Wednesday, December 2, 2009

“A child is abandoned every 18 seconds.”

Due to some interest in adoption among some members of our club, the CMOTC Blog Moderators asked an adoptive mom to give an account of her experience adopting a little girl from the other side of the world. Hopefully you will find this as enlightening as we did.


“A child is abandoned every 18 seconds.”

Over two years ago and just hours before I met my daughter, I was given a document that explained where she had been abandoned. In that moment, I was simply grateful she would be in my arms that day. I couldn’t wait to meet the pretty 15 month old who had been given to us by God and her beautiful birth country!

Then, just last week, a kind friend sent me a photo of the place my daughter was found. It was not at all how I had imagined it. It was dangerous! This was no place to leave a baby. My eyes filled with tears. I was not ready for this. That baby girl was not just any baby. She was my beautiful, dancing, singing, graceful and gentle daughter. “How could they leave her THERE?!”

On the day my daughter was born, she went from the warmth and safety of the womb to being left alone and cold on the ground. Why was this a punch in my gut? A mother’s heart has no room for injustice against her child. Sadly, my daughter’s beginning is the story of hundreds of thousands of children.

I was 25 years old when I heard about the problem of abandonment of little girls in a certain country. I knew that my daughter would come from that country, despite the fact that we had to be 30 to adopt. And even though God blessed us with 3 biological children, I knew our other daughter was waiting half the world away. I researched as we waited.

My daughter’s birthparents would probably live in a very poor, rural area. Her birthmother would be heartbroken on the day of her birth. The baby she had carried would not be the hoped-for son. She would not be able to keep a baby girl. The rural areas depend on boys to carry on the work of their fathers, to grow up and care for his elders. Girls grow up, get married and move to care for their husband’s family. And a strictly enforced policy keeps the number of children per family in urban settings to only one, while rural families are allowed two children.

My daughter’s birthparents had very few choices. I am grateful they chose to keep her, not abort or kill her. They could have sold her for money. They didn’t. They risked much as abandoning a child is illegal. I love them for leaving her where she could be found quickly. I am grateful for the “mamas” (what my daughter called her round-the-clock caregivers) who lovingly nurtured her. They had very little to give but, they dearly loved the babies in their care. I can’t help wonder if my dear daughter’s parents hoped she could come to America. I also can’t help but think about how much we have in comparison. We, as Americans, have the resources to make a difference. What are we willing to sacrifice to save a life?

I think this question is nothing new to mothers of multiples. You understand sacrifice. Your lives are packed with love-filled stories of sacrifice of your body, your sleep, your time, your expectations, and sometimes even your sanity for little lives. But I think you understand something more deeply than most people. You know that laying down your life, though tiring, is actually life giving. And really, what do we sacrifice compared to so many birthparents’ sacrifice because of disease, war, child-restricting policies, abusive circumstances, and poverty like we do not like to imagine.

Would you please ask yourself the following questions?

Do you and your spouse share the desire to adopt?

Is there a certain age, race, country that you feel particularly drawn to?

Will your family lend their support?

If any answers are “no”, you need to talk it out with your family. You cannot adopt a child without a mutual desire. There are so many other ways you can help. To name a few: you can give financially to help with a friend’s adoption and, you can sponsor a child through many wonderful organizations.

If your answers are “yes”, please begin your research. Let me assure you: You are never ready for the work it takes. You will not have the resources. You will have to sacrifice. But, I know you get that! The mountains of paperwork, the hoops you must jump through, the emotions, the travel all fades like the pains of childbirth. Nothing can compare you for the day you meet YOUR child.

My precious daughter prays every night and says, “Jesus, thank you for my ‘flamly’.” Honestly, I have never taught her to pray that. I think she deeply understands something I cannot. Even at 3 years old, she knows family is HER gift from God. I hope someday, in spite of her finding place, she will believe something else. I hope she will also understand deeply what the names mean that we chose for her. Everyday at naptime I hold Grace like a baby and look into her black, almond shaped eyes. And when I do, she looks up at me because she knows what Mommy will say. I tell her what those names mean. “Grace, you are our little pearl of grace. You are our precious gift!” And she smiles.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientific Link to Autism Identified

Wendy asked me to post this on the CMOTC blog, as it might be relevant to many of us twin moms. I found this article fascinating and scary at the same time:

This article gave me the chills. Seriously. I would like to find more info out about this group and their work. Thought I'd share.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mixing up some fun and creativity

And maybe some fine motor skills too!

Here are some great recipes for creative (but non-edible) fun!

1 tsp. Borax powder
1 c. water
1/2 c. Elmer's glue
1/2 c. water
food coloring

Mix all together; remove from liquid and form with hands.

Sidewalk chalk*
1/3 c. quick setting plaster of Paris
1 Tbsp. powdered tempera paint
3 Tbsp. water
Glitter (if you want)

You can use toilet paper tubes or muffin pans. Mix everything together. If using toilet paper tubes, tape the end of the tubes. Spoon mixture into the tube or muffin pan; let sit for 45 minutes. Pop out of muffin pan or peel toilet paper tube away. Have fun coloring!

Gooey Goop*
1/2 c. water
2 c. cornstarch
food coloring

In a large bowl, mix together water and cornstarch until smooth. Add food coloring and stir. Play with goop on a plastic covered surface or on a newspaper.

Play dough*
4 c. flour
1 c. salt
4 c. water
4 Tbsp. oil
1/2 c. cream of tarter
Food coloring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. Once thoroughly mixed, you can add food coloring if desired. Cook and stir over low to medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before playing with it. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

Variations: You can add one package of unsweetened powdered Kool-Aid to the play dough to give it color and make it smell delicious (but don't eat it).

Moon Sand*
9 c. colored sand
3 c. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. water

Mix sand and cornstarch. Add water, start with 2 1/4 cups then mix. Continue adding more until your desired consistency. Store in a sealed container and add a few drops of water when you use it again.

Please share some of your favorite crafty recipes!

*obligatory fine print: all recipes are non-edible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ways To Save

Here are just a few ways to save in case you plan to do some online Christmas shopping.

Love a Freebie?

Check out

This is a great company! It's word of mouth marketing and they send out FREE samples. Sometimes these free samples are full size products such as a recent "Bzzcampaign" featuring full sized bottles of AVEENO NOURISH + Hair Care Shampoo and Conditioner.

It's free to sign up and the only obligation is that you agree to pass out samples and coupons to friends.

I've been a BzzAgent for 3 years now and I love it!

Calling All Frugalistas

A fellow club member asked me to post regarding all the deals and such that abound. Many months ago I discovered a few awesome websites that have enabled me to cut my grocery bill by 1/3. I supposed I could save more than half but because of these sites, I'm now purchasing a few luxuries (ie. Starbucks Frappaccinos in bottles) that weren't in the budget before.

The beauty of these websites is that these lovely women do all the work for you so all you do is cut the coupons and reap the savings. I would suggest that you start with one website. Read all of her tips regarding each store and then choose one store that you would like to master. Example: Walgreens. "Wags" as the couponers like to call it, is a GREAT way to save money on things like toothpaste, deoderant, razors, and tampons. In many cases you can get these things for free by watching for sales and the pairing your coupons with sales. It may seem silly to save just $1 here or a $1 there but honestly, if you are saving in all parts of your life, it adds up.
So, pick a store and figure out how it works. You might want to spend the next few weeks stocking up on items like the ones listed above. Once you feel like you've mastered the drugstores, move on to groceries.

I've found that Kroger seems to give the best deals if you learn to stock up when the sales are good. Last week I bought about 10 boxes of Zesta Saltine crackers. That sounds like a lot of crackers but at .99 a box, I won't be buying them at their regular price which is closer to $2. Along with stockpiling, Kroger doubles manufactuer's coupons up to .99 cents which leads to greater savings. Although Kroger's gas program isn't as good as Giant Eagle, I still save .10 cents per gallon each month and I feel like Kroger is MUCH cheaper than GE.

