Entries tagged with “motherhood”.
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Sun 8 May 2011
Posted by KathrynWhiteley under Twin Life
My Mother Kept a Garden
My mother kept a garden,
A garden of the heart.
She planted all the good things
That gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine
And encouraged me to dream,
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem…
And when the winds and rain came,
She protected me enough~
But not too much because she knew
I’d need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example
Always taught me right from wrong~
Markers for my pathway
That will last a lifetime long.
I am my Mother’s garden.
I am her legacy~
And I hope today she feels the love
Reflected back from me
Wed 9 Dec 2009
Bed rest in a multiples pregnancy is very common. Don’t be alarmed.
When you are on bed rest, it is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions. You’ll want to do everything possible to keep those babies in utero as long as possible.
In most cases, your doctor will want you to stop many “normal, everyday” activities. Some things you’ll want to ask about:
- Picking up older children
- Shower (or Bath)
- Sitting upright
- Light Chores
- Sexual Intercourse
Make “Bed Rest Buddies”
After gaining an understanding from your doctor about what you can or should not do, you’ll want to connect with other multiples moms also on bed rest. There are some great website communities for women on bed rest. A fantastic resource is sidelines.org. Connecting with others on bed rest can be an emotional lifesaver. Also, often times these bed rest buddies develop into lasting friendships as you and your pals raise your multiples.
Prepare for Bed rest
Set up a bed rest station in your main living area. Some things you’ll want within arms reach:
- laptop with internet connection
- water and other drinks
- pencil / paper
- books and magazines
- TV remotes
What else can you do?
- Reconnect with friends
- Get Ready for Babies (Pick names, update your financial records – wills, etc.)
- Read Parenting Books
- Craft Projects
- Work (discuss with your employer options for working from home using your laptop or a telephone)
Being on bed rest can be challenging, but it can also be fun. Like many things in life — it is what you make of it. So take a sunny approach and see what you can get accomplished.
Copyright 2009 Kathryn Whiteley — TwinParenthood.com
Thu 29 Oct 2009
As with singletons, it is normal for twins, triplets or more to go through phases where they are frightened of the dark, or wake up in the night upset, crying, afraid, or in “need” of something from you. But since it is often associated with developmental stages, it can be more difficult for parents of multiples because often times more than one child is struggling in the night at the same time. Sometimes one upset child will wake up another, making things more difficult and complicated to resolve.
Babies and toddlers understand our words more than we think sometimes. Talking about it always helps. Several things helped in our house:
- There is a great book, titled “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell.
It’s about baby owls that awaken in the night and their mother is gone. They worry about what will happen to her and then her return reassures them. You can read the book (over and over and over and over) and talk about how it is normal for mommies (and daddies) to not be there when they wake up in the night.
- The “wake up light”. This is a light that comes on when it is time to get up in the morning. You hook up a night-light on a timer. When it is sleep time, the light is OFF… when it is okay to get up, the light comes on. How does this help? In the middle of the night, when they awaken and cry, you can come into their room.. point at the light and say in a reassuring voice, “the wake up light is not on, time for sleep”. Details on how to implement this system are available in our article, “The wake up light system helps to solve many sleep issues.”
- The bedtime talk. At bedtime, we always talk about what to do if they wake up in the night. “Think about why you woke up… are you cold? pull up the blankets (practice)… are you hot? take off a blanket (practice)… do you wonder if it is morning yet? check the wake up light (practice – point to the light)… snuggle into your bed, close your eyes, snuggle up with lovey, etc.” Although this conversation is about what happens in the middle of the night, it is reassuring and helps with the bedtime routine, too. Have this conversation every night — for months.
- Twin-to-twin comfort. Are the beds close together? Can the kids touch each other? After the three above things were in place, one night we said, “Tonight we’re going to go out and you’re going to go to sleep with your lovey. Reach over and hold hands with sister / brother. Isn’t that nice? You’ll be together just like the owl babies!”
