Shopping Cart Safety

Posted on
Categories Parenting, SafetyTags , , 1 Comment

I take my daughters’ safety very seriously. When parent friends were turning their kids forward-facing in the car as soon as they hit their first birthday and 20 lbs, I kept mine rear-facing until they were well beyond two years old and beyond the minimum weight to be turned forward-facing legally. In fact, I would have kept them rear-facing longer if I were as good then as I am today at standing my ground with my (now ex) husband. They were in 5-point harnesses until the end of second grade, and only moved to boosters because their grandparents said that they didn’t feel comfortable installing car seats in their car.

The reasons for keeping young children in rear facing car seats are well documented. I won’t bother going into them here.

Car seats and grocery carts aren't designed to fit together. Consider placing a seat in the main part of the cart instead of across the handlebar and seat area.

I’ve read the manual to every car seat we’ve had, all the way through. The Graco Snugride. The Britax Marathon. The Diono Radian. The Graco Turbobooster. The Graco AFFIX. Yes, I keep all my manuals and refer back to them often enough that I know where they all are. I’m that person who read the entirety of the manual to my sewing machine before I loaded the first bobbin.

The Snugride manual said nothing about my infant bucket seats not being safe in shopping carts… and I made the mistake of assuming that they were safe. Sure, I’d seen the carts with built-in baby seats and figured they were handy for a lot of families. My two babies weren’t going to fit in that one seat, though. I was so proud of having figured out that I could fit one car seat in the child seat area and the other seat sideways across the main cart area. I had plenty of room for the actual groceries under the cart.

Shopping carts can pose a safety risk for young children. Educate yourself.

In the years since my daughters have outgrown bucket seats, I have learned a lot more about car seats and shopping carts. I’ve read all about the tragic death of 3-month-old James Anderson Berg in a car seat/cart accident. It’s not terribly uncommon for carts to tip. This video, despite its happy ending, is terrifying even for those of us who wouldn’t dream of leaving a 5-point harness unbuckled.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Do not place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart.” They have some relatively ridiculous “safer ideas” (at least for this home cook and single mother of twins) about leaving kids at home when shopping, but the rules are solid.

If you decide to put your child in a shopping cart anyway, then follow these rules:

  • Place your child in a safety belt or harness at all times when in a shopping cart.
  • Never leave your child alone in a shopping cart.
  • Do not let your child stand up in a shopping cart.
  • Do not place an infant carrier on top of the shopping cart.
  • Do not put your child in the basket.
  • Never allow your child to ride on the outside of a cart.
  • Do not allow an older child to climb on the cart or push the cart with another child in it, because it is very easy for a child to tip the cart over.

Although we never suffered an accident, I wouldn’t put a baby seat in a cart’s seat area if I were to do it over. The Jenny Evolution has some ideas for dealing with singleton infants at the store, and you can check out our thoughts on making it through a shopping trip with multiples.

I encourage you to educate yourself and take a second to think about how you’re comfortable using shopping carts for your infants. They’re a wonderful convenience, and it’s not too hard to use them safely.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Grocery Shopping with Twins and More

Posted on
Categories Ask the Moms, Household and Family Management, How Do The Moms Do It, Multiple Solutions, Parenting Twins, PerspectiveTags , , , , , 2 Comments


You Can Do This!

Twins in a shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
Yetunde‘s pair are ready to roll!

You can run errands with twins or more, including multiple infants or toddlers. You can do this. Yes, alone. If you must do so alone, or just want to, you should give it a try. We’re going to tell you how The Moms go grocery shopping with kids in tow, from twins to quadruplets, with some singletons thrown in for good measure.

This post assumes that you have access to a car, are walking, or are riding a bike. Taking public transportation with multiples is a topic for another day.

Leaving the House

Plan and Pack

As with most things related to caring for babies, grocery shopping with twins or more starts with good planning. Pick a time that works for you and your kids. Do your babies fall asleep in the car and nap well out and about? Consider going shopping during nap time so that they can sleep through the whole thing. Are they happy and social in the morning? Go shopping then. Make a complete shopping list so that you can minimize followup trips required to pick up things that you forgot during your main shopping haul.

diaper bag and contents from
Photo Credit: dhgatsby

Pack your diaper bag with the things you’ll need. The basics usually include things for diaper changes, something to wipe up spills and messes, changes of clothes in case of mess, something for the babies to eat, and something for them to play with. You’ll also need to have a transportation solution at the ready, whether it’s a stroller-carseat system, baby wrap, wagon, or all of the above.