I remember trying coupons in the past and thinking it was silly to take .35 cents off when I could just buy the store brand for $1 less. What I am finding is that if you wait for a good sale, use the coupon at the best time, and get the coupon doubled (like at Kroger) you can buy your favorite brand at a much lower rate than the store brand. Now that my kids are in school this is paying off in several ways. I am cutting box tops so that's .10 cents per box to my childrens' elementary school. Also, I'm signed up for UPromise so often money goes into their college savings account as a result of my name brand purchases. Go to for info on that one.

Here are my top 5 faves. If you have others I didn't list, please comment below and make our members aware of other great sites. Also, another hint, if you are on Facebook, become a fan of these sites. That way you will be getting up to the minute posts on the best deals out there. Example, one member Marcie, got a Tag Reading System for $2.48 as a result of one of these great sites. She saved over $38 dollars and her twins are loving her for it! (this is a Central Ohio woman) (also local)

There are millions of these sites out there and many are quite similar to each other. Instead of trying to track all of them, I'd pick one or two and see what you find. Often they expose toy coupons (or other great items) out there where you can get a deal.

The key is to simplify your system so that it works for you and to not get too caught up in it. Be careful because you might find yourself buying denture cream at Walgreens because you're getting Register Rewards (Walgreens Bucks) for it. My advice is to buy only what you need, do it as inexpensively as possible, and have some fun while you are doing it.

The other key is to ask around. There is an amazing amount of wisdom out there and the more you network, the better deals you can find.

Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recall information

By now everyone has probably seen the massive Maclaren Stroller recalls.

Unfortunately, recalls of children's products are not uncommon. There are several sites that provide daily recall information, some of which are listed below. Also included are toy safety sites. On most of these sites, you can sign up to receive email notifications so you will never be out of the loop on any recalls or safety issues.

Toy safety and recall sites:

500 Toys Not Made in China
CPSC Toy Hazard Recalls
Healthy Stuff - Children's Products
Mattel Toy Recall Info
My Things Product Recall Database & Tracking Tool
Recalled Toy Alert
Toy Industry Association, Inc.

Please feel free to comment and add any others you like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Adoption Information

From our members, below are adoption recommendations and resources if you are looking to adopt.

Member (or friends and family of members) adoption recommendations based on successful and great experiences:

  • Adoption Circle. Their website is full of great information. Friend highly recommends this agency based on a fabulous experience adopting through them.
  • Private adoption through an attorney if adopting in the US. Here in Columbus, the attorney who probably handles most of the adoptions is Tom Taneff. He can be reached at 241-2181.
  • Adoption Link out of Yellow Springs. Their website is Tom Taneff represented the birth mother (ours has since moved). He was very professional in all our dealings and I would not hesitate to recommend him.
  • Foster Care adoptions -
Adoption Resources:
  • New book out there for information, the author is Isolde Motley and the book is "You can Adopt: an adoptive families guide". She had a lot of good points to consider:
    - What age you want to adopt.
    - Consider domestic vs international (which she says does take longer).
    - She noted that once paperwork is done an adoption may take up to a year to be complete.
  • Magazine/website called
  • Adoption Academy held by Children’s Hospital and the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy has a lot of wonderful sessions and information to take the mystery out of adoption. The sessions include comprehensive overviews on adoptions as well as sessions detailing domestic and international adoptions. The infertility support group Resolve also has lots of members who could probably help with current information.
  • For CMOTC members - check the Twin Resources on the CMOTC website for member resource names, phone number and email addresses who have adopted.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ideas For Winter Fun with More to Come

As we all do when we find something great, I wanted to share the following information. It was recommended to us to get one of our girls into a special needs swimming class at Aquatic Adventures to assist with her Autism issues.

I can not tell you how wonderful it is! After 20 or so minutes in the pool our critter has more eye contact and is more verbal than she is out of the water. The instructor with our girl is wonderful -she gets excited to see him which is rare for her. The staff is amazing, the area immaculate, and we find it worth every penny for the benefit our girl is getting. Come to find out they do everything there from lane swimming, diver certification, Scouting Merit Badge Certifications, (and are certified to do so), aquatic exercise classes, and really affordable, fun birthday parties. I am sure there is so much more, but those are the things I have seen first hand. I am not affiliated with them at all on a business level and know of them only because of the class we are taking, I just wanted to pass on information that could be useful to others out there.

Their information is; Aquatic Adventures Ohio 3940 Lyman Dr Hilliard, OH 43026 (614) 545-3483

-submitted by a member via email

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleep and The Time Change

Question: Looking for advice on how to handle sleep and wake times for daylight savings (Nov 1) and how to adjust the schedule for the smoothest transition. My girls (4.5 months) currently sleep from 8:15-7:30. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

My boys are now 6 1/2, and we still struggle with what to do for them. When they were babies until about 4, we would put them down as close to the "regular time" as possible. Keeping them up/putting them down earlier didn't work for us. In this case, it would be putting them down at 7:15...which seems early. But, we started there, and then kept them up 15 minutes or so longer each night and eventually we were working on a good schedule. Does that make sense? If we got frustrated, we just let them "take the lead" on their bedtime and put them down when they were tired. It's easier for us to adjust as adults than it was fighting them or forcing them when they weren't tired.

The book that I refer to whenever any sleep issues come up says that you should keep the kids on their regular schedule and they will adjust accordingly. I usually don't have a problem during this time change (when it gets darker earlier) because my boys associate darkness with going to bed, however, when it got darker later, I had to purchase room darkening curtains so that they can go to sleep. Your babies may wake up a bit early in the transition, but it will eventually work itself out on its own. Good luck!

I think "falling back" is always easier than "springing forward". After dinner the evening before (Oct. 31 in this case), I pretend the time change has already happened. So, I will try to keep my kids up that evening an extra 30 min to 1 hr. Then they usually sleep a little longer in the morning... getting up at their regular time. Then I just proceed on my normal schedule throughout Sunday and Monday. If they wake up early Sunday, I let them, but I do not adjust nap times or anything, letting the day play out as close to normal as possible. It is amazing how quickly kids adjust, especially with the "longer nights". Another suggestion... start several days before and make the adjustment in 15 min increments over several days. It's too much work for me, but I have heard it works.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Professional Pictures/Photographers

Here are a few recommendations for pictures and photographers from fellow club members:

Top Referral: Portrait Innovations at Graceland.

Second Most Recommended: Flash (at Tuttle or Polaris). If you have an entertainment book, there is a 50% off coupon for any package

Private photographers:

  • Kenny Pease -777-0814

JCPenney and Sears - you can find coupons online and in most parenting magazines for free or $3.99 portrait sheets, free sitting fees, etc.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Myriad of Stroller Thoughts

Question: I'm having twins soon and I'm wondering which stroller is best. I'm considering the snap n go. Any thoughts?

Here is the advice one of our members received.

I just had my twins 3 weeks ago and I absolutely love my SnugRide 32 car seats (holds up to 32 pounds) with Quattro Tour stroller by Graco. I got mine at BabiesRUs and while costly it is well worth the investment to keep you little ones safe. I went for a walk today and the stroller manuevers nicely and is easy to operate. It is a little heavy, but I can manage on my own.


I bought the Duo Glider by Graco. It was great when I used it for my twins for snapping in the infant car seats. It turns great, the storage bin underneath the stroller fits a large diaper bag and it was convenient. You do have to try out the car seats to make sure they fit in the stroller (if you are buying car seats that don't exactly match the stroller). I had an older Graco Snugfit car seat that was too big to fit on the seat closest to the handle bars of the stroller. But it did fit the other seat. And luckily I had borrowed a car seat that was slightly smaller than the other and it fit in just fine.

BUT with all that that my twins are one... I HATE the stroller. Once the twins were big enough to sit up in the stroller on their own, it's been horrible. It doesn't give them any support and they really "sluch" (sp?) down in the seats. Even my two year old doesn't sit comfortably in it. I actually decided to buy a new one. After surveying lots of twin moms, about 90% of them recommended a side by side Combi. I actually found one today at a garage sale for $30, it has a bad wheel but I am ordering a new wheel for $20. New Combi's run about $200+ dollars. I have been watching EBay for deals and there are some great deals out there.

