Happy New Year! As the year draws to a close, it is important for Twin Families to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year. Use our list to inspire your own family questions, or print it out and cut into pieces to put into a hat for each family member to draw out and answer aloud. Or, maybe you want to just think about it over the upcoming days. However you choose to reflect this New Year’s Holiday, just do it.
What is the single BEST thing that happened in the past year?
What is the most Challenging thing that happened in the past year?
What is your biggest Learn from the past year?
What Milestones were achieved?
What is the Kindest thing you did in the past year?
How can you positively impact someone’s life this upcoming year?
What is the One Thing you can change that will make a BIG change in your attitude?
What will you do this year, this is for *you*?
What are 3 traits that you cherish, about each member of your family?
How can you ensure you will spend quality time with each family member this year?
Hopefully this list inspires you to reflect and discuss among your family this New Year. What are some questions you reflect upon at this time?
Whether you are buying gifts for twins or super-twins (triplets, or higher order multiples) or buying gifts to be given from twins to someone else, questions abound about twins and gifting. Parents of twins pretty quickly determine their own twin gifting philosophy, and it is often times those that are not in the immediate family that struggle with what to do. Those outside the family should not be shy about asking the parents for advice to understand the family’s general twin gifting philosophy.
Gifts for twins
Many questions arise when buying gifts for twins.
How can we make sure it is fair?
How can we make sure they don’t fight over the gifts?
My child is friends with only one of the twins, are we expected to give gifts to both children?
Same / Same
Probably the easiest (and most common) philosophy when buying gifts for twins is to simply buy the exact same gift for each twin. This philosophy minimizes the fighting over the object as well as minimizing the comparison in value between different gifts. On the downside, buying 2 (or more) of the same thing sometimes feels wasteful. Gift givers often find themselves asking, “if we bought different gifts and they shared, they would get twice as many things.”
A variation on this philosophy is to buy two of the same thing in a slightly different pattern, color, or style. Twin parents often associate a specific color with each twin when they are young, and not surprisingly, these colors often evolve into the child’s favorite color as they get a little bit older.
Many twin parents feel very strongly that, as individuals, twins should be given individual gifts. This philosophy supports the individualism of twins and holds that each child should be treated separately — as they would be if they were born on different days.
Often the gift givers strive to ensure the gifts are of the same perceived value. This can provide more variety, and, if the twins are good at sharing, can double the number of unique gifts received by the twins. The critical point here is that “same perceived value” part. As can be expected, different gifts, even when the exact same dollar amount in purchase, can sometimes be perceived to be of different value by the receivers.
One Big Gift to Share
The third philosophy is to buy one larger gift that the children will share. This allows the buyer to pool the money they would have spent on individual gifts to buy a gift that might have been out of their price range had then been buying separate gifts. This method works really well for kids that share really well.
A Gift for just One
A very common question among those invited to a twins party is asked when the child invited is friends with just one of the twins. Is that child expected to buy a gift for both twins? Again, there is no “right” answer. But many parents of twins will say, “no”. You are not expected to buy a gift for both twins, when your child is a friend of only one of the twins. Understandably, it gets a bit stickier when your child is a good friend of one of the twins and more of a casual friend with the other. Each family will have to decide how they want to handle this. Just remember, there isn’t a “right” answer or expected norm. So, whatever you decide to do, you won’t be breaking the unwritten “twin code”.
Gifts from Twins
If you are a parent of twins (triplets, or more), and are buying gifts to be given from your twins to another child, many of the same questions exist, but in reverse. Should I buy one large give from both of my twins? or smaller individual gifts from each twin? Again, parents tend to choose the philosophy with which they are most comfortable. Interestingly, many parents feel very strongly about their particular philosophy, although clearly this is a matter of opinion and we hope by laying out the options we can help you weigh the considerations to make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Two Individual Gifts
Supporting the individualism of the twins, often twin parents feel it is important for their twins to each give their own gift. Another aspect of this philosophy holds that every other child invited to the party will be bringing their own gifts, and it should be no different for twins.
One Big Gift
Twin parents sometimes enjoy pooling the money they would have spent on buying individual gifts for each of their twins to give, into a more expensive item than they would have otherwise been able to afford to give. Along with this method, parents sometimes will have their twins each pick out small accessory items to go with the main item — so that they can feel more connected to the gift.
In addition to questions about how many gifts — there are many questions around invitations to parties for twins, and from twins. But that is a subject for another day.
Hopefully you weren’t expecting us to tell you the right thing to do — you’ll have to make up your own mind about that. In all the years of fielding questions from parents of twins and from those without twins, we have heard many opinions — and there doesn’t really seem to be an overall consensus about what is the “right” way to do it. You’re on your own on that one.
So… please leave us a comment to let us know your philosophy about gift giving and twins. What is your “right” way?