Twinfant Tuesdays: Errands with Lots of Little Ones from
If your child is old enough to sit in a cart but not big enough to stay propped up, a rolled up blanket can help, as demonstrated by Sadia‘s daughter J at Ikea. M is wearing, or rather worn in, an Evenflo Snuggli. Please see our baby carrier post for our thoughts on wearing twins.

Older kids don’t need all the diaper paraphernalia, but they might need something to keep their hands and minds occupied, like books or toys. A small container of fruit or cereal is a good thing to have on hand for when blood sugar dips and tempers rise. Depending on the ages of your children, you may have traded in your diaper wipes for antibacterial hand gel… although you may find yourself wishing you had wipes, even with school-age kids!

Before you head out the door, make sure that your kids are clean and fed. If they’re just fussy, and you have a constitution that allows you to drive with a fussy child in the car, just move on to loading up. Sometimes you’ll need to drive through the crying to get to your goal.

Don’t forget your shopping bags, cooler or insulated bag, and transportation solution.

If you do make a habit of shopping with your multiples, you’ll need to be prepared to be a minor celebrity. Especially during the first couple of years, when it is obvious that your children are the same age, people will want to stop and talk to you about multiples. Budget extra time for discussion with curious strangers. Arm yourself with standard answers for common questions.

Load Up

3 infants buckled up at home: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
3 infants in a car: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from Sadia’s daughters and a friend’s son went shopping together regularly. M wasn’t too happy about it.

Put your kids in the car last. That way you’re not distracted by their demands while you pack up. Make sure that they’re somewhere safe, like a crib, swing or playpen, while you pack your car with your stroller (or wagon or baby wraps) and diaper bag and other equipment. Janna kept bouncy chairs in the front room and strapped her boys in on the way in and out of the house.

If you’re using bucket-style infant car seats, it may be easiest to load and strap your babies in in the comfort of your home, then install the seats in your car, complete with babies.

If you’re walking or bicycling, the same general approach holds true. Load the kids last.

Out and About

You’ve loaded up and arrived at your grocery shopping destination with your twins. Now what?


If you’ve driven to the store, check to see whether they have designated Customer with Child parking spots. If you can score one, it will likely be near the cart return closest to the main entrance to the store. You can maximize your chances of reasonable parking by shopping at off-peak hours such as weekday mornings, but this isn’t feasible for everyone.

Walking and Biking

Janna and RebeccaD walk almost everywhere. RebeccaD purchases only what she can fit in the undercarriage of the stroller. She hits the store with her boys every couple of days. She uses her double stroller for most errands. Janna walks to the pharmacy, grocery store, post office, thrift store. The workout is a bonus!

Once her boys turned a year old, Janna switched to a trailer behind her bike. This isn’t always possible, of course, if your errand is too far away or the weather is too hot or cold, but it works great for her family most of the time.

Implement Your In-Store Strategy

The Moms have a plethora of ideas for containing and transporting kids at the grocery store. Yetunde has actually written about this in the past on her personal blog. If you’re planning to use a store cart, parking near the cart return can make it easier to snap up a cart without having to stray far from your car.

  • A common solution for infants is a double car seat/stroller system, such as the Double Snap-N-Go or Graco DuoGlider. MandyE was once able to run three quick errands within an hour thanks to the ease of baby transfer! Where do the groceries go, we hear you clamor. One option is to use the basket under your stroller as your cart. This severely limits how much you can purchase at a time. Another option is to push your stroller with one hand while pulling a store cart behind you with the other. It looks a little crazy, but it works well.
  • 3-seater cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
    Target has carts that seat 3 kids with ease, demoed here by MandyE’s precious duo.

    More and more stores are offering shopping carts that seat two or more children. In our experience, such stores include Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and many branches of the Texas grocery store HEB. Sadia found it to be worth driving a few extra miles to go to a store that had two-seater carts standard.

    Twin boys crying in a two-seater shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
    Jen Wood‘s boys don’t seem to appreciate two-seater shopping carts as much as The Moms do.

    Don’t have any stores nearby with carts that accommodate two seated kids? Let your store manager know; the company may simply be unaware of the demand.