So my a cheap or used Graco Duo Glider and then spend the money on a stroller that they will use once you are done with snapping the car seats in the strollers (probably around the 6 month mark).


I bought the double snap and go off of craigs list. I love it. I also have a graco one for when they are older, but we have not used it enough to recommend it!


We used the Graco Duo Glider for our twins and that was a good stroller. However, we just had our third child and bought a snap-n-go and love it! You may want to get both. The snap-n-go is great for going out and about because it's very lightweight, but the Graco Duo Glider would be better for walks around the block and when they outgrow their infant car seats.


I vote for the snap-n-go. Used it, Loved it! Excellent for small infants, lightweight. Buy one used off another twin mom. When the babes are out of their infant seats, use the money you saved to buy a double stroller that will last you a while.


We bought the Graco Safe Seats and used the snap-n-go frame. The seats worked well with the frame. Just make sure the seat that you purchase works with the frame. Congrats on your twins!


I had the double snap-and-go and loved it! It turns on a dime and wasn't hard to put together. I was able to push my boys around the grocery store while pulling the cart behind me ... that's how easy it is to maneuver.


I used the snap n go for the 1st year and would highly recommend it. It's easy to buy used as well. You'll be able to sell it for what you bought it for (if you buy it used) b/c they aren't used for that long.
After that, the Peg Perego Aria is fabulous (for ages 9 months...when babies are sitting up well). It's a side by side and pretty light.


Usually the snap n go is only limited b/c the babies grow out of their carseats. Now infant seats are going past 20 pounds so if you get the bigger infant seats, you'll be able to use it longer. You'll want to make sure your seats are compatible w/ the stroller but the snap n go is quite versatile.A jogger has it's limitations since they are heavy, somewhat clunky and not the easiest in mall type settings. Often moms choose another stroller as well, such as the aria. The jogger would probably work at 6mo...depending on how premature the babies are.

In my opinion the double snap and go is the way to go. My twins are 8 months old and we are still using it. I have two other strollers but my kids are still too small to sit up well in a regular stroller. They do pretty well in a jogging stroller. We can put our carriers in our Graco double stroller but it is so large and heavy, the snap and go is so much lighter. I'll probably be selling mine in a few months and there are always ladies selling theirs on the site.

Ooohs and Awes...

This is also posted at Ventalicious but since I knew my fellow multiple moms would understand, I decided to post here too. Has this happened to you recently???

I guess I should be used to this by now but I'm not.
Today I went to a meeting for all the "Room Moms". The official title of the group of moms who are at the beckon call of the teacher at any given moment and who officially plans the holiday parties.
We were all sitting in a living room and introducing ourselves. You know the drill. Name, age of kids and teacher's name.
Halfway around the circle it was my turn. My name is KP and I have twins in Mrs. X's class. Before I could even finish my sentence I heard, "ooh, awe, ooh, twins ooh." It never ceases to amaze me. Given the number of twins in the world these days, it seems like a mom would need at least quads to produce that kind of reaction.
Yep, I'm super mom. Not.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dealing with High Risk Pregnancies

Check out this website for all kinds of good info and support regarding high risk pregnancies.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sale Time - advice from a veteran

It's that time again! It's a favorite for many CMOTC moms! I myself am a minimalist so I'm especially fond of the CMOTC Twin Sale. It pleases me to no end! I get to purge my house of all the unneeded toys, books and clothes. That is...if my kids to don't to my piles first. I'm sure you know how that goes.

If this is your first sale, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed. I would suggest spending a year or two attending the sale before you start selling. Once you add the selling element the sale gets really crazy.

Assuming you are only planning to buy for your first sale, here are a few suggestions.

Preparation: Go through your kids' closets and determine what they will be needing for the coming season. Jeans, shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, dress pants, dress shirts, dresses, jammies, shoes etc. Next, list the items and how many of each of the items your children will be needing. Finally, prioritize what you need the most and where you need to go when you get into the sale.

For those of you who need big items such as strollers, high chairs, car seats, cribs, pack n plays etc, you want to head toward that stuff ASAP! The good stuff goes fast. Bikes, doll houses, and art kiosks would fall in this category as well.

I always grab my big items (my MUST HAVES) first, run through the line, pay and transport them to the car (utilizing one of the many volunteer husbands working security). I then return to the sale and dig into the clothes, toys or whatever is next on my list. Bring cash or lots of checks as you will probably need more than one. I usually use 2-3 per sale.

Also, BRING BAGS or a cart to stack clothes on. You will be surprised how much you can acquire. This sale is probably the BEST way to clothe your kids on a very frugal budget. Don't forget Christmas presents too. You will find many toys that are new and still in boxes!

Feel free to comment on this one. Advice as well as questions are welcome.

More Sale Advice

Advice from a veteran:

Don't forget to bring a large bag or granny cart to put your stuff in (the IKEA shopping bags are a great idea).

And bring a checkbook, as payment is either check or cash. No credit cards. Have more than one check, as you may find yourself going back for more.

I always come armed with a list and prioritize it. My kids are long and skinny and hard to fit in pants. I started shopping with a tape measure. Now I don't bring home dresses and pants that are too short. Also, I do less impulse buying and stay on track for the things we need or want.

I also carry a bottle of water and lipstuff and leave my coat in the car. No matter how cold it is outside, I don't want to deal with another bulky garment. I always get warm and a bit dehydrated. For those who are PG, I think the water is important, as well as a little portable snack.

Shopping Getaway

Ladies! The member only deadline is this Saturday the 3rd for the Mom's Only Getaway Shopping Trip and I need to know if you are attending!

I will be able to take your rsvp form and payment of $25.00 at the sale on Friday night only. Saturday is too busy for me at the cashier area...sorry! If you are planning to use this option, please please send me an email so that I know to look for you.

After October 3rd, any available seats will be open for member friends and family. I don't want to miss any of you, so PLEASE let me know your intentions!

Thanks and happy tagging! --Denae, Family Activity Chair

Fall Harvest Party

Hello Moms,

I know you are all crazy busy with the sale, however our Fall Harvest party is coming up. Join us October 11th from 4-6pm at Jacquemin Farms. Please rsvp , to me, with the number of adults & children attending from your immediate family by October 5th!

Hope to see you on the farm! -- Denae, Family Activity Chair

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Virus Season

It’s that season again. If your multiples (or singletons) were premature, it’s time to remind all those you know that even though your babies/toddlers may look normal, their prematurity still affects their ability to fight viruses such as RSV or the flu. In the blog, Surviving Triplets, the mom discusses her information on the issue which is detailed well. Below is the post (minus personal information). If you would like to read more on her experiences (one of her children had to be put in the hospital in January), view the full post here.

From Surviving Triplets:

People don't seem to really understand what sick means when we tell them they can't come over if they are "sick". What we mean is if you have the sniffles or the remnants of a cough or even a tickle in your throat, DON'T COME OVER! I'm not trying to be rude but the Dr specifically told us that you have to be symptom free to come visit. I'm sorry but we are listening to her over anyone else.

Why is this important? Because our babies are preemies. No, they aren't small anymore nor do they look ill. They actually look like any other 13 mth old toddler at this point BUT their lungs are still underdeveloped & they still have a compromised immune system. This is very important to know b/c there is a virus called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which to us or a full-term baby, would not do anything more than just give us a cough & a runny nose, much like the common cold. For our babies, it can mean DEATH.

Why? Our babies lungs look very different from that of a baby the same age that was born after 37 weeks gestation. Let me show you a picture of what our babies' lungs look like compared to that of a regular full-term baby. The 1st 3 pictures are that of our babies' lungs (not actual but you get the idea). The 4th picture is that of a regular baby. Scary to see how much less our babies have compared to them!

This is another good picture to look at. As you can see, they used trees to explain the difference between a normal infant's lungs (left) & a preemie's (right). WOW!

