The HER Within the Mot'her'

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Categories Family, Higher-Order Multiples, Mommy Issues, Parenting, Relationships, Travel6 Comments

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?

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The Story of How My Three Came to Be

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, PregnancyTags 7 Comments

Here’s the continuation of my post from two weeks ago.  I hope you are all enjoying the weekend.

Part II

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?

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No Pictures, Please.

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, Mommy Issues, Multiples in the News18 Comments

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.)  may-june-2009-160

 

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!)

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Please Vote! Tuesday, June 2nd

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Categories Fraternal, Higher-Order Multiples, Identical, Infants, Napping, Overnight, Preschoolers, Products, Safety, School-Age, Sleep, Toddlers10 Comments

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.

JenW1 

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.

14463_2We 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.

JenW2

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.

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NPR segment on multiples and infertility

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, Medical, Mommy Issues, Multiples in the News, Other peopleTags 11 Comments

For all those mothers of multiples (with extra help!) out there, or those that didn’t have help, but are interested anyway, this NPR segment aired Monday. It is on multiples and how they are changing our lives—and I’m pretty sure she’s not talking about the specifics of MY life but the bigger EVERYONE’s. I found it disturbing on a number of levels, but perhaps that’s simply because I’m one of “those moms”, as she discusses, who would rather have had two babies at once than tried to do IVF again? My own personal feelings aside, I’m curious as to what others think of this? There are certainly some interesting ethical dilemmas which are highlighted, but I do think she misses out the positives of twins or more.

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=2-23-2009

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How DO you do it?

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, ParentingTags 2 Comments

I know I have been MIA lately, but life has been quite chaotic since my oldest daughter headed back to school.  She loves sports and plays any and every one that she can so we have had back to back practices and games, with many overlapping seasons.  Oh, and I also have those 3 one year olds to contend with.  I am hoping that this is the start of some renewed time for posting here at HDYDI.  I have missed you all!


As a parent of triplets, this is probably the most frequently asked question. It does get slightly annoying to have to answer the same question over and over again, but I understand the curiosity behind it so I usually indulge the asking party with an answer. Sometimes I answer seriously, other times I just shrug and say I don’t know. But…lately I have been wondering. Really, how DO I do it?

In short I came up with these answers…

  • Lots of caffeine. Seriously, lots and lots of caffeine. I do not have the energy of one 1 year old, much less three 1 year olds, so I depend on caffeinated beverages to give me the energy I need. Really, my life depends on getting enough daily intake; my veins flow with coffee and diet cola. (On a side note, this could explain the insomnia…)
  • A multivitamin to give my body all of the nutrients that all of that caffeine is probably depleting and a vitamin c supplement to keep illness at bay.
  • Laughter. If I didn’t laugh I would probably cry. So I try to see the humor in everything. Even a poopy explosion at naptime. The upside to that you ask? It makes a great blog post :)
  • Normalcy. A good friend just wrote about getting out and doing things with her triplets that are normal, simple things such as going to the grocery store. Those accomplishments make me feel normal and normal is good in my world.
  • Getting out. Some days I have just had enough and I try to recognize the signs before I reach my breaking point. When I get there I surrender control of my world, hand the triplets off to my husband and head for the hills. Well, not really the hills, usually I just shop, often times for groceries, but the important thing is that I get out into the real world and spend some time with me.
  • Writing. Keeping my blog has really helped me to keep my sanity. I am able to reflect and process everything I am going through, record all of our memories and make new friends – all at once. I tend to hide, so I am not sure that I would be quite so positive and upbeat if I didn’t have somewhere to turn that forced me to think about things as I was going through them.
  • Enjoyment. I love spending time with the three 1 year olds we call The Peaches (and of course, The Peanut too) and I cannot imagine my life without all of this…it is so much fun. All of the sticky hands, messy faces, snotty noses, big grins, tiny giggles, belly laughs, hugs and kisses, jumping, dancing, and on and on…my life would be empty without it all!
  • Family and friends. Enough said.
  • Prayer. Every night I pray. Every day I pray. When the going gets tough, I ask for strength. When I have made a mistake, I ask for forgiveness. When I can’t find the answer I need, I ask for wisdom. When I am faced with uncertainty, I ask for clarity. Mostly, I thank God for this life, this family, this love and I thank Him for giving us another day together. We are incredibly blessed, I know that, and I want to make sure that I never take a single moment, a single breath, a single heartbeat, a single person for granted.

