Sleep Training Toddler Twins

It’s been so long since I’ve even thought about sleep training. Most of my friends are already on their 3-4th baby and I’ve already given them the Sleep Lady book. Remember to use room darkening or black out curtains. Find a Lovey or Blankey they love. Use a sound machine or a box fan. Sing the same songs/books before every sleep. Nap & bedtime both.

Of course, not all have taken my advice *cough* those of you who feeling cranky and look bedraggled *cough*.

My boys, Squish and Stretch are 4 years old now and beginning to drop their naps. Cue the sad violin and ugly crying. My mom and I were discussing sleep training yesterday, so I thought I’d update and talk about the stages of attempted nap dropping that toddlers go through.

18-20 MONTHS: my boys fought naps hard. This is the most common time that Parents give up on naps. Don’t do it! Keep working through it. Keep making attempts. Initiate Quiet Play (see below), or just keep going in an putting them back in bed. Unless your 18mo olds are still in cribs and don’t crawl out! Mine were sleeping on their crib mattresses on the floor by 18mo.

2.5 YEARS: Your children are still not ready to give up naps. See how cranky they are in the evening? Ugh, I feel your pain! Again, see above advice and below for Quiet Time.

3.5 YEARS: Again with the nap ditching. You may think they are old enough, but I can promise you there are still more months of napping ahead. Right around my boy’s 4th birthday, they still had days where they slept 3-3.5hrs for nap.

Two major things will be accomplished during the daily attempt to ditch naps. It’s your first opportunity to introduce “Quiet Play”, a true lifesaver on crazy days! On days that you can just tell that naps aren’t going to happen bring in special Quiet Play Toys. These are very special toys that aren’t played with except during Quiet Play. The genius behind this is that your children will BEG for the Quiet Playtime. Hum, let me think about that…YES! These toys are played with for NO LONGER THAN TWO HOURS. Normally Quiet Play lasts 1.5hrs, toys are picked up promptly after QP. They stay in their room, with the door closed, and play for that time. Your. Welcome.

These were our favorite Quiet Play Toys. They enjoyed these from 18mo and still play with them. With the exception of the Duplo blocks, we moved on to “big boy” Legos at 3.5yrs.

Magnformers – The slightly off brand of Magnatiles. Cheaper than Magnatiles and they work just as well. Between my sister and I, we’ve tested all the other magnet tile brands, and these are the only two that work properly. You can try the small set, but they are such an awesome toy that it’s worth it to buy the larger set.

Duplo Blocks – Legos are in your future, so get them started with the Duplo so they can’t swallow them. They don’t hurt nearly as much as the tiny ones that will plague your future self. The bigger the set or the more add-ons, the longer the Quiet Play lasts!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Trucks –  Another high quality brand with a ton of toys to make your life easier. These little trucks are super sturdy and mine are still playing with them at 4yrs. *HINT* sometimes you’ll see a few of these at Marshalls & TJ Maxx

Melissa & Doug Wooden Dressup –

 WOODEN Train Track Set – Now I say Thomas, but I don’t mean you need that brand of tracks. They are super overpriced. I will say, buy a brand and stick with it. They all say they are compatible, but they really aren’t. I probably have 5x the amount of trains and tracks shown here. It’s really nice to build them a giant track, one that covers entire floor of their room. Then they don’t have to be so close together, and it cuts down on the arguing.
Sometimes you can find them used. Just don’t attempt to order them from eBay, the shipping is outrageous, because of the weight.

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Houston Area Moms of Multiples

As we approach the boy’s 4th birthday, I’m standing here to remind you just how fast it goes. Sort of.

I love looking back on how I handled situations relating to my  pregnancy and birth. I wish that I’d joined my local MoM, Moms of Multiples much earlier. I was a member 3 years in Bay Area Moms of Multiples and was a great experience. Friends who actually understand what you are going through, moms night out, and the best buy and sell page you’ll ever see! If you’d like to find your local MoMs group, click here http://tmom.info/Club_Search.html

If you are going through this (crazy awesome) experience, better to do it with a couple dozen experts right there with you. We are no longer associated with them, as it was time to start spending more of our outings as field trips with our homeschool groups. I am thankful for the lifelong friends made in that group! As an adult you know how hard it can be to make new friends, right?

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Potty Training Twins at 20 months

I think the best way to begin this epic tale of pee and poo is at cloth diapers. We were using toddler sized prefolds and Flip covers at 16mo, and that was when Squish started informing me of his “PEE!”.  I’d already planned on using the Three Day Potty Training for my twins. Cloth diapers don’t pull the moisture away from baby like a disposable does so baby feels the wet. Cloth diapered babies are said to potty train earlier because of this.

