Category

Twins

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Toys for Twin Toddlers or Young Siblings

When my twins turned one something happened. Suddenly they discovered that sensation we all experience from time to time… The overwhelming ‘I have to have it now’ feeling. Yes, at the grand old age of one my boys have started tug of war over pretty much anything cool. If you want to see a real fight, give one of them my phone, the TV remote or their personal favorite… the baby monitor. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, or at least immoral, but if it wasn’t I’m sure twin toddler fighting would make a great sport. So, what toys for twin toddlers (and of course young siblings) can help avoid the fighting? 

toys for twin toddlers

How to shop toys for twin toddlers and young siblings:

Whether you’re buying one present for them to officially share or a present each, twins and siblings will want the other one’s toy, so you have a few options:

  • Buy two of everything and watch them fight over one of them anyway;
  • Assign them each their own toys and optimistically try to teach them about sharing and being kind to each other;
  • Separate them;
  • Just let them work it out between them, they’ll soon learn and respect which one is more ‘Thug Life’.
  • Buy toys they can use to play together. No fighting, it’s actually MORE fun to get along and share.

I would recommend the latter choice. Buy toys for twin toddlers that encourage sharing and interactive play. Those are best toys anyway aren’t they?

My thoughts on toddler toys that are boy/girl defined:

Slight side note… the best toys for toddlers are unisex. If you read ‘Boys Playing with Girl Toys‘, you’ll know that I am not a fan of limiting my children to the girl or boy isle of the toy shop. It’s ridiculous and totally goes against everything we teach them as teenagers about equality of the sexes. Just a short pep talk but I had to get it off my chest.


*This post contains affiliate links. This means I get a small commission from Amazon if you decide to purchase from them. This does not affect the price of the item.*

Top Ten Toys for Twin Toddlers and Young Siblings:

Kiddey Children’s Dual Play Tent with Tunnel

It’s massive… I hear you. But it’s awesome, and they’ll love it. It does break down into pieces too, so you don’t have to have the whole thing out at once if you want to still access the rest of your house. My twin boys have a similar set up from IKEA which you buy in separate pieces and they absolutely love it! They love chasing each other though it… even the cat likes it. Not everyone has an IKEA at hand, so if Amazon is your thing I’m certain the Kiddey Children’s Dual Play Tent will be a hit!


LEGO DUPLO My First Deluxe Box of Fun

It’s a timeless classic… everyone loves Duplo. I would recommend a big box of classic blocks over a fancy school bus or the like. My boys have my daughter’s hand-me-down Duplo airplane and they fight over the crate of bananas and the propellers, apparently they’re the best bits. However, they also have a LEGO DUPLO My First Deluxe Box of Fun and even at age one, they love just carrying the blocks around and smashing down towers built by their big sister. There’s plenty of blocks to go around, no arguments.


Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube

My boys are really enjoying their smaller bead maze at the moment. They play together with it well because there are multiple bead runs to interact with. The only trouble is, occasionally Arthur decides he wants it to himself and tips the whole thing over. They stand together very well at their Fisher-Price Learning Table but as they get older they are now less interested in the sounds and buttons. The Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube would however prevent the bead maze sabotage and work well for a wide age range. Plus it’s wooden and a bit retro, gotta love that.


Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway

It’s a classic and still going strong… long live the Fisher Price Rampway. Who doesn’t love to run cars down ramps? And don’t even go there if you’re going to tell me this is a boy’s toy. My brother is five years younger than me (to confirm: I am a girl) and I remember playing together with something very similar. It’ll last for years and it has two ramps – you know what that means? RACE!


LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Mat

I have seen kids play together with something similar in an indoor play park. They love giggling over the sounds together – it is definitely more fun with two! The trouble I would have is my six year old would love it too and I’m not sure there’s space for three! One Amazon reviewer says her two young children love the Learn & Groove Mat “because sharing is out of the question for them.” You see? The struggle is real and you are not alone.


Step2 Finding Dory Swim & Swirl Water Table

It may be a little cold outside for water play at the moment, but in case you’re in the market for some summer fun, check out the Finding Dory Swim & Swirl Table. Water play is one of those activities that is more fun when you have someone to splash, and there’s plenty of space to move around it without getting in each other’s way. And who doesn’t love finding Dory?


Playmaker Toys Turtle Family Floating Bath Tub Toy

My boys were given the matching Shark Family for their birthday which they absolutely love. But I couldn’t resist featuring these cute turtles… might be filling the bath with yet more toys at Christmas. The babies are matching so they can have one each without arguments, and there’s even a spare one for big sister. Of course if you’re shopping for triplets this is beyond adorable and perfect!


Play-Doh Cookout Creations

My boys are little young for using Play-doh molds, but I’m including Cookout Creations because… well I want a go! It looks so much fun, and creating the perfect BBQ together should keep them busy for some time. There are plenty of different molds to allow sharing, and the set comes with one burger bun and one hot dog bun. As long as your siblings can agree to swap every now and again things should run smoothly.


Foam Building Blocks – 104 Pieces Different Shapes and Sizes

As you can probably tell, I’m all about timeless toys. You really can’t go wrong with building blocks, and these foam blocks are great for a wide age range so big sister can help too. You can buy a 52 block set or the 104 block set but the larger set is considerably better value.


Aquadoodle Draw N Doodle Mat with BONUS Pen and Cap

This one was picked by my six year old. She thinks it is the perfect present for her twin brothers, and I’m sure the choice has nothing to do with the fact she is desperate to have a go herself. Do note that Aquadoodle make the Classic Mat and the Classic Mat with BONUS Pen. If buying toys for twin toddlers… make sure you get the bonus pen!