    This brings us to another point: “Shop” around and choose stores that work for you. Find places where you can maximize your effort and where you can shop effectively. One-stop shopping is your friend. SarahP typically goes to Costco first, then to Walmart because she can price match there and get all the other odds and ends. Use the grocery store pharmacy. Look for wide aisles. You may find it worthwhile to invest in a cover to keep little fingers off germy cart parts and/or disinfecting wipes to wipe down the cart before transferring your kids.

  • MandyE (in the photo) and Sadia both used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins.
    MandyE used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins. Note that most car seat manufacturers recommend placing car seats inside the car rather than in the seat area. Check your manual!

    You can wear one baby and put the other(s) in the shopping cart. Wiley typically wore her twinfant girls, had her toddler son seated in the cart, and had her school-age son walk. The trick to reaching things on low shelves without spilling a baby is to squat. You’ll have thighs of steel, so that’s a benefit of this approach. Note that many car seat manufacturers advise against placing car seats in cart seats the way MandyE demonstrates and many of The Moms do regularly. Try using the cart strap to secure the seat the way you would with the seatbelt in your car.

  • Twins hiding in the paper towels: Grocery Shopping with Multiples:
    Jen Wood’s guys remind us that our kids are also pretty creative, so be careful when letting them walk in the store.

    Get creative. SaraBeth has seen parents bungee two carts together. Sadia has shopped with her kids in a Radioflyer wagon. SarahP keeps one baby in the car seat in the main area of the cart, puts her 2-year-old in the sitting area of the cart and straps the other baby to herself in a Baby Bjorn. The groceries go under the cart and around the seat. It may look like a circus, but it works! Carolyn – Twintrospectives used her stroller as her cart. When she had too much bagged stuff after paying to fit elegantly back under the stroller, she used a couple of mommy hooks to hang bags off other parts of the stroller. Janna used to hang reusable grocery bags from the double stroller handles.

  • 7-year-olds helping mom push a shopping cart: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
    Sadia’s daughters can help her steer the cart, although they’re just at the height where they can’t see where they’re going. They now prefer to walk alongside the cart and help calculate the best values and keep mommy within budget.

    Kids don’t have to be contained. If your kids are old enough to walk and trustworthy enough to be free, invite them to help you push the cart or give them carts of their own. Sadia’s kids still, at age 7, walk between her and the shopping cart, embraced within her arms and “helping” her push. If they wish to walk alongside the cart, they are each assigned a spot on the side of the cart to keep a hand on. They are not permitted to let go without explicit permission. SaraBeth determines which twin goes “free range” based on who has been better at listening that day.

  • Twin boys push miniature shopping carts in the store: Grocery Shopping with Multiples from
    Jen Wood’s sons are on a mission. Having his own cart keeps each boy close to mom and focused on shopping.

    Avoid the store altogether. Shop online. Subscribe to a CSA that delivers to your home. Use a drive-through.

There will be days when your kids will be in rare form, screaming bloody murder, and you’ll wonder how essential food really is. We’ve been there. On balance, though, shopping is doable, often even fun. If you treat it like a fun outing, your kids will have fun too. MandyE and Sadia will talk about making grocery shopping fun and educational in a later post.

Ask for and Accept Help

Twins in a double shopping cart seat: Grocery Shopping with Twins from
The Moms love these double seat shopping carts, modeled here by Carolyn – Twintrospectives’ boys. If your store doesn’t have them, see if a manager can order a few. Once they see how popular they are, they’ll get the message!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Janna often asked strangers to hold doors for her. Sadia asks store staff to help her lift things down from tall shelves. Carryout services offered by some grocery stores is golden. If you let the staff member load groceries into your car, it frees you up to load up your kids.

Unique Circumstances

Special Needs Children

Marissa‘s son A was very sick as a newborn and was essentially quarantined until he was 6 months old, by order of his doctor. This meant keeping D in too until he had his 3rd DTaP. Marissa’s husband, mother, and grandmother ran almost all of the errands, since A required extensive care when not hospitalized. We know, we said you could do it, but sometimes it’s best that you don’t run errands with your kids, for their sakes.

Grocery cart with infant seat attached: Grocery Shopping with Twins from
Some grocery stores provide shopping carts with infant seat already (and securely!) installed. If you wear one baby, these are great for parents of twins.