I bought BabyBjorn Potty at 18mo because they were the shortest I could find for such tiny babies. They come in a ton of cute colors, we had blue & green but the turquoise, pink and purple are adorbs! They loved to sit on them before bath, and loved to be removed from the tub every five minutes to sit again. Both Squish and Stretch peed in the potties multiple times before we did the Three Day Poopathon. We made it through Christmas, and the Super Bowl and then planned our weekend.

We followed all the steps lined out in her downloadable book. I made my helpers read the book, I read it no less that 5 times. We used raisins as treats, to help encourage pooping. We had 1 helper, but two would have made it a lot easier. One person should be designated Clean Up Crew, and nothing else. The amount of pee and poo, on the floor is incredible.  You get distracted or attempt to make lunch and you’ve got a huge mess on your hands. Don’t do anything but follow the rules for those three days. Want the rules? You can purchase the Ebook here.

It’s very common for the first two days, and even the beginning of the third day to be awful. They aren’t getting it, and it feels like they will never get it. Never. Ever. Then the planets align, a unicorn poops magical sparkly poop over your house, heaven opens, angels sing, and suddenly they have got it! Is that how it was with my twins? Nope! They started getting it on day two, but I’ve seen lots of twin moms post their Three Day Potty Training twins experiences thanks to Bay Area Moms of Multiples.

There is something magical about 18-22 months, or so I hear. It took me A YEAR to potty train my singleton, and she was almost 4 before that horrible year was completed. I’ve read that only 20% of babies that age can physically hold it overnight. My boys are now part of the 20%, but I don’t mind doing diapers just at night. We will revisit night training when they are a little older.

So my twins were potty trained by 20 months, oh joy…right? Turns out, that is where the work started. A newly potty trained kiddo needs to pee before you leave the house, when you arrive at the store, before you leave a store and when you arrive home. Times two. Seriously.

And you can’t just hold them so they can sit on the “big seat” because their twin is now crawling under stalls, touching (and licking!!!) everything. So you need a handy, portable, baby-butt-sized potty seat. The Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus is our favorite and I tried multiples kinds. Not only does it fold out to sit on a big potty, it’s also it’s own portable potty. Fold the legs down, MAKE SURE THEY ARE LOCKED IN PLACE, insert the bag with the absorbant liner and it’s good to go. I’ve used it in the back of our minivan on more than one occasion. At the park, I leave it in the red wagon and we don’t have to keep running for a disgusting portapotty.  It works in three ways. This first way on top of a toilet, the second way with the absorbent liner

Now how do you carry it around? Excellent question! If you cloth diapered, you already own a wet bag. Never heard of a wet bag? It’s just a waterproof/washable bag to put dirty diapers in. I own one of these Double Zipper Wet Bags and our portable potty fits perfectly in the larger zippered area. I put 2 pairs of clean undies and knit shorts in the small pocket. Any dirty things go in the larger pocket, with the potty.

Oh, and did I mention it probably won’t fit in your purse? I went to Marshalls and found a cute $30 bag that it fit in. I’ve never owned a diaper bag, and don’t even believe in them – but that is another blog post!

While you are at it, go ahead and stock up on flushable wet wipes. The sooner they learn to wipe those tiny tushes, the better. What is your sanity worth? That’s what I thought. Just add it to your cart. Isn’t Amazon a total lifesaver? I’m pretty sure a Mom of Multiples invented it.

So your twins are potty trained before two years old and you’ve worked out the whole potty situation, so all should be right with the world. Did ya know that most kids can’t pull their own pants up or down at that age? So you have to go in there with them.

EVERY SINGLE TIME.

FOR FOREVER.

TIMES TWO.

Ok, not forever, but it feels that way. My twins are 25 months and I still let them run around in just t-shirts and undies around the house. Squish can pretty much pull his down now, without help. He can’t get them back on, so there is still a fair amount nudity. He is showing some interest in learning to put them back on, so I have hope. Stretch is such a bump on a log and wants me to do it most of the time. I think it’s mostly because he enjoys the company in the bathroom, he’s always been like Velcro with me.

The top three hardest things about my twins, in order of difficulty:

  1. C-section recovery (thanks to severe nerve damage) combined with learning to tandem nurse, combined with the exhaustion of the first 10wks
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Potty training.

See? If you have already survived pregnancy and the first 10wks, potty training will seem easy.
Post Script- Now for my truth. Just two weeks after successfully day time potty training my boys, they caught a stomach bug. Stretch did fine, but Squish regressed. It took 2 months to get him back on track with pee and 3 months to get him *mostly* on track with poo. Am I glad we potty trained so young? I’m happy to not be washing all those cloth diapers every 2 days, and that is all I will admit to!
As with all of my posts, my experience is based on full term twins. Babies that come early tend to be on a different timeline for adjusted age. Join your local Moms of Multiples group to meet MoMs who have experience with preterm babies!

Keep up the great work Momma, you are doing the most important job on the planet.