So there you have it… ten unisex toys for twin toddlers, young siblings, or just about any kid that likes to have company! And in case you’re looking for some twin cuteness… here’s a short video of the boys hanging out in their tunnel!

twin-pickle-signature

 
 

Baby Names for Twins: You Wouldn’t Want to Disappoint

Baby names for twins… did I miss a trick? I have disappointed many a stranger in the grocery store when they ask me “What are their names?”. For those of you dropping in for the first time from Google, my identical twin boys are called George and Arthur. Whether you like these names or not, people seem genuinely disappointed I didn’t name them Bill and Ben, or Thanks and Giving.

baby names for twins

Although their names are now registered on their birth certificates, we have not yet got them passports, so we could always go clean slate before they start school and things get really confusing. Let’s consider our options, how do you come up with baby names for twins?


Baby Names for Twins Starting with the Same Letter:

It seems most people want to at least see my boys with names that start with the same letter. When they were about three months old I was in line at the post office and the older lady behind me asked their names. “Oh no, that’s not right at all.” she said.

“If you’re going to have George you need another ‘jah’ name. Like Geoffrey or James, or…”

“Well, they’re three months old already so I don’t think I can change their names.” I said. But she was on a mission, and just kept reeling off names. In the end I just joined in… “Well I do quite like Jackson.”

If you’re looking to browse baby names for twins that start with the same letter, verywell.com have selected two girl and two boy names for the entire alphabet. I’m particular digging:

  • Fredrick and Franklin – come one, Freddy and Franky is totally cute.
  • Christian and Christopher – you don’t even have to worry about which one is which.
  • Xavier and Xander – it’s slim pickings with ‘x’ so these are about as good as it’s going to get.

‘Clever’ Baby Names for Twins:

Some people are sure that twins need a team name. Something that’s witty, clever and will require them to introduce themselves together for the rest of their lives. A few months ago a woman stopped me at the checkout and asked “What are their names?”. “George and Arthur.” I said. She looked blank for a few moments while she processed, and then said “oOoh… I get it.” with an over enthusiastic nod of the head. Thought to myself, really? I don’t. It has bothered me since then whether she was just saying that because she thought she was missing the wit, or whether there is actually something to their names that I’m just not intelligent enough to get. Please, fill me in if I’m missing something.

When I was pregnant, friends had all sorts of stories of these clever paired names, I’m hoping some of them are just urban myths for the sake of the children. Here are some of my personal favourites in case you’re in the market for something wacky:

  • Ben and Jerry – if you do this, please don’t let them get fat, the playground torture is bad enough already.
  • Romeo and Juliet – Aww… wouldn’t that be incest?
  • Elsa and Ana – who’s seen Jane the Virgin… aha, brilliant!
  • Pussy and Kat – I suggest Kat stays clear of Pussy, she’s got the good name.
  • Thelma and Louise – let’s hope for a better ending.
  • Simone and Pumba – hakuna matata.
  • Georgio and Armani – for the classy choice.
  • Tom, Dick and Harry – for the triplet mom.
  • Mork and Mindy – just don’t do it.
  • Moon and Star – They’ll probably be OK as long as you keep them on the commune.

Baby Names for Twins that Rhyme:

Who doesn’t love names that rhyme? My daughter had a pair of rhyming  same letter twins in her kindergarten class last year so I have to be careful what I say. It is a popular choice, and at least once they’ve left home and are introducing themselves individually they’re not called Pussy… things could be worse. Here are some of my favourite rhyming combos:

  • Jasper and Casper
  • Nikki and Ricky
  • Jayden and Kayden
  • Elsie and Kelsie
  • Benson and Jenson
  • Ronald and Donald… bahaha, enough already.

For more rhyming baby names (they work for siblings too!), find an extensive list at allparenting.com.


Celebrity Baby Names for Twins:

It happens every year – a big celebrity couple name their child and we all follow suit. I was so annoyed when the Royals named their first born George… I had that one in the bank years ago. We did consider ditching it, but stuff you Kate and Wills, it was our name first. So… what celebrity twin names have swept the globe? Let’s take a look – a surprisingly tame list until you get to Michael J Fox, and not a rhyming, witty, same letter name in sight.

  • Knox and Vivienne – Brad and Ange
  • Christian and Edward – Mel Gibson
  • Mateo and Valentino – Ricky Martin
  • Nelson and Eddy – Celine Dion
  • Phinnaeus and Hazel – Julia Roberts
  • Aquinnah and Schuyler – Michael J Fox
  • Page and Jocelyn – Ron Howard
  • Bob and Max – Charlie Sheen
  • Julian and Aaron – Robert De Niro
  • Gideon and Harper – Neil Patrick Harris

For even more celebrity twin names, take a look at this list at sheknows.com.

That’s about all the twin action I have for you today, but do let me know your thoughts… what should we have named George and Arthur? I’m personally swaying towards Georgio and Armani – it’s not far off!!

And in case you missed it, here’s a clip of the birth (and naming) of Elsa and Anna from Jane the Virgin… bahaha.

 


Telepathic Twins and Other Freaky Twin Stuff

I’m in a Twinsie mood, which means today I’m getting my research hat on, and delivering to you some weird and wonderful tales of freaky twin stuff.

freaky twin stuff

Twin Telepathy

Some time ago, I posted a video of my boys laughing at each other on Facebook. A friend asked me “is that one of those freaky twin things? What are they laughing at?” Obviously I have to share the cuteness…

Likely, they are just wetting themselves over nothing in particular. But maybe they are one of the 20% of twins that claim to experience a telepathic bond. Maybe they were telepathically sharing a good joke… it was obviously a good one. This sixth sense has been documented many times including the story of Gemma Houghton who saved her twin sister, Leanne, when she “just got this feeling to check on her,”. Gemma found Leanne in a bathtub, unconscious after a seizure, nearly drowning.

How about the guy that learned to play the guitar, only to find his twin brother can mysteriously play without learning himself. How handy would this be for exams? You take Math, I’ll take history… sorted.