This was cross-posted on my personal blog.

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Lessons Learned from Jon and Kate Plus 8

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Categories Family, Famous Twins, Higher-Order Multiples, Multiples in the News7 Comments

In addition to the “How do you do it?” and “You must have your hands full!” I am now daily getting asked “Do you watch that show with the people with the twins and sextuplets?”

My answer, “Absolutely!”

I, along with a lot of other people, am totally charmed by the TLC/Discovery Health program “Jon and Kate Plus 8.”  In our area (Pittsburgh), Jon and Kate airs on Monday evenings. And you better believe that I will be plunked down on my couch with a bowl of popcorn and about 5 loads of laundry to fold, every Monday night. 

In case you haven’t watched this fascinating reality show, Jon and Kate Gosselin met and married and conceived their twin girls, Mady and Cara, via IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and ovulation induction medication  (ie Clomid).  And as the story is told, they decided to try for “just one more,” and ended up with 6! Kate was originally pregnant with 7, but one sac failed to mature.

Last year, the tag line was “We have two 6 year olds, and six 2 year olds.” The older girls, are fraternal twins Cara and Mady. The sextuplets are split, three girls, three boys. They are Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel, Collin and Aaden. The kids are now seven and three.

The Gosselins live in central Pennsylvania, and Kate quit her job as a nurse to stays at home with her houseful of children. Recent episodes have been about their travels as a family (Disney, Utah, the Pittsburgh Zoo) and a day dedicated to each of the kids individually. The episodes dedicated to the kids, were calm and enjoyable to watch. The trip episodes were loud, chaotic and constantly interspersed with a child crying or Jon and Kate snapping at each other. With 8 kids, I can only imagine the stress level they must be under at all times.  Another quote from the show: “While the stress of raising multiples doesn’t always bring out the best in us, we’re a family, and this is our life.”

Can I get an Amen?! For sure, the stress of raising multiples does not always bring out the best in me! And although I am not an angry person, I can only imagine how I would be portrayed if cameras were in my home day in and day out!

My fascination with this family runs deep…I don’t think I have missed an episode yet! For $13.95, you can purchase a copy of their book, Multiple Blessings:Surviving to Thriving With Twins and Sextuplets.

And now I leave you with “Tips For a Smooth Household” by Kate Gosselin, the multiples expert herself, taken from the Discovery Health Channel website.

Tip #1 Organize
As a mother of sextuplets and twins, one of the best methods for keeping a family organized is lists! No one has the memory of an elephant! Keep a constant running list of “To Dos” and then cross things off as they are completed! My to-do lists consists of meals for the week, which loads of laundry need to be done, and which parts of the house needs attention. Lists will keep you and your family organized.

Tip #2 Shop on a Budget
Shopping for a family of 10 means planning ahead and staying on a budget. The good news is that you can have healthy, home cooked delicious (even organic!) meals for a large family. Look for sales! Watch the sale papers and take advantage of store promotions, coupons and rainchecks. Keep a constant running list of things that are on sale and that you need at the store from week to week. This will avoid buying things that you don’t need. It’s also good to stock up on items that you use a lot of and that are on sale!

Tip #3 Prepare for Outings
Plan ahead! If outings are well thought out in advance, it will allow for a better time for all! Always take plenty of drinks, snacks, clothing and supplies. Make a mental plan of how the day will unfold and then adjust it as necessary!

Tip #4 Count Your Blessings
On days that your role as mom seems mundane and pointless and repetitive(we all have those), remember to count your blessings! Take a moment, see all that is positive in your life and the life of your children and it will give you that boost that you need!

Tip #5 Promote Safety
Talk about different scenarios and what is safe and acceptable and what is not safe and what they should not do in different situations! Remind them to come to YOU as a parent if they hear something that they don’t understand, think that is bad or don’t know what it means. You want to position yourself as their resource person to keep conversation lines open. This needs to start at a very young age.