Finally, this is a photo of the airway when affected by RSV. On the left is a normal infant & on the right, a preemie. You can see how much LESS airway is open in the preemie's picture. SCARY!

Once RSV has been passed to one of our babies, hospital stay is an almost certainty. Actually, they would probably end up in the PICU (Pediatric ICU). There is NOTHING they can do to help our babies except to give them O2 via vent (intubated) to help them breathe. Again, something we don't want to experience ESPECIALLY after seeing Ian intubated w/o sedation last year. VERY SCARY!

How do we keep our babies healthy? By staying away from sick people! You may not even know you are carrying RSV & if you come over & infect our babies, you would feel very badly afterward. Sorry if I sound so harsh but I have had to explain over & over again why it is important not to come over.RSV is contracted through physical contact or vapor droplets in the air. RSV can also live on surfaces for several hours so you better believe I will be Cloroxing all surfaces at least once a day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Look Into Prematurity

Alisa Parker, one of our CMOTC members, has written a post for us detailing some of her family's journey through the birth of premature twins. She talks about her feelings, the many great resources they have found during this journey, as well as some advice to any parents who might find themselves in a similar place.

Ava and Andersen Parker

I have been asked by the Columbus Mother of Twins Club to write a post on prematurity and how it has shaped my family's life. I often say it happened to us, but it does not define us. Many of you know Andersen and Ava's story but the members of the twins club do not and MANY of these twin moms have experienced prematurity and bed rest or will experience it. I can only speak for our family and over the course of four years, I have met many mother's whose stories are similar yet different but we all share one thing in common.... The "P" word. I hope my tips help other's out there and welcome anyone to approach me at anytime.

I was having the BEST pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, I had no discomfort, I had no worries. The first sign of trouble came at my 21 week doctors appt. My cervix was measuring a bit short so I was put on modified home bed rest and instructed to come back in 2 wks. I took a leave of absence from work which ultimately became a permanent one but while I was on home bed rest, I realized it wasn't that unbearable at all. It was kinda great... my hubby waited on me and all I had to do was say "Nah, can't do that... doctor said to stay off my feet". It can actually be a good thing!!!

Although I still had no discomfort, things took a drastic turn when I showed up at the doctor's after those two weeks had lapsed. After examination at 23 weeks, I was told I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was in active PRE-TERM labor. There was no going back home, there was not an overnight bag with me, baby showers had not been thrown, the nursery was still a spare bedroom and my twins were on their way into this world.
I am finding that this post is quickly becoming a scary one and that is not the message I want to convey to expectant mothers of twins or singleton babies for that matter. I will skip many details, but want to tell you that I was able to hold onto the twins for three more crucial weeks on hospital bed rest. They were born Sept. 26th, 2005 at just 26 weeks. Andersen was born first weighing 2lbs, 13 inches long...
Ava came next via emergency c-section weighing 1 lb 13oz and measured 13 inches long...

These are my suggestions to expectant mothers:
Do not be afraid to ask your doctors questions. Do not be shy or feel like there might not be enough time at your appt. and you can ask next time. They have one of the most important job roles in this bring human life into this world.. you have the RIGHT to ask questions. You know your body best ... be educated about the signs of pre-term labor.

The March of Dimes website is a great resource to visit to learn about prematurity & learn about the signs of pre-term labor. Did you know that any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature? One out of every eight babies are actually born premature. Obviously there are variations in regards to what the health of a 37 weeker looks like compared to that of a 26 weeker. Regardless of when they are born, be prepared for anything. You may feel paralyzed with fear if your baby has to go to the special care nursery or what they call the NICU, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is actually a GREAT place to be ... VERY safe, very sterile and your baby has the ultimate setting to thrive and grow. There are many angel nurses there to take care of your baby and some babies call it home for a few days, some a few weeks and other's a few months. A standing term you can always tell your child later in life, is that they are a NICU graduate!!! What an over achiever from the very beginning. :)

If you have a preemie, they are often referred to by their adjusted age. It's a term health care providers use when evaluating growth and development of your baby. It is based on your child's actual due date, not when he or she actually came into this world. It gives them a fair chance when being evaluated for developmental milestones.

When it comes to protecting your little one after they are discharged from the hospital, I would recommend staying in (really depending on how early they were). That seems to be the best way to protect them from germy places. We opted to just go out to doctor's appts and would have people visit who were primarily family and most importantly, not "cold like, not flu like, not sore throat like, not sneeze like, etc." You get the idea! You have to remember, my kids were born right at the beginning of RSV season and although they made it through their first year without catching it, they did get it the next year. The first year they received synagis shots to protect them. This was set up through their NICU doctor at Children's hospital (BPD Clinic). They will set it up for you at the hospital or your pediatrician will. We also were fortunate to have a nurse come out to the house to do this for us so that again, we didn't have to take them out. I want to say this was through Children's as well, called home health care or Homereach. I can't say enough about Homereach (an Ohio Health program). They delivered us our oxygen tanks that the kids needed and heart monitors. They are excellent with teaching you how to operate equipment if you need such things and just overall customer service. They are truly there to help! I would like to dispense some fear about RSV and let you know that most kids get it by the time they are two years old. Just pay attention to breathing and if your child seems to be wheezing, take them to the docs and make sure their lungs are okay. Many preemies lungs are fragile and the good news is that they get stronger each and every year!

Lastly... I need to wrap this up... a few other resources I would use, would be the social workers at the hospital. They can hook you up with Help Me Grow, an Ohio program that strives to help children succeed developmentally. Ava and Andersen received in home services such as OT and PT for several months and then eventually became enrolled in a center based program outside the home that helped tremendously with socialization! They received OT and PT there as well. Help me grow was on top of everything and will follow up with you closely so that your children will get all the intervention they need to catch up. They will follow your children until the age of three. Even if you don't have a preemie and had your child at term or close to term, you can contact them if you suspect a delay at 1-800-755 Grow and fill out a referral form on their website (hyperlinked above).

Almost done.. promise! My daughter has a very complicated course in regards to her eyesight and we learned about an Ohio program that's within the Ohio Dept. of Health called BCMH or Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps. Her diagnoses (ROP - retinopothy of prematurity) qualifies her to receive support from this program, specifically when it comes to our private insurance not picking up the bill for treating her conditions. I highly recommend it.

My kids will celebrate their 4th Birthday in just one week! They have come a LONG way since their very fragile start.
We would not be where we are today if it had not been for family, friends, the March of Dimes, Dr. MaryLou McGregor at Children's hospital, and countless other doctors and hospitals that had our miracles best interest at heart.

Do not let fear overtake you. Preemies grow up, they thrive, and although there may be delays along the way... they are manageable.

I cannot believe the support out there to help these young lives get to where they need to be. Utilize the programs, ask questions, get your family to babysit so you and your significant other can go out to eat, still take countless pictures in the NICU...
And reach out to your friends.. they want to help! You can join a NICU support group that your hospital might offer, join a preemie yahoo group or chronicle your child's journey by starting your very own blog!

When RSV season is over, join a spring March for Babies walk and honor your children or child. You can walk in their honor or their memory, whatever the case may be. It really is a great way to give back to an organization that has done so much for prematurity, not to mention therapeutic for one's self.

DO NOT blame yourself and realize you cannot control mother nature as much as you'd like to!

Did you know that Stevie Wonder, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain were preemies? The sky is truly the limit!!!

Here's to my soon to be four year old's!!! They would love to play so feel free to look us up anytime. I hope to make it to the farm in October for the harvest party! They are known in the blogging world as "Fully Charged Double A's." Thank you for allowing me to share our story!

Here's what prematurity looks like, four years later!
I want to extend my support to a dear online fellow blogger, Kelly Butler. I started following her some time ago because of her sweet daughter Brooklyn, who has Rett Syndrome. Her smile is so contagious, I couldn't quit checking in on her. Kelly just had a baby boy named Boston (so cute!), and she had some complications with his growth in utero. He was born at 30 wks and weighed 2lbs, 3oz. She just started a second blog, chronicling her NICU journey with Boston. You can follow it here.