Twins have even been tested using a polygraph machine, to show they experience emotional changes while the other is exposed to something scary or a change in temperature in another room. Weird.

For more on that… read this.

Twins with Wacky Birthdays

Of course one baby has to come out first. George will forever be taunting Arthur about how he is the big brother, until they reach thirty and then it’s Arthur’s turn to have some fun. But things get really fun when twin deliveries start messing with the clock. If those Twinkies are born across midnight, they can have different birthdays or even birth years.

Freaky twin stuff definitely happened earlier this month when Emily and Seth Peterson delivered their twins across daylight savings in Massachusetts. Samuel was born at 1:39am and his brother Ronan was born 31 minutes later, making him 29 minutes older. Yes, the first born is younger than his brother according to the clock. Too much for a Monday?

Twins that Look Totally Different

Although identical twins share the same DNA, fraternal twins are essentially normal siblings, with totally unique genetic coding. As you may have noticed in your family, some siblings look very similar and others make you take a second look at the milkman. Imagine the surprise Vince and Donna Aylmer got when their fraternal twins came out looking as different as different can be. Their father is fair and their mother is half Jamaican – the results are quite astounding… love it!

very-different-twins
Lucy and Maria Aylmer (source: boredpanda.com)

Find more photos of Lucy, Maria, and their family… here.

When Twins Marry Twins

There are around 250 documented cases of identical twins marrying identical twins. Maybe it’s because they are genetically programmed to find the same person attractive? Maybe it’s the novelty? Could it  just be freaky twin stuff? But what really blows my mind is when they start having kids… Genetically those kids are siblings, not cousins, right? Again, it’s Monday so I’ll stop and share this amazing photo instead… a match made in heaven:

twin-couples
Bring back the shell-suit… (source: oddee.com)

Find more photos of twins marrying twins… here.

Identical Twins Leading Identical Lives

There are a few tales of twins separated at birth that end up leading very similar lives. Maybe this one is a combination of telepathy and tendency to have the same taste? Who knows…

Jim Lewis and Jim Springer met for the first time at the age of thirty nine, after being separated at birth and adopted. Their first wives were both called Linda, their second wives both called Betty. They were both Sheriff’s deputies and drove the same brand of car. They named their childhood pets the same, smoked the same brand of cigarettes, drank the same beer…  And let’s not ignore that despite being adopted and named by two different families, they both ended up being called Jim! 

jim-twins
The ‘Jim Twins’ (source: firsttoknow.com)

More on the ‘Jim Twins’ story… here.

That’s it for today’s freaky twin stuff… maybe I’ll dig up some more another day. And because you know you want more baby twin cuteness… here’s the first time I caught the boys laughing at each other. Adorable.

 

twin-pickle-signature

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Twins’ First Year: A New Challenge Every Month

My boys are about to turn one, hooray! Like all parents at this stage, we will be celebrating their first year, but also our own survival. We made it… high five, cake and champagne all round (don’t worry, I know I’m European but I won’t be giving the babies champagne).

newborn-twins

Twin or singleton, Baby’s first year is something special. I chose that word carefully because there’s lots of joy but plenty of trouble. With every problem you solve, another emerges and those little ones never fail to catch you by suprize. Here’s my month by month guide to first year challenges.

0 Months Old: Feeding

I really did intend to breastfeed my twins… I bought the giant pillow and everything. But despite hospital boob boot-camp I still struggled to master the ‘double football hold’. Partly because I’m not wonder woman, and partly because how the hell do you pick up a floppy newborn with one hand?

Then there’s the fact the boys were born at 36wks. Little did I know that preemie babies aren’t the best feeders, so despite trying boobs, pumping, formula and general desperation, I couldn’t get my boys to stop losing weight. It took each baby an hour to feed, and I couldn’t get more than a few drops in for the first week… so tough! Of course once they got going they became chunky monkeys, but even by the end of the first month it took me a whole episode of Midsummer Murders to feed them both. What do new Moms do without Netflix?

twins first year

But it’s not all bad:

I have two gorgeous happy healthy babies and I can breathe again… no more sleeping upright!

1 Month Old: Sleep

Sleep deprivation is by far the most challenging and cruel affliction a baby brings to their parents in the first year. Although you get less sleep in the first month, it’s during month two you convince yourself you can function as a normal human being… you are wrong. It’s during month two you will invite family and friends to visit and gaze through sunken eyes past them into space as they ask you irritating questions like “Are they sleeping through the night?”.

So was sleep deprivation worse with two? Honestly, I believe there is a limit to what sleep deprivation you are even aware of… once you’re at bat-shit crazy it really makes no difference.

twins-2-months

It’s not all bad:

They’re gaining weight and look totally cute when they snuggle up to each other.

2 Months Old: Crying

By this point those little tikes are alert, have found their voice and know how to use it. Now you’re beyond basic survival it’s time to start making some actual parenting decisions. Should we let them cry it out? Should we let them sleep in the bed (again)? Maybe try rocking them to sleep? Let them sleep in their swing chair until they’re 18 years old? Pacifier? Comfort blanket? Someone help… Google?

twin-3-months

It’s not all bad:

Between the crying spells, the twins smiled for the first time…such a magic moment!

3 Months Old: Sickness

You know that at some point during the first year big sister is going to bring back the playground plague and infect the rest of the family. With twins you have two choices on how to approach sickness:

  1. When one gets sick make sure they dribble all over the other one as quickly and thoroughly as possible just to get it all over and done with.
  2. Separate them, sterilize everything and hope for the best.

We went with option 2 and failed. Sure enough, just as one got better, the other one got sick and so did I, so it felt like an endless battle.

twins-4-months

It’s not all bad:

They are laughing, playing with toys and have become so much fun!

