Despite looking particularly identical recently, the Twins could not be more different on the inside. As their personalities grow, the difference between them becomes more apparent; and it feels inevitable that only one emerges at the top of the twin pecking order. It’s natural as part of the animal kingdom, that there be dominance and submissiveness in twins, isn’t it? But unfortunately for Arthur, he’s at the bottom of the twin pecking order, often literally underneath George’s bottom.
The boys were born at 36wks with only an ounce between them in weight and half an inch in length. This is rare… usually one twin will naturally grow larger than the other, and with twins sharing a placenta this can lead to problems with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. As the boys continued to grow after birth they continued to amaze their pediatrician by remaining completely identical. By their three month appointment they were exactly, to the ounce and inch, the same size. Maybe it’s mysterious twin personality stuff, maybe it’s George’s love for carbs, but once we broke into solid food, George’s weight took the lead, and with it came his dominance.
Personalities Forming the Twin Pecking Order
Arthur is a very busy chap, inquisitive and adventurous, and always getting himself into trouble. If you hear a crash in the background, 80% of the time it’s Arthur, hence the recent finger chopping incident. George on the other hand is charming and cuddly, and generally gets into less trouble than his brother. That’s until you leave them alone. If left in their play space together I will hear screaming from Arthur and wonder what on Earth is going on. When I investigate I often find George sitting on, lying on, and generally crushing his brother in any way he can. This is an improvement on the biting we used to have, at one point poor Arthur was covered in teeth marks. We’ve had kicking, shoving, and all round bullying… yet you would think butter wouldn’t melt if you saw him in the flesh.
Despite all the brotherly love/abuse, Arthur never retaliates. I’ve never once seen him do the same back, and never see the same bite marks on George. It seems they have worked it out between them… George is the boss, and occasionally he needs to remind his minion of his superior status. So, is this twin pecking order anything to worry about?
Dominance and Submissiveness in Twins
The twin pecking order is normal and natural, although some cases are more severe than others. It is often advised that twins be separated at school into separate classrooms, to allow each student to flourish and maintain individuality.
‘The challenge with twins is that you have a dominant and submissive twin… If you keep them together in same classroom, the dominant twin will continue to speak for the other sibling and make decisions.’ (Marie Doyle to Renée M. Grinnell, PsychCentral.com)
Classically, the bigger twin is the more physically dominant. It’s basic human nature, and particularly applicable to boys as they hit puberty. It happens often with singleton siblings too… the older is bigger, and enforces him/herself through physical dominance.
2 Psychological Dominance:
This one’s interesting… while boys tend to use physical dominance as they hit puberty, girls tend to use psychological dominance. Enforcing opinions, mannerisms and decisions through manipulation; psychological dominance is the one to worry about. It has been shown that if psychological dominance continues into adulthood, the submissive is more likely to suffer with depression and other psychiatric problems such as anorexia; but it’s not all plain sailing for the dominant either:
As language develops, it is not uncommon for one twin to talk for the other. The verbally dominant twin may respond to questions directed at their co-twin; and they may ask questions and explain situations for their submissive partner. The submissive can become dependent on this verbal crutch, leading to delays in their own speech development.
Despite being born of good size, Arthur spent a very short time on oxygen when he was born. He also suffered with reflux more than his brother as a newborn. Could these small differences be the reason he now has to bow down to his brother?
Should Parents Worry?
I have previously talked about Twin Escalation Syndrome, which seems related to finding the twin pecking order. Personally, I’m not too concerned about my boys, I see them as a complimentary pair… Arthur has a glint of the clever mischievous type in his eye, George is the protective bear type. So I see them as a team… the Brains and the Brawn… Pinky & The Brain (please tell me you’ve seen Pinky & the Brain?).
We have managed to curb the biting with stern tellings off, but the sitting/crushing continues. Another twin mom told be her identical twins had a sudden role reversal as they hit school age, so we will see how their complementary roles develop!
It’s been a while since I posted about telepathic twins and other freaky twin stuff, and it’s time to return to the world of the weird and wonderful. Unfortunately the trigger for this research is an unhappy event… my poor little boy has been in a cast past the elbow these past two weeks, and I’m not entirely sure when he’ll be free of it. He’s coping brilliantly, but I have been surprised how his accident has affected his brother. Is it possible twins feel each other’s pain?
It was bound to happen eventually… our first proper injury. But I wasn’t expecting something so dramatic at such a young age. Poor Arthur at 17months amputated the end of his finger using a chair. Yes, a chair – that can happen, and apparently we are not the first. Does it make me a bad person that hearing another child has lost a finger in this way makes me feel better as a parent? If you’ve ever had a child injure themselves you’ll be familiar with that Matrix-style circular slow-motion phenomenon, as you watch events happening before your eyes, yet you just can’t get there in time to stop it. While playing with George on the grass in the back yard, my attention was away from his twin brother for a moment. He was instantly up on the patio chair, stood, it tipped back with his figures curled over the back… and bam… a finger sandwich between patio chair and concrete. In total panic the missing piece of finger went on ice and the entire family bundled into the mom-wagon and headed for the ER.
