Finding the right stroller for twins

Somebody recently asked me how I had chosen and bought our twin stroller and it made me rethink all the things that have lead to our decision. Twin strollers come in 3 different types: with seats next to each other, with seats behind each other or with seats ‘on top’ of each other. You can choose them in many price categories, the cheaper ones starts around 100 euro, the most expensive one probably is the bugaboo donkey twin (around 1700 euro).

How to choose the stroller that suits your needs the best? These are the things that we took into account:

  • Size. Will it fit through your door? (some are too wide so measure the smallest door in your house that it needs to go through) Will it fit in the building elevator? (strollers can be too wide and too long!) Will it fit in the boot of your car when folded?
  • Where do you use it? Do you take public transport a lot? Then make sure you pick a model that fits in the tram/bus/metro. You can easily check this with other twin mums in your city to see what they use (social media is a great source for this). Do you travel a lot by car with the kids (on your own)? Then make sure you look at how easily the stroller is folded and if you can actually lift it yourself.
  • Where will you use it most? Now think about where you intend to walk to with your twins. Brussels has a lot of of cobblestones and walking on those with thin swivel wheels is horrible. The same is true for forest walks. The more expensive strollers have strong air tires, which takes away a lot of the ups and downs of bumpy roads.
  • Then of course there is the budget question. Spending more than a 1000 euros on a stroller is not a light decision to make for most people. The only thing I want to add to this is that if you take good care of your stroller you can resell it for quite a bit of money after 3 years. There will always be new twin parents looking for a bargain. This is also something to consider, you can buy yours second hand as well and save money that way.
  • The last thing to think about is what model you actually like. Do you want your children to sit next to each other or not?

I recommend you answer all the questions mentioned above before you visit a shop and then try out different models. Walk with them and especially turn some corners. Or ask other twin moms if you may try their stroller. My opinion changed completely after trying several strollers.

We ended up buying an Easywalker Duo. More than 3 years later I am still very happy with our choice.

Blackboard paint

So I bought blackboard paint and painted a big piece of one of the walls in our living room with it. When it was all dried and finished I explained to the boys that they could now write on this wall with their chalk. They were very happy with my surprise.
‘Wow,’ said the first. And he started scribbling on the wall.
‘Wow,’ said the second. And he walked to another wall and before I realised what happened he had scribbled some huge scratches on our normal walls.
Aaargh!

Moving house II

The last month was hard. The boys did not react well to all the changes. We had taken all possible precautions to make the move a smooth transition.
– The boys helped with packing (and loved it.)
– We explained what was going to happen many times (and they understood and were excited.)
– We took them to the new house several times before we moved. (they were really looking forward to it.)
– We let them help with little things in the new house (tearing of wallpaper is their favourite.)
– We moved some toys already to show them how moving worked (mom, can we keep this?)
– We read stories about moving (which they loved.)
– We showed them the empty old house after moving (and had them run around to their delight.)
– We explored the new neighbourhood together (they love all the new shops.)

And those things all worked: they absolutely love the new house. They could not be happier that we have stairs now and they love their new big bedroom, the garden and their play area.
BUT…  their behaviour was horrible most of the time. They got upset about everything, said no to anything you would suggest, started throwing their toys around a lot, screamed so much I feel I got deaf, not even to mention the spitting and crying uncontrollably when we said NO to them. It was a nightmare, we did not recognise our boys anymore.

Sadly there was no solution, all the above mentioned things did not work against the endless tantrums they threw. Even the always working solution of taking them apart and giving them love, hugs and special attention would not stop these moods.

And being twins, the tantrum of one caused the other one to get upset too, even if he was playing nicely before.So it really never ended.
The only solution was time. We suffered for weeks and weeks. Now it finally seems to get better. We are still not there but at least there are some hours in the day they are tantrum-free. Let’s hope this phase is over soon. Mommy and Daddy feel like they aged forty years in four weeks.