4 Months Old: Routine

At this point the boys were sleeping well and I started to feel like I could take on the world. However, in order to do that I would need a solid routine. I spent a lot of time and energy freaking out about regimented nap times and trying to keep the boys in sync. Of course most days they would start together at 6am like clockwork, but by the end of the day one’s had three naps, the other’s had four and you can’t remember which one you need to put to bed first.

twins-notice-each-other

It’s not all bad:

They’re starting to interact… gah, I can’t handle the cuteness!

5 Months Old: Sleep Regression

At some point during month five, the boys both decided they preferred sleeping on their tummies. Fine with me… except they would roll over, get stuck and cry for help because they hadn’t quite worked out how to roll back the other way. Once manually flipped, I had about 5minutes before the process started all over again. This was fairly shorted lived, but unfortunately the twins’ new skills weren’t quite coordinated, so once Arthur had stopped being a pain in the butt, George started doing it. Boys – Mama’s glad you’re learning, but I’ve only just remembered what 6hrs sleep feels like.

twins-6-months

It’s not all bad:

Rolling is the first real baby trick isn’t it? They’re full of new skills and so pleased about it too!

6 Months Old: Solids

Just when you thought it was safe to leave the house… your babies need to start ‘solids’. I say the term loosely because there is nothing solid about what goes in… or comes out. We were fairly traditional with our approach, pureed bananas, avocado, sweet potato and pears, all resulting in a lot more washing. Washing of clothes, washing of furniture, washing of yourself. I soon learnt to do the mirror check before I went out. Do I have green slop on my breasts? Will anyone mistake my suspicious hair crust for a ‘Something About Mary’ moment?

twins-6-months-highchair

It’s not all bad:

I love watching them try new foods and they look totally adorable with slop all over their face!

7 Months Old: Early Mornings

Although the tummy sleeping had been mastered some time ago, by this point the twins had decided 4.15am was official morning time. We were in the middle of summer, which didn’t help, but despite black-out blinds, the classy towel-nailed-over-the-window method and a third layer of curtains, those boys would not sleep past 4.15am. Were they too hot? Were they too cold? Did they need more dinner? Did they need to go to bed later? Would they go back to sleep if I just rolled over and turned off the monitor? Nothing made any difference… 4.15am. This went on for 3 months and soon I realised the only solution was just put myself to bed at 8pm.

twins-7-months

It’s not all bad:

They can sit up unassisted at last so Mom can stop freaking out about developmental milestones (for now).

8 Months Old: Screaming

Arthur gained himself a new first year skill – screeching to such a volume and pitch that it made his brother cry. George was not a fan of the screaming and neither was I. His favourite time to do this would begin during dinner and onwards towards bedtime. I often ended up separating them, having one downstairs and one up, just to stop the carnage. But don’t worry, eventually George learnt to give as good as he gets and then they were the best of buds again.

twins-8-months

It’s not all bad:

The babies had their first swim and first trip to the beach!

9 Months Old: Teething

So much drool. Bibs help a little but it was still a month of 6-8 outfits a day between them… how do they even produce that much drool? And the trouble with identical twins is they get their teeth at the exact same time… so two dribbly upset babies is it. Thank goodness for drugs.

twins-9-months

It’s not all bad:

They’re finally starting to crawl! Development freak out no. 395 over.

10 Months Old: Crawling

We call their crawl ‘the-wounded-soldier’ because it’s a commando crawl using only one leg. The other leg drags behind, so the whole movement suggests they are pulling themselves to safety with a bullet in the leg. Crawling is a first year mega milestone, but it brings with it baby-proofing. The dog water bowl and the wine rack are their new favourite toys and they are naturally magnetized to anything sharp and pointy. Yep, they’re mobile – this shit just got real.

twins-10-months-standing

It’s not all bad:

They’re pulling themselves up! Development freak out no. 482 over.

11 Months Old: Climbing

Once I had worked out the danger zones in the house, mainly by trial and error which I wouldn’t recommend, things took as sudden turn. I was busy in the kitchen, listening to them giggle to each other suspiciously. Sure enough when I turned the corner they were both half way up the stairs… out of nowhere, they could climb. My personal favourite is when they try to climb your leg, if both of them do it at the same time it creates an overwhelming sense of love claustrophobia, and extraction can be surprisingly difficult.

twins-11-months
Taken by Sara Waterman Photography, Arizona.
It’s not all bad:

They absolutely love each other’s company which is not only heart melting but also very useful when you want a cup of tea in peace.

12 Months Old: ?

This first year really has been crazy, but everyday it blows my mind how amazing all three of my children are. Who knows what challenges and milestones this next month and year will bring… but I can not wait to find out.

Happy Birthday Boys.

 


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Open Letter to IKEA From a Twin Mom

unimpressed-mom
Dear IKEA

I don’t visit your store very often because it’s too much fun and I spend too much money, despite considering IKEA products good value. Like many Moms, I enjoy a browse of your showroom. I dream of a tidy, coordinated and stylish home with just the right amount of tarnished steel and mustard yellow accents. I have been planning a visit for some time, and had it all planned out.

Shopping List:

  • 4 x wicker storage cubes to organize my shelving unit/bookcase;
  • 2 x charmingly Scandinavian wooden toys for the twins’ birthday next week;
  • 2 x large house plants to slowly murder over the coming months;
  • 12 x hanging plastic kitchen storage pots (totally gonna explode my Pinterest board with this one);
  • 12 x small plants (do you do herbs?) to put into kitchen pots;
  • 1 x yellow IKEA bag full of crap I don’t need but can’t resist because it’s so cheap.