Tip #6 Provide Order
A schedule will help everyone in the family. It removes the guesswork and a lot of frustration. It allows the things that need to get done to get done because life becomes somewhat predictable.

Tip #7 Reward Your Children
Reward them for their helpfulness and kindness—if only with your words, this will mean a lot to them. They want your approval!

Tip #8 Make Housework a Family Affair
Especially in a large family, involving all of the kids in the housework, chores, cooking, cleaning etc. This helps to provide family unity, and a sense of belonging. It also teaches kids to develop a strong work ethic. And encourage Dad to get involved—in our situation, much of what a successful mom is able to accomplish, is due to a very present and helpful dad!

Additional information on “Jon and Kate Plus 8” can be found at:

http://health.discovery.com/convergence/gosselins/gosselins.html

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How do you shop?

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Categories Higher-Order Multiples, Mommy Issues13 Comments

I have lots and lots of twin mommy friends from my twin club, and we’ve all discussed this topic at great length. There seems to be two schools of thought:

1. There’s no way in hell I’m taking my kids to the store, they can spend some time with Daddy, I need some time by myself to peruse the Lean Cuisines, and I don’t care if it’s midnight when I finally get to the store.

and

2. I don’t care if people stare at us, I don’t care if we’re in people’s way, I don’t care if the kids are making a scene, we need groceries, and I need to get out of this house and see some sunshine before their third birthday.

I’ve noticed there are many moms who flat out refuse to take their kids shopping unless they absolutely must, and there are just as many who take their kids everywhere. It’s been something of a point of contention between my husband and I, because HE thinks we should stay home, thus avoiding car accidents, stray dog attacks, purse snatchers, kidnappers, and cold germs. Of COURSE he thinks this, since he’s away from the Casa de Chaos for ten hours a day. I, on the other hand, spend most of my life right here in this very kitchen, standing at this very counter. I get to where I feel like my eyeballs are sunburned from all the Playhouse Disney. I need to sit and drink cocktails chat with my mommy friends at someone else’s house while the kids color on the walls once in awhile.

First shopping trip alone. So, from the very beginning, I’ve been putting myself out there in the world. One of the things I was dreading when I found out I was expecting my second set of twins was the whole logistics of GETTING anywhere. What I’ve discovered, though, is that it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, sometimes it sucks – when the weather is cold, when people at the mall let the door shut in my face when they see me struggling to get my stroller inside, when people make comments like, “I would kill myself if I had that many children.” (Yeah. Somebody actually said that!) But for the most part, it’s no biggie. When our second set of twins was a couple of months old, I decided it was time for me to figure out how to go shopping. I went to a store where I knew I’d be able to get my hands on one of those big shopping carts with the toddler seats, and I buckled my one-and-a-half year old kids into the seats and I put the two infant seats on top of the cart. Hey, it worked? I had to shove the groceries underneath one of the infant seats, but by golly, we managed. We got a lot of stares and comments, but I felt so completely VICTORIOUS on the drive home, I was practically in tears!

The answer to But babies grow quickly, and it wasn’t long at all before I realized we were going to have to figure something else out. The kids were just getting too big for me to sling them around in their infant seats. We needed another option. The answer for us was the Quad Stroller! Now, this is no wimpy plastic stroller from Babies ‘R Us. This is commercial grade, designed for daycare centers. It’s all metal and weighs EIGHTY POUNDS. (Yet another example of something you can do when you realize you’re out of options: lifting an 80-pound stroller in and out the back of your van!) It’s not the prettiest stroller in the world, but my God, I had a love affair with that thing. With the quad stroller, we could go anywhere – the zoo, the mall, the park – and yes, the supermarket. I somehow figured out how to push the stroller with one hand and pull the cart behind me with the other. My research has indicated that this is the method most twin mamas employ while grocery shopping with very young children.

Time for School! You make it work. That’s something I wish someone would have told me when I was expecting twins: you’ll figure out a way. If it’s something you feel like you need to do, you’ll figure it out. And honestly, that time period goes by in the blink of an eye. Now I long for the days when I had no choice but to push the ginormous stroller around, because I knew where all the kids were! Now, they all want to walk, and I spend all my time counting them to make sure we haven’t lost anyone!

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