Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twin questions

The most recent data I can find shows that 3.5% of all live births in the US in 2007 were multiples. Multiples are becoming more common for 2 main reasons. #1 Older women are having more children. The older the woman the greater the chance of multiples. #2 Fertility treatments. What surprises most people is the increases is related to the age of the mother more than the fertility treatments. The news always seems to focus on fertility treatments and higher order multiples, but statistically that has only shown a small increase in the past 20 years.

 Our favorite tool box

It is amazing to me just how often mothers of multiples are asked if they used fertility treatments. Here's a general rule of thumb - It's none of your business. Would you ask that question if she had a singleton? Most successful fertility treatments result in a singleton birth. Would you ask a man if he was having fertility problems? Those questions seem absurd to many and yet if they see twins, it's their first question. Remember, it's none of your business. Personally, I look young so even if people knew that being an older mom was more likely to result in twins, they wouldn't assume I fell into that category. 


Other typical questions (and my answers) that I hear:

Q. How far apart are they? 
  1. 2 minutes (the truth)
  2. 4 months (it's fun to watch them try to figure this one out)
  3. Right now I'd say about 3 feet. (literal answer - this really confuses people)
Q. You have a boy and a girl. Are they identical?
  1. No (Many people immediately realize this was a dumb question.)
  2. No (When people argue, I point out that one has a penis and one doesn't. It's shocking how many people will continue to argue my kids are identical.)
Q. How do you do it?
  1.   We don't have a choice. (honest)
 Why are we rolling the snow?
(ignore the 6 extra layers I'm wearing, I'm not really that big)

Having twins is not easy. It's not all fun and cute. Many times it is crazy, frustrating, and exhausting. I take that back, it's always exhausting! My house is rarely clean, though we go through cleaning supplies at an alarming rate. I try to keep things relatively clean - clean dishes, clean clothes, etc. The dishes may still be in the dishwasher rather than on the shelves and the clothes may be in the laundry basket or dryer rather than put away. It's about balance. My kids have all of their needs met. My kids get my attention, which is more important than putting away laundry and having a perfectly clean house.

They learned to turn the tent upside down while still inside just after this photo.

Another note, if you don't have multiples, don't tell a mother of multiples that you know what it is like. "My kids are only 2 years apart and that is almost like having twins." "My cousin has twins so I know what you are going through." "I have 3 kids and that is more difficult than having twins." Seriously, it's not a competition. Twins are hard. Triplets are harder. Most singletons are easier. You never hear a mom say, "My child has ADD that's almost the same as Autism" because it's not. It's not that one is always easier than the other, they are just different. Having 3 kids is difficult, but it's difficult in a different way than having twins.

The spaghetti matches my hair, don't you think?

Here is a video that, unfortunately, is common. It also explains clearly which child is my favorite. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


We live in an area that gets 1-2 snowfalls per year. So far we haven't had any this year, but last year we had already been through one. We take our kids outside in the snow, just as we take them outside when it's over 100F (38C).

One happy snowman, a happy family, and an extremely happy dog

The first thing to remember is to dress appropriately.Warm layers that keep out the wind and water are a must. The second trick is convincing the kids not to take them off. We used the natural consequences model. If you take off your gloves, your hands will get colder. It only took 1-2 minutes before my daughter asked for help putting them back on her hands. We did dry and warm her hands before putting dry and warm gloves back on them.

Are you sure I need gloves?

Walking or trying to run in the light fluffy snow, is much like running on sand. It is much more difficult and great exercise. Trying to roll the snow into balls, throw the balls, make a snow angel, or a snowman are all great gross motor activities. The sensory feedback is unique and yet, not overwhelming for most kids.

It's cold!

While I am thrilled I don't live somewhere colder, there are many benefits to snow and you should get your kids out in all types of weather!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I would love to tell you my kids are sweet, wonderful, perfect, and would never hit (kick, bite, etc.) each other. However, that is so far from the truth it's funny. I don't have photos of my kids hurting each other because I'm always trying to stop it rather than capture it, so once again here's a post with completely inappropriate photos.

Both trying to color in the same place.

My kids aren't the most aggressive kids I've ever met, but they do need help to learn how to handle their aggression. We spent a lot of time talking about how to use our hands. "We have gentle hands. This is how I use my gentle hands. (gently rub their face) Can you show me how to use your gentle hands?" I said it so often it was driving me batty. When you add it things like "We bite food, not friends." and "We kick balls, not people." and you could summarize many months of my life. You will notice each of those examples is giving the child something to do, rather than something not to do. For a child to process a negative statement often takes more time and isn't as likely to stop the behavior.

Playing in the dog's crate.