We Arrive:

We arrived in good time on a Thursday morning, this was intentional. I really can’t face the hoards at the weekend, and don’t love your store enough to get stabbed for the sake of a discount sofa (no, we haven’t forgotten about that). I did not however plan for adult backup because I made the mistake of presuming you offered double occupancy shopping carts. The type where two children fit in the front and all the fun stuff you didn’t come for goes in the back? But no, the only cart I could see was the standard ‘no-one’s kid is this wide so why is there only one seat’ variety. So, onward into IKEA we went with just the double stroller as transport.

ikea twin stroller
The twins are super excited about it…

We Browse:

The store was nice and quiet and I enjoyed perusing the city apartment lounge décor, wondering what life will be like when my kids leave home. I am very quickly overtaken by a Mom on a mission… armed with a double stroller stacked up with a number of scatter cushions. She’s obviously on her second round because I haven’t even got to the cushions yet, and everyone knows there’s only one long windy route through IKEA. As it’s so early I consider whether she’s lost and has been doing loops since yesterday, but obviously that’s ridiculous because where would she shower?

She didn’t have twins but two children pre-walking (IKEA length walking anyway). You see, us twin moms may only be a small percentage of your customers, but I’m pretty sure the two-under-two brigade are all regulars… they are frugal and desperately looking for something to do to escape the washing pile. Nevertheless, Two-Under-Two Mom was doing a pretty good job with the cushion tower and yellow bag over her shoulder, so I figured anything she could do…

We Shop:

Shopping went well, I had quickly spotted my storage cubes which I  managed to stack on top of the handy zone under the stroller. I found some lovely wooden toys for the boys, a walker/trolley, and one of those wiggly wire things you push wooden beads along… perfect. The walker however was quite large and was going to be a push in the yellow bag, so I stacked it on top of the stroller like Two-Under-Two Mom’s cushions. Then I saw the tent tunnel… George loves to crawl under and through things (and get stuck), I just have to have it. Again, a little large so we stacked it.

stuff-stacked-on-stroller
Totally bossing it…

We Cry:

A few trinkets later, we turn into the kitchen junk department. You know what’s coming… the tunnel and tent slide off the top of the stroller and into Arthur’s lap. Nothing too horrific, I’m not careless enough to stack a box of knives on top of my babies, but still, to him it was just as bad, and he went into total melt down. If you remember our recent Pumpkin Patch outing, Arthur is the more dramatic of the Twins, and doesn’t take too kindly to unexpected turns of events. I gave him a quick cuddle and tried to stuff his mouth with Cheerio’s in the hope it would shut him up. People were starting to slow down and give the tilted head pity smile.

Luckily for me we weren’t far from the half way point café, so we took a break and had a bottle – them not me. The tears dried, and we were ready for the ‘basement of crap you fill the yellow bag with’. It wasn’t long before the tunnel and tent fell into Arthur’s lap again and I couldn’t believe he found it just as shocking as the first time it happened… really? Another handful of Cheerio’s later I decided to ditch my plastic kitchen pots (Pinterest board I haven’t forgotten you) to make space for the tent in the bag. I wouldn’t have been able to buy the plants to go with the pots anyway. Unless… do you think they could hold a fern each?

plants-stroller-babies
Don’t be so ridiculous Mom.

We Pay:

So… IKEA, I’d like to point out that I could have bought a lot more stuff, had you allowed me to do so. Not only is my living wall Pinterest board ruined, but I missed out on a cool red rocking horse, a nice lamp and one of these chalk boards I spotted on the way to the checkout…

twins-ikea-warehouse
I got some pretty odd stares taking this one.

I would appreciate in future, if you would consider us double stroller Mom’s, there are a lot of us about and there is only so much stuff you can stack (I can see this becoming a ‘stuff on my cat’ challenge).

Yours wearily,

Twin Pickle

 

48 hrs in Vegas: Twin Stroller Edition

48 hrs in Vegas
The crew are raring to go! (Except George, he’s not impressed what so ever)

Tagging along with Husband’s work trips has its perks, however it also means I solo parent by day. That leaves me with a six year old and two 10month old babies to entertain for 48 hrs in Vegas. So what do you do when you’re let loose in Vice City with three kids, comfortable shoes and a twin stroller (oh the glamour)?

Eat

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Babies’ first trip to Hooters… check.

The twins are of an age where between bottles and food they are pretty much always eating, or sleeping off a food coma. So days out are planned around mealtimes… to the minute. Yes, babies that have only just discovered real food do not wait, and therefore us parents need to stay ahead of the game. Mealtimes need to be perfectly calculated, adjusted to take into account sitting down, faffing with high chairs, ordering and allowing food to cool down. I suggest going for lunch at 11am to comfortably avoid restaurant rage and child meltdowns. And do note: it never looks good drinking a beer while you have two hungry kids screaming and banging the table while the other has her hands over her ears.

Vegas has some fantastic restaurants, and while you may be dreaming of fine dining in the Joël Robuchon Restaurant, your 6 year old is probably going to persuade you that The Rainforest Café is worthy of a Michelin Star. But who can resist their animated kiddie faces when the place starts rumbling with thunder, and the slightly creepy animals hanging from the ceiling come alive. Who wants ‘Oscetra caviar served atop of king crab and a crustacean gelée’ anyway, when you can finish the remnants of Kraft mac n cheese from a Formica tray?

Walk

I keep meaning to measure how many steps I clock up on a trip to Vegas. For a city that was built for cars, you do a ridiculous amount of walking. The resorts themselves are so huge, just walking from the entrance through to the pool can take 20mins. And when you look at the map and think ‘we can walk from New York to Paris’, for a six year-old it literally feels like you’ve crossed the Atlantic. My little girl was an absolute trooper, because when we came home my feet were throbbing, so how she did it with only mild moaning I do not know.

Become a Tourist Attraction

As I have mentioned in previous posts, people are obsessed with twins. I am usually stopped multiple times on a trip out, for a double foot grab and the standard list of questions. Vegas however took it to a whole other level. Maybe it’s the cocktail buzz people have going; maybe it’s the chit-chat in the street with salespeople and street performers. Or maybe its the high proportion of retirees spending their pensions that just love babies. Either way it was insane. If only my daughter could walk faster I might have had a chance, but alas I spent most my day displaying my offspring to the world as a living museum. Honestly, I’m going to start charging.

