Category Archives: One WORD (Current Events)

Three Under Two!

We’re having another baby!

Yes, just one.  We checked.  Thoroughly.

We’re so, so excited and grateful up to our eyebrows.  We’re also a leeeeetle nervous, given that we will have three children under the age of two for two and a half months after this child is born.  And then once the twins turn two, we’ll have three under three, which doesn’t exactly feel like a cool compress to the head, does it?

This baby is due May 12, which puts me at 22 weeks along.  Here we are:

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Please forgive the lighting and general lack of effort (note the end-of-day toy pile).  I literally just walked into the family room and had Mike take this on his phone.  World class blogger.

If you’re anything like me, all you’re thinking when you see that picture is: how does it compare to the twin belly?  I’m comparing all the time because I’m convinced I’m the same size I was then.  Which sort of makes sense because second pregnancy bellies are notorious for rounding sooner and bigger, but my hope is that this neck-and-neck race to largeness will be won decidedly by the twin belly.

Here I was at 22 weeks with twins:

22 Weeks

So far, this pregnancy has felt mostly the same as my first.  I haven’t had any nausea (I can feel your hate radiating through the interwebs, and I’m sorry), I’ve felt like myself, and I’m amazed at how quickly it’s flying by.  To be perfectly frank, half the time I forget I’m pregnant because who has the time?  I’m managing 17-month-old twins all the live-long day, so I don’t have the luxury I did with the first pregnancy to sit and rub my belly and ponder the wonder that is occurring beneath the surface.  It’s a shame, and yet it’s also a blessing because I’m not worrying half as much either.

Easily one of the most entertaining aspects of being pregnant with our third has been people’s reactions.  They are exactly what you would expect, and are exactly what you yourself probably thought.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  WHAT?!  Was this on PURPOSE?!
2.  Oh my gosh you’re going to be BUSY.
3.  But….you have twins.  You have a boy and a girl.  Why are you having… (voice trails off)
4.  CONGRATULATIONS!!  THIS IS AWESOME!!!
5.  (Blank stare of shock)

You can see why telling people was a little like giving someone a non-registry gift: they’re either going to be thrilled by your brilliance, or confused and not exactly pleased that you detoured from their plan.

But we saw that coming a mile away, since we know the general leaning of society is to stop at two.  We trust the Lord’s plans for our family, and we’re humbled that He would entrust us with another life.  So before we told anyone, we decided outside commentary didn’t matter.  The people who matter most in our lives are so excited and full of love for this baby, and we feel blessed to welcome him or her to our family.

That reminds me: we won’t know if it’s a him or a her until the birthday, because this is basically the most ideal situation for not knowing.  We already have all the clothes and items needed for each, so it’s just a fun surprise.

When we went in for our eight-week ultrasound, to say we were nervous would be like saying John D. Rockafeller had some spare cash.  We were all but pacing the room, talking ourselves into how we would be totally fine if we were having twins again.  We’d already conqured once, we could do it again with two toddlers at our knees, right?  Riiiiiiight.

As the doctor scanned my belly, we held hands and let out an enormous exhale the second the screen showed one little heart.  It was an exhale not just from seeing one, but also because there was our baby; our healthy, strong, precious child.  It was a breathtaking miracle not reduced in the slightest by its singularity.

“Don’t get excited yet,” the doctor warned.  “Sometimes the second one is obscured behind the first. I want to do a thorough check.”

We dutifully resumed our rigid postures and waited.

“Ooooookay, I think we’re in the clear — one baby!” she announced.

We shared a kiss and huge smiles as she took measurements and confirmed our due date.

Even though the prospect of having several young children is intimidating, we’ve found that there is so much that’s easier — the preparation alone is a joke compared to round one.  I can’t think of a single thing we have to buy before the baby comes, apart from furniture for the nursery.  I’m not going to need baby showers, clothes, toys, or any of the myriad breastfeeding gear.  Also, and this is huge: we’re more confident.  We have done this already with two babies.  While this baby could be wildly different from Henry and Arden, we’re still miles from the bewildered parents coming home with two newborns that we were 17 months ago.  And let’s just state the biggest factor: it’s ONE baby.  No matter what curveball we’re thrown, it’s only ONE BABY.  Feeding him, diapering her, carrying him, dressing her, getting him to sleep — all of it only once!  I can’t wrap my mind around the inherent simplicity in that.

(Twin mom disclaimer: my feelings on my singleton — that word, ugh, I know — in no way are meant to imply that having one baby is not a mind-boggling amount of backbreaking work twenty-four hours a day.  All babies are hard.  Period.  This isn’t a contest of who is working hardest.  End of parenthetical.)

The sweetest part in all of this has been Arden and Henry’s understanding of it.  They know there’s a baby in my tummy and they toddle over and lift my shirt to see the belly and say “baby, baby” and wave.  Without any prompting at all, they have started kissing my belly, the most delicate kisses I’ve ever seen.  I stare at them and think, “How do you know this?  YOU are my babies, and you’re babying this little baby?!?”  It’s love magnified until it fills the whole room.