Now A is doing much better, but he couldn’t sit in a shopping cart until he was about 14 months old. Marissa wore him most of the time and had D sit in the cart. In addition, A is tube-fed and she does not let that stop them from participating in any activity, even though people are far more likely to stare than when witnessing public breastfeeding. One of Wiley’s daughters needs to drink thickened liquids to prevent aspiration, so they keep individual servings of thickener in their diaper bags now. Due to the aspiration issue, she had to drink pumped milk, so Wiley and her family had to travel with a cooler even though her twin sister could just breastfeed on demand.

Sadia’s daughter’s frontonasal dysplasia does sometimes force her family to contend with awkward comments and questions, but she has a stockpile of canned responses at the ready. She also talked to both her daughters about others’ perceptions and comments, since keeping them out of earshot is not a realistic option.

Higher Order Multiples

Mrslubby‘s husband loves to take her quadruplets and their 4-year-old big sister shopping, if nothing else to prove he can! He loads up two babies in one cart and two babies in another. With their older singleton standing on the end of a cart, he pushes one cart and pulls the other. While Mrslubby cringes at all the looks she gets from strangers with her brood, her husband basks in the acknowledgment of his juggling skills.

Pregnant MoMs

At the moment, Marissa is too pregnant with her third baby to wear her son A facing out in a front-carry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like back-carry much, so she usually only take one kiddo on errands. Once again, her husband does most of the errands, because that’s what works for her family. As we said earlier, asking for help is an important MoM skill, as is accepting help when it’s offered.

Single (or Functionally Single) Parents

Janna and Sadia were both functionally single parents when their twins were very young, thanks to Janna’s husband’s extended work hours and Sadia’s (now ex-)husband’s repeated deployments. They had no alternative but to run errands with their kids, so it never occurred to them that it should be difficult. On the other hand, RachelG and her husband share equally in family tasks such as grocery shopping, so there is no need for either of them to master solo groceries. Do what works for your family’s needs.

If you’re a working single mother like Sadia, chances are that you have very little flexibility in your schedule and no one to watch your kids without prior planning. Work a weekly shopping trip into your routine so that your little ones know to expect it. Consider having a backup supply of canned and frozen goods to carry you through if you hit a week during which you just can’t make it to the store. Moms do occasionally get sick. Cars break down. Roads flood. Don’t be caught without food and toilet paper.

Unloading at Home

Unloading your groceries with young kids around can also take some planning. Your multiples and other kids may be especially demanding on returning to the safe environment of home. As on the way out of the door, make sure that you have a safe place to keep them while you bring your shopping inside.

Grocery Shopping with Twins and More from
Photo Credit: malloreigh

Consider using a cooler or insulated grocery bag for frozen or refrigerated items. This allows you a bigger window to tend to your kids before you return your attention to the groceries waiting to be put away. If your store has an especially competent bagger, do what you can to get in their checkout line and avoid careless baggers. Alternately, you can oversee the bagging yourself or simply communicate to the checkout staff that you need your things bagged in a particular order. It helps them out if you load groceries in logical groupings while you’re checking out.

Sadia keeps a tote in the trunk of her car to help keep things sorted. Refrigerator items go in the tote, everything else straight into the trunk. When she gets home, she can pick up everything that needs to be put away quickly at once. The rest can wait.

Not Just for Moms

The post has been written about moms going shopping with kids because we’re moms who go shopping with kids. This advice is for everyone else too, though: for the DoMs who do just as much in the way of home and family maintenance as MoMs, for nannies and au pairs who are out and about with the kids, for grandmas and grandpas, whether the grandkids are visiting or are in your permanent care.

Katelyn‘s husband carries one kid on his shoulders. Marissa’s husband wears a Moby like nobody’s business. Just yesterday, Sadia had a lovely conversation with a dad of 9-month-old twins while he wore one baby and had the other lying in the built-in infant seat in the store cart. When she got fussy, dad just scooped her onto his hip. He still had a free hand for the cart. Wiley’s nanny tends to wear one girl, put one in the cart seat, and put her middle boy in the body of the cart while the oldest is at school.

We all find ways to get things done, even if it takes some creativity.

Do you have specific types of errands, family situations, or location-related limitations on which you’d like The Moms’ advice? What grocery store trip tips did we miss?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

It’s Okay to Think It: Responding to Twin Comments

Posted on
Categories humor, Other peopleTags , , 6 Comments

Most days, I recognize that when some asks me “Are they twins?”, they really mean, “I see you have twins, but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. You might have just have a kid with a growth problem. I would like to open a conversation on the subject of (your) twins, so let me make sure that they are twins.” Then there are the days when I have been chocolate-deprived or sleep-deprived or my children are 3 years old or I am generally grumpy. On those days, don’t ask me these questions.