This post is also on Alisa's blog. There you will also find more on Ava and Andersen's extraordinary journey. Including these posts which detail their birth and early diagnosis.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coping with bed rest

It's not uncommon for expectant moms of multiples to be put on some form of bed rest. The words bed rest can sometimes be welcome leaving you thinking "some much needed sleep and rest before the little ones arrive" or they can leave you thinking "what do I do on bed rest all day, day after day?!" Rest assured, there is a plethora of advice from our multiple moms who have been down the bed rest road.

Below is a list of suggestions from our multiple moms who have been on bed rest:
  • Read books. If you have books you have been meaning to read, read them now while you have the time. There are also a number of good (and funny) twin books out there, like "Ready or not, here we come."
  • Organize photos.
  • Have some bring you drawers or files to organize.
  • Organize recipes.
  • Update your address book.
  • Watch movies.
  • Do crosswords.
  • Knit, cross stitch, crochet or some other crafty thing.
  • Address baby announcement envelopes. Or Christmas cards (depending on when you are on bed rest).
  • Shop for last minute items on the computer (for baby, for you, for birthdays, for holidays, etc).
  • Catch up on your correspondence.
  • Do some work from home if you have a laptop, a wireless connection and the desire.
  • Journal.
  • Arrange for help once the babies come. Don't be shy. Think of it this way, if you have help, you will have more time to enjoy your precious new bundles of joy. Trust me. If you can, arrange for some extra hands at least a few times a week. Besides, who can resist babies? People want to help! Take them up on it.
  • SLEEP. SLEEP. Oh, and sleep some more. It will be a while before you get to do that again after the babies come.
  • Did I say sleep? SLEEP.

A few other notes of importance were if you are on strict bed rest (meaning you can't move from the bed/sofa), make sure that your partner has a cooler with cold drinks and food for you to eat and drink during the day. It is important to stay hydrated and eat well. As well, have them line up anything you want to work on or read that day within arms reach. And if you have a laptop, have that ready to go too.

Here is a link to a website that has more helpful information on bed rest.

And if you still have questions or you just want to talk to someone who's been through it, you can find a contact list of the support people for bed rest moms on the CMOTC website. It is located in the "Quick Links" section on the home page and is called "Twin Resources." If you have concerns or are having issues with your pregnancy, you can also consult this list for people who have been through what you are going through. Really, at any time if you need or want to talk to someone, just to talk about non pregnancy related topics even, use this resource. We moms stick together and help each other, welcome to the sisterhood of the multiple mommies.

So, as best you can, rest, relax and get some sleep. This time will pass quicker than you think!

If anyone has more advice, please comment below. Or if you have a lot of advice and want to write a post on this topic, please contact us at the address at the upper left. We would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spread the word!

The CMOTC semi-annual sale is quickly approaching - Saturday October 3rd. Please help us get the word out about this sale. You can see a copy of the flyer on our website. From here you can print it or download it so that you can email it to friends.

Here are some suggested places for posting these flyers:
  • Preschool
  • School
  • Church
  • Work
  • Fitness Center
  • Grocery Store
  • Doctor's Office
  • Gymnastics Class
  • Karate Class, any kids classes

Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Trouble With Twins

I thought I'd dealt with the hardest things about having twins. IE. Pregnancy, breastfeeding 2 babies, differing sleep schedules, potty training, and enduring the terrible 3's times two.

I'm wrong. I'm now stumbling into new territory, that of Planet School. Tonight I went to curriculum night where I spoke privately with the teacher. She and I discussed Boy Wondertwin without her ever having mentioned my daughter.

I wonder if this is going to be a regular thing. I hope that neither of my kids will "suffer" as a result of having another just like him/her. I'm starting to see why parents choose to split up their twins. I don't regret having them in the same class and I will keep them together as long as possible.

No cause for panic presently but I do hope that both twins get equal treatment and equal attention. I guess we'll see.

Also posted at Ventalicious.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New York Times article provides food for thought on prematurity.

(Cross posted in part from a recent blog post on my blog The Adventures of Taderbaby.)

My good friend Mel over at stirrup queens blogged about a lovely article that really hit home with me, and so I thought I'd share it. Another blogger friend of mine, Stacy hasn't posted in a while so I thought perhaps some of you with preemies might have thoughts regarding this article's findings.

Here's the article: For Parents on NICU, Trauma may last. One of my favorite quotes?

"Experts say parents of NICU infants experience multiple traumas, beginning with the early delivery, which is often unexpected."

The article discusses the issues parents face after leaving the NICU, including PTSD, and dispels the belief that the amount of time your child(ren) spend in the NICU correlates with the amount of trauma you suffer from the experience. Rather, your coping style partially plays a role in possible after-effects. It also states that men are more likely to suffer PTSD after the NICU than women.

Many of you know my own personal struggle with PTSD, and I started seeing a therapist that specializes in EMDR last winter to deal with my anxiety and flashbacks related to the NICU experience, and trauma of my birth experience. I am sorry to admit that with the move and diagnosis of the boys, I let my own treatment fall to the wayside. (I know, big shocker, right?!?) This article really made me realize I need to make healing a bigger priority, especially if we want to eventually try for #3.

What are your thoughts about this article. Did you suffer PTSD from your delivery or child(ren's) NICU experience? What about your significant other?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When twins need "intervention" developmentally.

It's so hard to know when your twins need help developmentally. Many multiples are born prematurely and that can be a risk factor for many things such as developmental delays. Some parents might have been linked up with a Help Me Grow coordinator straight out of the NICU. Others, whose children might not have been preemies, may still notice their children seem delayed. What should you do?

The state of Ohio has an excellent resource in the Help Me Grow system. Help Me Grow is a stepping stone which allows you to get your (under 3 year old) child evaluated for a variety of services, all paid for by taxpayer monies. Depending on the level of service needed, you might be linked with your local Board of developmental disabilities. (Franklin or Delaware County) Your child can receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and a variety of other therapies and services. They can attend group classes, receive respite, order equipment for their home, and attend preschool/classroom type settings.

As a parent with twins who have developmental delays and sensory processing disorder, I know it can be hard to admit when you think your child needs help. Go with your gut! You are your child's best advocate and YOU know when something is not right! There's no harm in having your child or children assessed. The earlier the intervention, the better the end result!

If your child is over the age of 3, contact your local school district to ask for a MFE. (Multifactored Evaluation) If your child is already in a county-based system such as help me grow, you will be led through this process approximately 120-90 days before your child(ren) turn 3.

In addition, children nationwide are allowed one free vision exam prior to their first birthday under the InfantSee program. This eye exam is free, and is not billed to your insurance.

I plan to write future posts about my specific path towards getting my children diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and developmental delays, but wanted to write this first post to help provide information about the basic, paid programs available to parents, and MoMs!


Monday, August 31, 2009

The Two Year Doctor Appointment...

Who’s had this doctor’s appointment or something similar? Share your funny adventures with the group!

The Two Year Doctor Appointment...

Today was the twins', C and O, two year doctor appointment. Oh, wait. Let me start again. Today was the twins two year doctor appointment and they had NO nap. Feel it coming???

The first thing we learned after getting into the room was that they have progressed to the big scale in the hallway. The "hallway" is a very narrow one, lined both with patient rooms and the doctor's offices, as well as desktops mounted on the walls for nurses... and again, it's NARROW... oh and busy... and around the corner and two halls down from our room. Again, feel it coming?

Let me recant the journey to the scale for you:

Nurse: They get to go to the scale in the hall now.

Me: Are you kidding?

Nurse: What do you need help with?

Me: (just starring at her)

Me: (coming out of it) Okay boys, let's go.

(C starts crying. I pick him up, take O's hand and we walk to the scale.)

Nurse to C: Okay let's get you on there.

C: (whining and refusing to get on... purposely falling off as soon as he is put on it)

Me: (on my knees next to C) Come on C, it's only for a second.

