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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strollers - My Personal Picks and Why

From Wendy at

I am not sure about all of you, but the stroller was by far the most difficult piece of twin gear to choose. The reason, I think at least, is that there just isn't a perfect twin stroller. I had a singleton first and I just loved his stroller. I loved the seat, the options to recline, the canopy protection, the tray with cup holder (that you could also remove), the parent console, the storage, the ease of opening and closing it - you name it - I loved it. Now for twins, I didn't find anything that met all my needs or desires, which was frustrating. So, here was my route with stroller and also my personal favorites.

While the twins were in carriers, I bought a double snap and go frame stroller off Craig's List. These aren't used long, so you can get a nice one fairly cheap. They are light, though long, and work well for what they are. Storage is great. It was also the overwhelming recommendation that the CMOTC members gave me when I asked, still pregnant with the twins. It gives you time to research your options, decide what will ultimately work for you and it is inexpensive. Not to mention that many of the double strollers are not made for twin infants, so this frame stroller works well for your infants in their carriers.

Once they outgrew the carriers, I decided on the all terrain Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller. It was a laboring decision (no joking here) which I spent so much time research and debating. Let's face it, strollers aren't cheap and you need them so you want the right one if you are going to shell out all that money. For me, I didn't really like the tandem strollers. The front seat didn't recline much and didn't have great canopy coverage, the back seat had little foot room and a smaller tray. And they were long. They are made for an infant and a toddler, not twins. The child in the back might not be able to see as well and might also hit (on purpose or accident) the child in the front. Etc, etc, etc. But, again, it's ALL personal preference. I know people that love their tandems and people, like me, who prefer side by side.

One other big piece of advice I received from the CMOTC moms was that if you get a tandem, you will probably want to eventually get a side by side stroller for the zoo and outings like that. Originally that was my plan, a nice tandem and then a cheap used side by side. But, the more I thought about it, the more the side by side just seemed to fit my needs more (for the reasons I already listed). The nice thing about the City Mini Double is that it fits through doorways and yet the kids aren't squashed into the seats. The major bad thing about the City Mini Double is the cost - it is expensive. But so are most of the nice side by sides. I decided to get this stroller because of all the nice side by sides (and I researched every one, from every country and called them all - sadly, I'm not joking), this one had the most options to make it what I wanted. That said, it meant more money out for these options, but at least I had the options to make it more of what I wanted. Some don't even have options.

Why I like the City Mini Double:
  • It can easily fit through doors
  • The twins have equal viewing
  • The seats are not wide open as to promote fighting or excessive touching (at least not that we have had issues with yet - which was a warning made by the CMOTC moms when I was given advice two years ago)
  • The canopies are adjustable to whatever I want AND operate independently of each other
  • It folds up easily
  • It steers wonderfully and turns on a dime - one handed even
  • I could add a parent console, a belly bar and trays (with cup holders)
What I don't like about the City Mini Double:
  • The seats are always a little reclined when the twins kind of want to be more upright*
  • The bar and trays (that snap on) are a little high (they work for my recently two year old twins, but not for a young one year old probably)
  • The storage is a pain in the rear to get to and load (although a decent size)

* I did create a little work around for the reclining seats. On the back side of the seats are mesh pockets for storage. Since the seats are fabric, you really can't put a whole lot of anything in there as the kids would be able to feel it on their backs. What I discovered, though, is that I could fold up a full size towel and stuff it in there, making the seat backs more ridged and upright.

The trays just came out this year. I just recently bought them and tried them out on a major outing. I do like them and it did help greatly to have food and drink at their finger tips. Before that I had the belly bar consoles which really weren't good for much but sticking small toys in for storage - the kids could not reach them until recently and even then it was hard for them - the trays are much better. I also bought a couple liquid holsters. My husband jokes that it is our million dollar stroller and it was truly expensive (fortunately my mom bought the stroller and we bought all the accessories). However, we take good care of things and figure at some point we can get a little money back by selling it. It definitely is an investment and for us it was worth it. I have no regrets about the decision.

If you choose to get the Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller, I recommend searching the internet for the best deal. They only sell through distribution (though BRU and some sporting goods stores carry their product on-line as well, but sometimes not in as many colors). I found a distributor on-line that had a great deal on the price, free shipping, and threw in an accessory (the parent console) for free as well. I called the Baby Jogger Corporation and verified that they were indeed one of their distributor (since I hate to give my credit card to just anyone). The stroller drop shipped from Baby Jogger a week later. No issues.