We were all hysterical; but between two 17month-olds, a seven year old who’ll melt-down over a paper cut, and a Dad that suffers with anxiety and panic attacks; Mom was left trying to keep it together. But as the situation began to calm, and Arthur was in good hands at the hospital, one of us was still extremely distressed. And it wasn’t Arthur – it was his twin brother George. Was he just feeding off the air of emotions? Was he just wanting attention while we whirled around Arthur? Or is it possible twins can feel each other’s pain?
Twins claiming they share pain
Identical twins Angela King and Elena Gatt insist twins feel each other’s pain. From accidents, to morning sickness, to operations, they share it all. When Angela had her tonsils removed age 8, her sister was totally unaware and stayed with her grandmother during the operation.
‘Elena screamed at the exact moment they were removed,’ Angela said. ‘Grandma called mum and said there was something wrong with El because she was in a lot of pain.’ (Cindy Tran, Daily Mail)
While Angela happily recovered in hospital, Elena struggled to eat at her grandma’s house, because of her continued pain. They recall a similar story where Elena injured her knee while on vacation. Angela felt a sudden pain in her own knee and called immediately to check her sister was OK. To read more about these two, check out the Daily Mail article.
Sally Keeble and her sister Helen, were always skeptical of stories of twin telepathy and weird connections. However, when Helen fell pregnant, her identical twin sister started to experience morning sickness, 100 miles away. Sally then experienced sever stomach cramping in the middle of the night a few weeks before her sister’s due date. When she called to check on her, sure enough her twin had been experiencing early labor pains. Two weeks later Sally felt excruciating abdominal pain, following by dizziness. She remembered the time it happened because she was in the process of leaving work. When she got home, she had a message that her sister had indeed given birth at that exact time. For more on this tory, head over to the The Guardian.
Is there any science behind the idea that twins feel each other’s pain?
Identical twins are created from the same fertilized egg – no-one knows what causes the split, although there are theories. Is it possible that having the same DNA can connect you in such a way that you experience the same sensations at the same time? Despite much anecdotal evidence that suggests twins feel each other’s pain, science continues to find little evidence of such a phenomenon. And there are plenty of twins claiming there is no way this type of connection is possible, because they have been totally unaware when something traumatic has happened to their beloved sibling. However, there is a theory to explain this:
‘Researchers at the University of Indiana have studied thousands of twins and have noticed that the later they divided, the closer they become after birth. So it seems likely that this is the group most likely to experience telepathy’ (David Jones, New Dawn Magazine)
So a twin shouldn’t feel bad that they had no idea their sister was being mugged last night, you may have just been an early egg splitter. Of course, some twins never completely split, creating conjoined twins, and one of the earliest records of how twins feel each other’s pain is that of a pair of conjoined twins separated by an operation just after birth:
‘However far apart we are now we still have one and the same body, so that whatever impression, physical or mental, one of us perceives has its after-effects on the other’ says one of the Corsican Brothers back in 1844. (Benjamin Redford, Live Science)
Historically, the idea that twins feel each other’s pain has been ridiculed by science, and I get it… it’s a pretty wacky idea. In 2010 the Nobel prizewinner Brian Josephson was shunned from speaking at an event he was invited to, after it came to light he had been researching a connection between quantum theory and telepathy. His research was written off as an interest in the paranormal, and it was suggested that fellow physicists would no longer take him seriously. Now, anyone that’s read up on quantum theory will know it is some jaw-droppingly crazy sh*#; yet it is widely accepted enough to teach at school these days. So who knows, maybe telepathy and the idea that twins feel each other’s pain will too one day?
My own experience…
When it was time to sew the end of Arthur’s finger on, Daddy took George and Big Sister out to the waiting room to avoid more mass hysteria. It took some time to get sorted, because he was drugged to help keep him still and well… stuff in hospitals just takes forever doesn’t it? As the doctors were busy sewing the finger on, Arthur’s drugs began to wear off, and myself and a very large man were busy using our body weight to hold him down (don’t worry, the pain meds were still working, just not the dopey stuff). My phone starting bleeping with multiple messages that I was not in a position to answer…
“Can we come back yet?”
“What’s going on?”
“George is going mental… I don’t know what’s wrong with him”
We had already spent a number of hours in the hospital and both babies had understandably been a upset, but it was the very moment Arthur was having his finger stitched back on that George went crazy, despite being some distance from the room. Weird right?