Highlights from the trip:

Walking through Luxor… one of the hotels I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. For those that don’t know, I was an Architect in my former life so I love a bit of geeky building porn.

luxor

Riding the monorail. My daughter has a slight obsession with public transport and watching her gaze out the window and follow the map through the stations was adorable.

monorail

The twin’s first trip to an aquarium. Watching them stare at the fish with that innocent inquisitive gaze almost made up for the 4hrs sleep I got the night before. 

aquarium

Low Points:

Walking into the kitchen at Denny’s and loudly enquiring “how long does it take to make a pancake?” while the boys screamed hungry at the table.

Losing $20 to the ‘Great Owl’ slot machine when I was sure it was giving me the win vibe.

Desperately singing ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ on repeat in the third row of the minivan while the boys ignore me and continue crying.

car
There were spells of giggles and sleep either side of the misery.

Summary:

  • We spent two days walking from one family friendly restaurant to another while being mobbed by touchy-feely grandparents.
  • Both adults managed to drink a beer and play a slot machine. (#wildinvegas)
  • The children were successfully kept alive and even enjoyed themselves at times.
  • Overall, the trip is getting a thumbs up.

hotel

 

A Scheduled C-Section and a Trip to the Movies.

“Can I help you?” The receptionist asks as I waddle out of the elevator with my husband and suitcase in tow. “Er… yes? I’m here to have two babies?”

Despite arriving two hours before my scheduled c-section  appointment, once at the hospital it was all go. I change into a fetching gown, and get plugged into a number of needles and monitors. It’s pretty much that scene from The Matrix, with a little less goo. And instead of shaving my head they get busy with the razor down below.

the-matrix
The Matrix (1999)

I hadn’t been allowed to eat after midnight, which is just cruel when you’re eating for three. 9am and I’m already considering turning my unborn babies into Gremlins via the emergency rations in my bag. I always wondered with that movie… what time was it safe to start feeding Gizmo again?

gremlins
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

I’m wheeled towards the operating theatre, which feels like it’s in the basement somewhere. There are no windows, and it is eerily quiet in the corridor. I’m parked for a while and everyone around me seems to have a job to do but me. I’m propped on the bed waiting… twiddling my thumbs, my heart rate slowly rising in mild panic, yet still thinking about how many double cheese burgers I could eat.

We move on into some kind of lobby area, and the temperature suddenly drops. It feels like I just arrived at the Arundel palace kitchen and Elsa has thrown another hissy fit. Calm down luv, I’m trying to have a couple of babies here.

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Frozen (2013)

Once in the room where the magic happens, things seem to exponentially speed up. The phone keeps ringing because there’s a c-section queue emerging; everyone is feeling too posh to push today. I am helped to a seated position for the spinal tap, “Bend over please.” the anaesthesiologist says. Err… have you ever trying bending over in a seated position with a jumbo twin bump? It is not possible. “More please.” he says again. Would he have asked Baymax if he could touch his toes… No. Same applies with a twin bump.

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Big Hero 6 (2014)

 I manage to slide off the bed a little to give myself more leverage and brace myself for the needle. With Elsa still having a tantrum it’s near impossible to sit still without shivering. I am sure the anaesthesiologist is going to miss and leave me with one very numb kidney. But luckily for me he’s a pro at the moving target, and all goes well except it’s surprisingly painful. Ouch! I wasn’t expecting that you little f**ker… my anaesthesiologist has turned from a very polite Asian man to Freddy Kruger in Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Still, it seems to be working and the numbness has started to kick in. My Obstetrician walks in all happy and smiles, which put me at ease after Freddy Kruger leaves. She looks like a TV doctor, her hair and makeup always fresh, and her outfits looks like she has a personal stylist. Today is no exception, she’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and super eager to get started. Now, I’ve watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, so I know doctors only ever work and have sex (at work), so I’m starting to wonder how much coffee she drinks. Look at her hands – check they’re not shaking. After all, this woman is about to start slicing and dicing and she looks unnervingly excited about it.

greys-anatomy-season-1
Grey’s Anatomy (2005-2015)

Meredith had asked me on a previous visit how I felt about having a clear screen between me and the business end during the birth. The screens were new-in and she was desperate to give one a go – I told you she was keen. I was kind of on the fence about it until she warned that she would be “removing the uterus from my body to sew it back up, and then popping it back in again.” That, along with all the placenta stuff sounded like something out of The Walking Dead so I decided to opt for the classic opaque screen instead.

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The Walking Dead (2010-please never end)

What doc failed to mention was that a mirror was conveniently fixed to the operating room ceiling, meaning the make-up of the screen was totally irrelevant. Yes, I could see all the action, and despite the initial panic that I might pass out, I actually really enjoyed watching (out of the corner of one very squinty eye).

Quickly after doc gets busy, I feel the gush of Baby A’s water being broken. It’s like that moment in Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman suddenly wakes from her overdose… I could breathe! When you’re pregnant with twins you sacrifice the ability to breath for sake of the second baby. So as George arrived into the world I took a deep breath for the first time in two months. And although the pregnancy ‘glow’ may mean you look all sorts of radiant on the outside, on the inside you basically feel like Uma Thurman for the last month of pregnancy.

pulp-fiction
Pulp Fiction (1994)

I hear George cry straight away, which is such a relief, and I can’t really remember whether I saw him before Arthur was out the hatch, hot on his heels. Either way, they were both being weighed and poked when doc called out “and that’s a mono-di placenta!” in her usual excited manner. I felt like a medical marvel – me and my mono-di placenta, please take a bow. We deserved a chariot of fire and a round of applause like Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games.

katnis
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Yes, we’d done it. Me, Peeta the placenta, my glamorous coffee fuelled doctor, her many minions, Freddy Kruger the anaesthesiologist, and last but not least my husband – dressed in scrubs and armed with a slight shade of green and a trigger happy iPhone finger. And I’m glad I didn’t raid the breakfast bar stash, because there isn’t a Gremlin in sight, just two perfect baby boys, snuggled up on my chest while my insides are enthusiastically put back where they came from.