If you can, find it on ebay or Craig's List. The City Mini Double just came out at the beginning of 2008 so there are bound to be some used ones showing up soon.

That's my two cents on strollers and review of my personal stroller.

How about all of you? Does anyone have a double stroller that they absolutely love? Please tell us what it is and why you love it (as well as what you don't like about it). The more input we provide, the easier for others to make decisions and find their perfect match! We've all been there... and we all know input from others helps the decision process immensely!

Please submit your stroller advice/review/input to for us to post on here on our CMOTC blog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ten Secrets to Surviving the First Year with Twins

I think many of us in CMOTC have read Elizabeth Lyons books Ready or Not... Here We Come! The REAL Experts' Guide to the First Year with Twins and Ready or Not... There we go! The REAL Experts' Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins. If not, get them and read them! They are not only very funny, but also offer a real look into life with twins. Below are Elizabeth's ten secrets to surviving the first year with twins (printed with her permission).

While pregnant with twins (or more), you are likely to receive more than a few comments—most often from complete strangers—about how rocky the road ahead is going to be. Some folks will seemingly try to convince you you’ll be lucky not to fall into a giant manhole at every step. I’ve always found this most unfortunate. In truth, these folks are partly right; it will be tough. But what they don’t realize is how rewarding and amazing an experience it will be at the same time.

My husband and I went from one child to three in a matter of minutes. (Our daughter was two when our twins were born.) I’ve decided that it’s tough raising any number of children. In fact, I’m convinced that it’s the hardest job there is! There’s no perfect spacing, no perfect age range. You are blessed with what you can handle—what you’re meant to handle—plain and simple.

That said, there are ways to ensure a less stressful first year raising multiples.

If you aren’t one already, become an organized and efficient person as soon as possible.
If you are already a proficient planner, capitalize on it and get even better! Trust me, this is doable. Even if you are the most frazzled person on earth, you are going to learn to be efficient and organized quite quickly because it will be necessary to your survival. According to Stephanie Winston, author of Getting Organized, “Order is whatever helps you to function effectively—nothing more and nothing less. You set the rules and the goals, however special, idiosyncratic, or individualistic they may be.” As with nearly everything else during this year, take life day by day, and do what works for you in terms of organizing yourself and your family, even if your mother-in-law thinks you’re nuts (mine, by the way, swears she does not).

Don’t turn down help.
Many people are, by nature, simply more independent than others. It seems that mothers of multiples often fall into this category. Therefore, when help is offered, many of these women shy away from accepting help, often feeling as though saying “Yes” is the same as admitting (at the top of their lungs) “I can’t do this by myself!” Additionally, many women seem to feel that the person who has offered some help surely has a million other things on her own plate and therefore, she shouldn’t accept her offer. I consider myself to be a relatively independent person, so I feel quite comfortable giving you a direct order on this one: ACCEPT HELP! Be sure that the help actually fulfills your definition, however. Having someone else rock and sing to your babies while you cook and clean is often not viewed as “help” by a new mom of multiples. Accept the offer from anyone willing to bring a meal, clean your house, do some laundry, or run an errand. You will have more than enough time sooner than you think to return the favor. Think about it: when you offer to help someone in need, you genuinely want to help. So does everyone volunteering his or her time to you right now. Say thank you and open your door (even if you’re in your pajamas)!

Realign your expectations.
This is of paramount importance to getting through the first year. Relinquish your need (if you have one) to have your entire house clean and in perfect order all the time. One secret I rely heavily on is scented candles (I prefer those by Yankee Candle Company). The “Banana Bread” scent will give the impression that you’ve been cooking all day. “Clean Cotton” will fool visitors into believing you cleaned the whole house just before they arrived. “Lavender” will soothe your mind at the end of a long day. Also, pick up a copy of Forget Perfect, by Lisa Earle McLeod. Lisa reinforces the importance of putting ourselves at or near the top of our priority lists instead of the grime behind the kitchen sink or the toys strewn across the family room. Notes Lisa, “You are not trying to create a perfect childhood, you’re trying to create a functioning adult.” Your time would be better spent singing nursery rhymes than scrubbing walls.