I may smile and answer your dumb questions about twins but you should know, I will laugh at you with all my twin mom friends later.

On days of the Sadia grumpies, here is what happens when talking to people I will generally label as Nice Person at the Grocery Store (NPGS).

NPGS: “Are they twins?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Duh.
Sadia: “Yes, they are.”

NPGS: “Are they identical?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Yes. The ultrasound said so. You see, they shared an outer sac, but not an inner sac, and that’s how we know. They’re “identical” only in the genetic sense. I wish I could get people to use the term “monozygotic”. That means they came from a single zygote, a single fertilized egg. It’s most fascinating to study how different monozygotic twins really are. You really should have asked if they were monozygotic. Look at ’em! They don’t look the same, so clearly they’re not “identical”! They could have been dizygotic twins, and still looked all kinds of similar. “Dizygotic” would have been what you meant if you’d said “fraternal”. There is no such thing as a “paternal” twin, so it’s a good thing you didn’t say that.
Sadia: “Yes.”

NPGS: “Can you tell them apart?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Now why would I need to do that?
Sadia: “Yes.”

NPGS: “How do you tell them apart?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: They’re different people. How do you usually tell people apart? Go read Alice in Wonderland: `That’s just what I complain of,’ said Humpty Dumpty. `Your face is the same as everybody has — the two eyes, so –‘ (marking their places in the air with his thumb) `nose in the middle, mouth under. It’s always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance — or the mouth at the top — that would be some help.’
Sadia: “They have very different personalities. And different noses. And different haircuts.”

In haven’t gotten this since they were infants, and it was probably because I dressed them in colours other than pink:
NPGS: “Which one’s the boy?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: I just told you they were monozygotic! Fine, there’s that one set of twins that’s monozygotic but different genders; I saw them on National Geographic. These are not they.
Sadia: “Both girls.”

NPGS:Who’s older?
Sadia’s internal monologue: How is that relevant? The whole age rank typecasting thing just doesn’t apply. They’re two minutes apart. They’re both bossy, if that’s what you’re asking. The doctor yanked J out first.
Sadia: Wave hand in the general direction of both girls. “That one.”

NPGS:You’ve got your hands full.
Sadia’s internal monologue: Why would I want my hands empty?
Sadia: *smile* or “Better full than empty.”

NPGS:Are they natural?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Are you really truly asking a stranger about her reproductive system? Really? You’re asking me whether their father and I had trouble conceiving? How is that any of your business? If I had gone through the trauma of finding myself infertile and the emotional, physical and financial rollercoaster of in-vitro fertilization, do you really think I would want to discuss at the check-out line, in front of my children? What if I were to turn around and ask you about your fertility level? Some people!
Sadia: “Yes, but I’m not sure infertility is an appropriate topic for discussion in front of my children.”

NPGS:Do twins run in your family?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Of course they run. In fact, they’re running right now. They jump too. And dance. Oh, there they go, skipping again. Someone’s going to get hurt.
Sadia: “In my mother-in-law’s family.”

NPGS: “Better you than me!”
Sadia’s internal monologue: No, kidding, with that attitude. I really hope you don’t have kids of your own. Your resentment of children is kind of obvious.
Sadia: “Yep!”

NPGS: “Oh you poor thing. Twins!”
Sadia’s internal monologue: You did NOT just say that in front of my children!
Sadia: Leave as quickly as possible.

NPGS: “Twins! I would kill myself.
Sadia’s internal monologue: See “Oh you poor thing.”
Sadia: See “Oh you poor thing.”

NPGS: “Double trouble.”
Sadia’s internal monologue: See “Oh you poor thing.”
Sadia: “Double fun, if you ask me!”

NPGS:How do you do it?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Pretty darn well, thank you very much.
Sadia: “They make it easy.” Or, if they’re arguing, “Oh, I just do my best.”

NPGS: “Were you trying to get pregnant?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: PRIVATE. PRIVATE. PRIVATE.
Sadia: “Oh, sure. We planned the pregnancy, and got a bonus prize.”

NPGS: “Were you trying to have twins?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Huh? How, precisely, would I do that?
Sadia: “Huh?”

