Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Traveling with Twins

Consider taking the train.
We have tried trains, planes, and automobiles, and by far the most pleasant trip was on the train. You don't have to deal with getting through security, the seats are more roomy, the windows are bigger, and there is room to roam and explore when the kids get restless.
Pack as many snacks and small activities as you can carry.
Kids have short attention spans and run through activities quickly, plus you never know when you are going to hit a traffic jam or delayed flight. Portable DVD players can be a lifesaver, and some of our other favorites are books of all kinds (reading, coloring, sticker), small etch-a-sketches, and handheld computer games. It is always helpful to have some new toys that they haven't seen before.
If you fly...

Investigate seating arrangements and get preassigned seats if possible.
There are rules about how many lap children can be in any given row to make sure there are adequate oxygen masks, so depending on the plane and whether you have booked separate seats for the children, you may need to split up. It is much nicer to know this in advance and to be able to strategize accordingly.
Consider buying separate seats for babies/toddlers.
It is hard to pass up the free lap travel for children under 2, and we have never actually done it, but it is worth at least considering getting seats for the kids, especially for long flights, so that everyone can have their own space.

Look for family security lines.
Getting through security with 2 small children, a stroller, diaper bag, carry-ons, etc is a nightmare. It gives me hives even thinking about it. Some airports have lines dedicated to families.  Seek these out and use them, even if they have a longer line. Everyone will be infinitely more patient and you will be able to avoid the looks of death from fellow travelers as they wait for you to struggle through security.
Check the stroller at the gate.
You can end up having to walk miles in the airport, so having the stroller up until you get on the plane - and immediately upon arrival - is really helpful.  Even if you don't use it for the kids, you can use it to cart your bags around.

Escalators and moving sidewalks can provide hours of airport entertainment for small children.
This allows you to save your other activities for the flight.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

10 Things To Accept When You Have Twins

The babies will cry.
I have this fantasy - totally ridiculous, I know - that I could have meet every need of one baby and that they would have never cried. This is impossible with 2 babies, because there will always be times when you will be busy with one baby (changing, feeding, etc.) and the other will want you. The sooner you are able to accept this and go to some Zen place in your mind, the better. (This is easier said than done. I knew this the second time around and still found it almost physically painful to hear the babies cry at first. I think it must be something hormonal, because it did not seem to bother my husband nearly as much.)
Two babies are not very portable.
I am always a bit jealous of the singleton parents I see casually out and about with their babies. It seems that you can take one baby almost anywhere pretty easily. Taking infant twins out, on the other hand, is a big production, and, with the exception of possible outings using a double stroller, usually best accomplished by 2 adults. And just forget trying to breastfeed twins away from home. It is impossible to tandem feed discretely or without the help of a nursing pillow and feeding one at a time takes forever.
Your house will be dirty.
Your threshold for an acceptable level of cleanliness will change as other things (sleep, shower) take priority. If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting a regular cleaning service. 
Your house will become an obstacle course of brightly colored, plastic stuff that plays annoying music.
This is inevitable. One baby takes a ridiculous amount of gear, and 2 babies take more than twice as much. When I realized that my kids really did love this stuff and that it kept them happy and entertained, I was able to make peace with the fact that it clashes with my decor, although I have been known to not put in or replace batteries to avoid the annoying sounds.

You will not be eating nightly gourmet meals.
In fact, there will be nights that ordering pizza sounds like too much effort and a bowl of cereal seems like a perfectly good dinner. 

Your new celebrity status.
It is almost impossible to go anywhere with young twins without attracting looks, comments, and questions (some amazingly personal) from total strangers.  I have even had people ask to take pictures with my children on their smart phones. Depending on your personality, your degree of sleep deprivation, and how much time you have on your hands, this attention can range from fun to extremely annoying.  
Your dry cleaning bill will rise exponentially.
Even if you wait until the last minute to get dressed before leaving the house and quickly change into sweats on reentry, there is a good chance that you will end up baby spit-up, snot, or worse on your outfit. It is a good day as long as you realize this before you are actually out in public.
Your body will never be the same.
The body recovers remarkably well from being stretched to ridiculous proportions, but even when you lose the pregnancy weight, your body will never be as taut and firm as it once was. The good news is that with Spanx and a supportive bra, you and your spouse can be the only ones to know.

You will be exhausted.
I am not sure when (or if) this ends. I will say that each time, I felt like we turned a corner around 3 months and then again around 1 year.
This was difficult for me since I am much more comfortable in the role of giver than recipient, but I was amazed and moved by the generosity of our community and am forever grateful. I don't think that we cooked a meal for the first 2 months after the babies came home. People genuinely want to help, and, truthfully, you need help, so graciously let them. Even if you don't have a chance to pay back the kindness directly, you can pay it forward when other families have babies or are dealing with illness.