- Consistent bedtime routine. Every night we’d use the exact same words as the last things we’d say when leaving the room. This routine was reassuring… they knew what was going to happen: mom and dad would go out and not come back until the morning — when the wake up light comes on. Be sure you are there when the morning light comes on. Say something like “Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you, see you when the wake up light comes on!” all very sing-song. And then, don’t get pulled back in. Make sure you have done EVERYTHING before you say these words. If you go back, it undermines the routine and they learn “delays” as they get older… “wait! I need a drink!”… “wait! I need a kiss!” Decide what things you will do for them each night. Then make sure you do all of them… try to do it in the same order each night. If you decide you are going to add something to the routine, add it at the beginning — not as the last thing. Adding it at the front end keeps the rhythm and shouldn’t trigger the idea that more things can be added at the end.
I hope these ideas spark some ideas that might help at your house. What else has worked for you? Please leave a comment — help out another struggling parent.~
Copyright 2009 – TwinParenthood.com / Kathryn Whiteley
* I was not compensated for the mention of this book. It is a personal recommendation only.
Wed 7 Oct 2009
Membership in a twins (or multiples) support group connects you to terrific resources for both new and seasoned multiples parents.
Learning you are having twins, triplets, or more is very exciting, yet overwhelming news. You quickly realize that you have a lot to do to prepare, and yet, you don’t know where to begin. For others, they’ve been in the trenches a while, but feel the isolation that sometimes comes with the day in and day out care of young multiples. That is where a twins / multiples support group shines.
Top 10 Reasons to Join a Twins / Multiples Support Group
- Information. For most twins clubs, their primary mission is to educate their members. This is the place to come to learn what you need to do to care for twins, triplets, or more, of all ages.
- Understanding. No one can relate to the challenges of having multiples like another family who has “been there done that.”
- Connections. Having multiples is sometimes isolating. Parents of multiples often have their heads down, grinding it out, for at least the first six months. A multiples group can go a long ways to relieving that feeling of isolation.
- Web Resources. Many twin clubs have vibrant online communities. This allows parents to take part with others in all seasons of twin parenthood (some who have been there done that… some who are currently struggling in the first few months).
- Consignment Sale. Often twins groups feature a consignment sale or clothing exchange. These are especially helpful when making your first investment in equipment for raising your multiples. After you’ve moved on, you can select those items in good working condition, clean them up, and pass them along to another family.
- Playdates. Twins clubs often feature age related playgroups. These are great for the kids, but are fabulous for the moms (and dads) — to begin making those connections with other multiples families.
- Member Meetings. Twins groups offer monthly support meetings, where you can interact with other members, and which often feature guest speakers on topics pulled from the struggles of raising twins.
- Direct Support. Many twins groups have multi layered direct support programs — such as:
- Meals provided for new families or those in crisis.
- A “Preemie Closet” — loans of preemie sized clothing so that parents do not need to run out and buy these tiny clothes that are used for such a short time until these tiny babies grow into a normal newborn size.
- Mentoring Program — experienced multiples parents paired up with new multiples parents.
- Events. Twins clubs have great events — where those attending know what it is like, and people are ready to give a helping hand. Moms know that it is difficult to watch all the kids at once, so everyone watches out for each other’s kids:
- Moms’ Activities: book club, get acquainted tea, holiday dinner, mom’s night out
- Dad’s Activities: poker night, sports, dad’s night out
- Family Activities: picnics, parties (harvest, holiday, spring egg hunt, etc.), camping, social events for school aged kids
Twins Club Event - Family Hike
- Lending Libraries. Typically, a twins / multiples support group has a lending library of books on raising multiples. Often, volunteers bring the books to monthly support meetings where parents can browse the titles and bring something home — without making an extra trip to the bookstore.
Joining a twins / multiples group is a no-brainer. Cost is usually very reasonable for a full years worth of activities and support. You can choose where and when you will take part. As with anything, the more active you are — the more benefits you will receive in the form of friendships and support. What’s holding you back? The time to join is now (especially if you’ve just learned you are expecting).
There are great resources online to find a local twins / multiples club in your area, such as the National Organization of Mothers of Multiples (NOMOTC.org). Or, just begin a search for “twins club” or “moms of multiples”.
Mon 28 Sep 2009
Posted by KathrynWhiteley under Twin Life
Imagination games boost intelligence
Playing imagination games with your twins, triplets, or more, is one of many things you can do to help boost your children’s intelligence. And let’s face it, they LOVE it when their parents engage in this kind of play with them.