"Are they natural?" is a loaded question many strangers ask parents of multiples.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Parenting Petite Kids

Posted on
Categories Difference, Prematurity, Products, Unique needsTags , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

I’m short. People use all sorts of nice euphemisms: petite, vertically challenged, little. At 5’0″ (152 cm), my legs are just long enough to reach the floor when I’m standing. I have to perch on the front edge of your average chair to rest my feet on the ground. If I sit back, my legs swing in a very unprofessional way. I often find myself tucking one or both legs under me at work. As my daughters put it, I’m “a very small mommy.”

My 6-year-olds are very small girls themselves. Their first-grade classmates revel in picking them up and twirling them around. They don’t seem to mind much, instead enjoying being the “cute little ones” of their classes. M just made it out of the 1st percentile on the growth chart, weighing in at 38 lbs (17.2 kg) at age 6 years, 9 months. That’s 3rd percentile, people! She’s a giant! J’s 41 lbs (18.6 kg) puts her in the 10th percentile. She’s come a long way since her 3 lbs 6 oz (1.5 kg) birth weight.

My daughters’ current small stature likely has very little to do with their prematurity. Birth at 33 weeks gestation explains the girls’ low birth weight, but most premature infants catch up with their birth age peers in height and weight by the age of 1 or 2. If you think about it, it makes sense. My girls are 2 months “younger,” measured from conception, than other kids born in May 2006. When they were -2 months old, it was a big deal. At 4 months old, it was still a pretty big deal. At 6 months, J weighed 12 lbs 12 oz, and M weighed 11 lbs 12 oz, and they were on track. At the age 6 years, 2 months doesn’t make all that much of a difference. You can just blame me for their lack of stature.

I suspect it’s much easier to be a short girl than to be a short boy, but society’s gender attitudes is a topic I won’t touch just now. I’ll just say that I don’t perceive myself or my daughters to have any hang-ups about being short.

Being especially small comes with challenges all its own. The world is built for average-sized people, so we make adjustments. We have stools in every room of the house so that we can reach the things we need. I learned what products could be tweaked to accommodate the realities of raising short babies, toddlers, and young children.

Car seats

It takes a lot of blankets to secure a baby of less than 5 lbs in a carseat. from hdydi.comThe first time I dealt with the unique experience of having a super-small child was coming home from the hospital. Our Graco Snugride infant seat was technically okay for a 5-pounder, but how were we to keep the babies from rolling around? The size of the infant head support it came with was laughable in comparison to my littles. The NICU nurses came to the rescue, once again. They showed me how to roll up receiving blankets and layer them around the baby to keep her in place on her first hundred or so car rides.

In the US, we’re taught that children should ride in rear-facing car seats until they are both at least 1 year old and weigh 20 lbs, and recent recommendations encourage waiting until they’re 2 years old. As I understand it, the weight limit is a matter of having enough mass to resist being thrown in the air in the event of a crash. The age limit has something to do with the length of the spinal cord in comparison to the spine. As my pediatrician put it when I raised a concern about the girls’ legs eventually getting cramped, “Better broken legs than a broken neck.” My girls were well past age 2 before we turned their Britax Marathons forward-facing.

Now that they’re 6, J and M continue to wear 5-point harnesses in their Diono (formerly Sunshine Kids) Radians. Their classmates are all in booster seats, but M doesn’t meet the 40-lb weight minimum, and I’m in no hurry to reduce the girls’ level of containment in the car. Again, it doesn’t seem to bother them too much, although I occasionally get nasty looks at how long we spend getting the girls situated getting in and out of the car at the school pickup drive through. They can buckle and unbuckle themselves, but two buckles each necessarily take longer than one a piece.


M and J started walking at 12 and 11 months, respectively. They both wore infant size 2 shoes at the time. There are very few walking shoes that come in a size 2. I certainly couldn’t find any. I ended up resorting to custom shoes ordered from Preschoolians in their “Walkers” line. They weren’t cheap, but they did allow us to go to the park without fear of stones and splinters in the girls’ feet. It wasn’t long before J and M were walking into daycare in the morning instead of me carrying them.

M tends to end up in light up shoes even at age 6; it’s hard to find sturdy, comfortable, school-appropriate shoes in a kid size 9.5. J’s a size bigger, and there are many more options open to her.


Clothes weren’t quite the same challenge as shoes. Preemie clothes were gargantuan on the girls the first few months, but once they fit newborn sizes, it was easy–and so much fun–to shop for them.