It’s nearly every parent’s fear that they’ll deliver on the side of the road — and as with many thing “multiple”, when you’re having twins, triplets, (or even more) — that fear can be multiplied.
Utah Highway Patrol sergeant Cade Brenchley is a father of four and called on his own experience in the delivery room as well as training he received as part of his job. When Seargeant Brenchley arrived, one baby had already been delivered — but he was just in time to help with baby #2.
“The mother was a real trooper — for lack of a better word — for holding on to this baby and then getting ready to have the second one,” Brenchley said.
After delivery of the second twin, Brenchley says, “Good job, mom.”
We all suspected we were seeing more twins, and now a new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) confirms it. The CDC says that the rate of twin births in the United States continues to rise. Twin rates had been stable at about 2% of births from about 1915 through the 1970′s. But beginning in the early 80′s, the rate began to rise.
One in every 30 infants born in 2009 was a twin.
The number of twin births more than doubled from 1980 through 2009, rising from 68,339 to more than 137,000 births in each year from 2006 to 2009. In 1980, 1 in every 53 babies born in the United States was a twin, compared with 1 in every 30 births in 2009.
Twinning rates rose by more than 200 percent among women aged 40 and over.
Twin birth rates increased for women of all ages over the three decades, with the largest increases among women aged 30 and over. From 1980 to 2009, rates increased 76 percent for women aged 30–34, nearly 100 percent for women aged 35–39, and more than 200 percent for women aged 40 and over.
In 2009, 7 percent of all births to women aged 40 and over were born in a twin delivery compared with 5 percent of births to women aged 35–39, and 2 percent of births to women under age 25.
Health Implications of Twins
While twin parents everywhere rejoice in their happy but difficult circumstances, the increased rate of twin births does have implications for the health of the mother and the babies. The rise in the rate of twins, which comprise the majority of multiples (96 percent in 2009), has had an unfavorable impact on key indicators of perinatal health such as rates of preterm birth and low birthweight.
Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK. Three decades of twin births in the United States, 1980–2009. NCHS data brief, no 80. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
When you’re having twins, it’s always fun to speculate about them being born on separate days. And if your due date is anywhere near the last day of the year or shortly after, it can be even more fun to imagine your twins being born in separate years. And that is exactly happened this past New Year for not one, not two, not three, but for at least four US families.
Twins Ronan and Rory Rosputni were born in Buffalo, NY at 11:37 p.m. Dec 31, 2011 and 12:10 a.m. on January 1, 2012, according to the Buffalonews.com. Hundreds of miles away in Minnesota, Beckett Humenny (New Year’s Eve — 6:40 p.m.) and sister Freya (New Year’s Day 12:26 a.m.) were welcomed to the world in separate years as well, as detailed by the StarTribune.com. In South Dakota, Kylee and John Jr. Anthony were born at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, and at 12:03 a.m. Sunday as report by Azcentral.com. But not to be outdone, TBO.comreports that Leah and Jenna Bear hold the honors for first baby of 2012 and last baby of 2011 in Hillsborough County (Tampa), Florida.
At least one of the families speculated about how they would celebrate birthdays and suggested that they will have one combined birthday for their twins. That is a fantastic idea when they are very little — but when twins are born on separate days, parents should consider having separate celebrations as their twins get older. When little, combining the celebration is far easier for parents and little ones are happy to celebrate together. But as they grow older, twins often struggle to be recognized independently of their twin and celebrating a separate birthday, especially when they actually fall on separate days — or years — can go a long way to build that recognition.
The TwinParenthood family would like to congratulate all of these special twin families, and we wish them all the best for a fantastic 2012! Happy New Year!
All pregnant women should be aware of the dangers of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). TTTS is a complication of disproportionate blood supply to twin fetuses during pregnancy. It is critical that all women have an early ultrasound to identify if they are having multiples.
World TTTS Awareness Day is an international mobilization effort created by The Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation to increase awareness of the #1 problem facing multiples. It is crucial for women to get an ultrasound in the first trimester to identify multiples and then to determine whether there is one placenta or two. Women must learn the warning signs of TTTS, the 15 questions to ask at each ultrasound, and the available treatment options. World TTTS Awareness Day is about empowering parents and is filled with messages of Hope, Help and Encouragement. Your babies can make it and be healthy. Don’t ever give up. Please, Get Educated, Get Ultrasounds, Ask Questions, Get Treatment and Get Involved! This day is also a remembrance day for all the babies who have had TTTS. Candles will be lit tonight across the world during the vigil and messages may also be left for your babies through lighting online candles. Please visit their websites to learn more about TTTS.
What is Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome?
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta (or afterbirth) that affects identical twin pregnancies.
TTTS affects identical twins (or higher multiple gestations), who share a common monochorionic placenta.
The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins.
The common placenta may also be shared unequally by the twins, and one twin may have a share too small to provide the necessary nutrients to grow normally or even survive.