Invest in a crockpot and few good crockpot recipe books.
The crockpot is a marvelous invention. Did you know that you can make quesadillas in a crockpot? The recipes for this contraption have come a long way and it’s not just for beef stew anymore. Whenever you have a spare second during the morning, pop the ingredients in and turn it on. By dinnertime (whether at 6PM or midnight), you have a fabulous meal cooked and the house smells fantastic. If, by some small chance, one of the babies needs you the second you dish up your plate, just put your meal back in the old crockpot and it’ll be warm whenever you’re ready—no more cold dinners! I’m thinking of giving my crockpot a name this year and looking at it more like my own personal food butler.

Schedule weekly alone time with your spouse.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from women with multiples is that when the kids are grown and leave the house, they and their husbands will look at each other and exclaim, “Who are you?” It is important to make your best effort to nurture your relationship with your spouse to ensure this does not happen. When your babies are young, this will be easier (though it may not seem that way at the time) than when they start moving and talking nonstop. However, as the babies get older and the house gets crazier, you may feel as though you and your mate haven’t talked about anything other than where you’re going as you dart out of the house just as he pulls into the driveway. Get a sitter when you’re comfortable taking that step; instead of viewing the cost as an extra thirty dollars for an evening out, look at it as an investment in your marriage and your family. Or forget the sitter and just plan on a late dinner for the two of you when the kids have gone to bed. Sit down and talk about something other than finances, who tackled whom that day, and how you’re going to negotiate the plane ride to grandma’s. I know some days it won’t seem like there’s anything else to talk about, but there is. Remember what you did on your first dates, fantasize about your ultimate retirement or vacation destination, or better yet, plan a date for the following week or month.

Maintain your sense of humor.
If you don’t have one, get one—QUICKLY! Research has shown that smiling causes your brain to release chemicals that make you feel good. Additionally, laughter releases endorphins in your body that allow you to relax. So, when you can only laugh or cry, do the former. It is more fun (and less expensive) than anxiety medication or therapy.

Retain an optimistic perspective.
There’s an old saying, “Attitude is everything.” Keith Harrell, author of a book by the same name, agrees. He states, “Your attitude dictates whether you are living life or life is living you. Attitude determines whether you are on the way or in the way.” And remember, as a general rule, those with positive attitudes enjoy better overall health—a true gift from you to your new bundles of joy. Just when things seem to be at their lowest point, remember: it could always be worse. When I was having a particularly bad hour during the first year with our twins, I would remind myself that there were women in the world juggling sextuplets or more that very second. That usually provided enough clarity to get me through those sixty minutes.

Schedule personal time for yourself on a regular basis.
Many mothers begin to feel as if their lives are somewhat one-dimensional. They become convinced they are losing their own identity in the midst of raising their family. It is extremely important to carve out some time for yourself each day. Even if it’s only to snuggle into bed at night and read People magazine or a chapter of a book that’s been collecting dust on the shelf. Plan to spend time as often as you can with friends in the evenings or on weekends, and plan to do this without your kids when possible. Truly, you cannot take the best care of your family unless you are taking the best care of yourself.

Give yourself permission to make “mistakes.”
Write this statement down and put it in a spot where you will see it at least once a day:During this day, I will do the best I can to be a mother to these children with the information, wisdom, and energy I have at this time.

Hours, days, or weeks from now there will be no point in looking back and saying, “Oh, if I had known THAT I would have done it differently.” Of course you might have, but the bottom line is that you will never be able to go back to that exact point in time—with the information that you now have—and do things differently. You do the best you can with what you have to work with at the time. That’s all you can expect of yourself—and that’s all your children expect from you.

Ignore advice from people whose opinion you don’t truly value.
You are going to get advice on childrearing in general left and right from family, friends, and women behind you in line at the grocery store. People are going to comment on your choice of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. People will comment on how crazy the babies’ sleeping patterns are (and how much of that is your fault). Sit down and think about the people in your life whose opinions you really value. Now, are any of those people the same ones who you would imagine attempting to give you “advice” that really feels more like criticism of your parenting skills? I doubt it. So, when you want advice, ask for it from the people whom you generally believe will give it to you with your best interests, not their underlying opinions, at heart. For everyone else, smile and keep walking. If it happens in your own home, feign a migraine and retire to your room until the offender leaves.

As Zora Neale Hurston once said, There are years that ask questions and years that answer. This year will most certainly do both—I guarantee it! And I will make you the promise that my great friend Mollie always makes to me: You’re going to make it!

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
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