Welcome, 2015, and the family of five you carry with it.

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The First Big Trip — Part One

The motivation to get us on our first plane ride with the twins was a wedding; a glorious wedding, as it turned out, one that happened to fall on the twins’ birthday.  And this wedding was a non-negotiable because it was the nuptials of one of my greatest friends of all time, and I was in it.  It’s always good to show up when you’re a bridesmaid.

I did my fair share of fingernail chewing about having two infants on a plane, but it wasn’t nearly the endeavor it could have been because my entire family was traveling with us.  They adore Amy and Brian too, so they were every bit as committed to getting there as we were.

Off we flew to Philadelphia (direct, of course.  There IS no other way to fly with babies.)

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Fun Twin Flying Fact: one cannot have two lap-babies in a row.  Not just on one side, but all six seats across.  So at any given moment, all seven of us had to ensure that we passed the babies forward and backward so as not to break this rule.  Believe me, the stewardesses caught us more than once when we weren’t paying attention and the babies were adjusted accordingly.

Shocking no one more than me and Mike, the twins were virtually silent on the plane.  Perfectly content, happy with the novelty of the new sights (and snacks).  They didn’t cry once.  It was some sort of air travel nirvana.

Once we arrived, we had the joy of introducing the babies to their extended family, some of whom they’d already met (thank you aunties and uncle for visiting!).  The most important introduction was to my grandpa, the husband of Arden Charlotte’s namesake.  I had been anticipating their meeting since the day they were born.  I’m very close with my grandpa, so him meeting them was enormously emotional for me — it was like introducing the babies to a piece of my heart.

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They also got to meet little Avery, the newest addition to the family, daughter of my cousins Amy and Joel.  She’s so precious, and her hair makes my children green with envy — I mean, Arden won’t even acknowledge her.

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We had so much fun with them all together.  We plunged them into the pool in little floaties, because well, how could we resist this?

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This was the twins’ first real swimming experience, and they were timid but grew to love it.  Arden’s swim trick (Mike always holds her in the air and says “Swim swim swim!” and she does a perfect breaststroke that you wouldn’t believe) translated beautifully to actual swimming.

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Feel free to stop me if you feel your heart giving out.

Since the babies cleared their first bite of cake at their birthday party the previous week, we felt it was only fair that they try the local specialty: a Dunkin Donut.  Dunkin Donuts are sacred terrority in my family, with multiple runs to DD’s being made for breakfast in each visit east.  They didn’t get a whole donut, just a bite or two each, but it was all that they dreamed, I’m sure of it.

Their favorite place in the house was the kitchen, rustling up Great Grandpa’s pots and pans.  They never get to be in the kitchen at home, so this was like a theme park.

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Mostly we just soaked up time with loved ones we don’t see often enough.  It’s so amazing to be thirty years old and realize your heart is still feeling new emotions — this trip afforded me the joy of sharing my children with the family I’ve treasured my entire life.  My cousin Allie, pictured below, being silly with Arden, is a perfect example.

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It’s a joy coupled with pain, I soon realized, because Henry and Arden don’t get to see their wonderful great-grandpa and great aunts and uncles nearly enough.  I would love so much for them to grow up seeing each other every week.

I mean, look at the joy in these faces.

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My generous aunt Beth threw a birthday party for the babies, and it was so adorable — the accessories were everything.

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Henry!  Your eyes.  I could faint.  Arden, your cheeks!  It’s too much.

*Side note: Henry’s hat had to be cut at the side to fit over his head.  Further proof it’s larger than the average one year old.  Don’t worry, it’s just holding your huge brain, Hank!

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I know.  I can’t talk about my hair here either.  All I can say is: humidity + growing out bangs = lethal.

If you’re just dazzled by their enthusiasm, it’s because it was about 8PM and their bedtime is 7PM.  They were, shall we say, less than agreeable.

But we partied on!

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You’d think we’d just told them their cupcakes were made of quinoa and stuffed with spinach.  Or maybe they misunderstood what birthdays are and they think people arrive with packages to take your toys away?

We had some deja vu with the cake rejection here too.

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Henry: “Don’t you people learn?”

Arden: “No means no.”

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After several relaxing days spent with the family, we headed off to Lancaster for the wedding of the year.  Wait until you see this gorgeous couple and their wedding locale.  Oh, and Henry in a suit and Arden in a Parisian dress.  I can hear your toe tapping so I’ll get right on that.

Part Two coming soon!

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Because It’s Really Their First Car

There were a ton (okay, two tons) of items acquired to prepare for the babies, but none that I anticipated more than the purchase of our stroller.  I am a member of an unusual species, one that looks at strollers like cars, and did so long before my own children entered the picture.  I can’t really explain it, because I had no interest in any other baby paraphernalia, but before I had the babies I could pass six strollers on the street and tell you the make and model of each one, along with which was used by a celebrity for their spawn.  File under: useless information recall.