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This is actually me – the purple cheesy babies are real (2015)

Identical Twins: Why does the fertilized egg split?

Today I’m putting on my science hat and attacking the question which burns my curiosity as well as many others. Why does a fertilized egg divide to create identical twins? It is well established that this is not a hereditary tendency and yet around 0.3% of babies are born a natural clone. So why does one become two?
The quick answer is… no-one knows. But like all other outstanding questions, there are plenty of scientists trying to find out. So before we consider the theories, here’s a summary of what we do know:

identical-twins-why-does-the-fertilized-egg-split-featured
How identical twins form

Unlike fraternal twins (which come from the fertilization of two eggs), identical twins are formed when a single zygote (fertilized egg) splits into two. This natural cloning process will happen at some point in the first ten days of gestation, usually around day 4-5. After a human egg is fertilized, the zygote ‘collapses’ and expands a number of times as the cells multiply/ It’s during one of these ‘collapses’ that the magic moment happens. During a collapse, the cells contained in the embryo divide into two groups, allowing two separate embryos to ‘hatch’ from the protective outer layer of what is now called the blastocyst. These two matching balls of cells keep dividing and multiplying to create two separate, yet identical, babies.

Identical_twins why does the fertilized egg split diagram
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Identical Twin Trivia that may help explain why the fertilized egg splits…

‘Twin Towns’

Allahabad in North-East India is just one of a number of ‘twin towns’. For the past 40years Allahabad has experienced an unusually high number of identical twin births. Locals are sure there is something in the water or soil causing this, as they claim animals such as buffalo are also affected by the phenomenon. However, scientists are yet to find any environmental or social oddities and DNA from Allahabad twins has not given much insight either. Most researchers have written off the theory of twin towns as no more than a statistical fluke. Another twin town, Linha São Pedro in Brazil, reported in the 1990’s that 5% of births were identical twins… that’s quite the fluke.

identical twins why does the fertilized egg split india

The Nine Banded Armadillo

Nine-banded armadillos almost always give birth to four identical quadruplets. These quadruplets are created from one single fertilized egg that splits, and then split again. This is thought to be an evolutionary result of the physical constraints imposed by the shape of the armadillo’s uterus. However, while it may be seen as an evolutionary advantage for the Armadillo, twinning of embryos in humans is considered more of a pregnancy fail by scientists, because it holds higher risks of congenital anomalies and premature birth. Still, for armadillos it’s not a random event so something is causing it to happen…

identical twins how does the fertilized egg split armadillo

Identical twins and IVF

When receiving IVF treatment, the chances of having identical twins rises from 0.3% to 2%. So even if only one embryo is implanted there is a 2% chance it will divide and create two babies. No-one knows why the chances of embryo division is higher, although it is suggested that subtle chemical differences between the lab and the human body are to blame. Maybe it’s just all that prodding and poking?

identical twins why does the fertilized egg split ivf

SCIENTIFIC THEORIES AS TO Why does the fertilized egg splitS…

We’ve looked at when it happens, but what scientific theories are out there for why identical twins develop from one fertilised egg?



Genetic mutation:

Dr Bruno Reversade has been busy investigating variations in the genomes of families from ’twin towns’ in the hope of finding a twinning gene. He has a candidate region, on chromosome four, and he thinks mutations in a gene here might have been present in the founders of twin towns, and then spread through the population. He speculates that the mutated gene might prevent cells sticking together tightly within the blastocyst, resulting in a split.

Dr Dianna Payne thinks the imperfect environment of the IVF lab is causing some cells to die or weaken at the cell junctions. This leads to the idea that a similar process could be caused in naturally conceived embryos, if they were triggered by faulty genes. It is also possible that subtle differences in the cells could force cells to repel one another, pushing two separated groups of cells to opposite sides of the blastocyst.

Daddy did it:

There is a popular theory (although I have struggled to find any scientific sources) that an enzyme in sperm causes the embryo to split. Many families with twins claim they have an abnormal number of identical twins in their family tree, even though at present science still claims it’s a random event.

identical twins why does the fertilized egg split daddy

It’s all about timing:

Dr Judith Hall suggests twinning depends on the timing of fertilization, explaining why humans twin more than other animals (except the armadillo of course!). Most mammals choose to mate when conditions are perfect, when eggs have been freshly ovulated. Humans on the other hand just do it any old time and an old egg may be more likely to split.

identical twins why does the fertilized egg split timing

So…there you have it.

I think if you combine Payne and Hall’s ideas to suggest an old egg is ‘faulty’, leading to abnormalities which create a repulsion between the cells, you have a fairly sound theory. After all, most identical twins don’t make it – it has been suggested that 12% of natural conceptions produce identical twins – but the vast majority of embryos are lost. Occasionally this can even result in a ‘vanishing twin’ where one embryo continues to full term while the other is lost and absorbed by the body.

Essentially something has gone wrong with the usual fertilization process to create two babies from one, although as an identical twin mom myself I think it’s just magic. Take your pick, what do you think causes identical twins?

