So this seem like the perfect opportunity for me to re-enter the blogging world. I have missed it so much but it always falls so low on my list of things to do. This week over at Multiples and….More the Question of the Week was left up to us participants which I think is great!
So my question is “How do you parents of preschool age multiples do this and blog or even shower some days?”
Frequently, I have new mothers of twins ask me when it’s going to get easier. My answer is “It doesn’t, the hard parts just become different.” So I have no expectation that life with children, never mind multiples is going to become easy. Some insight on how to get them both potty trained, to listen when I am in the shower or on the phone, and to stop fighting would be great. Also, how to keep them both healthy while in preschool would be helpful too.
Looking forward to checking out the questions and other blogs tonight after they go to bed, if I can stay awake that long!
One of the advantages of being a single parent is that I have had the chance to decide without compromise what holiday traditions we will practice as a family. Some of the more material traditions I have started are:
- Opening one present of PJ’s on Christmas Eve
- Getting each of the boy’s a new tree ornament each year that I will pass onto them when they have a tree of their own to decorate.
- Making homemade ornaments
- Decorating a Gingerbread house
- Riding around looking at lights
From the more spiritual side:
- I have struggled over the last few years with how to introduce the religious aspects of Christmas to the boy’s without actually practicing a religion. I have a strong belief and faith in God but don’t feel like those belief’s fit into any specific religious community. So the teaching of the meanings behind Christmas are up to me. Last year I found a children’s book written by Neale Donald Walsch who also wrote the book “Conversations with God” which I enjoyed and identified with. The children’s book is “Santa’s God” and is about a conversation between a child and Santa who answers the question “Santa, who is the real God?”. I cried the first time I read it. It is a beautiful description in simple language of how we are all the same despite our differences.
- Reading “The Night before Christmas”
- Reading the biblical story of the first Christmas
Then of course, there are all the Christmas movies etc. I was sitting with a group of other moms this past week and I was given a great reminder that whatever traditions I start, I should be prepared to continue since they will be all the boy’s know. In hearing that I am, sticking with these for now because simple is many times more meaningful in my world.
The question of the week over at Multiple…. and More is:
Do you work outside the home, or stay home with your kids? How did you come to that decision? Are you glad that you made that decision?
Since having the boy’s, where and how much to work has been a constant question in my world. I am the only breadwinner so I have to work, but I have had some control over when and how much. Initially I was going to find childcare for them and work either in a school system or part-time in an office. That changed when they were born early and came home on oxygen and with respiratory issues. The doctors recommended that I keep them out of a group daycare center through their first birthday if possible because of the risk of RSV.
I have been very blessed with the job opportunities that have come my way. I have been able to work part-time since they were born and hope to continue that until they go to school. I work as a consultant and from home as a telephone triage nurse, between the two jobs I work about 28-32 hours a week. That is more than enough for me. With early intervention, doctors appointments and just life I am able to participate in all of it. There have been a couple of job opportunities that I would’ve liked to go for, but the amount of time that I would’ve been out of the home and the flexibility they needed just would not have worked into our life or my ideals.
The boy’s have had in home childcare providers since I started back to work, which has worked really well for all of us. They get to go on adventures, nap in their own beds and I don’t have to get them out of the house plus myself. I try and take a few hours a week for myself to write, do errands and catch up on things that I can’t get done otherwise. Some weeks I am able and some weeks I am not.
Personally, it is very important to me to be as present in the boy’s life as possible. I embarked on this single mother by choice journey knowing that I would have to work and hoping that some of it would be from home. That wish has been fulfilled. I know part of my drive to be so ever present is my desire to compensate for the lack of another parent in their lives. I don’t have any guilt above that just an awareness of their possible needs.
The Question of the week over a Multiples….and More! is
How do you feel about child harnesses?
I used to have strong feelings about these leashes hidden as cute animal/character backpacks before I became a mother of multiples. With that said I have only used them a handful of times and it is only in safety situations. I have used them when we walk on our road without the stroller because the boys don’t stop for cars. I used them last fall when we walked through Plymouth, MA for the same reason. If we were to go to an airport or another busy place I would also bring them along. But beyond those situations I find them to be difficult to manage and I also think they send a message to the boy’s that I don’t trust them to listen to me.
The boy’s tolerate the harnesses but feel constricted by them, fall frequently from the lack of lead line and much of the time is spent reminding them that either they can be cooperative with their “monkey” or “doggie” , or I can go get the stroller. I don’t see them being used much more in the coming years. One of the “games” we have been practicing is the stop and go game which they are getting better at. I want the boy’s to be able to experience their world safely and the harnesses have given us that ability until they can do it on their own.
The question of the week over at Multiples… and More! are:
“What are your “Go To” meals?” and “How do you handle picky eaters?”
Well I have to say that these came at a very good time in our lives and I am looking forward to drawing on the wisdom of the other MoM’s who are blogging about these issues. Up until recently I would have said that I had GREAT eaters when asked but lately the answer changes by the day. How I am handling the picky eater situation is all-new to me so that is also changing. I refuse to be a short order cook but I also cherish my sleep so I improvise. If the refusal to eat happens at dinnertime instead of getting milk at bedtime, they get a yogurt smoothie. They have never asked for a smoothie to date so I know that they have not connected the two. As for the other meals, I am trying to not engage in mealtime battles and have food be a focal point for them. There is this idea that they will eat what they need when they need it. Now I say that now quite calmly but when my little guy who I was just told lost 1.5 lbs pushes his plate across the table after two bites and says “DONE”. I am not always that calm.
I am trying to offer more nutritious snacks that have more protein and are not just carbohydrates, but they prefer things like fruit and crackers. I just borrowed the book “the SNEAKY chef” by Missy Chase Lapine and I am hoping to get some ideas from there. I have started making my own bread in a bread maker so that I can sneak more healthy grains and protein into their diets while saving some money. Other toddler snack ideas that usually work for us I just blogged about last week here .
As for our favorite “Go To” meals. I would say that chicken fajitas have been a favorite here for a while. They like the whole-wheat tortilla’s which is a nice healthy option. I will say though that they eat everything separately and use the sour cream or greek yogurt as a dip. So this is what I do:
• Stir-fry Chicken tenders that have been marinated in mild taco seasoning prepared per package directions w/ garlic powder and low sodium soy sauce added to it.
• Stir-fry pepper mix, onions with garlic, salt and pepper to taste
• Warm up whole-wheat tortilla’s
• Garnish with tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream or greek yogurt etc
• Serve with rice and beans
Enjoy!!! Look forward to reading everyone else’s experience around all of this!
The question of the week over at Multiples….and More this week is:
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received on raising your multiple’s?
When I first found out, I was pregnant with twins I read anything I could get my hands on regarding pregnancy with multiples and multiple infants. I went to mother of twins meetings and in my case read a lot on being a single mother by choice. I wanted to breastfeed so I went to Le Leche League meetings and went to a birthing class specifically for parents pregnant with multiples. I felt in some ways I was in an elite club and in some ways I was.
After the boy’s were born, I found that the advice that was coming in my direction was overwhelming at times and I was reminded that it was because people cared not because they were being judgmental. In fact, I fired a pediatrician for giving too much parenting advice. I wanted her to stick to the medical advice I did not want advice on how long to let my child sleep in my bed or whether or not refusing a bottle was a problem. So instead of getting upset every time I had to interact with her I got rid of her. Now, we have a great pediatrician who sticks with the medical stuff and reminds me to “go with my gut” when I have parenting questions.
I have gotten lots of great advice since becoming a mom but the two that stick out are:
- Some days may seem long but the years will go by fast, so enjoy the moments.
- You can give them all the “things” and discipline in the world but what they will remember is whether or not you always loved them.
As for taking advice, there is a concept in recovery that I utilize which is “take what you want and leave the rest”!
The Question of the Week over at Multiples…and More! is:
Do you believe in Mother’s intuition?