But playing with miniature plastic people or stuffed animals can get tedious for a parent at times. That is when it is up to you to introduce some imagination games that you find more interesting. These kinds of games can be played in the car to help pass the time, and are great dinner conversation.
At our house, one of our favorite imagination games is “super powers”. It often comes up at dinnertime. We all take turns imagining life with our very own super power. Of course, we each get to choose what super power we’d have.
If you’re a little bit older (like me), you might remember the Gilligan’s Island episode, “Pass the Vegetables, Please”, where the Skipper and Gilligan are fishing and reel in a crate of radio active seeds. When the castaways ate the food produced from the seeds, they all gained super powers. Gilligan became very strong (spinach), Lovey went very fast (sugar beets), and Mary Ann gained super sight (carrots). My husband told the family a story based on this show. We were castaways and discovered radio active seeds.
When we started this game, I chose things you would typically think of in the super power category. My two favorites have been: “invisibility”, and “time travel”. It has been fun to imagine all the things you would do with those powers. Some of the kids’ favorites include: telekenesis, super strength, ability to fly, seeing through walls, super hearing, and running super fast.
But over time I started to imagine what it would be like to have a super power that would change my every day life. I began to want a super power I could have that would be a secret, but would transform my whole existence: the ability to touch an object and restore it to original condition — 100% new, 100% clean.
Can you imagine?After dinner, you simply pick up the dishes off the dinner table and put them back into the cupboard. Same with the pots and pans. What a time-saver this super power would be! Think of all the time I would free up to be there for my family!
While I’m dreaming, here are some of the ways my life would be changed:
- The car — think of it. No french fries under the seat, no cracker crumbs, no finger prints on the windows. The tires would be new, as would be the engine.
- The laundry. Simply take the clothes out of the hamper, fold them, and put them away.
- The carpet. No more vacuuming, and your carpet looks brand new. The couch is now in a normal place in the room instead of off to the side to hide the big stain from your child’s latest mishap.
- The walls. No dirt, fingerprints, chipped paint. It looks like you just painted it!
- The bathroom. Need I say more?
- Toys and Books. Nothing broken, chipped, torn, faded, smelly, stained, or ripped.
- The house. A new roof, new paint job, new windows — anytime you want!
Since I’m human, I soon became disillusioned with my super power. I mean, it just wasn’t good enough. I needed to add the ability to “update” anything I touched. Clean and new and 100% restored to original condition just wouldn’t cut it. Who wants to look like they chose to buy at a lime green refrigerator? or clothes made in 1985? So, I added “updatabilty” to my super powers and once again my imagination soared.
But, as with all imagination games, it must come to an end. The bubble is always burst when I walk into my real kitchen to see the dirty dishes in the sink, the pile of old newspapers on the counter, and then discover a new stain on my living room carpet. And I realize that my choice is to live in a messy and sometimes dirty home — because I do want to be there for my family. Clean, and new is nice — but it’s nothing to playing imagination games with my kids.
But oh, to dream, if only for a moment. What is your super power dream?
Copyright 2009 – twinParenthood.com / Kathryn Whiteley
Mon 15 Jun 2009
Saint Bev. That’s what my mother-in-law used to call my mom. She saved us. She gave of herself so unselfishly in those first few months. And she still does — at age 80, she still comes to be with us and help for a few hours a couple of days a week. She is amazing.
But not everyone can have a Saint Bev. In fact, many expectant parents of twins, triplets, or even higher order multiples don’t have a support system in place and don’t realize how much they’ll need one.
That’s where you come in. You don’t have to be a Saint Bev, but you can choose a twin baby shower gift that will contribute to a support system that can save the sanity of new twin parents. And you can still give something darling, soft, and cuddly that they’ll use everyday, too.
Whether you’re throwing the twin baby shower, attending, or are the guest of honor, bringing forward these ideas can make for a twin baby shower that sends the parents-to-be off with some concrete ways they’ll be receiving direct help for facing one of the most difficult seasons of their life.
The Diaper Party. Diaper parties have been around for twin showers for a while. At this shower, every attendee brings a case of newborn diapers. As a fun activity, one of the cases is opened, and attendees write inspiring and supportive messages to mom on the diapers using rainbow colored permanent markers. When mom changes a diaper, she gets an instant (virtual) hug. Make your own “diaper” cake to add to your shower’s theme. (Note: you don’t EAT a diaper cake… they’re made out of diapers!) Some of these are a real work of art!