You won’t know this stroller, or care, but before I had babies I always thought I’d buy the Orbit.  The Orbit is genius, and cool, and looks like a spaceship.  The seat twists on and off the base and then twists on and off a matching base in your car.  I probably would have purchased it, too, if it hadn’t been for the little double surprise we encountered.  Because just look at the locomotive that is the double-version:

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Six wheels?  The thing is about eight feet long.  How do you turn?  Or fold it up?  Forget about it.

Next I thought I wanted the Bugaboo Donkey Twin stroller, but I test drove one and it felt forty feet wide and I knew it wouldn’t fit through standard door frames, no matter what they told me.  Fitting through doors, I’d say, is kind of essential.

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Easily the most popular stroller in Seattle is the BOB, and it’s popular for good reason.  I just couldn’t go with it because it didn’t fit two car seats, and it was beastly to collapse and store in the back of the car.

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Where to turn?  What to do?  After an embarrassing number of hours of research, a fellow twin mom told me she was going with the Baby Jogger City Select, which I had never heard of.  At first I naturally thought, “amateur” but after further intense research, I dragged Mike to the store and we fell in love with it.  I also asked for stroller recommendations at the next EMOMs meeting, and was met with a chorus of advice to get the City Select.

I insisted on adding the bassinets, because one of my long-held stroller fantasies was to push a baby in a bassinet.  It’s so classic, so British, so splendidly posh.  If I was going to be falling asleep at the wheel, I was going to do so behind a bassinet.  Or two, as the case may be.

After ten months with our little red SUV, I can now report that it was a wise purchase.  Speaking of purchase, I haven’t listed the prices of any of the strollers here intentionally; those who care will look it up, and those who don’t I won’t horrify.  Just remember: Judgy Wudgy Was a Bear.

What makes the City Select so choice, as Ferris Bueller would say?  The versatility.  It can be configured to hold two bassinets, two car seats, two seats, or some combination of those if you have children of different ages.  We can even add a glider board once we have another baby so all three are riding (which sounds ridiculous, but we’ll see when we get there).

Our first use of it was to take Arden in for our daily visit to Henry in the NICU:

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This only required one bassinet, obviously, and it worked well.

During subsequent outings I would choose bassinets or car seats based on whether they were sleeping, or likely to.

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It sounds complicated to configure, but the bassinets just click in and out, and then we click little frames in to hold the car seats.

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As the babies were able to sit up, I would let them ride perched in the bassinets.  This was adorable, but unsafe, as they could arch their backs and fall out (theoretically…it didn’t actually happen).

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It took me a very long time to switch to the big kid seats because I was so attached to the bassinets.  Also it was winter, so it made sense to keep them in their little traveling sleeping bags.

bassinet foxes

 

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But a couple of weeks after they turned eight months in late March, it was time to make the switch.  We ran into our friend Matt soon after, and he summed it up perfectly: “First stop: five-point harness, second stop: college.”  This was EXACTLY why I didn’t want to move out of the bassinets.  It was like admitting they were ready to have email addresses.

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The glimmering silver lining was that they instantly loved it.  Their faces looked like, “WHAT?  I can sit up fully supported!?  AND touch all the things?!”

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(Also please note their gender differences even in seated positions.  Arden always sits ankles crossed like the lady she is, and Henry’s legs are always swinging high in the air, toes wiggling.)

We can have the seats face front, back, or each other.  We always have them facing each other because then neither of them is staring at the back of a seat.  Plus they interact, which is just as adorable as it sounds.

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On rare occasions one of them will fall asleep in the car and one will still be awake, in which case we rock the different seating combo.

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One of the key requirements in our stroller search was that it be easily collapsible, as I’d be doing it myself the majority of the time.  The City Select has two knobs on either side and when I pull them at the same time they collapse the whole thing.  It’s really easy, but it’s still a little awkward to load into the car since it’s not a featherweight umbrella stroller.

The name makes this obvious, but we use it to go on runs and it does just fine.

At this point Baby Jogger should be sending me a check, but since they’re not, I’ll conclude with its drawbacks.  There isn’t a safety connection from my wrist to the stroller, which I think of every time we go running, as I imagine myself tripping and sending the twins into oncoming traffic.  It’s not “recommended” for jogging like their sportier strollers are, so I’m sure there’s a better running experience out there, but the ride is smooth and works for us.

I’m hoping to do a post soon about other top products I haven’t been able to live without, but for now I had to start with the mothership.  I’m reminded of it everywhere we go, because sometimes it gets more attention than the twins do.

I don’t like to say I love inanimate objects, so let’s just say that I deeply like this stroller.

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May 31, 2014 · 9:29 PM