That night, we made it home and were all exhausted. We managed to squeeze some chicken nuggets into the littles and off they went to bed. Arthur fell into a deep sleep, exhausted from the days events. George went to sleep but repeatedly woke up through the night, unconsolable unless I held him. All my kids are good sleepers, and I can’t remember the last time I had to get up in the night to go into the boys room. He just wouldn’t settle, and was so sad and miserable I ended up bringing him into bed with me. I am no co-sleeper, even my husband is told to move away when I want to sleep… I’m just not a cuddle sleeper. But George needed love and closeness, he was clearly experiencing some kind of trauma, and whether it was purely emotional was difficult to tell. He was so distressed I honestly considered giving him a dose of Tylenol, because he just seemed to be in pain. I didn’t, and he eventually went to sleep, but I can’t help thinking some kind of Twin Thing was happening.
Poor George has had to come with me to all Arthur’s doctor’s appointments which has been very stressful for him, but I presume he just can’t bear seeing his best bud and partner-in-crime suffer. Whether he’s experiencing physical sensations is impossible to tell at this age, but I look forward to questioning them about it when they’re old enough. For know, I’m just happy he’ll healing… we’re on our third cast and look forward to getting back to normal soon!
What do you think? Is it possible twins feel each other’s pain?
Today is a Twin Pickle first… I’m handing over the blog to someone with far more experience and knowledge on this subject than myself. We were lucky enough to avoid the NICU when I had the Twins at 36wks, but I still didn’t manage to successfully breastfeed. This was partly because I panicked about their weight loss, when preemie’s don’t have much to spare; and partly because I lacked knowledge on preemie babies and pumping. Therefore I’m extremely happy to have Katharina from breastfeedsuccessfully.com offer her expertise, for any moms-to-be or new mums worried about how breastfeeding at the NICU is possible.
“Don’t stop pumping the plane! My wife is still boarding for our baby!”, my husband blurted out, while sprinting towards the airport terminal staff, after they had made the final boarding call for our flight. By the time I walked up, the airline staff welcomed me with a chuckle and by saying “Good job pumping, Momma!” We had just spent the first 7 days of our precious baby’s life at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), after being air ambulance to a different city shortly following his birth. Needless to say that my husband and I were excited, exhausted, and apparently we were both suffering from major “Mommy Brain”.
To this day, I still tear up every time I see a picture of a preemie. We only spent 1 week at the NICU, but other parents spent much, much more time there. If you’re expecting twins, then your doctor may have already mentioned that depending on how early your babies arrive and depending on their birth weight, they may be admitted to the NICU. Even though it probably is not what you’re hoping for, you are already ahead of most expecting moms by facing this possible scenario head on and mentally preparing for it. This way you’ll enter and exit the NICU much stronger and more confidently, and you’ll be able to keep your focus on your sweet babies.
If your goal is to breastfeed your twins, know that premature babies are often too weak to start breastfeeding after birth, and they may be tube or bottle fed at the NICU instead. Therefore, the foundation to successfully breastfeeding your twins later down the road, is to first learn how to pump successfully. Many other moms of twins have done this before, and while there are some challenges to overcome, it’s completely doable!
“Will I have enough milk for my babies?” is a very common question, especially for moms of twins. It can be easy for people (even well-intending family and friends) to knock your confidence, when it comes to producing enough milk. Your best strategy to silence your inner critic and to create a generous milk supply is to thoroughly understand how milk production works. Breasts create more or less milk, depending on how frequently and efficiently they are emptied. So, the more often and the more thoroughly your breasts are emptied, the more quickly your body will replenish. Usually, it’s your babies’ job to empty your breasts and to tell your body how much milk to produce, but if things start off at the NICU then you’ll take charge of this yourself via pumping. If managed well you can get explosive results.
What kind of pump should I get?
While your NICU will provide you with a pump, you may still choose to buy one ahead of time or know where you can rent one in a jiffy, so you are also prepared for pumping at home. If you’re expecting twins, a hospital grade double-pump will cut your pumping time in half, because you’re emptying both breasts at the same time. That’s a huge time saver! When shopping for a pump, pay attention to reviews of other moms about how thoroughly the pump empties their breasts.
Pumps usually have a “Stimulating Phase”, which is a single setting that lightly stimulates your breast to trigger the milk flow. Once the “let down” happens and your milk begins to flow, you’ll switch the pump to “Expression Phase”. In this phase, you’ll be able to choose from several intensity levels. Don’t use the highest level when you first start pumping. Work your way up towards it, so you can get used to the higher settings more slowly. For the first few pumping sessions, start by pumping only one side at a time. You’ll learn how to handle the pump more easily and also have a free hand to massage your breast during pumping. Light massages and compressions can help ease breast engorgement, which is quite common in the early days. Later on, a pumping bra, will free up your hands, so you can enjoy a little mobility while pumping. By the way, do not do any pumping, while you are still pregnant, because stimulating your breasts towards the end of pregnancy can actually bring on your labor.
Where will I pump?
During my pregnancy, I always imagined spending the first couple of days of my baby’s life bonding in the privacy in our own hospital room together with my husband, with the occasional doctor, nurse, or close family member checking on us. NICU life is quite different. Your babies will likely be inside an incubator, in a large, open room together with several other babies. Our NICU had approximately 20 babies in the same room, with a nurse to baby ratio of 1:2. You’ll be sharing the room with the NICU staff, the other parents, as well as the visitors of other babies. The only means to create some privacy are mobile wall panels, that you can set up to create a “quiet corner”. Pumping bedside allows you to spend more time with your babies and also gives you an opportunity to ask the nurses for help if needed. If you’re having any difficulties, ask multiple nurses, because each nurse may have a different suggestion or solution. Also, take advantage of the hospital’s lactation consultant and discuss your progress with her as frequently as possible.
During busy visitor hours, you can seek out the “Mother’s Pumping Room”, which every NICU has. It’s probably not the fanciest of rooms, but it will give you some well-deserved privacy. During the night, you’ll be pumping either at your hospital room or at home. If you’re able to set up your pump beside the bed, you may be able to “rest” a little while pumping in bed. Just use some pillows to prop yourself up and get comfortable.
How often and how long should I pump?
Due to our delayed transfer to a different hospital, I didn’t get my hands on a pump until almost 16 hours after my son’s birth. Delaying pumping past 6 hours after birth is never recommended, but it goes to show that you can have success with pumping, even when things start out less than perfect. When I was finally handed a pump by a nurse in her early 20s, who undoubtedly had never pumped or breastfed herself, she told me “Here you go. Pump for 10 minutes on each side, every 3 hours”. So, off I went and started pumping, strictly abiding to her instructions. Once my milk came in more heavily, 10 minute pumping sessions weren’t nearly long enough to get the job done, leaving me completely engorged. At the time, I didn’t realize what my breasts should feel like during this stage. I had heard so much about how sore and uncomfortable women’s breasts get, so I figured this must be all part of it. I was so grateful, when a more experienced NICU nurse told me to keep pumping each side until my breasts were empty and felt “soft” again. No more of this 10 minute nonsense! Remember how important emptying your breasts frequently and thoroughly is for your supply? I quickly learnt that pumping more often than every 3 hours and emptying my breasts completely did wonders to my milk supply. So I aimed for more frequent pumping during the day, and stuck with a 3 hour routine during the night. Also, if one breast still feels heavier and lumpy in certain spots after pumping, there is still some milk left. It may indicate plugged ducts. Keep pumping, and massage the lumpy area, starting from the top working down towards the nipple. You may pump quite some time without any milk flow, when all of a sudden the duct unplugs and milk flows full force for a few seconds, until the duct is completely emptied.
Why is no milk coming?
Pumping during the first 3 days, can be mental torture. Sure its physically exhausting, but what’s even more difficult is staring at an empty bottle, session after session. It can be outright disheartening and cause moms to throw in the towel, saying “I literally had no milk!”. I remember panicking over this, too!
Generally, colostrum is produced over the first 3 days, followed by a noticeable increase in milk supply after day 3. That is textbook milk supply, though! If your story is different that’s completely OK. Multiple factors, can trigger delays in milk production, such as being a first time mom, large amounts of IV during labor, medications during labor, traumatic birth, c-section, long pushing stage, delay in pumping, and many more 1. I checked off at least 6 of these factors, which caused my milk to come in quite late. I still stuck to my pumping routine, remained focused, and was eventually able to exclusively feed my son with breastmilk. Know that under difficult circumstances, it may take over a week or two (even several weeks in severe cases) to slowly build up a full milk supply. If your twins are born quite prematurely, it may mean your breasts missed part of the growth period of late pregnancy, resulting in less milk producing tissue at birth 1. Again, frequent and thorough pumping, will help your breast tissue to continue to grow and develop after birth 1. Once you’ve done the hard work of developing your supply, you’ll reap the reward of watching your twins getting “milk drunk” on momma’s milk.
Almost no milk is coming!
When you finally start seeing a thick drop of colostrum slowly coming out of your nipple and running down the horn of your pump there is a good chance the precious drop will go completely to waste. Why? Because by the time it has made its way from the horn, through the pump’s valve, all the way down the inside of the bottle, it’s likely going to have dried right up. That’s why hand-expressing is usually more effective at this stage. Simply press a spoon or tiny cup tightly against your breast, just below your nipple. Use your other hand to compress and massage from just above and below your areola down towards your nipple. Ask a NICU nurse or a lactation consultant for help with this if you need any. They will also help you feed your colostrum to your babies. Always remember to still pump after hand-expressing to stimulate your production. It’s absolutely fine if no or almost no milk is released during your pumping sessions. You’re simply sending your body a message to start producing milk. Give it some time.
You may see other moms entering the pumping room after you and leaving before you, holding two 8 ounce bottles of milk, filled to the rim, while you’re struggling to create a single ounce. Instead of getting discouraged and being struck down with milk envy, try to remember that this mom has likely spent much more time at the NICU than you. Stay focused on your goal: Building a generous milk supply for your sweet babies.
Once the pump starts to express some milk, you may want to attach the pumping horn to your breast upside down, resulting in the bottle being held upside down as well. This shortens the path your milk has to travel, saving your precious milk right inside the pump’s horn, where you can syringe it out of later on. NICUs carry syringes in various sizes, and you’ll feel incredibly accomplished every time you move up a syringe size, because you’re supply has increased again.
What about supplementing?
While you are working very hard at boosting your milk production, your babies may still need some supplementing in the early days. Trust your NICU staff about when and how much to supplement. It was gut-wrenching for me, when my baby wasn’t getting enough milk and needed to be supplemented. I unnecessarily put myself through the ringer about not having enough milk. It’s completely okay and absolutely necessary in this situation to supplement! Formula or donor milk can be heaven-sent, and you should never feel guilty about having to supplement.
Skin to Skin or Kangaroo Care:
The first time, I walked up to my son at the NICU, I couldn’t help but start crying. I had kept it together pretty well up until that moment, but seeing him inside the incubator, with cords attached all over his tiny body, and feeling that physical barrier between us unhinged something deep inside of me. All I wanted to do was to finally touch him and hold him. Luckily our head nurse was a huge advocate of “skin to skin”. She helped us take him out of his incubator and placed him properly between my breasts, so he could breathe well and so that the cords weren’t getting caught anywhere.
“Skin to skin” is also known as “Kangaroo Care” and has too many wonderful benefits to name them all. Honestly, we probably haven’t even discovered all of the incredible things it does for moms and their babies. Immediate benefits are stabilizing of babies’ breathing, sugar levels, heart rate, and temperature2. It is soothing to babies, and there are suggestions that it improves babies’ sleep cycles. Mothers feel more empowered and needed by their babies. It lessens the stress load and makes new moms more responsive to their babies’ cues. Most amazingly it is proven to increase the prolactin level in mothers, which is the hormone responsible for helping your body make milk2. So, skin to skin is absolutely wonderful for you, your babies, and for boosting your milk supply. A great time for skin to skin is after you’ve fed your babies. Go braless and have your babies wear nothing except their diapers. Be sure to ask the nurses to help you with placing the twins on your chest and placing pillows below & beside your elbows to help you relax your arms. Also, have them place a blanked over your babies backs to keep them warm. Tucking the blanket around your back will also help keeping your babies more securely on your chest. Dad can join in on the fun too, of course!
One last piece of advice: “Be patient with yourself. Be good to yourself. Be gentle with yourself.” This may be one of the more challenging and exhausting situation you’ll ever work through in your life. Don’t allow yourself or anybody around you to guilt you in any way, regardless of the path you choose. Your babies most and foremost need a strong mom. You may be struggling with a certain aspect of pumping or the NICU one day, and the next day you may have the most incredible moment with your babies erasing all the stress around you for a quick moment. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll do a wonderful job at handling pumping, the NICU, and eventually breastfeeding as well. But most importantly you’ll do a wonderful job being there for your sweet babies.
The world went mad this week when Beyonce showed the world how to announce twin pregnancy like an A-Lister. The Carter’s announcement photo shattered the world record for most liked Instagram image of all time, partly because it’s Beyonce, but partly because of photographer Awol Erizku’s unusual set up. People either loved it, hated it or were just generally confused by it. But one thing’s for sure, it got people talking. As I’ve mentioned before, the general public are obsessed with twins, and when we found out I had two buns in the oven, I found it very difficult not to tell everyone I saw! So how can your big reveal make twice the impact?
I never did the big Facebook reveal when I was pregnant with the Twins, I went with the full impact announcement when they were born. There was a lot going when we first found out I was pregnant… I was in a car crash, my father passed away, and then we moved house and State in the second trimester. With a loss in my past adding to my concerns, I was plagued with pregnancy paranoia, so decided to keep quiet on social media. Despite this, plenty of parents-to-be choose to spread the news in all sorts of creative ways, and I certainly love seeing the results. Here are some of my favorites:
Two Peas in a Pod
For the Mathematician
For the Comedian
For the Scientist
For the Surrogate Pregnancy
For the Poet
For the Star Wars Fan
For the Dog Lover
For the Boy/Girl Reveal
I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. And if you’re here looking for inspiration for your own twin announcement, congratulations!
We’re a few months off yet, but I can’t help browse bedroom ideas for the Twins, for when they move to their big boy room later in the year. As soon as they start climbing out of their cribs, trying to get to one another, it’s time to move to proper beds. This is sure to happen earlier than it did with their sister (the temptation of each other is too much), and it’s just a little bit terrifying. I’ve always liked the idea of keeping them together, and it’s what we planned when we bought our house at 20wks pregnant. The room they will be moving to has built in closets, so my main concern is the beds. What are the options for beds in shared rooms? I intend to find out, and start designing my big boys’ room… I am more than excited!
Beds in Shared Rooms: Bunk Beds
The obvious answer to beds in shared rooms is the classic bunk option. I had bunk/cabin beds as a kid and sleeping on the top is so much fun. It feels like your own little den!
Pros of Bunk Beds:
Sleeping on top is awesome;
You can come up with fun ways of climbing up and down;
Cons of Bunk Beds:
Sleeping on the bottom is generally considered inferior to the top… cue arguments;
Young children may not be safe up top;
Changing sheets on the top is not fun;
You’ve got to love the bunks in this Florida home finished by interior designer Andrew Howard. That slide!
Beds in Shared Rooms: Corner Junction Beds
Fitting the beds neatly into the corner is an idea I am very fond of. I like the idea of the boys’ telling each other stories at night, their heads close enough to hear a whisper but without being in direct eye contact.
This traditionally styled Belden Bedroom Set by Pottery Barn Kids is perfect. However, the $2000+ price tag (without mattresses) may be a little steep for some. Still, I love the layout and the storage drawers below, and I am confident in the quality of Pottery Barn products.
Pros of Corner Junction Beds:
Bedtime stories made easy;
The corner junction creates a handy shelf;
Everyone is close to the ground;
Cons of Corner Junction Beds:
Your room has to be deep enough for the length of the bed and the corner unit;
Is anyone else seeing that pointy corner right next to the pillows? Paranoid Mom?
If you love this look and enjoy a bit of DIY there is plenty of inspiration out there to get the power tools excited. Take a look at Ana White’s ‘Corner Hutch Plans’, it’s certainly inspiring me… I love a project!
Beds in Shared Rooms: End to End
If you’ve got the length on one wall, there’s something very sweet about end to end beds. If the Twins are getting along they can lay pillow to pillow, and when they’ve had a little sibling feud they can just swap to the other end.
Pros of End to End:
Siblings can choose to be close or not;
Everyone is close to the ground;
Cons of End to End:
Without a headboard there could be pillow breach in the middle;
Many bedrooms will not be long enough for this layout;
Beds in Shared Rooms: Interlocking
To squeeze the corner beds into a slightly smaller space, there are a number of options to interlock them. You can overlap an upper bunk, allowing the lower bed more freedom than a traditional bunk. You can also just raise up enough to create a headboard and some lower storage as shown below.
The cute decor in this room is the work of Barcelona based designer Dijous. I recommend checking them out for everything adorable.
Pros of Interlocking Beds:
Relatively space saving;
Would work at any height;
Cons of Interlocking Beds:
One bed could end up superior to the other;
Changing sheets could be awkward;
Beds in Shared Rooms: Traditional Twin Beds
Of course there’s the obvious solution of buying two twin beds and placing them on opposite sides of the room. Don’t knock it, sometimes simple is best.
Pros of Traditional Twin Beds:
Plenty of choice (no DIY required);
Feeling of ownership and privacy;
Cons of Traditional Twin Beds:
Can look like a dormitory;
Direct eye contact may not help littles to sleep;
This cabin’s traditional iron beds are just wonderful. They fit the room perfectly and I can see a long bedroom story taking place in that wicker chair.
Where to go from here…
I can’t wait to get stuck into the design of the boys room and will keep you up to date on it’s progress. Once I’ve made a decision about the layout and position of the beds, I know the rest will just fall into place. My biggest problem is the boys will likely be very young (pre 2yrs) when they move into their big boy room so safety is a major factor. I also want to make it fun, because if you can’t have fun with a kids room, where can you?
To be continued… do give me your thoughts on what I should do, I’d love the blog to help shape the boys’ new room!
I have previously mentioned that twin moms are asked a lot of questions. If you want to know the most common ones I’m regular bombarded with, catch up with ‘Questions Twin Moms are Repeatedly Asked and the Quickest Possible Response.’ (Yes it was a long title and my Search Engine Optimization tool didn’t like it but hey-ho, it hasn’t broken the internet quite yet). As an identical twin mom I get a bunch of other questions too, loosely based around how to tell twins apart. Here are the most common:
Can you tell them apart?
How do you tell them apart?
Do you think you’ve ever swapped them without realising?
How can you be sure?
I’m hoping my ramble below will satisfactorily answer these questions and more. I may then have to print pamphlets and dispense them from the stroller. I get it, identical twins are totally weird, we’re a walking freak show every time we go out in public. They are also totally adorable, and who can resist? I know I can’t.
Expectations in Pregnancy
I’ve never really known many twins before, certainly not identical ones. I did teach high school science to a pair for a while, and I’ve got to say I couldn’t tell them apart. It didn’t help that the girls carried the same backpack, had matching beehive hair buns and enjoyed testing their teachers. Still, I always presumed that their family and friends would have no trouble telling them apart, after all, they are individuals and their family will know every quirk, right?
We didn’t know if the boys were identical or not when I was pregnant, we knew it was a high possibility but with moving house I missed a couple of appointments and it turns out there’s a window for being able to tell for sure on the ultrasound. When this came up in conversation at the dog park, with the twin bump in tow, I was asked:
Do they zoom in on their faces to see if they’re identical?
The answer to this is no. It is more scientific than taking a picture of their faces and deciding if they look the same. Pretty much all babies look the same on an ultrasound – weird alien beings floating around in a black cocoon. Pretty nightmarish if you think about it too long. Doctors are in fact looking for whether Mom has grown one or two placentas. One placenta = identical twins.
How to Tell Twins Apart in the Hospital
When those little nuggets of joy arrive and it is confirmed that they are identical, you need to name your babes. But because no-one likes to rush these decisions, the hospital sticks with ‘Baby A’ and Baby B’ as they do during regular checkups.
How do doctors know which baby is which inside the womb? Baby A is the baby attached to the lower umbilical cord. The babies might move around but the cord position doesn’t.
Ours were even given hats with A and… well the pen ran out so it was ‘Baby A’ and ‘Blank’ for a while. They were also given wrist bands just to make sure. We wouldn’t want to get them mixed up on the first day now would we? With these measures in place we had nothing to worry about, although we totally confused hospital staff by calling ‘Blank’ Arthur. Yes, George wore the A hat even though his brother’s name starts with an A. I have no idea why we did that but it was too late by the time we realized.
How to Tell Twins Apart When You Come Home
Once at home we left the hospital bands on for a few days but were eventually brave enough to remove them. Don’t worry, we didn’t go totally bare, we replaced the medical grade wristbands with beige and blue wool. George had the blue wool, Arthur had the beige wool. I thought this was a fool proof plan until I found a blue piece of wool in amongst the washing one day. I frantically checked wrists with a big sigh of relief when I found Arthur was still wearing his.
At our two week check up with the doc we were warned that because the boys were extremely identical (they measured and weighed the same to the oz at this point), we should be taking careful measures to identify them. He told me a story of a poor mom that had made an appointment in tears a few weeks after her babies were born, because she was hoping doctors could help her identify them. He said the emotional distress for a mom, in mixing her babies up, can be very traumatic. What do you do? Eeny Meeny Miny Moe and then just stick with it from then on out?
At this point I remember the wool incident and decide to take the doctor’s advice to paint George’s toenail. He’s man enough to pull off a single scarlet toe. He wore the paint until he was 6 months old, by which point there was no way I was going to get them mixed up. No-one else could tell them apart (even Dad struggled for a while) but I could, and I almost believe I always could.
I have been putting together my annual photo book this week and have been sifting through last year’s photos. Unfortunately I’ve come across a problem. Although in person I have no doubt who is who, photos are a different story. When people ask me how I tell them apart, I usually say George has a slight birthmark on his cheek, or Arthur is the tiniest but slimmer in the face. In reality I don’t look at any of those things, I can just see them. It’s a personality thing, the soul if you like. They have slightly different mannerisms, a different look in their eye. They hold their mouth slightly differently when they squeal. None of which can be seen in a photo.
I have always dressed my boys in their own clothes. I love to coordinate their outfits but I never switch them – George has the blue hoody, Arthur the grey, and that doesn’t change. And thank goodness I have always done this because the only way I know who is who in this photo is that George wore the blue romper:
It is strange looking back on old photos because I think I’m seeing what other people see. Two identical babies.
I really don’t think I can remember outfit combos for more than a year at a time, so I’m going to have to keep up to date with my photo albums otherwise my past-babies are going to get all in a jumble. I bought the boys new clothes this week, adorable Batman and Superman t-shirts, and whenever I go shopping I have to decide who gets which outfit. As they have been Batman and Superman before, I thought it best to stick to the same superhero identity so as not to cloud my memory. So, from here on out, George will be Batman and Arthur will be Superman. Play nice now boys…
I hope I’ve answered all your questions about how to tell twins apart, do let me know if I’ve missed something!
As I previously mentioned in ‘Toys for Twin Toddlers‘, my boys’ first birthday brought with it a sudden surge of squabbling. Unfortunately it hasn’t improved, and we have a major case of twins behaving badly. They’re adorable when they play together, giggle and cuddle each other, but they’re pretty infuriating when they fight over everything in sight, including Mommy cuddles. So… what’s happening, is it to be expected, and will it ever end?
