Why I don’t have any good pictures of both twins at the same time

 

2015-03 (Mar)_WEBI wasn’t actively trying to get them to look at me or anything, I just wanted to get them both sitting in their baby adirondacks. These are all the photos I took, just so you can get a feel for what I deal with any time I bring out the camera. 🙂 And/or to explain why I never get any good shots of them together! (PS: here’s a big secret–a lot of the cute holiday photos from their first year were head swaps!)

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What It Means to Have Two Babies at the Same Time

DSC_7951-18_WEBOnly one pregnancy but two babies!

One pregnancy but a lot more risk, worry, and monitoring.

Both mom and dad get to hold and hug a baby. No jealousy.

If multiple visitors come over, there are two babies to hold and snuggle. Babies all around!

Every time I give one baby a big hug, I feel the need to give the other baby a hug too, lest he feel left out. Same with saying I love you, cooing over cuteness, etc.

When one baby is making developments/meeting milestones, I worry about the other one if he’s not.

When I need to take them upstairs to nap and can only take one at a time, I have to think who I carried up first last time. I don’t want to always do one first and make the other one feel left out.

Same thing when they wake up from a nap–who to take first and make sure I’m alternating. (Our nanny has the same thoughts on this one, by the way.)

It is quite a feat to feed and burp two babies at once. Especially if you’re simultaneously pumping.

I worry about posting pictures unevenly, and as a corollary I often purposely alternate individual shots of them.

As another corollary, I’ll take similar shots of each and make a diptych so I’m not showing photographic favor of one over the other.

I don’t always like listing out their developments (even in my head) because inevitably one does something first and I don’t want the other one to feel bad. You know, in fifteen years when they’re reading internet antiques through their mind chips.

When they were itty bitty newborns, I could put both of them on my chest at once. Holding one baby on your chest is awesome. Two is exponentially more awesome.

I can’t pick up both of them at the same time (or at least not without hurting myself). So if they’re both crying, I can’t equally comfort them both.

I can sit down and hug them both. As they’ve gotten older, though, they’ve gotten not just bigger but also squirmier, so it’s tough to keep them both in my lap.

They will now try to comfort their upset brother: Hugs, gentle pats, fetching of lovey or bottle.

It’s a calculated risk to change one diaper because the other baby/toddler is now free to get into mischief.

They fight over toys. Even if they are both holding identical toys, each wants brother’s toy.

Every time you go to buy something, you have to decide if you should buy only one, or if you really need two.

The cost of most everything doubles. And/or, things last half as long.

Sometimes things come in sets of two already, which feels like a secret hat tip to twin parents.

Double strollers, though they can be great for what they are, will always be way more unwieldy than single strollers.

You can’t–well, I can’t–push a double stroller and a grocery cart at the same time. Therefore going shopping before they’re old enough to sit up in a cart is pretty much a no-go.

Once they are big enough for the cart, only one baby can sit in it, while the other baby has to be stuck in a carrier. (Except for Costco with their double carts!)

It’s really hard to take two babies to a class or solo outing. For one, you have to make sure that you can take one out of the stroller and leave the other one safely. Then, you have twice the work and twice the weight to carry/adjust.

They crawl and walk in opposite directions.

They entertain each other and themselves.

They will play by themselves, independently.

If they’re both into mischief, you can’t carry them both away. Once you move one, the other has gone back into the mischief, so you move that one, but the first made it back again…etc etc.

If one wakes up crying in the middle of the night, he might wake up the other one. If so, you can only pick up one at a time. Which then means a terrible cycle of pick one up and calm him, listen to the other cry. Put first one down, pick up and calm the second one, first one starts crying again. And so on.

If one makes some noise in the middle of the night, you may not know who it is unless they’re still actively crying.

They may not nap at the same time, or for the same amount of time. Which means that you can’t always bank on naptime for things like cleaning, reading, tv, or mama naptime.

If one is sick, both have to stay home from daycare.

The pediatrician co-pays really add up fast with two babies who rotate getting sick.

You don’t always have time or brainpower to use their names, and refer to them as ‘this one’ and ‘that one.’

When you pick up two babies from daycare, that means two sweet faces to light up, and two sets of little legs to crawl or toddle over, and two sets of little arms to hug you.

Nothing is ever easy with twins.

Life is never boring with twins!

Things I Wish I Had Known

I read a lot, in general. So of course when I was pregnant, I was excited to read books and blogs and learn new things about pregnancy and babies. However, I was disappointed because all the books (hahaha, “all the books”; I read like three) and blogs have the same old information. Fetus size compared to food. Complications. Morning sickness. Weight gain and nutrition. Call your doctor when. Blah blah everybody knows this already! Tell me something new! Tell me something that I really need to know!

Here are a few things about pregnancy and newborns that I wish had been in the books and blogs! Maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there.

It’s possible to have a twin pregnancy without major complications.

A multiple pregnancy is automatically categorized as high-risk. Lots of shit can go wrong with more than one bun in the oven, for the buns as well as for the baker. (Haha!) When we learned that I was carrying two wee ones, I assumed that a) I would get super giant super quick, and b) I would have problems and go on bedrest etc. However, neither of those things happened. As the weeks went by, I continued being surprised at how uneventful my ‘high-risk’ pregnancy was. I kind of felt bad about having it so easy, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are a lot of women out there (and I’ve met some) who did indeed have a lot of serious complications, and this is not meant to dismiss them or their experiences in any way. I just wish that it was made clear that it doesn’t end up that way for everyone. Everyone should be prepared for issues, but it doesn’t have to be a given or an assumption, if that makes sense. We got lucky.

Pregnancy can cause congestion and therefore snoring.

