 20 minutes.  The green glow lasts for 30 minutes, so they still get to call out to me when they wake up (which they get a big kick out of).

I would love to one day get back to our blessed 7:30 rise and shine…but for now, I’m so thankful to at least have a consistent wake-up time.

***

(This is not a sponsored post.  I am in no way affiliated with the companies that make or sell these awesome gadgets.  It’s just been a lifesaver to us…for close to four years now!…and I wanted to share.)

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

When that Second Set Arrives: How Hard Can It Be?

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Hi. I’m Michelle and I have two sets of twins. Nineteen months apart.

Here is a quick visual of what that looked like:

Twins times two. Tips from a mom who has survived the first years and flourished!

And I think this picture was taken by my parents as they were getting ready to fly home after helping me for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure… but I think I’m crying in this picture.

And, even though my memory is really really sketchy about this time and the two years that followed, I think I can muster up some advice for those moms who are expecting their second set of twins.

Get Help. No, not like help in the head although there are going to be times that you feel like you need it. Hire as much help as you can afford for as many days a week you can afford. Hire babysitting help. Hire someone to clean your house. Find that 6th grader who loves babies who would be willing to hold/feed/play with any of your children. Piece together what you can. And, don’t be afraid of letting the person go who isn’t helping. You need another you! Find that person.

Twins times two. Advice from a mom who has been there!

Get Out. No, not like run away and never come back. More like, get out of the house without babies at least one day a week… you need a break. It is not a sign of weakness or that you don’t love your kids. But you first need to love on yourself a little bit. You are a better mother if you can walk away from being a mother… even if it is for a little while. Listen to yourself and what you need and put those needs first.

Twins time two. Michelle now has flourishing preteens and tells us how she did it!

Photograph the heck out of all of it. First, because you won’t remember any of it. Second, because having two sets of toddlers won’t last even though you feel like this is the worst hell imaginable (e.g.. every outing where one of them said, “I have to poop!” and EVERYONE had to go into the bathroom together). Make sure you get as many “ugly” photos as you do with everyone matching and smiling. Actually, get mostly ugly photos and videos of tantrums and messy house and potty training and the food everywhere and the two or more crying at the same time. You will look back… believe me you will… and want to go back again to hug and love on those babies and to help out that poor mama who is doing the best she can and still feeling like it isn’t even 1% enough.Twins times two. Thoughts from a mom who's been there.

On your best days you will be doing a good job if you are only meeting basic needs: food, changing, loving, and maybe reading a story or two. Forget the glitter painting and stamping and crafty crap that you always imagined you’d do with your kids. DON’T look at Pinterest and see what you could be doing… yeah, if you had one child. Your child is not missing out and glitter is so everywhere.

Make friends with other Mothers-of-Multiples. These will be your sisters-in-arms. You will need them like you need a nightly glass of wine. They are the ones who during an outing won’t bat an eye when YOU have to go to the bathroom and you ask one of them to keep an eye on your kids. They will empathize, sympathize and encourage you… and agree that no one understands.

Twins times two. You can do this.

Find a good parenting class. Mostly you’ll learn that you are doing it right… and you’ll learn not to worry about the small stuff. You’ll learn to let your child fall and not rush over. You’ll learn that listening is the best communication tool that you’ll ever cultivate. You’ll learn that other parents are going through EXACTLY THE SAME STUFF at the SAME TIME. This is called child development. Make friends with the stages… they are necessary for healthy growth. And, sometimes these classes also have FREE CHILDCARE!

Say this Mantra: THIS WON’T LAST. THIS WON’T LAST. Because it won’t and you don’t get a do-over. The potty training, the tantrums, the middle of the night wake-ups. These all go away… as do your babies.  So let toys be everywhere and in every room. Let them ride mini big wheels in the house on a rainy day (heck, on a sunny day so you can get dinner made!). You will remember these crazy times as being your favorite times. You are striving for happy… and peaceful… and loved. Mostly loved.

I remember an older mother of four teens saying that she’d go back to the infant and toddler time in a heartbeat. At the time I thought, I will NEVER wish for that! And, you know what, I’d go back in a nanosecond. You will too. Just wait. You’ll want to go back in time and tell that mama that she is doing a GREAT job… and you might even stay to do a load of laundry… or six.

twins times two and one more. Michelle has managed, and so will you.

Finally, as my husband reads this over my shoulder, he says longingly, “It goes by so fast!” It won’t seem like it at the time, but it does. Do whatever you can to enjoy the time. Find help, get out, take lots of photos, have a mantra that helps you stay sane, learn about child development so you know why some of the most difficult states (in stereo with twins) are the most necessary!

Michelle blogs at www.twinstimestwo.com where she tries to piece together those lost early memories from mothering two sets of twins and where she tries to record the daily joy and chaos of being a mother of multiples.

HDYDI Link Up Party #51

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Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rulesParenting Link Up Party


Last week’s featured posts:

Thanks to all who linked up. We’re looking forward to new posts from all of you this week and welcoming new linkers!

Last week‘s most clicked post was from Ashleigh at Simply Wright. She wrote about a very sticky situation with her daughter’s party and having to uninvite a little girl who was extremely cruel. There was no right answer. What would you have done?

What would you do if your child didn't want an unpleasant classmate at her birthday party?

Point any breastfeeding moms you know to Julie’s post on getting insurance to cover the expenses of a breast pump. She blog at Velvet Rose. My personal recommendation is Medela. Julie even found a program to remind her to order replacement parts.

Julie's done the legwork on ordering your breast pump through insurance.

I liked Mosswood Connections‘ piece on soothing the anxious child. I’ve tried some of their recommendations and found them to be very effective, particularly creating a worry meter to help your child verbalize their feelings.

Ideas for helping your anxious child.

If you were featured above grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog!

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