You can’t do anything right…

Raising toddlers is a challenge and you have to have a strong mind in order not to doubt yourself. Otherwise you will very quickly feel that you can’t do anything right…

This is what I heard this morning, all before 8:30 am.

-No, I don’t want warm milk today, I want it cold.
-No, not that sweater mommy. I want the one with the dinosaurs. (It’s in the laundry sweetie) WEEEEH!
-No, I want those pants. (points to the pants that his brother is wearing)
-I want the other shoes! (the ones that are from last year and too small) (how did he find those!?)
-I want to wear slippers to school.
-No socks today! (and he takes them off again)
-Nooo, not honey on a sandwich, I want it on a cracker!
-I want to wear it upside down (his jacket)
-No mommy, papa should take us.
-No banana, I want an orange. (throws it away)
-(Finally outside, on our way to school.) No wind mama, it’s not nice, stop it! (sure sweetie…)

I think that not getting depressed over so many negative remarks makes me a supermama. 😉

Stormy weather

Very stormy weather in the Netherlands and Belgium today. Cold, rainy and really hard winds. Definitely not weather to go outside. I hate it and I know the boys are quite afraid of the wind blowing hard.

But of course they want to go outside. And trying to reason with them and explain they don’t like the wind does not work. So I get them their jackets and hats and tell them they can go outside. I open the back door and don’t even bother to put my jacket on. I take them to the windiest point I can find. My point is made within seconds.

“Mommy, want to go inside,” they cry after the first gust of wind.
Mommy smiles.

Twin politics…

The winter months bring a lot of rain to Brussels. This means I get soaked a lot because waiting for the rain to stop and only bringing your children to school when it’s dry, is apparently not done.
The boys also don’t like the winter weather. They especially hate strong winds. ‘Make it stop mommy,’ they tell me. If only I could. So often the boys are under the plastic cover to keep them warm and dry.

But twins would not be twins if they did not have different opinions. So one of the boys always wants to be under the cover, the other one often does not like it. ‘I want to be in the rain,’ he yells in frustration while trying to kick the plastic off.
Sigh, so what do you do here as a twin-mom? I tried to explain many times that they had to work this out, seeing that we only have one big cover and one of them really does not want to get wet, but somehow their debate skills are not up to that yet.

In the end I tried to compromise and fumbled around with the plastic until I had a solution that satisfied them both but looks very strange.
Not to mention the look on the faces of many passers-by, wondering why one of my kids is getting soaked in the rain. Guess they never had a determined toddler…

Sleeping together -twins

One of the questions that is asked most amongst twin mothers is: do you let your twins sleep together?

For me it was clear even before they were born I wanted our boys to sleep in the same bed for a while. It was not only a romantic idea about twins having a special bond (and looking so beautiful together), but also inspired by practical reasons: I wanted them to be used to each other, especially to each other’s noises and sounds.
When our boys came early and had to stay in the hospital for many weeks, we expressed this wish to the neonatal staff and as soon as it was possible they were put together in the same warming bed. Not only was it a great sight to see them cuddling up together, it also comforted me a lot to know that even when I was not with them in the hospital, they were never alone but always had each other.

When they finally could come home with us we had a beautiful twin crib waiting for them. They slept in that for many months and my theory really worked; the boys were so used to each other’s sounds that they never woke each other up. Now don’t get me wrong here: they did wake up a lot, we did not sleep through the night or anything remotely related to that. But they did not wake each other, so when one had been fed and was sleeping happily and the other one was suddenly crying his heart out, he did not wake his brother.

From the twin crib they moved on to two baby beds. The first year they were put right next to each other, but then we moved them half a meter apart as the boys started partying together and deliberately waking each other.
Soon we will move them to bigger beds, but they will continue to share the same room. I like to think it makes them bond more.

And to this day my theory is still working out, when one of them wakes up in the night for whatever reason (bad dreams, not feeling well, in need of a cuddle, need to do a pipi etc.) the other one is not woken up by his crying.