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A twin pregnancy is lonely

Tonight I went to a La Leche League (find them on FB under Greater Bay Area LLL Group) meeting in Pearland to help some BAMOMs (Bay Area Moms of Multiples). One Momma with 7wk old twins and one who is 30wks pregnant. The topic turned to natural birth for twins and the AMAZING FB group Birthing Multiples Naturally. It was wonderful to hear about the natural birth from one Momma (birth story coming soon) while the other is still planning hers. 

I returned home and sank into nostalgia and then I remembered it. The overwhelming sense of loneliness during my twin pregnancy. If you are doing everything your OB says, and planning your scheduled c-section, you can find a ton of local moms who are doing the same. But if you are being “difficult” and attempting to avoid unnecessary, major surgery…things get very lonely. Your new best friend may be someone who has a similar due date but may live across the world. 

Nobody in your every day life understands that you spend every spare moment googling things like “percent of twins that are both transverse?”. I’m pretty sure I was the most annoying pregnant woman ever. I wasn’t talking about the adorable nursery, or how I couldn’t wait to hold them. I was more worried about intermittent monitoring, delayed cord cutting, and even tandem breastfeeding. 

I felt so isolated. Alone. 

But I was on a damn mission. I made do with my Australian friends. I found a Birth Sister in San Antonio, but I really wished there was a local group. Take heart! Now there is, you can find us on FB under Houston Natural Twin Birth. We keep a running list of doctors, midwives and even doulas who will support your choice. We post local birth stories. Let us be your Birth Sister. 

You can do this. You are a strong woman, we have your back. 💗

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Tandem Babywearing Toddler Twins

In previous posts about tandem babywearing twins, you’ve seen my size 7 wrap my boring camel colored Ergos, and my Catbird Pikkolo and linen ring sling. When the boys were 11 months old, I went to the Houston Natural Parenting Expo and visited the Woodland Babies table. I spotted the Toddler Tula in Spa Scallop and was in love. So I sold my boring camel Ergos, bought a gray and black Ergo Performance that way there was something manly for the hubby to wear, and it would coordinate with the gray trim on my Tula. Is that silly? Yes, but I was strangely obsessed with carriers. Almost every part of my life with twins has been me being obsessed about something. I became such an overachiever. I had to know the best of everything. The best way to naturally birth twins, the best way to nurse them, the best way to sleep train them, the best way to feed them solids, I could go on but I’d bore you. Let’s just say I’ve become (more than) a little nuts since the moment I knew that there were two little ones growing inside me.

Almost 21 months old. They walk, they talk, they are potty trained (details coming soon) and they still have tandem meltdowns. Today was a rough day. I don’t know if it was teething, or the weather or the position of the moon. Regardless, it was nuts. I busted out the carriers. So you’ll get a peek at what it looks like to tandem wear 21 month old twins! There was even enough room for “Ubbie” and “Binkie”. Do I love these children.  I do, so much it feels like my heart will burst, but not at that moment. I’m all about the truth.

tandem wearing 21 month old twins  tandem wearing toddler twins

tandem wearing 21 month old twins
tandem wearing toddler twins

 

 

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Tandem Wearing Twins with Ring Sling and SSC

So we tried out a new tandem carry a while back. It made for a great photo but it confirmed just how much a hate ring slings. It made me feel like a t-rex “I have little arms” (see video if you aren’t familiar with this phrase https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93B072j-E3I ).
If you have it over your shoulder and down a little on your arm, you can’t lift your arm and then you have t-rex arm.  If it is all on your shoulder, it will dig in after just a few minutes.

If you are wondering what carrier is on my back, it’s a Catbird Pikkolo in Georgia print. I LOVED this carrier. It was one of the prettiest gender neutral prints I’ve ever seen. The sling is a linen ring sling.

The only plus? It made an adorable photo!

Squish on the front and Stretch on the back

tandem wearing twins ring sling ssc soft structured carrier

tandem wearing twins ring sling ssc soft structured carrier

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Toddler Busy Box Feed the Animals

Ok, so they aren’t actually bags, but that is the most common name for these sensory, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, open ended play, educational, and creative inspired toys.

Feed the Animals busy box toddler

Feed the Animals busy box – Life Plus Twins

A friend of mine was given one of these from her Mother-in-Law and I immedialy recognized the snack cups! Head over to the Dollar Tree and pick up a package of these snack containers. Two for a dollar, so don’t buy them from Amazon! Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 8.44.37 PM

You will need to drill a hole for the mouth. Start with a 1/16 drill bit and work your way up to 1/2. My twins are 19 months and despite their many attempts, they could not manage to get their fingers stuck in the hole. It was just a smidge too big.

The correct size of pom-poms is paramount to this working. I had two sizes that worked but I’m not sure size they are. I’m thinking either the 1/2″ or the 10mm for the larger one and either the 3mm or 5mm for the smaller one. The smaller one fit through easily but the larger one took a little more concentration to squish in.

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