Twin Help Signups. Create signup sheets for bringing meals, running errands (e.g. groceries), and for being a mother of multiple’s helper.
There are many great online tools available to make signing up to help easy. On Carecalendar.org, a coordinator inputs needs on a calendar, and guests can sign up for tasks and shifts that work for their schedule. If you create one, have a laptop at the shower so guests can signup on the spot. Still, old fashioned pen and paper work just fine.
Guests can signup to bring meals for several weeks after the babies are born. These signup slots should be no more frequent than every other day – as you don’t want the family inundated with leftovers.
Mother’s helper signups are particularly useful after the first couple of weeks. Often times, family and close friends come to help in the first few weeks, and something is needed to fill the gap when initial help drops off. Some don’t have family nearby, so you will want to plan the signups according to the need for this particular twin family. Usually, you can begin scheduling these helper shifts based on the twins’ due date. Since twins are usually early, the timing often works out just right. These can be scheduled out for several months with some guests wanting a regular weekly shift.
If you’re not able to participate in a group signup, make your own coupons to give to mom-to-be, detailing what help you can give (babysitting, errands, mother’s helper, household chores, etc.).
Families of Multiples are in real need of real help. Helpers need to keep in mind that this is not a time to just visit and hold a baby or change a diaper (or two!). It is helpful if the family has a list of tasks that can be performed. And most often, what mom really needs is a nap. Encourage her to do so, but don’t push too hard. She needs to know that you are willing to do what she most wants to get accomplished. If she doesn’t have a list, you can offer to do the dishes, run the vacuum, or even clean a bathroom.
|Do: Tell her you’re there to work
||Don’t: Visit too long with mom
|Do: Jump right in
||Don’t: Hang around waiting to be asked to help. Mom might seem as though she just wants to visit, but might just feel uncomfortable in ending the conversation.
|Do: Encourage mom to take a nap
||Don’t: Push too hard for mom to nap. Encourage gently then let it go if she resists. She may take you up on the offer on subsequent visits after she feels more comfortable, so keep offering.
|Do: Offer to do a specific household chore:
– clean the bathroom
– mop the floor
– take out the garbage
– empty/fill the dishwasher
– wash bottles
|Don’t: Expect mom to direct you to what needs to be done. The new mother may not feel comfortable asking you to do chores like cleaning her bathroom, when that’s really what she needs to have done.
|Do: Ask mom if you can create a list of chores she most needs accomplished, so the next helper coming in will know what to do.
||Don’t: Gossip to friends about the frazzled state of affairs at the twins house.
Darling, soft, and cuddly, too. Dillyhearts product review. While giving help to mom is most frequently cited as the “best shower gift” by parents of multiples, we all like to give and receive something darling, soft and cuddly, too. My personal favorites are handmade by dillyhearts. “Personalized super-soft cuddle blankets are a popular twins gift”, says Vickie Erlandsen, mompreneur of Dillyhearts, delightful gifts for babies on the go. “I’ve found that most of my customers prefer to order fun color combos that compliment each other, but are not necessarily an identical match.”
With so many options available, it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind twins gift set that is ideal for mom-to-be, and will be a huge hit at the baby shower.
Dillyhearts’ personalized minkee toddler pillows have also become a top-selling twins gift. “After participating in celebrity twins First Birthday Gift Baskets for Patrick Dempsey’s boys and Marcia Cross’ girls last year, requests for double-pillow orders started rolling in,” Vickie says. “They’ve become by far my best seller.
Although intended for ages 2 and up, toddler pillow sets also make a fabulous baby shower gift since they can be used by mom as comfy nursing pillows, and are adorable additions to nursery decor until the babies transition safely from crib to toddler bed.”
Other hot sellers for twins are themed bib duos and themed bib & burp sets. To give a twins gift with impact, get creative! What style is the mom-to-be?
– Is she a modern rock ‘n roll mama?
– A trendy mom with funky retro taste?
– An active mom with a passion for baseball?
Find out the little details and your selection will not only stand out among the sea of generic baby gifts, but will be extra-meaningful for the mom-to-be.
Check out all the fun and unique hand-made gifts at www.dillyhearts.com.