I read this tidbit in one book–I don’t remember which one–and I was surprised. The reason was increased something or other–more pressure, more fluid, something like that. I thought it was interesting and I was also surprised it wasn’t in the rest of the books with the other classic symptoms. By seven months if not sooner, I had started snoring at night! I was so embarrassed but at least I knew why it was happening. Didn’t make it easier on my husband, who ended up sneaking out to the guest room when it got to be too much. But he was (generally) understanding about it not being my fault and only being temporary. (And it was. By a week or so after babies, the snoring stopped. Thank goodness.)

New babies sleep a lot.

I sort of knew this maybe, in the back of my mind. But nowhere was it made explicit that newborns sleep almost literally all day long. Not counting feedings, of course. But they are hardly ever awake. No one told me that!

Related: Newborns are boring.

They sleep all day and eat every few hours around the clock. But that’s it! Not very interesting at all. You will be very tired but not exactly busy. You can’t do anything fun unless it’s in one or two hour chunks between feedings. You could read a lot, if you had the mental wherewithal. But if you’re like us, you’ll veg on the couch like zombies and watch a lot of television. This is a great time to watch an entire series on Netflix, Hulu, or DVD. Don’t forget your laptop. But be aware that no one else is up in the middle of the night, so Facebook gets boring. Could be a good time to write subpar and silly blog posts though! 🙂

Diaper rash is not a rash.

I felt really stupid about this. I assumed that anything called a rash would look like an actual damn rash! But diaper rash is more like redness and chapped skin. My MIL was here when the babies were six weeks old and told us that they had some diaper rash. I had no idea! We had the ointment in the changing table, because I’d read about the good brands and that it’s important to have, so we got to treat it right away. But I had no idea what to look for! Duh!

Bibs are important right away!

At the family baby shower I had last summer, I must have received close to twenty tiny bibs. I thought that my aunts and cousins were getting me set up for the messy eating stage with baby food and such. It took us over a month of spitty babies in dirty onesies to figure out to put the bibs on the babies now. Talk about DUH! The bibs do catch a lot of the spit up and prevent some of the outfit-soiling. Of course, just as often, the spit up rolls right OFF the bib and onto US.

Not all babies are fussy.

I read the book Happiest Baby on the Block, as it was highly recommended by several people and one of our childbirth classes. I read about the 5 S’s and felt like I was more prepared for our babies, though I was scared of all the horror stories–hours of screaming babies and exhausted, frustrated parents! I think I assumed that all babies do that. Happily, our babies didn’t. Not all babies have colic or scream. Ours, in fact, didn’t really cry at all for most of the first month. We did find the shushing extremely effective when they would get upset, and of course we swaddle them. But we never needed to ‘escalate’ to the other S’s. Thank goodness.

Babies *can* sleep.

There are also a lot of horror stories of babies who never sleep. Who wake up throughout the night, even between feeding times. Who have trouble going to sleep or being soothed back to sleep. Again, because of the prevalence of these stories, I think I assumed and was afraid that all babies did this. I was dreading months of never getting any sleep at all. Ours actually sleep pretty well already, and according to the twins group I belong to on facebook, plenty of other babies do too. Frankly, I think everyone is quiet about this because we don’t want to make anyone feel bad whose babies have trouble sleeping!

It really is fine to wake a sleeping baby/babies can be scheduled.

This is one of the cardinal baby rules–‘don’t ever wake a sleeping baby!’ This is the first baby rule broken by people with twins. It’s total bullshit. Another rule–baby experts insist that newborns can’t/shouldn’t be on a schedule. Again, bullshit. Ours were on a schedule from literally day one, in the hospital. (This is the case with most if not all the twins I’ve ever heard of.) It wasn’t a firm schedule at first in terms of the same time every day, but damn straight we woke the one or both babies when it was time to eat. And they’re great with it. Not to say we don’t feed them a little ‘snack’ when they are clearly hungry, but the feedings have always been three to four hours apart. And they eat great and have been growing like adorable, chubby little weeds!

All baby seats/bouncers are not the same

I remember hearing several recommendations for a Rock N Play. I thought it was just a bouncy seat. At one of the big consignment sales, I found two bouncy seats and figured that was good. No no, not so! Turns out I bought a bouncer and a rocker, and they are NOT the same as a Rock N Play. Our tiny babies were way too tiny for the bouncer and the rocker, but they were just fine–and very happy–in the Rock N Play. It was really helpful for them to sleep in the RNP because the incline kept them from spitting up. (Andy figured out in the hospital that they needed to be kept at a little incline for 15-20 minutes after eating so they wouldn’t spit up all over themselves.) We’d had them in a co-sleeper, which of course has a flat surface. Moving them to the RNPs made a big difference. They’re still in them now, at three months. We’ve just introduced them to the bouncer and the rocker, and they seem to enjoy them. The vibrating function is new to them, and they seem to like sitting up in the rocker.

We got all of these used, by the way. If you have twins, you should invest in at least one of each of these, but don’t buy new. Check craigslist and your local twins club. Ours has a great classified section–that’s where we got the Rock N Plays and our co-sleeper.

Bouncer

A bouncer has stationary legs and springy legs attached to the seat. Most of them have a vibrating function. The seat is very inclined. The babies can kick a lot in this seat, which in turns makes the seat bounce–very exciting.
Rocker seat

A rocker seat has rocking legs and a vibrating function. The baby sits up much straighter than in a bouncer, so he can look around at the world instead of just the ceiling. (Although our babies continue to be entranced by ceilings everywhere, so.)

Rock n’ Play

The Rock N Play is much taller than the other two and folds up. The seat is inclined, and of course it rocks back and forth, which is very soothing. I think the seat also kind of envelops the baby, which is another soothing feeling. This one does not vibrate.

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Anything you found out the hard way that should have been in the pregnancy/new baby books?