After wondering when it was finally going to sink in one day my son was frustrated at my daughter for playing with what he wanted (she had it first). He raised his hand as if to hit her and said, "I WANT TO HIT!" My first thought was to do a celebration dance for him using his words. However, I didn't have time for that because his hand was still in the air and he was still staring her down as his face was turning red. I pulled him away and praised him for using his words, but he was still not calming down. That's when I looked around for inspiration. He needed something he could hit. That's when the new rule was instated in our house. If you want to hit, you can hit the kettle bell. You only have to hit it hard a couple of times before the idea of hitting isn't as appealing. Kicking it with bare feet will also teach a quick lesson.

Walking with her hands behind her back. Not a rule, but it does make her look like she's plotting evil.

This is a strange concept, but it works for us. Within a week of this new rule, the hitting and kicking almost completely stopped. I'm sure the fact that we had been working on it for months also had something to do with it, but I can now honestly say my kids aren't as aggressive as many children of the same age. Anytime I can prevent someone from getting hurt I take it as a victory!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Car Seat Safety

After having this conversation with two different people (both Dads) in the last few weeks, I decided I should make it a post on here. I don't have appropriate photos for this post, so I just put in a few cute ones.

In the state we live, babies must be in rear facing car seats until they are 1 year old and 20 pounds. This is the minimum. The national recommendation is 2 years and 20 pounds, whichever comes second. The reason to keep a child rear-facing is because it is much safer. It is five times safer for anyone (even adults) to ride rear facing, than forward facing.

She loves the cold weather. He thinks we are nuts for leaving the warm house.

Our car seats (convertible car seats) allow a child to remain rear facing until they are 35-40 pounds and they will stay rear facing for that long. Yes, they will probably be elementary aged by that time (my kids are tiny after all). This is not as unusual as you might expect. We have friends with older kids rear facing. My kids can see and talk to each other, they can see out the side and back windows, they are (reasonably) happy. Honestly, even if they weren't happy, I'm the parent and it's my job to enforce what is safest. They put their feet on the back of the seats, hang them off the side of the chairs, or cross them. They look very comfortable. In fact, many children who are rear facing for longer complain once they are turned because they have no where to put their feet.

We color a lot.

Once our kids are forward facing, they will remain in a 5 point harness as long as possible. They have seats that go to over 100 pounds. While technically those would have fit me past college, we won't use them quite that long! I'm not sure how old they will be when we move to boosters, but it will be based on maturity as well as size. There is a simple 5 point test to determine when your child is ready to be finished with their car seat.

1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

You must be able to answer yes to all of these before you move your child out of a car seat. To be honest, I don't pass this test. I will never pass #2 because I'm simply too short. I can sit all the way back or bend at the knees, but not both at the same time. So, while I hope my children are at least of average height and can pass this test, I will not have my 16 year old kids in boosters just because they are short.

He's too cute to take any chances with his safety!

Here is a great video that simply explains the standards.
Car Seat Lady


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just the Normal Stuff

Coloring on the easel

We went to Target to get food and "stuff" so it was a longer than normal shopping trip. Both kids are in the basket and are doing fairly well - not hurting each other. As long as we are moving and there is stuff to look at they are good. By the time we get to the check out they are done. We still have to wait our turn, pay, etc. While my husband deals with loading stuff onto counter, paying, and loading stuff back into cart I'm trying to keep the kids from screaming, jumping out, or hitting the other one.

More coloring

I start playing one of their favorite games - body parts. I say, "Where are your hands? Where are your shoulders? Where are your feet? etc." They touch the body part and laugh. We go through 10-15 different body parts and it's going well. Both kids are playing along and happy. The check out girl asks my husband, "Do they know how to read?" I pause, assuming I heard her wrong. What in the world would cause her to ask that? They just turned 16 months old, they are the size of 12 month old kids, they aren't looking at any type of print, etc. All of these thoughts distract me as I look up at her. My husband tells her we haven't taught them to read. (Guess I did hear her right.) She then says she doesn't know any kids who know their body parts but can't read and how did we teach them. He replies, "We just do normal stuff like talking to them." She looks dumbfounded and repeats, "just normal stuff?" At this point we are done and head out.

Tools! Now we can break more stuff.

It's one of those interactions that just keeps coming back to me. My kids do not know how to read. We read to them all the time and they will correct us if we read it wrong so I know they have the books memorized. We talk about body parts among other things, but having the kids roar, oink, etc in a store isn't a quiet activity. I don't think we are doing anything extra and I certainly don't think my kids are worse off because we haven't taught them to read. The connection of knowing body parts to reading is the most baffling thing to me.

 Reading a book

I've got the kids figured out, but the adults, they continue to confuse me.