I found this topic to be quite thought provoking. I do believe that as I have developed a relationship with both of my children that I have gained some “intuition”. Part of that is spending 24/7 with them and knowing every inch of them. Part of it I believe is a bond created throughout the pregnancy/birth process. Now that is not to say by any means that Mother through adoption or surrogacy does not have that same intuition, I have heard that there is just a bigger learning curve.
There have been times when I have known that something is just not right, long before the ear infection is diagnosed. I knew before the ultrasound that there was more than one baby; I was just praying it was not more than two. I am frequently awake before they wake up in the middle of the night when they need me. I am not sure if that is intuition or coincidence.
What is definitely becoming intuitive for me is when I know what to do as a mom or when I need to ask for advice or help; knowing how to explain a difficult situation or feelings at a child’s level; knowing when I need to take some time for myself and many other situations that I could name.
I am sure that did not gain these skills because I birthed children. I know that developing a conscious contact with something greater than me and trusting that, has invited that level of intuitiveness into my life. My job is to keep that connection open……
The dreaded time change has been a hot topic this past week. I read some articles and did some online research but when it came down to it, I did nothing. They went to bed last night at 8:00pm as usual and they woke up at 7:30am (6:30am) as usual. They did expect to eat earlier throughout the day today, which I just went with it and their naps were shorter than usual. My hope is that since it is not as light in the morning we may make it until 7:00am some mornings, but I am not holding my breath.
The Question of the Week over at Multiples….and More was “What are you best traveling tips?”. I thought this would be a fun one to participate since we have been traveling by car since they were tiny.
In the beginning it was all about timing with feeds and naps. I would try to schedule our drive right after they ate and while they were usually napping. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. There is nothing worse than hearing your baby scream and not be able to reach him because you are driving and the car seat is facing backwards. I invested early on in the mirrors that are installed on the back of the seat so you can see them in the rear view mirror. I placed one in front of each of them. I played music for them, talked to them and as they got bigger gave them toys to hold. Around 7 months we were going on a 4 hour road trip and I knew it was going to be a long one. That is when I first started playing Baby Einstein DVD’s for them in the car. I only put them on when we were going to be driving more than an hour and it made a HUGE difference. We stopped frequently and tried to go with the flow.
Once they turned 1 years old and were able to turn the car seats around traveling became so much easier. I could see them and reach them which made for much happier babies and Mama. The items that became indispensable at that point were the “snack traps’ and board books. I found if I handed them their sippy cup, a snack in their “snack trap” and a book we could go an hour for the most part. I continued to use the DVD’s but graduated to “Baby Signing Time” and “Elmo” at that point. When we are going on a long trip I try to take a trip to the library and get some DVD’s that they’ve never seen before, it helps. We also sang songs and “talked” about what we could see outside. Continue reading
One of the blogs I follow is the Multiples and More blog and each week they have a question of the week. I thought it would be fun to participate! This weeks question is: How closely do you follow a schedule for your kids?
I have never been a big supporter of schedules except nap and bedtime, mostly for my sanity. However, as I mentioned in a recent post regarding sleep I am a big supporter of routines. I find that routines are predictable and decrease everyone’s anxiety about what to expect. In fact it is becoming more and more clear to me that by fostering routines and not schedules it is teaching my kids to be more flexible in life. However they are very committed to the routine. For example, we went to tumbling class this morning and the teacher always puts stamps on the kids hands at the end of the class. Well this week she wanted them to take turns getting the stamp instead of just circling around her. That put one of my boys right over the edge, he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just walk up and get his stamp. It took a timeout and about 10 minutes of calming down then we had to go back after all the kids were gone and ask for a stamp. So they count on their routines and from what I can see it is comforting to them.
I don’t claim to have all the answers and frequently what is included in our daily routines change but I try and prepare them for change. If I can’t I know that my job is to support them through it and allow the experience to be a life lesson that we can’t plan everything and that being a willow in a storm is much less painful then being an oak…..