Me: (in mid-beg to C to get on the scale, I glance to where O WAS in this very busy narrow hall... seeing O heading into a doctor's office)

Nurse: (Just standing there)

Me: O, get back here please! (run to get O, tripping over a perturbed doctor in the process, C following and whining.

Nurse: Let's try that one, who is he again?

Me: (staring at nurse again) "That's O. Okay O, how about you try it."

(O gets on scale and then goes to wall to be measured. Thank you O!)

Nurse: Okay C, your turn.

C: (Whining loudly... sounding something like "no freaking way lady!" if his whines would be translated since he still does not use words)

Me: Okay C, how about I get your binky. If you have your binky will you stand on the scale?

C: (face lights up and hands shake in excitement)

Me: (to Nurse) Can you watch O for a second while I go get the binky from the room?

Nurse: Sure.

(C and I go back two halls over to get binky. When I turn around, while still in our room, to go back - both O and Nurse are standing there. WTH?!)

Me: Okay boys, let's go back.

(C starts crying again wanting held, I pick him up. O starts running, out the door and down another hall the opposite direction of the scale. I run after him dodging the nurses at the nurse desks lining the walls and the doctors in this narrow hallway - did I mention it was a VERY narrow and VERY busy hallway? Finally catch up to O - thinking to myself 'why is no one helping me? Clearly he is an escapee. Where is the fricking nurse that said she would help?' - and finally get back to the scale.)

Nurse: C can you get up on the scale?

C: (Whine and cry)

Me: (down on my knees again, at his level) C we had an agreement. I gave you the binky and in exchange you agreed to get on the scale.

C: (reluctantly gets on the scale)

Me: (Thankful I packed the binky for a possible emergency AND amazed that the negotiation even worked! Basking in the glory for one second... then... wait... where the heck is O?!)

Nurse: (Just standing there.)

Me: O?!

(find O rounding another hallway and bring him back, along with C who of course followed on my heels still whining.)

Nurse: C can you come be measured please?

C: (looking at me like 'do I have to?')

Me: (giving him the 'do it or the binky dies!' look.... all while restraining the Olympic sprinter - O - who is trying hard to break free.)

C: (reluctantly goes to be measured while whining.)

Nurse: All done. Now that wasn't so bad was it?

Me: (thinking 'if I didn't know that you come back and give my babies shots after their appointment, I may have just…”)

When we got back to the room I was sweating…profusely.

However, it did get easier. The doctor was in shortly, so we didn't have to wait too long with napless whiny boys who didn't want to be in the cramped room with a sweaty mommy... especially since they knew of the fun halls that were outside the door.

The appointment went relatively well, after which I was given the twins height/weight stats... along with O's running stat... a 7 second 100 meter sprint. Not bad....


Friday, August 28, 2009

New CMOTC Site Info

CMOTC has moved to our new online home at findsmithGROUPS! Please visit us there: www.CMOTC.findsmith GROUPS.comThere have been some common issues and questions that have come up in the past 48 hours; I hope to address them below.

Issue #1 Login is rejectedThis is a separate site and registration process from our Yahoo! group. If you aren't sure whether you're registered or how to get started follow these 3 steps:1) Go to www.cmotc.findsmith groups.com2) Click the "Get Status Email" link at the bottom of the Member Login box3) Type your e-mail address and push "send"This will either send the invitation with links or confirm you're registered. If you have issues email clgerst@gmail. com

Issue #2 Lost e-mails, trouble logging onFor members who use Yahoo e-mail, Yahoo has recently revved up their spam filters. If you are having problems try the following steps:Log into Yahoo Account and ...1. Click Options.2. Click Filters3. Click Add4. Type: "Safe List" into the Filter Name Field5. Type: findsmithgroups into the field where it says "From header: contains"6. Select "Inbox" where it says "Then ... Move the message to:"7. Click "Add Filter"Once you add findsmithGROUPS to your Safe filter, you should be able to receive all email from the site. If still unable to receive findsmithGROUPS email, check Bulk Mail folder to see if the email was filtered there. If it was, it must be opened and the Not Spam button must be clicked (bottom of window). The email will be moved to your Inbox and Yahoo should approve all ensuing correspondence from findsmithGROUPS.

Issue #3 DuesDues are due next Tuesday, September 1st. The last deadline to receive dues and still shop/sell at the Fall sale is Friday, September 11th. Annual dues can now be paid by credit card on the website, or you can still mail in your check. Checks can be mailed to: Columbus Mothers of Twins Club, PO Box 2843, Columbus, OH 43216-2843. Please write in the memo portion of your check: annual dues YOUR NAME. This will insure a speedier processing of your dues.

Issue #4: Messaging questionsYou can choose to receive e-mails for 3 classes of content (messages, directory, classifieds) at one of four frequencies: individual items as posted, daily, weekly or no contact at all. You can change this using the "My Profile" tab of the top menu bar, scroll down to the bottom of that page and change your preferences. You choose how much contact you have from the site, or you can always log in to read or search the messages just as we did with yahoo.

Open issues that I'm researching with our site provider:moderator e-mails are not delivered computer setup for cookies dues requested even after paying by credit cardIf you're unsure what to do, I suggest you should try:1) Go to www.cmotc.findsmith groups.com2) Click the "Get Status Email" link at the bottom of the Member Login box3) Type your e-mail address and push "send"This will either send the invitation with links or confirm you're registered. Once you've logged in some helpful hints:* Username is actually the e-mail address you provided when you registered.* On our homepage (where you see the group photo) scan the site guidelines and the FAQ to get more familiar with the site.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

To My Babies

On the eve of Kindergarten, this is one mom's words to her twins:


We've been through a lot together, you and me. It was 6 years ago almost to this day that I found out you were twins. I can't put into words how I felt. The rush of emotions, the overwhelming sense of blessing that I felt at that moment.

Days later another overwhelming sense came over me...that of nausea, intense doctors visits, high level sonograms and hospital stays. Together we endured weeks of bed-rest, surgery and then many sleepless nights.

I remember the days when it was a struggle to get you to take an ounce of milk. I worried about your weight gain and counted your wet diapers. The minutes between feedings meant precious sleep. I took advantage of every minute I could get. The day you found comfort in your fingers and thumb was a peaceful day for Daddy and me. It meant that you would sleep through the night. How thankful we were.

You babbled, spoke your little twin language and soon started saying Mama. It was music to my ears. I worried that you would never walk and once you did, I worried that you would never stop.

We started playgroups, zoo/museum trips and library story times. What fun we had together, just you and me. We explored the unknown world and I learned more than I ever thought I would. You began to ask questions, some of which I didn't have answers to. I made up some of the answers, as you will soon find out, but for a time you thought your mommy knew everything.

You ran to me with all your worries, doubts and questions. I was your comfort in this big, unknown world.

I think back to all we have done together, just you and me. It's been a whirlwind and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Now you are off on your own for the very first time. You will begin to discover this great big world on your own. It's time for you to spread your wings and fly, my sweet babies. With all the things that we have experienced together over the past 6 years you are fully equipped to step out on your own and fly.

I can't wait to see what you do. The dreams I have for you are boundless. You have the potential to do anything your heart desires. I pray that these 6 foundational years will be used by God as a basis for the rest of your lives. You're off on a new adventure and although I will not always be by your side as in the past, I am here as your biggest cheerleader and support. My prayers for you are unceasing and my love is unending.

God-willing, we have many more days together. Even though we won't have endless hours together to do as we wish, I look forward to all the things you will experience on your own as you learn and grow. I want to hear all your stories and I can't wait to see what you have to teach me along the way.

We can never go back to the days we have shared but the future is bright and I thank my God everyday for you, my sweet babies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eight Truths about Parenting Multiple Toddlers

Another great article (and some humor on parenting multiple toddlers) by Elizabeth Lyons...

Without doubt, the toddler years with your twins, triplets, or more will be full of laughter and amazement, not to mention CEO-level management. It is a time during which you will see clear evidence of the bond that has been forming between your children since the moment they were conceived. There are also many common challenges parents encounter while raising multiple toddlers. The bottom line is that these little people, while only two or three years old, are thoroughly convinced they rule the roost. That’s the bad news. The good news—you’re not alone!

