Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Need Some Pointers?

Unsolicited advice. It’s everywhere. And, to the best of my knowledge, everyone loathes it. New parents seem to take it as a personal hit when someone (a stranger, a friend, a family member) gives out a tip. I’m pretty sure that most of these tips are given with good intentions and the hope that the tip will help in someway. But it’s all too common to come across people who’ll blow up at you if you so much as utter “have you tried…”.

I’ve been a new mom for almost two years (what?! where’s that two years gone?!) now and Anton and I have definitely gotten our fair share of advice. However, I do my best to take it in stride. One doesn’t necessarily need to agree with the advice that they’re given, but you don’t have to crazy at someone who’s trying to help! I figure, with two munchkins running around, I can use all the advice I can get! There is definitely some advice out there that’s either outdated; “Sterilize bottles and nipples after each use,” or just sounds crazy; “Don’t do too much cuddling, it’ll spoil the baby,” but… wouldn’t you rather get some of that and get a great piece of advice, rather than miss that one great tip? It’s all just about taking everything with a grain of salt, but still taking it.

It’s interesting to be a mom now; my brain is full of parenting tidbits. I don’t usually share what I know, or what’s worked for us unless people specifically ask for some help. I know that parents want to figure it out for themselves and assume that if you mention something to them, you’re trying to say that you know better or that they’re doing it wrong. This is almost never the case. It’s just a matter of, “Hey, this worked for us… maybe it’ll work for you!” or, “No one ever told me this and I really wished I would’ve known sooner…”.

My oldest sister is expecting her first baby in May and man, it is hard not to flood her with advice and tips on how to get through the first year! After being a mom for even just two years, you do start to feel like a “veteran” of sorts and it seems like everything that my sister mentions, I have a tip or warning to add. Because of a lot of the backlash that I’ve heard of some advice-givers getting, I find myself biting my tongue a lot of the time; even though what I have to share isn’t calling my sister’s parenting skills into question!

In the end, this post has a couple of points.. First, parents out there (new and experienced) should try and take the unsolicited advice in stride. Majority of the time people aren’t calling your parenting skills into question and they’re not trying to give you a hard time. It’s purely the ideal of, “It takes a village to raise a child” and if it worked for them in the past who’s to say it won’t work for you? My second point is… to Cheryl-Anne, my biggest sister; I love you and Maia so much and any advice given is purely well-intended! ❤

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Expectations and Reality

If I could give one piece of advice to soon-to-be-parents-of-twins, it would be… Don’t set your expectations too high! Anton and I are realistic people and we knew right from when we found out I was pregnant that nothing we decided on was set in stone. I watched my mom go through raising six of her own kids, plus all the “extras” and I knew that kids are unpredictable. Because of this (thank you Mommy!) I knew not to get my hopes set on doing things a certain way. Of course knowing this, I still wanted some things to go my way. These were my kids, and I was gonna do things the way I wanted to! Well, and the way Anton wanted to of course!

Looking back on the last almost-seven months, I know that there have been some things that we said we weren’t going to do and some things we wanted to do, but never did. And there were certainly things we set out to do, and did!

The Things We Weren’t Going To Do…

Co-Sleeping: I’m a heavy sleeper, so I was fairly dead-set against co-sleeping. I know a lot of people do it, but I’ve slept through earthquakes, so I wasn’t about to risk rolling onto a baby and waking up in time to notice. And I certainly wasn’t willing to give up my comfy pillows and duvet to make it safe for them! But we did. For the first couple of weeks after we got home, our precious angels would not sleep anywhere but on mommy’s chest. After a few sleepless nights, we gave in. I felt it was mandatory that I was barricaded by pillows and that I slept semi-upright so I never got too comfortable and it was easier for the babies to stay on chest rather than fall to the sides. Poor Anton, because of all the pillows he had the smallest sliver of bed to sleep on. After awhile the girls got used to sleeping in their play yard beside our bed and eventually, in their own cribs in their own room. However, the co-sleeping did not end there. Since then, when the girls have a bad night we bring them in our bed so we can all get some sleep. They no longer sleep on my chest. They sleep between Anton and I. We haven’t gotten rid of our pillows and blankets. I have yet to roll on top of one of them, and I wake up at the slightest sound.

Feed them Solids before six months: We cheated a bit. We fed them at four months. Some experts disagree on this point, but the girls showed interest and most of the signs that you’re supposed to watch for. So, we gave it a go. No expectations on how well they were going to do, but they seemed to enjoy it. At our six-month checkup, Dr. Morum wasn’t terribly impressed. He didn’t seem pissed off, but he was surprised. “No no, you’re not supposed to do that until they’re six months!” Didn’t have much else to say on the matter though…

The Things We Never Did…

Breastfeeding: Before you go any further… they do drink breast milk. I pump and we feed it to them in a bottle. Before they were born, I was totally ready to breastfeed. We even went through the motions of using dolls to figure out how to dual-breastfeed. But it never happened. I think a lot of other people would have been more disappointed, but this was one of the things I knew was a possibility, and I was mentally prepared to face it. The girls didn’t latch and I wasn’t producing. But that’s another story. I know I could easily start them breastfeeding now, if we worked at it a bit, but since I haven’t been doing it for six months, it seems odd to start now.

Travelling: Now, when I say travelling I mean long-distance road trips. Anton and I have done a few road trips to California, because I have family down there (shout out!) and it was important to me that they meet the newest members. We figured when they were still pretty young, maybe two-three months we would go for a road trip. I would smack someone if they told me they were planning on doing that with twins. The longest trip we did when they were that little was to Abbotsford, and that was mentally exhausting.

The Things We Did Do…

Cloth Diapering: We didn’t do cloth right from the beginning because the diapers we had purchased were too big for our tiny babies. But, I did find some second-hand newborn size when they were about a month old and we used those as soon as we got them. We use disposables at night and when we travel, but we’ve always planned out. I’m amazed at how well our cloth diapering plans have worked out.

50/50 Formula and Breast milk: Even with the slight hurdles surrounding my breast milk, we manage to give Shula and Maretta almost exactly 50 percent of each. And we bottle feed everything so Daddy gets to be a part of all meal times. This was not a requirement from Anton, but an “it would be nice”.

Do Things Simply: One of our biggest “wants” right from the beginning was to have a simplistic view on raising the babies. Not too much stuff, and simple stuff. We have simple cribs, and a simple stroller/car seat combo. We have simple high chairs and simple bouncy chairs. We don’t have an excessive amount of toys or clothes. We don’t have a swing for each of the girls, or an activity centre for each one of them. I am always getting rid of stuff that no longer fits or works for us before we get something new.

The moral of my story? One baby or two, first time or experienced parents… try not to set yourself up for disappointment. Sure, have ideas of what you want and how you want to do things but don’t let it bother you too much when it doesn’t work out that way. And be pleasantly surprised when it does work out!

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