Twins Behaving Badly: High Chair Theft
The double trouble pretty much started when they started feeding themselves. The temptation to snatch a little snack from your brothers high chair is just too much. The grass is always greener, and you’ll be sure his mac n cheese tastes better than yours. Drinks too, why bang one cup on your chair when you can grab your brothers sippy cup and have a full percussion kit? To start with there was little reaction from the inflicted twin, but as time went on they soon realized this is pretty annoying, especially when you want two cups to play with yourself.
Things have got progressively worse, and I even caught George stealing Arthur’s ham to feed to the dog below him last week. Naughty George, although quite genius – you wouldn’t want to waste your own ham on the dog now would you? Obviously this is easily remedied by increasing the distance between their high chairs, although Arthur has mastered the high chair shuffle which really is quite a talent.
And it’s not just high chair theft we’re dealing with either, I Tweeted this a couple of months a go…
Yes, poor George thought his brother was coming in for a kiss, when in fact he was after the cracker hanging out of his mouth at snack time. I now see why George wanted to feed Arthur’s ham to the dog.
Twins Behaving Badly: The Airplane
Despite the success of their shared toys, there is still always something to fight over. Santa made the grave mistake of thinking the Little People airplane was of equal stature to the Little People tractor and trailer. I assure you it is not. Everyday we have tug-of-war over the darn airplane, good job Santa. They will fight over the plane until one gives up and cries, only so they can press the pilot’s chair which plays the exact same tune as the farmer’s chair on the tractor… I’m happy they’re both aspiring pilots though, does that mean I’ll get free upgrades?
Twins Behaving Badly: Just Outright Territorial
The TV seems to be a hot spot for the Twins behaving badly. Despite the 40″ screen it seems there is only space for one of them to stand immediately in front of it at the TV stand. One will barge the other out of the way with an impressively tough butt smack, knocking their brother to the ground in a snotty pool of tears.
Then there’s Mom and Dad, the best prizes of all. When Arthur comes for a cuddle he will glance around to get his brother’s attention, just so he can pass him a smug grin… “Look, Mommy is cuddling me and not you.” Of course this is retaliated with the immediate requirement for a double cuddle, just darling you might think. And yes, there’s a moment when you have two adorable bundles in your arms, a head on each shoulder. Living the twin mom dream.
But it quickly gets competitive. Who can get closer to Mommy’s face? Who can climb higher onto her shoulder and get more direct body contact? It seems winning this Contest of Mom Hugs depends on three things:
Maximum height reached while climbing Mom;
Amount of eye contact with Mom;
Surface area of baby body making direct Mom contact;
Because it is impossible to take a photo during a Contest of Mom hugs I have constructed a diagram to help.
As you can see, at this point I can still see out of one eye, but soon the second baby will catch up and it will just be a big bundle of competitive face hugging.
Twin Escalation Syndrome: It has an Actual Name
“Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES) is the tendency for multiples to intensify and expand their behaviors in reaction to each other. For example, when Twin A cries, Twin B cries louder. In turn, Twin A cries even louder. And so on… Until the parent are crying the loudest of all.” (Pamela Brindle Fierro, verywell.com)
Yep, that pretty much sums it up Pamela, who goes on to say it’s ‘incurable”… sigh.
But, all is not doom and gloom, Pamela does offer sensible suggestions on how to control TES:
Separation. Now I’m sure no-one is suggesting this as a permanent measure, but I did find it necessary on occasions when Arthur’s screaming was so loud it used to make George cry. More on that here in ‘A New Challenge Every Month‘.
Distraction. We find the ‘high five’ works well at the moment. And if all else fails there’s always Cheerios.
Reduce Competition. Hmm… this is a tough one. It’s not like I’m sat there saying “look, George is covering more of my face that you are.” I can see when they’re older I can explain it is time for George’s cuddle, and time of Arthur’s cuddle, but for now I think I’m just going to have to deal with the face scramble and referee where possible.
Remain Calm. Well, yes, wouldn’t that be nice.
If there’s no cure… Will it ever end?
I’m pretty sure the answer here is no. Twins are inherently competitive, even though it is common for one to be dominant over the other. The identical twin NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly claim there is no competitiveness between them, however in interview with Time magazine…
“Scott flew first,” Mark says,
“but I flew twice before he got his second flight. Then I flew my third before he did.”
(Interview with Jeffrey Kluger, Time)
Come on boys, you’re both grown men and successful astronauts, time to stop fighting over the Little People airplane.
Bon’t worry, I can’t leave without some twin cuteness…
Despite all the whining and fighting, the Twins do absolutely adore each other’s company and make the best play companions (when food, the plane, TV or Mom are not involved). Even the dog agrees…
Have you got competitive twins or siblings? If so, do share!
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.
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.
Georgioand 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.
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.
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 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.
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…
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.
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?
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…
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).
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)?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.