A little advance mental preparation goes a long way toward long-term sanity. Knowing what’s coming will ensure that you are at least one step ahead of those of us who had no idea what we were in for.

It Will Be a Very Noisy Time
Two and three year olds are notorious for having an opinion on nearly everything. They are also prone to needing to express those opinions—loudly—at each and every opportunity. That in itself makes for a potentially deafening environment much of the time. However, put two, three, or more toddlers with opinions in a room together and you’ll quickly find value in construction-grade earplugs. Additionally, toddlers don’t merely express their opinions; they need to be sure you’ve heard them. They don’t really care whether or not you agree, but they do require an indication that you’re listening. Until they receive that acknowledgement, they will continue to repeat the same comment or question over and over (and over) until you respond—and then possibly a few more times even after you’ve acknowledged them. Be prepared to make the words, “Uh-huh,” “OK,” and “Yes” staples of your vocabulary. Although be careful that you don’t become too unaware of what they are saying as you respond so carelessly. One day, my boys were communicating why it was so important that they retrieve and consume a bag of marshmallows, and in my state of exhaustion, I uttered several “Uh-huhs.” Before I knew it, they were on the dining room floor devouring the contents of the bag hand over fist. Needless to say, it did not go well when I informed them I had “misunderstood,” and that the marshmallows needed to go back into the pantry.

The Art of Childproofing Will Be Taken to a Whole New Level
Toddlers love to explore. Multiple toddlers tend to take the concepts of exploration and adventure a few steps further and—trust me—they will get into things you never imagined they would (or could). You’ve likely seen the pictures of one twin standing on the other twin’s shoulders in order to retrieve the ice cream from the top shelf of the freezer. I had to screw the floor vent into the floorboards in my sons’ room because they continued to remove it—even after it had been secured with professional-grade carpet tape—and stuff everything under the sun (including the contents of their diapers) down it. My friend Mollie found her boys straddling the tops of their crib headboards as if they were on their own personal broncos even though they can’t yet climb up onto their chairs at the kitchen table by themselves. Multiple toddlers barely speak your language, but they have a way of communicating with one another to strategize a way of reaching the tallest spot in the house or opening anything with a certified childproofing mechanism. In fact, most childproofing mechanisms don’t work for too terribly long with multiples. These days, if I need an outlet cover or a door knob cover removed, I just call on one of my boys. The lesson: If it gets too quiet in the house and you know they are not asleep, be very concerned.

Potty Training Requires Utmost Patience
Most parents dread the potty training process. In fact, I’ve known many a mom who has claimed that in the end, the person who really needed to be potty trained was she, not her child. The reason for this is that when you are in Target and your child announces—just as you are ready to enter the check-out line with an entire cart full of purchases—that he needs to go potty, it’s sometimes easier just to say, “It’s OK honey; you have a Pull-Up on.”

Regardless of the training program you use, it’s a safe bet that your multiples won’t take to using the watering hole at precisely the same moment or in precisely the same manner. Sounds frighteningly familiar to the sleep training routine you went through when they were six months old, doesn’t it? I can almost guarantee that for awhile, once you get child #1 out of the Target restroom, having ascertained to the best of your ability that child #2 does not have to go (and even possibly after convincing her to try anyway), child #2 will announce that she now has to go…right now…or else. And rest assured, it will be the day you decided to try putting them in real underwear, so you won’t even be able to rely on the Pull-Ups. What you will be able to rely on is the fact that a clean-up request will be announced for Lane 6 momentarily.

Patience is the key when potty training multiples. It may not even be worth it to form a strategy for this task because when and where they use the potty is one of the few functions over which children have complete control. It’s also a good idea to keep a training potty in your car for emergencies. The answer to “Can you wait three minutes until we get home?” is typically going to be “No”.

They Are Finicky, and They’ll Switch on a Dime
Know that the minute you produce the apple juice your two year old has requested, he’ll decide he wants orange juice—and will accept nothing less. The issue when you’re raising more than one toddler at the same time is that the instant Katie decides her apple juice isn’t going to work, Kelly will insist that hers isn’t going to work either. Same goes for shirt, pant, and shoe selection. Another enjoyable experience: One of your toddlers asks to watch “Finding Nemo” while the other insists on watching “The Wiggles.” Negotiating that dispute is always fun, but I can assure you that as accommodating as I try to be many days, I will not be purchasing another TV to help such situations! I have one child who likes for me to sing to the radio in the car and one who would have you think such an activity is doing irreparable damage to his ear drums. They both scream, one for me to sing and the other for me to stop. As you can imagine, there is no good solution to this other than turning the radio off, attempting to tune the kids out, and singing a lullaby to myself. You must determine when you will draw the line on the constant need for modifications, and know that the point at which you choose to draw the line can change at any time given how much sleep you had the night before or how many times you’ve had to go through the change routine already that day. I usually try to make it quite clear up front that there is time and opportunity for one choice per meal, outing, or movie watching session.

There Is No Such Thing As a Family Meal That Consists of Fewer Than 20 Options
At some point you will likely determine it’s time to begin serving “family dinners,” whereby you all gather around the table for a delicious, healthy meal you’ve slaved over, accompanied by some good old-fashioned family conversation. Such intentions are absolutely to be admired. Be prepared, however, for the fact that in all likelihood, your toddlers won’t like what’s being served (and if only one does, the other may well suddenly change her mind, as I mentioned earlier). I used to become so frustrated when I’d cook a nice meal, only to have it accompanied not by conversation but by constant screaming for Cheerios, marshmallows, or pizza, that I devised a solution that does indeed work about 60 percent of the time. I put applesauce, yogurt, and a fruit or vegetable that I know they like on the table with the other menu items. This way, there’s something I am certain they will eat even if it’s not what they’d order off the menu given the choice, and my husband and I don’t find ourselves having to stand up every four seconds to retrieve such an item from the refrigerator or pantry.

It’s Expensive
Obviously, you’re going to be dealing with multiple shirts, shorts, and shoes for the next 16 years or so. However, the toddler years with multiples can be expensive for more reasons than just clothes. It is usually during these years that we start signing our kids up for music classes, parent/tot swimming classes, mother’s-day-out programs, or—for the extremely optimistic fathers out there—golf lessons. In most cases, you will be responsible for registration and participation fees times two or more. Be sure to inquire whether the program offers a discount for multiples. Oftentimes, at least the registration fee will be reduced. For mother’s-day-out programs, the second child’s registration and participation fees are often discounted. Although it can be expensive, try not to opt out of such activities for financial reasons alone. The time away from the house (and the kids if it’s a mom’s-day-out program) and the social opportunities for the kids are both important. One trick we’ve used is to set aside holiday and birthday money given to the boys instead of spending it on yet another toy. When it comes time to pay the program fees, the money is available. Plus, the grandparents from whom the money often came in the first place are thrilled to be funding such an experience for their grandchildren.

You Are Going to Need a Hobby That You Greatly Enjoy
There is a reason the term “The Terrible Twos” has gained a lot of notoriety. It’s a time during which toddlers learn a great deal, which is exciting to watch. It’s also a time when you will be challenged almost constantly in terms of your ability to be patient and calm, and possibly not to shout “Shut up!” at the top of your lungs as everyone vies for your attention simultaneously for the sixth hour in a row. It will be critical to your sanity during this time to have a hobby you enjoy and can lose yourself in as often as necessary. Older pastimes such as knitting, quilting, crocheting, and sewing are once again attracting young moms. Park districts as well as retail stores specializing in these pastimes often offer reasonably priced courses in the evenings or on weekends if you are a beginner. It’s a great way to get out, meet other women, and work on a project that has an end date in sight and doesn’t scream at you as you work on it. Other options: yoga, photography, or cake decorating. Park districts almost always offer interesting courses for beginners at great rates. Check out their offerings list for next session!