The events in pregnancy that lead to TTTS – the timing of the twinning event, the number and type of connecting vessels, and the way the placenta is shared by the twins are all random events that have no primary prevention, is not hereditary or genetic, nor is it caused by anything the parents did or did not do. TTTS can happen to anyone.
If you are pregnant, what should you do?
If you are pregnant, it is critical that you get an ultrasound within the first 3 months. With this ultrasound, you can determine if you are having twins, triplets, or even higher order multiples. As early as 7 weeks of pregnancy, it can be determined if you are having multiples. If the placenta is monochorionic, or single, your pregnancy is at risk for TTTS.
Once you have identified that you are having twins or higher order multiples, it is imortant that you ask questions at each ultrasound. For multiples, ultrasounds should be performed more frequently than in singleton and lower risk pregnancies. Listed below are the TTTS Foundation’s 15 Most Important Questions to ask at each ultrasound.
Confirm at initial ultrasounds (preferably by 10-16 weeks)
Is the placenta monochorionic?
Are the babies the same gender?
Can you see the dividing membrane?
Is the placenta implanted on the anterior or posterior surface of the womb?
Do the twins’ umbilical cords each have the normal 3 blood vessels, or does one of them have 2 vessels?
Are the umbilical cords fully attached to the placenta?
Questions to ask at weekly ultrasounds (16 weeks to delivery)
What is the largest vertical pocket of fluid for each baby?
Can you see the bladder of the donor baby?
What are the weights of the babies in grams? (every 2-3 weeks)
Are the dopplers normal for both babies?
Is the heart of the recipient baby enlarged or thickened?
Does the recipient baby have hydrops?
What is the measurement of your cervix, is it long and closed or thinning or dilated?
PLEASE, get an early ultrasound to determine if you are carrying multiples. If you are pregnant with twins or higher order multiples, PLEASE ask the questions provided by the TTTS Foundation. It could save your babies’ lives. If you are diagnosed with TTTS, or would like more information, please contact the TTTS Foundation for help, information, and support.
Increasing your protein intake is critically important if you are pregnant with twins.
Why Increase Protein intake in your Twin Pregnancy?
Increase your chances of carrying to term
Increase your babies’ birth weight
How much protein do you really need if you are expecting twins?
While recommendations for protein intake for singleton pregnancies are right around 80 grams per day, protein intake recommendations for twin pregnancy are much higher. Upwards of 130 grams of protein per day is recommended for moms expecting twins, with some researchers recommending more than 170 grams of protein per day for your twin pregnancy. Beware, out-dated information is still floating around with much lower twin pregnancy protein recommendations. It is best to check with your doctor for the most current recommendations. If your doctor recommends less, be sure to dig deeper to understand the recommendation.
Why so much?
Preterm and/or low birth weight babies are much more likely to have health problems at birth resulting in the need to spend time in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit).
Researchers have found that there is a direct correlation between protein intake and weight at birth. Low protein intake typically results in low birth weight. For singletons, each 10 gram increase in daily protein intake by mom correlates to 1/2 pound increase in baby’s birth weight.
What birth weight is considered to be “low”?
According to the March of Dimes, babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) are considered to be low birth weight. These babies are at increased risk for serious health problems as newborns, lasting disabilities and even death.
What are some good sources of protein?
Lean meats such as Turkey, Chicken (skinned), Pork, and Lean Beef are a great source at an average 7 grams per ounce
Nuts/Seeds including peanut butter at 4-5 grams per tablespoon; Sunflower Seeds 6 grams 1/4 cup; Pumpkin Seeds 8 grams 1/4 cup
Fish 6 – 10 grams per oz — but don’t overdo tuna as it contains mercury
Eggs 1 large = 6 grams
Beans 7 – 10 grams per 1/2 cup / Soy 14 grams 1/2 cup / Tofu 1/2 cup = 20 grams
Any steps you can take to increase your protein intake during your twin pregnancy will pay off — in bigger babies. So go ahead and have another serving of milk or that extra piece of cheese — you’ll enjoy it, your babies will benefit, and so will you!
Superstar Celebs Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon talk candidly about their life with twins with Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20 this Friday, October 21, 2011. The babies have been pretty much kept from public view since their birth on April 30th — until now that is. Expect to see the girl/boy twins Monroe & Moroccan, and hear details of Mariah’s pregnancy, their marriage, and more.
The words Twin-Tuition might make you think ahead to college — but that’s not the subject of tonight’s show on ABC’s Nightline.
ABC’s Nightline is starting a new 5 week series called, “Beyond Belief”, which begins airing Wednesday, June 22 at 10:00pm ET/PT and continues on the four subsequent Wednesdays.
The subject tonight is “‘Twin-tuition,’ the special connection between twins that allows some siblings to share a language, know what the other is thinking, or share physical sensations across distances.”
What do you think? Can twins communicate through a mental connection — even across distances?