Woohoo, my new bicycle

I am sooo happy. This weekend my brand new bicycle arrived. Now I can finally cruise around Brussels together with our boys. They are really snug in their basket on the back and absolutely love it. Will write a review after a few weeks of use, but for now I just had to share this picture!

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.

Announcing twins

Keep calm!

We were over the moon when we realised we were expecting twins. Of course it did take a few weeks to get used to the idea of what this meant, so we first took our time together.
But honestly I was also worried about all the things that could go wrong during the pregnancy, as twin pregnancy can be more complicated. So we were quite late in announcing the news.
Our parents were the first who heard and we announced our news by visiting them and just telling them we were pregnant. They were of course very happy and emotional about it. And only when they got used to the idea we added: by the way, its twins!!
The effect of this was quite nice so we stuck to it when we told others. Every time we said it, we thought it was more hilarious. We really had no idea what we were in for, haha!

Anyway, apparently we could have been a lot more original in the way we told everyone. I found this page with 15 great pictures of how you can announce a twin pregnancy. So if you are expecting twins now, take your pick.
I am very curious though and would love to hear your stories: How did you announce your pregnancy to your family and friends?

Smile!

When you go somewhere with twins, you usually get a lot of attention. People nod friendly, start to smile when they notice you or even say ‘Bonjour’. The last two years I got very used to greeting and smiling to people I have never seen in my life. But recently I realised that those people don’t actually see me at all.

When I bring the boys to school I always come across some very friendly people. But when I have dropped the boys of and walk back the same route on my own, those friendly greeters are suddenly completely different. I smile at them and they don’t response at all, it’s like they have never seen me in their life.  And suddenly I realised that this is probably true, all those friendly people were only looking at my boys…

The feeding logbook

Our first months with the twins were completely exhausting. Our whole day revolved around feeding them, changing their nappies and sleeping, especially sleeping. Their sleeping I mean, don’t count on getting anything more than three hours in a row yourself.

a page from our logbook

With 7-8 feedings per child, so sixteen in total, the difference between day and night completely disappeared those first months. The only thing that endured was the question: what do they need?
As our sleep deprivation got worse, we quickly realised we needed some way to keep track of what we were doing to whom. I breastfed the twins but we supplemented with expressed milk and formula. I often was so sleepy I had no idea who I had fed when. My husband helped out as much as he could, so we had a lot of half asleep conversations to establish what had and had not happened.
We both realised quickly this was not working, so we started keeping a logbook of things. Just a simple chart.

with the boys’ names, the time they had been fed last and which milk they had had, how much they had had etc.. With one glance at the book we knew if the twin that was awake was already in need of more milk or if it could be something else. This made life a lot easier. No more remembering, just writing things down and looking it up.
When we both realised neither of us could not remember if we had changed any poopy diaper in the last days, we added a nice poopy drawing to our log whenever a baby had done a number 2 to make sure all the milk was going down smoothly.
After about seven months we could quit using the logbook (due to less feedings, not due to more sleep and more memory function sadly…) and I started using it as a log of their activities, accomplishments and behaviour.
When I l read back in the book now and see those first pages I can’t imagine anymore how we did it. I guess you just go with the flow. Sleep is for babies anyway.

© Carien Touwen 2017

Dreams

I have always been a vivid dreamer, but when I was pregnant with our twins I had even more interesting dreams. I often dreamed about how it was to give birth. And in my dream I always heard the same thing after number two was out: ‘O, O, we missed one. There is another baby!’

So when the twins were born, I checked with the doctor to be sure there were not three baby’s. I even had an extra name ready,  just in case. And honestly, a tiny part of me was a little disappointed that there were only two 😉

© Carien Touwen 2017