It’s Going to Be Messy
Toddlers have little to no need for order and cleanliness. Find me a toddler’s room that is cleaned by him or her on a weekly basis and, well, I’m moving in with you for a week to absorb your strategy. Play-doh will end up on the floor (but hopefully not in the carpet), crayon will end up on walls (buy the washable kind), sippy cups will spill (even though the manufacturer claims they are spill-proof), and more urine will likely hit the floor than the cute little potty bowl. I know without a doubt that I could clean all day, every day, and be able to start all over again once I was finished. Keep the following running through your head: “I have toddlers. The house is going to be messy. It won’t last forever.” If it gets to a point that is intolerable to you, hire a cleaning service to come every two weeks to at least clean bathrooms, dust, and vacuum. Those are the things you probably won’t get to after you’ve wiped up the play-doh, crayon, spilled milk, and urine (over and over again). Believe me, the money is worth it. After all, they say a cluttered house creates a cluttered mind. I don’t know about you, but if my mind gets any more cluttered then it is already, I’ll turn into someone else.

Occasionally, even amidst the endless tossing of Legos, demands for one more bedtime song, and orders to retrieve a blue plate instead of an orange one, I can understand the toddler mindset. After all, who wouldn’t make the most of an opportunity to draw with reckless abandon on walls, decide the Monsters, Inc. character on his dinner plate is too scary to eat off of, or express every opinion she has? As Clair Adams Sullivan said, “Our children are here to stay, but our babies and toddlers and preschoolers are gone as fast as they can grow up and we only have a short moment with each.” I will try to remember this the next time Henry informs me—with as much frankness and as little apology as anyone his age can—“Me no like Mama sing song. Hurt me ears.”

About the author: Elizabeth Lyons is the mom of five, which includes a set of twins, and is the author of Ready or Not Here We Come! The REAL Experts' Cannot-Live-Without Guide to the First Year with Twins and Ready or Not There we go! The REAL Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins. She recently released a new product called Hold It Baby! On-the-Go Toy Organizer, which she calls sanity on a string, at Her web site is and her blog is

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Answers for Twin Sleeping Issues

Question: What do I do? One twin seems to be sleeping well while the other is waking up. Do I wake them both up or let one sleep for as long as possible?

I say "Absolutely!" let Audra sleep as long as she wants at night. My twins were the same way. My daughter could go longer without eating at night and my son needed a little bit more to eat. I did it like you during the day. I would feed them on a regular schedule and let them go at night (at least at this age; when they were brand new, I would wake the other one up.). Grace was sleeping 8-9 hours per night by the time she was 8 weeks old. Parker was about 3 months old before he could give up that extra feeding at night.

As long as they are healthy and gaining weight, it sounds like this is Audra's way of telling you that she's ready to sleep longer. Before you know it, Joshua will be able to do the same thing and you'll actually be able to sleep all night. You won't know what to do with yourself. :) A full night's sleep will make you feel like a new woman!

Follow your instincts. Whatever you decide to do will be the right thing for them and for you.
I woke the other twin in the middle of the night too. I was just so afraid she'd wake up 30 minutes after I laid my son back down and I'd never get to sleep. We finally did try letting her sleep at about four months, and she slept through the night...and has been doing so ever since. Unfortunately, it took a lot longer for my son to sleep through the night, but its all about the little victories - - especially where sleep is involved! You might want to try letting her sleep one night to see what happens. If she sleeps through to the next feeding...awesome. If not, then you can always go back to waking them both up again.

Okay I really was bothered by this I remember. I tried both and found that waking was the best thing to do in the long run for all involved. It will not hurt anyone and it doesn't last long and suddenly he will catch up to her. Mine were 13 weeks early so I was always worried about them and questioning myself but I found that if you just treat them normally and keep them on the same schedule it works wonders in the end. I am so thankful I woke my daughter up when I fed my son. They were fine and I was gaining some sanity!!
Good luck and best wishes!

I hope this helps... but I my oldest was he slept through the night. I remember waking him up the first night we were home just as the doctors said and I spent an hour and half trying to get him to eat and he cried unrelentlessly... I ended up putting him back to bed and he slept through the night 6 hours and we were to 8,9, 10 hours pretty quickly, I learned very quickly not to wake a sleeping baby. Now when we had the twins... I knew how important it would be to keep them on the same schedule.., even through the night. So here is what i did with them... When one woke up to feed and the other one didn't, I tried to make the one that was awake go back to sleep and stretch the feeding closer to the one that was sleeping, this worked great for us! The one that woke up quickly went back to sleep and was able to hang on for a couple more hours...(i just didn't get up right away) I let them cry for a 5-10 minutes and usually they fell back to sleep before I would even be able to get out of bed. For a while the switched back and forth as to how would get up first at night, but eventually, by 3 months, they were sleeping 8 hours a night and by 5-6 months they were going 12 hours and continue along the same schedule and they are 14 and half months now. Plus they both take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. Being a mon of one first really helped me when it came to having twins and it worked in my favor to get them to sleep through the night as soon as possible and I took advantage of the one that didn't wake up to get the other to sleep longer. IT's all about outsmarting them!! LOLHope this helps... like I said it worked great for us, but I know every situation is different.

At that stage I still found that it was better to continue to wake the other when the first one woke up - otherwise I was sometimes up all night feeding babies, because they would trade off. But at some point I started to try to just let them sleep and see what would happen. I think that it was somewhere between 2 and 3 months that one of them started sleeping consistently about 6 hours at night. It was easier for me to let him sleep and then try to have one feeding later with the 2 of them together. Then I could nurse the one that woke earlier in bed with me and my sleep wasn't so disrupted, either. I hope that you find something that works out!

I can only tell you what worked for us. We woke both boys up at night if one woke and the other didnt. They do everything together. Bottles, nap, play, baths, cereal...everything. It makes it MUCH easier to get them on a schedual. If I were you, I would try giving Joshua an extra half ounce at his last feeding before bed. That may help keep him sleeping until his sister wakes up. We had to do that with Dominic. My boys go to bed at 7pm and dont wake up for their middle of the night bottle until between 4:30am and 5:30am. And then they get up at 7-7:30am for a bottle. We feed at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and the last bottle they want at 6:15pm before they go down for bed at 7pm. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! Life for us changes so much once the boys were on their schedual! We are much happier parents for sure! Good luck!

I always woke up one when one woke up to feed.......from those with singletons it doesn't make sense but in a life of multiples it does:)

My girls are 2 and still nap and go to sleep at the same time and are used to this routine.
I did wake both babies when the other woke for a long time. I would do this as long as you feel right about it- you will get more sleep if they are on the same schedule. After a while, Ellie would consistently have to be woken because she would always sleep longer. When it got to the point where she would always have to be woken and just seemed to want to sleep longer, than I would try it out. Sure enough, she did sleep through the night sooner. So, if you want, you can experiment with the baby that sleeps longer. You can let Audra sleep and if she is up just a short time later, than go back to waking her up with the other one. But, if she does sleep a long time, then you can let her sleep in the future too

You probably got a ton of answers on this, but I thought I'd respond since I just had the same issue. Our daughter Gillian started sleeping through the night before our son Connor did, and I kept waking her up just as you are doing. I mentioned it to the doula I was using and she said that if Gillian is sleepy and not eating much (I was complaining that I couldn't keep Gillian awake long enough to feed her more than an ounce or so) that that was her way of telling me to let her sleep. She told me if I keep waking her up, she'll get used to that and I will have a harder time later getting her to sleep through the night. So I stopped waking her up and instead, waited for her to wake up, and within a few days she was sleeping straight through from 8:30-9:00pm to 7am. Gillain was about 13-14 weeks old. I then just waited for Connor to wake up during the night which he would do 1 time around 3-4am.. Each day, he slowly extended his time daily, until about a week later, he started sleeping through the night. Since then, both have slept through the night. I did notice that during the day, they both wanted more milk to make up for the feeding(s) they were missing at night, especially in the late afternoon/early evening feedings.
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