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References:
Cyranoski, D. (2009, April). Developmental biology: Two by two. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090415/full/458826a.html

Study: Identical Twins Caused by ‘Embryo Collapse’ (2007, July). Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/07/05/study-identical-twins-caused-by-embryo-collapse.html

The extraordinary moment one baby becomes two (2007, July). Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-465788/The-extraordinary-moment-baby-two.html


Boys playing with girl toys? Careful now…

When multi-million dollar corporations start sending me free stuff to review my boys can have some boy toys. But for now the poor things will have to do with big sisters hand-me-downs. Yes, I’m officially going to risk turning my boys into transsexual perverts by allowing them to play with girl toys. In the name of science and mom blogging I will allow identical twins to review and pick their favourite girl toy, which I can only presume will be the most blue, macho looking toy because that’s what boys like, apparently. But don’t worry, as a precaution against instant limp-wristedness they are wearing their football themed outfits from the boy section of Target…

First up: My Little Pony Equestria Girls v Barbieboys playing with girl toys

Stage 1: Overview. George ponders whether he wants to play with Equestria Girl… “well she is blue, so I suppose its OK. But is it wrong that I kind of like her shoes?” Arthur, well he’s in total shock… “This is definitely a girl toy Mom, its wearing a pink glitter skirt, are you sure it’s safe?”

Stage 2: The shake test. Pretty standard testing for any new toy – shake it to see what moves and wobbles, and check if it makes any cool noises.

Stage 3: Close inspection. Poke the eyes, scrunch the clothes and stroke the hair in as manly a way as possible. Can I pull anything off? is it edible? So far so good.

barbie-02

Stage 4: The boy test. George proves he’s-the-man by getting Equestria Girl to do the splits and looking up her skirt. Arthur looks on in horror, he didn’t know girl stuff could do that! He needs Equestria Girl immediately to redeem his sense of masculinity – George, sorry buddy.

Winner: Equestria Girl… probably because she’s blue and a bit slutty.

Next: American Girl Doll v Corolle Doll

ag-01

“Mom… er… you gave me the pink one again. And George’s is bigger, and us boys know size matters… this is SO unfair. I think I need to wash my hands, this girl stuff is starting to rub off.”

ag-02

I could see where this was headed so I thought I’d intervene and give Arthur one of American Girl’s slippers, afterall, even boys wear slippers. It turns out slippers taste pretty good so George wanted a piece of slipper action too. I tried swapping the dolls over – you know, to make it a fair test, but by then it was all about the edibles.

Winner: American Girl Slippers… because even men where slippers.

Last but not least:  Elsa from Frozen v Calico Critters

elsa-01

George is stumped “Mom, this one is definitely a girl’s toy and Arthur looks like he has something dressed in a men’s blazer.” Arthur is very pleased indeed for he has scored a male Calico Critter, it’s so macho it’s practically a Ninja Turtle.

Shake test… check. George looking up Elsa’s skirt… standard. Then Arthur decides he’s escaping with Mr Critter while he can. George is definitely going to want to steal it afterall.

Winner: Calico Critter… because its wearing a grandpa blazer.

But hang on, what’s happening here? George couldn’t care less he’s stuck with Elsa and her disappointingly long skirt…

george

Turns out George is man enough to play with the snow princess… screw you Grandpa Ninja Critter.

I do have a point to make here.

I don’t stop my daughter playing with Barbie and Elsa, she loves all things girly, pink and purple – especially if they have glitter and unicorns that fart rainbows – and that’s OK. She also loves Paw Patrol, Skylanders and weird Manga cartoons on Netflix. She was disappointed when Party City put Paw Patrol in the boys isle. She was disappointed when Ronald McDonald put skylanders in the boy happy meal. I’ve talked to her about it many times and she’s coming round, but I can tell shopping in the boy isle still feels a little ‘dirty’ in the same way she refused to borrow a friends T-Shirt because “its a boy t-shirt.” To be six and feel tainted by wearing a boy t-shirt to splash about in the yard is sad; and I only hope I can help her to become free-thinking and independent in the future.

But why is Lego City in the boy isle in Walmart? When I was young (yes I did actually just say that) all the lego was ‘Lego City’ and it was unisex in a non-intentional kind of a way. Why when you drive through McDonalds (not that I ever do that…ahem), do they ask you if your happy meal is for a girl or a boy? Why don’t they just ask if you want SpongeBob or Monster High? Or better still just give everyone SpongeBob? It boils my blood everytime! Grrr…

As for the boys… now they’ve spent the afternoon playing with girl toys I don’t hold out much hope for them. It’s high school musical and guy-liner from here on in.

 


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Two Tiny Hands
Diary of an imperfect mum
Mumzilla

Questions twin moms are repeatedly asked and the quickest possible response.

Moms everywhere have little choice but to answer the same questions time and time again… How old is he? Is he sleeping through the night? Are you breastfeeding? (When exactly did it become appropriate for a stranger to ask that?!). But the questions twin moms have an abundance of others to deal with. Here are just a few of the most repeated questions twin moms have to answer week in week out…

questions twin moms

1. “Are they twins?”

Quick response: “Yes.”

Always wanted to try: “No. I just happen to have a double stroller housing two children of exactly the same age that look identical.”

2. “Do twins run in your family?”

Quick response: “No.”

Time saving tip: Even if this isn’t true, and even if you have identical twins, do not try and explain. You will give the perpetrator the perfect opportunity to tell you all about her husband’s sister’s neighbor who also has twins…

3. “You’ve got your hands full there.” “Oh… Double trouble!” or “Twins… How adorable.”

Quick response: Smile with an acknowledging nod and keep walking.

Note: This is not actually a question, so take the opportunity to run while you can. If you slow down or give a verbal response it will lead to a full scale incursion, toe grabbing and all.

4. “How do you do it?”

Quick response: “I have no choice.”

Alternatives if applicable: “Two nannies and a personal masseuse.”, “Wine.”, “a padded suit and earplugs.”  This question is often asked by new moms who are still traumatized by the arrival of their singleton child. The facial expression is usually somewhere between awe and pity.

5. “Are they on the same schedule?”

The only response: “Hahahahaha…” Accompanied by mild insane-mom eyes… this will allow you to slip away while they ponder what to say next.

 

It seems as my twins get older things won’t get any better. Here’s a bubbly pair called Samantha and Madeleine on Youtube telling us about the most common questions they STILL get asked…

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the post, and really, if the questions stopped I’d probably miss them!

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Life with Baby Kicks
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