J and M will be 7 in a few months. I just gave away the last of their size 4T clothes on Freecycle, because they’re fitting comfortably in 5Ts in most brands. When it comes to clothes that can fit loosely, such as sweatshirts and T-shirts, I can shop all the way to an XXS. The nice thing about being little is that M and J get a lot of hand-me-downs, and some hand-me-ups, from friends.

The girls have been wearing the same 4-6 sized tights for 3 winters in a row now, and they’re starting to fall apart. I’m not complaining. I remember how expensive it used to be to dress two kids when they were growing into new sizes every 3-5 months.

J and M’s first public school in El Paso had a uniform. We had trouble finding uniform shirts to fit them, so they just ended up wearing their XXS shirts baggy. I couldn’t get khaki bottoms that wouldn’t fall down at the store recommended by the school, but ended up finding good options online at French Toast.

Shopping carts/high chairs

For a long time, I’d go to the grocery store with one baby in a front carrier and the other in an infant seat placed in the cart. However, even though this continued to be practical weight-wise, by the time the girls were one, they wanted to sit in the cart and look around. The first time I tried, they flopped all over the place, and I gave up. M and J regaled nearby shoppers with wails and demands to “Sit cart! Sit cart!” as I pulled out the double stroller to try Plan B.

Ikea came to the rescue. They had an inflatable cushion that I could place around the girls to keep them propped up and contained. Unfortunately, they no longer sell it in the US. It was genius! I also used this cushion in restaurant high chairs to great effect.

How do your kids compare to others in size? Do you have any product recommendations to help kids on the smaller end of the size spectrum?

Sadia is the single mother of 6-year-old identical twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX area, where Sadia works in higher education information technology.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

What Was I Thinking?

Posted on
Categories ToddlersTags 27 Comments

I used to know how to go grocery shopping with Tiny and Buba. We would go to the large grocery store just down the road, and I could push both of my kids in the stroller (facing each other so they could entertain each other while I shopped) while I pulled the cart behind me. Yes, I certainly got many a look from shoppers who were probably thinking that this was an insane way to shop, but it worked well for me. Tiny and Buba were happy, I could fill up the entire cart, and the more we shopped this way, the more efficient I became.

Then I discovered another grocery store a few towns over that was a bit smaller, but less expensive. Well, who doesn’t want to save money these days? So, we started shopping there instead. However, the aisles in that store are so narrow that it was impossible for me to shop in our usual fashion. No biggie. I just put one in the front of the cart (no double seaters here) and wore the other on my back in the Ergo Carrier. I lost a little bit of cart space by having a kid in the front, but for the most part, this method work well for many, many months. Until just recently.

About a month ago, I began having some difficulties with whoever was riding in the carrier. It seems that both kiddos have decided that all the cool kids are riding in the cart, so the one on my back makes trouble throughout the entire shopping trip- pulling my hair, flinging his/her body backward causing me to be horribly unbalanced, and reaching and grabbing at any displays in sight just to try and get a rise out of me. So now the Ergo option is out.

I know this will sound crazy, but this past Tuesday, I decided to take Buba and Tiny into the store and just let them walk while each held one of my hands. We only needed one thing (I was actually making an exchange- hot salsa (picked up by mistake) for the mild salsa we actually needed). I thought this might be a good way to test whether on not two two-year-olds could manage the awesome responsibility of sticking by Mommy and not touching anything while shopping. I know-What was I thinking?!

Of course, this turned out to be one of my worst ideas ever. What should have been a quick trip in and out turned into an event that took seemingly forever. Tiny was actually pretty well behaved, but Buba was a mess. He didn’t want to walk in the direction that I needed him to go, and would flop on the floor and refuse to move. Nice. Once I finally got him to follow my lead, he decided that he needed to touch everything in the aisle that was at his level. I know- Why did I ever think he would do anything differently?

When we finally got our salsa and got back up to the customer service counter to make our exchange, I thought I was home free. But, Buba gleefully wriggled out of my grasp and ran off towards the produce section. Thank goodness Tiny is fast and Buba is slow. We took off after him, and once we finally caught him, headed out of that store as fast as we could.

I realize that the easiest way to grocery shop might be to do it without the kids, but it seems like my after bedtime hours are already filled with so many other things. So, what I need to know is this: How do you get your grocery shopping done? Is it possible to grocery shop with two toddlers? And if yes, I need details, please.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone