Page 1

You!

NEW YEAR NEW

Resolved:

celebrating twins as individuals, too!

‘Til Death (or multiples) Do Us Part Truly, madly, deeply ---

crazy in love with our babies

Got stuff?

Putting everything in its place 1


12

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


7

Resolve to celebrate your twins!

10 Indoor activities to keep cabin fever from setting in.

12 You’ll never forget to do for the

kids, but make some extra time for yourself and your significant other.

14 The Buzz on must-have products! 16 When the Best Laid Plans aren’t what we anticipated...

21 New Year --- New YOU! Tips for getting healthy in 2012.

24 How the announcement almost always takes us by surprise.

26 Deployment with Multiples One MOM’s survival guide.

31 They’re twins? How words can sometimes hurt.

32 Thinking about conceiving again? A story that may help you make the decision.

7

34 Just do it! Learn the benefits of alone time with each twin.

36 It’s tax time --- do you know about these deductions?

38 It’s cold outside! Babies got the

blues? Beat those winter woes!

40 Crazy in love with our babies. 43 With the holidays gone, where to

put all that new stuff? Learn tips for putting everything in its place.

49 Twins fight? What? Tips for

building positive relationships.

51 MOM = WOW! Readers reflect on their proudest moments as MOMs.

12

54 Amidst a diagnosis of Autism, one mom finds hope.

cover cuties Congratulations to our inaugural cover cuties, Annie & Violet. This 16 month old sister twin set stays super busy dancing, jumping, playing peek-aboo instead of napping, and rearranging the family DVD shelf. photo courtesy of talented

43

photographer mom, Rachel of Rachel Vos Photography.

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

3


Everyone needs a moment to reflect. You can reflect on your life, your health, your marriage, your children, and/or your future. You might take a moment and think about how fortunate you are, or how you hope to do things differently this year. Regardless of what you choose to reflect upon, this is the time each year that we get a fresh beginning. For me, I think about how far I’ve come. I think about how a tiny idea that was sparked at a Manhattan Twins Club meeting back in April 2009 has led to the launch of this magazine. I reflect on how chance meetings with fellow MOMs have made lifechanging impacts on me. I reflect on how my children are getting older, so how is it I stay so young? Ok, well maybe the last one is bending the truth a bit, but I think you get my point. Typically I’m not a very introspective person. I live my life out loud and wear my heart on my sleeve at all times. However, at this time of year, I do a lot of thinking and planning. What I’ve learned most by being a parent of multiples, is you must be prepared. I’m preparing for a year’s worth of celebrations, triumphs, and successes. I’m preparing for lots of homework, art projects and school performances. I’m preparing for family gatherings,

birthday parties, and vacations. I’m preparing for date nights, snuggle time on the couch with the love of my life, and some “me” time, hopefully in a movie theater with my best friends. Through Twiniversity I’m preparing for another year of supporting families of multiples around the globe. This year, Twiniversity will help hundreds of families prepare for the arrival of their multiples. With a presence in over nine countries, we are expanding our reach to many different parts of the world in hopes to help more families of multiples find community and support.

multiplicity

Joscelyn Ramos Campbell executive editor joscelyn@multiplicitymag.com

We look forward to sharing this year with you. We look forward to watching your kids grow through photos on facebook, seeing your forum posts on our Big Tent site, meeting in person at a Twiniversity Class, and reading stories on our webpage. We are proud to be a part of this community and now…let’s get prepared for one heck of a good year! Happy New Year and welcome to the new amazing online publication, Multiplicity. We hope you enjoy reading it, as much as we enjoyed putting it all together for you. - Natalie

Multiplicity is published as a digital magazine four times per year. Multiplicity cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though hand-picked and carefully reviewed, Multiplicity cannot guarantee the accuracy of editorial pieces. No portion in whole or in part of this publication may be reproduced without express written consent from the publisher.

4

Natalie Diaz founder/publisher natalie@multiplicitymag.com

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

Talitha A. McGuinness creative director talitha@multiplicitymag.com


what you’re talking about... When do in-laws go from helping to meddling?

Looking for what to drive?

When in-laws showed up to help out with the babies and proceeded to start cleaning one reader’s house, here’s what you had to say...

Toyota Sequoia - perks included space, seats on sepa-

The idea is that we are all part of a community, there is work to be done, so why not share the load? ~ Amy B. Instead of meddling with the kids or criticizing you or even how your house looks, they just jumped in and tried to help! ~ hbmathey I would love for anyone to help me out. Then I can take a load off after I put the kids to bed, instead of still having chores to do. ~ Jill M. I think a lot of this is cultural. In South America this would never be considered acceptable. ~ Bennysmom multiplicity

Readers share their experience on best vehicles to accommodate 3 carseats comfortably... rate tracks (33/33/33 fold vs. 60/40), and latch & tethers for each middle row seat

Chevy Traverse - perks included space and comfort Dodge Grand Caravan - perks are storage space with all seats folding down, and automatic side and rear doors

Toyota Sienna perks included seat configuration and space

What about a car that loads & unloads them, too? A girl can

dream, right?!?

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

5


photo courtesy of firewife photography

6

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


resolved: I will nurture my twins as individualS AND twins!

w

multiplicity

hen our twins, now 17, were four, they began speaking in “twinspeak.” It took months to ascertain what caused them to switch to jibberish. We finally learned that their preschool teacher had required them to sit separately during circle time. The funny thing is that, prior to that, they played with different friends from each other, spoke like every other 4 year old, and behaved like most 4 year olds. They were “normal.” But, when that teacher took away their right to twinship, they rebelled and soon no one around them could understand what they were saying, not even us. They were twins and denying that part of their identity wasn’t fair in any way, shape, or form. So, on that day, I made the biggest resolution ever: to nurture my twins as individuals AND twins because being a twin is part of their individuality. Once we figured out that the preschool teacher had refused to let them sit together and she agreed to give them that choice, our girls stopped speaking a second language and began in earnest their journeys as twins with many celebrated similarities, as well as celebrated differences. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

7

photos courtesy of firewife photography, cassie leigh photography, two/eleven photography, & jane goodrich

by cathy sheafor


They are 17 now and about to graduate from high school and, many times, we have learned the important lesson of allowing them to be both twins and individuals. In second grade, our girls were separated for the first time into two different classrooms at school. Although the school would not accommodate our request for them to be in the same classroom, they did agree to allow the girls to find each other if needed. On several occasions, our girls did make the trek to each other’s classroom to find each other. Most days, though, they were content to play with their separate friends in their separate classrooms where they learned separately. They did not dress alike and they enjoyed their differences.

8

multiplicity

That has been easier at some times than others. For example, while they may have an easier time deciding who is a real friend, we have found that many teachers are put off by the similarities between our girls. They simply don’t know what to do with twins who think alike, dress alike, draw alike, talk alike, write alike, etc. One art teacher wrote angrily to one of my daughters, “You have the same brain! Ahhhh, it is ok to have diff[erent] opinions! I need you… to pry yourselves away from each other during critical reviews!” Unfortunately, my independent-minded children believed that they were expressing different opinions, but their teacher wasn’t able to see this. On another occasion, a teacher who wasn’t observing carefully enough assumed that the girls were cheating because they wrote the same answers on in-class paper. It turns out that they were sitting in different parts of the room and could not have known what each other was writing. But, they are twins and while we and they celebrate their differences, we must also understand their similarities.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

photos courtesy of firewife photography & straight lens ph otography

However, they also enjoyed celebrating their similarities. On Halloween, they dressed similarly. On Christmas, they wore the same outfits. When it came time to celebrate birthdays, they wanted one birthday party with all of their friends. Although they were busy discovering that they had different preferences, they also gained confidence when together and, it seemed they shined more when they were allowed to choose to be together. They were more outgoing when together. They had more friends when together. They were stronger in their opinions when together. They were better problemsolvers when together. They were simply better together. So, we continued to allow them to make choices of when to be apart and when to be together, believing that we had to nurture them as individuals AND twins.

This approach led to some crazy unexpected results. By the time my girls got to high school, they were choosing to do most everything together. They selected the same classes. They chose the same friends. They began to dress alike, concluding that people who took the time to get to know them as individuals wouldn’t be fooled by matching clothes and get them confused. There are not many high school twins who choose to dress alike, but ours have and my husband and I are honoring our resolution that we will nurture them as twins AND individuals.


“...they are twins and while we and they celebrate their differences, we must also understand their similarities.” So, as we parents of twins embrace the New Year with resolutions, let us resolve to nurture our twins as individuals, but also to celebrate their twinship and nurture that very special relationship. After watching my children, I cannot think of anything more lovely than to have a twin who you know will be there for you as your best friend, no matter what. There is great comfort and power in knowing that. Don’t let anyone take that from your twins!

A mother of twin teen girls, Cathy Sheafor is a writer, blogger, educator, social entrepreneur and coach. A lawyer by training and a cancer survivor, Cathy’s greatest joy lies in teaching. After years of dreaming of a free private school for girls from underprivileged backgrounds, Cathy (with the help of many wonderful people), opened Charlotte Community School for Girls in August 2010. Unfortunately, economic struggles made it difficult for the school to secure enough funding for continued operations and the school closed after just one year of operation. Cathy continues to mentor her former scholars and hopes to create a better understanding of the challenges many children face. She also coaches swimming and blogs at www. kidswhothink.org, where she posts challenges for kids of all ages that are designed to be inexpensive ways to bolster creative thinking and innovation. (Cathy with her family below)

ways to

encourage

individuality and twinship:

1. Call and refer to them by name instead of “the twins”. They are unique and you gave them each a name that identifies who they are. 2. Allow your twins to dress themselves or at least have a say in what they want to wear. 3. Allow your twins to do different things. If one enjoys sports, sign them up. If the other would rather paint or expresses creative interests, join an art or music class. Encourage their differences, but embrace (and allow them to embrace) their similarities. 4. Emphasize the importance of their ability to create friendships and skillsets without weakening their unique bond. 5. Be sure that others recognize that your twins are two different beings. Don’t allow people to assume they are one and the same, especially if they look alike.

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

9


Fun Winter Activities to Keep Cabin Fever... by jenny richard

In the middle of winter, kids start to get a bit cranky from being cooped up inside. They should go outside to play as much as possible (bundled up, of course). However, when they’re stuck inside, it’s a good idea to have some crafts and activities handy to keep them active and spark their imagination. Beach Ball Math Get a beach ball and adhesive labels marked with numbers. Stick one label on each panel of the beach ball. For younger children, you’ll want to use lower numbers (such as 1-9); for older children, you may want to use higher numbers (3-12 for instance). Now you’re ready to play. First, decide what operation you will be focusing on (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). Two or more players should face each other. The first player catches the ball and calls out the number where his right thumb lands. He tosses the ball to another player who does the same. The next player to catch the ball must perform the operation on the two numbers (for example, 2 x 5 = 10). She 10

multiplicity

then tosses the ball to another player and the game starts over. Salt Dough Fun Salt dough is easy to make and the ingredients are usually found right in your kitchen cabinet. To make salt dough, you’ll need 1 cup fine salt, 1 cup flour, approximately ½ cup water. In a large bowl, combine the salt and flour. Make a well in the salt/four mixture and add the water. Knead until smooth and shape into a ball. You can add

food coloring to give the dough color, and a drop of vanilla extract will make it smell nice and keep mold away. When not in use, wrap in plastic and store in an air-tight container. Now your kids are ready to have lots of dough-making fun!

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

If they have toys for dough, they can play with those, but everyday household objects will work, too. Use a can or a cup as a rolling pin. Plastic knives, spoons, and forks can cut and make designs. Cookie cutters can be used to cut shapes. Ping Pong Basketball You’ll need two large cups or containers, a ping pong ball, and two paper towels for this activity. Place the cups in front of each player on a table and fold the paper towel to fit inside the bottom of the cup. These will be the goals. To make this easier for younger kids, find a shorter goal such as a food storage container. To play, each player will “dribble” the ball by bouncing it one to three times. On the last dribble, they must catch the ball (or the other player takes over) and shoot it at their opponent’s goal. If they make a goal, they will receive 1 point for 3 dribbles, 2 points for 2 dribbles, and 3 points for 1 dribble. It is the other player’s turn after a score or missed shot. (contd. on pg. 19)


corkscrew

to cherub

by natalie diaz

a confession of a mom of a curly girl

w

hen my twinnies were born, needless to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by what life had just thrown at me. To add to my shock, my twins were born looking less like twins then I would have ever imagined. To be honest, they barely looked like they had the same mother. My little chick, Baby A, was born with FLAMING red hair, where as my Baby B looked more like what I imagined my child would look like. As time went on, my daughter grew to look less and less like me. With bright blue eyes, ivory skin and hair the color of rubies, I stopped counting the times that strangers asked “Does her mother have red hair as well?” Apparently I looked more like their nanny then their momma! Nice. For all that hard work of carrying and birthing them, folks didn’t even think they were mine. Side note: this came in very handy when they were acting up in a store and I would say out loud for all to hear “wait till your mother finds out about this!” and then I would run away with them. (heehee!)

Fast forward a few years and as my little chick’s red fuzz began to sprout, we noticed she had the tightest curls you could imagine. Once again....was I sure this was my child? But as her personality blossomed, I knew she was ALL me! Time went on and her hair grew longer until it reached her tiny butt. HOWEVER, that was only when it was wet. When it was dry, it barely touched her shoulders because her tiny ringlet curls were as twisty as they come. FINALLY, in September of 2011, almost seven years after the twins were born, my daughter had her first hair cut. She never really needed one since her hair was only really long wet. My husband and I made the decision to take her to a “specialist”. Nope, not a medical doctor, but a hair doctor of sorts. See, here in New York City we have a salon called Devachan. This salon is ONLY for “curly girls”. This haircut was more than the cost of my weekly grocery bill, but considering that this was her first, whereas my son had dozens of haircuts in his life, it all equaled out. On the day of the appointment, multiplicity

you would think it was Christmas Morning from my daughter’s excitement. She had always wanted a haircut and finally she was getting one, and in a fancy salon, no less. Shortly after we sat down, another client sat next to my daughter. She looked at my daughter and said out of the corner of her mouth “You know… you are one of us right…you’re a curly girl”. My daughter’s eyes lit up. She looked around and noticed that EVERYONE there had hair just like hers! The woman continued “It’s true, you belong to a very special club that only people with hair like you and me can belong to.” My daughter glanced at me and I nodded and said “Yup, mommy can’t join, my hair is too straight.” My daughter got a wicked grin on her face and said “Oh well mommy, only the coolest girls can join”. Yes, a little mean, but funny. Our new friend then said to me “I wish my mom took me to a place like this when I was little. I grew up hating my hair and never knew what to do with it.” She then said to Red (my baby A), “You know your mom is pretty awesome.” (contd. on pg. 53)

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

11


‘TIL DEATH (or multiples) DO US PART! by liza corbo

We’ve all heard the rumors. Parents of multiples have a higher divorce rate. In trying to actually research that to see if it’s a fact, I came across conflicting numbers. I didn’t really put any stock into the studies and numbers I did read. In the end, I really feel that each family is different.

Is having a baby stressful? Of course it is! Having two babies (or more) at once? So stressful. I feel like I have been on both sides. After we had our first child, my husband and I needed to make some small adjustments. Having a baby changes things. Ten months after giving birth the first time, we were pregnant again. Then came the unbelievable news. We were pregnant with twins. By the time my oldest was turning 18 months old, 12

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


we were bringing home newborn twins. No matter how prepared you think you are for the chaos, or how strong your marriage seems to be, you are in for quite a ride. A ride that will be bumpy at times. Very bumpy. Speaking from my own experience, I was overwhelmed from the moment I brought the twins home. My oldest was not taking no longer being the baby of the family well, and who could blame him. He was still a baby himself. I was stressed. I was overtired. It felt like there was always someone crying, always a diaper that needed changing, someone was always hungry, and no one ever really slept. I loved all three of my babies more than anything, but I was depressed and going through the motions.

7 Tips for surviving a Marriage with Multiples: 7. It all starts with YOU! Enjoy whatever pleases you most, and do it alone!

6. Talk to each other and share your day.

Keeping open dialogue encourages appreciation for what each does for the family, whether it’s working out of the home or tending the children and ensuring the house is in relative order at the end of the day.

5. Be a reliable source of help, and ask your

While every day may have been different, every day was still the same. It was a never-ending circle. Feeling like that and trying to take care of three babies takes its toll. You barely have time for yourself, never mind your marriage. I remember for the first time starting to realize that a marriage sometimes takes actual work. Once you start neglecting your marriage, it’s that much harder to get back on the same page and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Here are my tips for keeping a marriage healthy after having multiples.

partner to do the same. We’re all allowed to be human every once in a while!

First things first. Take time for yourself.

2. Go away together...away from your chil-

I know it sounds crazy. You have more than one baby in the house. There is no time for yourself. I understand. Sometimes time for myself was actually classified as putting the twins in seperate doorway jumpers where they could see each other, putting my oldest in front of a show with some plain cheerios, and showering with the door open so I could hear. But at least for a few minutes, I was by myself. Just a few minutes alone can change your perspective on whatever kind of day you are having. And who doesn’t feel good after a shower?

Communicate.

I cannot stress this enough. It is so important to talk to each other. Always. My husband and I made sure we took the time each night to talk about our day, even if it was after we were in bed and shutting off the lights to try and get some sleep. multiplicity

4. Say YES! When someone asks to help, let

them. As moms, it’s hard to relinquish control over our homes and families, but more often than not, we could use a break (and chances are likely that they’ll do it just as good as you!).

3. Plan a date night for no reason other than

spending some quality time together remembering why you fell in love to begin with. dren, your home, and your routine. One night away will do wonders for your marriage and your parenting skills.

1. Set the scene by turning on some tunes and

dancing the night away. What partner can resist watching you let loose with your children and having a good time (and all for FREE?!?).

Help each other out.

I can’t express enough the power of teamwork. No matter what we did, we tried to be a team. When it came to the twins getting up at night? We did it together. When one baby woke up, needed to be fed or changed, we did it for both babies. At the same time. While scheduling each part of your day seems tiresome, we found it easier than not having a schedule. On weekends (contd. on pg. 20) the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

13


the buzz

twin tested... MOM approved!

the scoop on things worth giving a try

contigo sippy cups - the Diaz duo

Are your kids too old for a sippy cup, but too young to take a glass of water to bed? Well my seven year old twins fit that bill. But I'm happy to say that the Diaz duo has finally found the perfect solution for bedtime (and their lunchbox). Contigo! Contigo's Auto Seal Kids Trekker cups are 100% spill-proof and 100% dishwasher safe, a mom of multiples’ dream come true! My twinnies have been using these cups for 5 months now, and they are in the same perfect condition as the day we bought them. With their reasonable price tag (about $6 each), and the fact that they are BPA free, they have truly been a Godsend in our home. Now the twinnies can take water to bed without it dripping all over their sheets and pillows. My kids even take their Contigo's to school and to their sporting events. If you are at that in-between stage like I am, these cups should find their way into your home.

v-tech innotab - the McGuinness match

If you have kids between the ages of 4-9, this, along with the Leapfrog Leappad were among the hottest and most requested toys of the holidays. While we considered the Leappad, we were convinced that the Innotab had more to offer: it has a lower price tag and plays music and videos. My nearly 7 year old twin girls love this item and have literally played with it almost every day (they especially love the music feature and if my husband hears “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez one more time, he’ll likely find elsewhere to live for the next 10 years!). If you purchase an Innotab, I higly recommend rechargeable batteries. Once you get past the quirks of the V-Tech website, the Innotab offers hours of peace and quiet --- I mean a world of interactive learning and entertainment for your children. Priceless.

step 2 deluxe canyon road train/track table - the Ramos-Campbell clan

My twin boys love to play with cars, trains, etc. (evident by them being all over the floor where I am constantly stepping on them or finding them underneath the couch). This train & track table features multilevel, colorful molded-in tracks and non-removable bridges so they cannot be lost or removed by little hands. Various size cars, trains, toys and figurines are compatible. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it is multi-functional, as a smooth and sturdy cover transforms the train table into one that can be used for snacks or crafts! The one drawback is that the legs are not height adjustable, making it difficult to “grow” with your child. Even so, this is a fun table for kids and a helpful tool for parents. (recommended for ages 3 and up)

you could be our

winner

This issue, we have a set of Contigo sippy cups to giveaway! Go to the News section on BigTent and leave a comment in the forum about your must-have product(s) that made life with multiples easier. Not yet a member? And why not? It’s easy and free, so join today and keep from missing out on all the fun!


no

just say

a focus on family

by frankie howley

n

o. Such a simple word to say, until you become a parent of multiples. It is then that the term takes on whole new meaning, beyond telling your children, “NoNo. Don’t Do That.” With all that multiple parents have to accomplish on a daily basis, perhaps we should take our own advice. While it is in our ‘multitasking’ nature to make the time, to help everyone in our lives, learning to say “no” is a necessary measure that every parent of multiples must inevitably face, especially when keeping focus on family. Like it or not, learning to say

“no” is more about acceptance; knowing your limits, and letting go --- without feeling guilty. Between the hectic schedules and routines that accompany having twins or more, time is limited, making it a priority to be prepared and plan ahead. For one working mother of twins, planning for more means budgeting for more, both in the workplace and financially. “You cannot work a second shift because, you know you have two little ones at home, looking for you,” said Jennifer Gunter-Bartnik, of Normal, IL and mother of twin daughters, multiplicity

Autumn and AriAnna, 6, and Maren, 4. “When our kids were little, I worked 5am-1:30pm and my husband worked 3pm-2am. We could not afford daycare for two.” Now that her twin daughters are older, Jennifer GunterBartnik, also a part-time church volunteer and president of her local Mothers of Multiples Club in Bloomington/Normal, IL, admits that saying “no” can present financial challenges. “Financially, I would like to get the girls certain things but, when you multiply it times two, it just isn’t in the budget,” she said. “Personally, I think that the financial “no” is the hardest because, you would like to give your children what you had, but needs override wants.” And just as we would like to give our children everything their hearts desire, as parents of multiples, we too must make certain sacrifices. “In the beginning, if a friend wanted to do something, it would have to be on my twins’ schedule, or I just had to say ‘no’,” said Kelly Sherman, of Turlock, CA, and stay-at-homemom to her three children, Madison, 5, and twin daughters, Lily and Lindsay, 3. “I’ve also had to say no to my parents, and have had to learn that it’s ok too.” Additionally, knowing how you want to spend your quality time, (when you do have time for yourself), will help you to make the right decision, when faced with difficult choices. (contd. on pg. 41)

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

15


by mike poff

part 1: th “...one night I was shocked awake by Pam. She was waking me to say she was having troubles.� 16 multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


My wife, Pam is an exceptional, amazing, lovely, successful, sweet and giving mom, wife and person. Professionally, she is a thriving entrepreneur with a gift for planning and getting things done, always having time for each child we’ve been blessed with. It could not have been coincidence that she won the lottery to handle a quad-pregnancy. You see after two weeks of thinking we were having twins and making the needed plans for that serious life-altering occurrence, we had quite a shock. At the time, we had two lovely daughters aged nine and six. I was sort of hoping one of the twins would be a boy. That had not been our goal, but having a son seemed like a cool change of pace. Boy, was I in for a shock.

e best laid

plans p

regnancies are for women, but multiple pregnancies are for exceptional women. I am speaking from observation only, as I am a father of multiples and three lovely singlets. So I have observed through my wife’s four pregnancies the difference. Believe me; my hat is off to any mom, but so much more so to multi-moms!

multiplicity

Indeed one night I was shocked awake by Pam. She was waking me to say she was having troubles. Spots had become bleeding and she was ready to go to the hospital. Now in those days I worked as a purchasing person, going in at 4:30am, leaving around 2:30pm and spending other people’s money around the world. So as the hospital was just 5 minutes away and we did not want to wake or panic the girls and my schedule and church duties left me in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation, Pam, tough as nails, took herself to the hospital. Now all you moms can hiss and boo me together, but that is what we decided to do. I sleepily kissed her, we prayed together and she was off into the night. I could not help but think she would soon be back and we would have lost two babies. After more prayer I slowly drifted off to a very fitful sleep. It seemed like only a few moments and she was waking me again. I asked her if we lost the babies. I began to notice she did not seem sad. She said “No, we have two more.” Over the next several minutes she explained that there were four babies and I heard the word that would change my life in so many ways...quadruplets! Well this was a bit of a game changer. You see, this was very early on a Saturday morning. Later that afternoon a couple dozen the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

17


the best laid plans teenagers and their parents were coming to our house to hear about our plan for them as their new Youth Pastors. When we found out about the “twins” we sat down, hashed it around and decided that between the two of us and our daughters we could make the double blessings thing work. We were thrilled that we had not lost two babies but were blown just a bit sideways at the prospect of four. When all the dust settled, our youth ministry was placed on ice and our priority and plans now centered on the family (the very quickly expanding family) God had placed in our hands. Over the next several months, there was much to do, buy and learn. Pam of course, had a plan and we set up a fully functional quad nursery/ quad rocking & feeding space and a kicking quad play room/ quad changing area. All went along great. Pam and I continued to work, plan and wonder about what lie ahead. We also learned to really enjoy dropping our “surprise” on others and watching their reactions.

“Q” word had blown them away, we had little outside assistance in the wings. We had to make someone the at-home parent. That someone we decided would be me. So with Pam in the hospital for the duration, I turned in my resignation, keys and passwords and entered a new life of domestic engineering with a decidedly higher order multiples twist to it. Now on the most magnesium one can take for contraction control, Pam continues to amaze the hospital staff by rising from her bed to go to the potty on her own. That is, until one night a tired and petite nurse decided to intervene. Not feeling up to helping a prospective quadmom to the bathroom one night, this Florence Nightingale called the on-duty Doc, and had an order written for catheterization. A day later, my wife had a bad fever and infection. Trifectas of antibiotics were added to the bag of meds by the bed. The fever dipped slightly.

Pam kept working, but come late November 2000, these strengths were not enough. At 27 ½ weeks after spending Thanksgiving in the hospital, our Doctor took the keys and parked Pam for the duration. This event pretty much forced our hand on a couple of fronts. First, the short term logistics; she would not be having the Quads at our local hospital just five miles from our front door. They were in no way prepared for quads, so Pam was an hour away now.

That evening as I brought our girls to see their mom, she seemed worse. The girls held her hands as I fed her soup when suddenly her eyes rolled back in her head and she began to convulse violently! I found myself looking at a scene I will never forget. My very pregnant wife was going into shock and very young daughters were looking at their newly minted at-home dad in sheer terror. We had nothing in our best laid plans for this! (Part 2 coming in our Spring 2012 Issue)

The longer term logistics were a bit stickier. At this point my wife’s company employed around a dozen folks. She and her partner Melissa were still in the “chief cook and bottle washer” phase at that time. They did everything. It was doing well and growing but consumed much time and effort. Now, she also made more money than me. Since my parents had passed away years before, and her parents were moving to China because the whole

Mike Poff (sometimes called The Quadfather), lives in the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his amazing wife Pam, and their seven children who currently range from college to kindergarten. Their Quads are now 10 and that is how long Mike has been their at-home dad. Besides domestic engineering Mike runs a small horse and cattle farm and is a communications and public relations director in his abundant spare time. You can follow along with the Big-Time Family Blog, or check in on the Poffs on Facebook, Shoutlife or LinkedIn.

“...and her parents were moving to China because the whole ‘Q’ word had blown them away...”

18

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


A little elf with all the right moves! by talitha mcguinness

I know that the holidays and all the craze and magic that go with them are long gone, but I wanted to introduce you to a special little guy who visits our house several times a year (yep, not just at Christmas). Surely you’ve heard of Elf on a Shelf by now, and if not, well, here’s your clue...get one/make one, get creative, learn the ropes with moving him/her and some fun antics, and enjoy the memories you’ll make! You see, Elvis (so named by our 3 year-old twins a few years ago who know nothing of his namesake!) has become a little part of our tradition. He makes appearances throughout the year, and like many elves, he also tends to be a little mischievous upon his “return” from the North Pole. He has played board games, read stories to stuffed bears, and more recently he wrote on the bathroom mirror in my red lipstick, no less. There are countless other antics, some of which are downright hysterical and put my ideas to shame (I’ve heard of marshmallow fights, toilet-papered Christmas trees, and I had a friend spell out her elf’s name “Gingerbread” with her yarn on the living room floor!), but the point is that the kids enjoy and remember it. With my twins almost 7 now, I know they’ll only believe for so much longer, so I plan to make it as memorable as I can. We hope you’ll join us on this adventure, so be sure to look for reminders to bring out your elves throughout the coming year! multiplicity

fun winter activities contd. -----

Pine Cone Bird Feeder This activity does dual duty—the kids will have fun making it, then they can have fun watching the birds come and feed! You’ll need a pine cone that’s opened up, peanut butter, string and bird seed. Lay the pine cones on a table covered with newspaper. Give each child a plastic knife and some peanut butter. Have the child spread the peanut butter all over the pine cone, trying to get as much inside the cone as possible. Put the bird seed in a large, shallow dish and have the kids roll their peanut butter-covered pine cones in the bird seed. Finally, tie a string to the topmost scale of the pine cone and hang outside a window. Now sit back and watch the birds come and enjoy your winter treat! These are just some of the great activities you can do with your kids to avoid the winter doldrums. Let them spark your imagination and you’ll find the possibilities are endless. Look around your house and see what household objects you have available for crafts and games. Soon, your kids will have so much fun, you’ll say, “Let it snow!”

Jenny Richard is a Christian, wife of 13 years, mom to two boys, and a teacher. She lives in Texas, but isn’t a native Texan. Her blog, Full Cart Full Wallet, started as a way to journal her savings as she learned to coupon. It has now become a way to share frugal living, coupons, cheap meals, and coupon matchups with others. Her goal: leave the store with a cart full of groceries, and a wallet full of money! Follow her on Facebook or Twitter for updates. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

19


‘til death do us part contd.----

my husband would ‘sleep in’ on Saturdays and Sundays would be my day. Sure ‘sleeping in’ may have only meant until 8:30am, but it sure beat the usual 5am wakeup time with the kids.

If someone offers you help? Take it!

And run! No, just kidding. In the beginning you may find yourself trying to take it all on. Someone offers help and if you are like me, you are quick to say no. No matter how desprately you might want that help, you also want to look like you have it all under control. That doesn’t help anyone. Take the help, whatever it may be. There is nothing to feel guily about. Accepting help makes you a better parent.

Make date night.

Ideally date night means getting OUT of the house. Once a month get someone to watch the kids so you can have a kid-free dinner. If you absolutely can’t get out, plan a night in for you and your spouse. Make dinner after the kids are in bed. Light some candles. Even if only sitting on the couch, you are still spending time together.

Get Away.

We do this every year and I swear it helps so much! One glorious weekend each year around our wedding anniversary, we leave the kids with our parents and head off by ourselves. We keep fairly close to home

20

multiplicity

just in case we need to come back quickly. You don’t even need to spend much money. It’s a wonderful break and a chance to remember who you are as a couple, not just as parents.

Never underestimate the power of a dance party.

I am totally serious. We started this when the boys were too small to even dance on their own. We would take turns and spin everyone around to the music. Back then we called it ‘Baby Dance Party’. As they got a little bigger it became so much fun. They actually ask for it on occasion now. Sometimes we even add glow sticks and dim the lights. It turns even the most stressful days into a good day. My oldest has now just turned six and the twins will turn five this summer. I promise you it gets easier the older they get. Looking back I spent the first few years wondering when things would ever get better, and not be so hard. Now that the boys are all getting that much more independent, I see that it really does all work out. There will always be ups and downs, but if you and your spouse keep the lines of communication open --- and remember to take time for each other --you will get through it in one piece. Liza is a blogger and freelance writer. She resides in Rhode Island with her husband and 3 active boys - a six year old and identical twin four year olds. When she isn’t taking someone to sports practice or a game, she can be found on her personal blog Cira’s Lyrics writing about chaos and family. She writes for an online shopping blog Buy-Her and is a review/giveaway writer at 5 Minutes for Mom. Liza is also in the process of relaunching The Mommy Gamer - a blog about video gaming, board games, toys and all things entertainment for kids.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


healthy habits for the new year weeks 8 i to a healthier s one of your New Year’s Resolutions to ‘be healthier’? Do you feel like better health is impossible or find yourself overwhelmed with all the information available? Perhaps you have developed a certain ‘comfort’ with some unhealthy habits? You are not alone. As a busy parent of multiples, you may feel you don’t have time to be healthier. But healthier choices for you will help you be a better parent. By setting realistic goals and taking baby steps toward accomplishing them, you will find great satisfaction in the new-found, healthier you! Here are some simple steps to be healthier in the New Year. Focus on one step each week, and by the end of two months, you’ll have made significant progress!

Week 2: Get Your Beauty Sleep

Studies repeatedly show getting 7-9 hours of sleep gives you the start you need to conquer all things healthy. Biggest benefits: More energy, clearer mind, fewer sick days, and even a better metabolism. Plus, you will be more suitably equipped

NEW YOU! by kristi gonzalez

Week 1: Prepare Mentally Making a change in lifestyle and moving your family toward naturally-improved health takes a committed effort. Take time this week to mentally prepare for the focus, effort and commitment needed to be successful. Find a friend to join you! Accountability raises your chance for success, and a partner makes it a lot more fun.

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

21


to handle life better when you are well rested. Most kids are not getting enough sleep these days either. Take a look at some sleep guidelines and tips by age at the Center for Disease Control. Chances are that your precious kiddos are also a little sleep deprived!

Week 3: Get into the Exercise Groove

We all know how important exercise is for our well-being but are we finding the time and energy to fit it in? We just need to DO IT. Do whatever it takes to help you get your groove on! If it’s simply taking a walk each morning or night after dinner, then make that your routine. If you need a friend to stay committed, look up local exercise classes, gym schedules, or plan your walking or jogging time together. Consider a lunch break work-out or push those kids in a stroller outing! Only a few minutes? Try running the stairs, doing some calisthenics

or hitting the floor for a few stretches.

Week 4: Simplify and Squash out Stress

Sound impossible? Perhaps we won’t realize significant strides in this area immediately, but we can take action to make improvements. This week, why not focus on just a few simple steps to reduce stress. First, plan ahead. Have a family calendar available in plain view and be sure to record the family happenings. Last minute ‘stressors’ create a sense of anxiety and panic, whereas a plan can bring peace and efficiency to the day. Next, don’t dwell on what is out of your control. Worrying wrecks the adrenal glands and all that stress pumps out more cortisol than any of us want effecting our bodies long- term. Focus on today, evaluate your time wasters, and work to reduce or eliminate them!

Week 5: Take Time to be Pampered

Go out to dinner with a friend, hit the day spa or claim a few hours of solace right in your own home! You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you are and how much more efficient you are afterwards, not to mention the improved mood!

Week 6: Find Freedom, not Fights in Your Finances

Financial woes hit hard all year long, but especially after the Holiday spending and traveling. If you don’t have a budget, this is a great time to make a plan and dive in! You will indeed live a HEALTHIER life when you are not stressed or worried over finances or excess debt. There are plenty of resources online, at churches, or local financial counselors. If you don’t have a plan, get one. If you have one but haven’t been working it, give yourself permission to start over with a fresh slate and find someone to help keep you accountable.

Week 7: Get a Grocery Cart Makeover Now it’s time to get serious about your physical health! When you grab that cart, focus on shopping the PERIMETER of the store where you’ll find fresh fruits, veggies, meats and dairy for the bulk of your meal planning and snacks. Avoid products with preservatives, high sodium, higher fat and sugar content --- those in the 22

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


middle of the store. Lose the soda, chips, crackers, cookies and donuts. A healthy diet will give your body the edge on fighting disease and infection, as well as maintaining the energy and stamina you need to survive each day! Choose purified water over soda and juice. Avoid diet foods. Choose fruit or raw veggies for snacks. Don’t expect yourself to master this Day 1, but make a DECISION to keep moving forward in your quest for a healthier life and start over as often as is necessary.

Week 8: Out with the Old & In with the New

If the ‘Old’ is bad products, toxic overload, lack of nutritional support, etc., then it’s time you looked at the ‘New’. Where might you start? First, get rid of the toxic products that are harmful and instead use ‘Green’ cleaning and laundry products and safe personal

care products like soap and shampoo. Adding nutritional supplements to cover for imperfect diets and nutritional gaps is next in priority. Peace of mind and fewer trips to the doctor with less prescriptions will be the result of this change! Take a look at the wonderful alternative health options available today. Check out your local chiropractor or massage therapist to help you maintain good health physically and mentally. Take needed steps to repair some of the damage of past poor choices as well as start preventing future problems. Look for high quality natural products you can trust and supplements that are whole foods rather than synthetic varieties.

Once You Put it All Together

Start enjoying better health. Remember to give yourself permission to start each day

multiplicity

fresh, even if you made poor choices the day before. Pretty soon, you will find yourself in the midst of great habits for a healthier life!

Kristi Gonzalez owns and operates A & K Healthy Living, where she has offered wellness and nutritional consulting for those seeking better health naturally for the past 13 years. She enjoys helping others achieve a balanced approach to their health in the most natural way possible. As a mother of 4, she realizes the importance of a safe and healthy home for her family as well as yours, and realizes we all need a little help in attaining the energy and stamina we need to keep up with life!

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

23


by sommer harkins

photo courtesy of heather wilson

i

’ve always imagined myself as a mother, as with many little girls I assumed motherhood as the normal progression toward becoming a fullfledged “woman.” I grew up the oldest of two and with eleven cousins that assumed the roles of surrogate brothers and sisters, so being in the company of a lot of children was normal for me. But to have a large family myself, I hadn’t ever given much thought to the idea. I see the image (or shall I say images), and though I KNOW what it is I’m seeing; I can’t help but ask “what is that shadow?” I screech out, “Oh my God!”, before the sonographer has a chance to answer. “Oh my God,” I say over and over as if someone has hit repeat on my voice box. I watch her studying one blinking heartbeat and then

24

multiplicity

the next. I can’t help but think of how she should be paying more attention to my heartbeat since it’s threatening to give out. I am gripped with fear...picture Alfred Hitchcock lady in the shower staring down the blade-of–a-butcher-knife type SHOCK and HORROR! I turn toward my husband and blurt, “Say something --- don’t just sit there!” He looks up from under his hat and I hear him mumbling “new house, new car” and something else I can’t quite make out. Seconds pass and then, as if by some surge of newfound energy, he looks up at me again; his eyes lock with mine and assuredly he tells me, “We take care of five and we’ll take care of seven.” Just like that as if he is unaware of our imminent demise. But somehow his calmness brings me a measure of comfort to get through the rest of the scan.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


I don’t think of much else at that moment; I merely rehearse his words in my mind, “We take care of five and we’ll take care of seven.” By now you’re thinking FIVE, yes we already have five children. And by today’s standards of 2.5 kiddos, five children would be enough to send even the most well intentioned “supermom” hiding behind her cape. I never actually wanted five children. After the birth of our third daughter, I did what I felt was expected of me and declared the baby shop “closed for business.” However, my husband and I agreed to let God determine whether or not we would be parents to a fourth child. And before the breast milk dried on my breast pads, the fifth child came to be and we welcomed her just as we did the fourth. Though I never wanted five children, I can’t imagine it any other way. However, I did know one thing about my childbearing prospect --- that I never ever wanted twins. Twins-double your pleasure- HUH? Double the work, double the sleeplessness, double the everything required to take care of one child. I never saw the pleasure in having twins and was relieved to know that I would never experience it since twins definitely did not run in my family, or my husband’s for that matter. So why am I leaving the doctor’s office 11 weeks pregnant with twins? No warning, no fertility treatments, no genetics, just SURPRISE! I’ve been hoodwinked! How do six pregnancies produce seven children? I rode home in a haze. I just sat there, a baby filled blob. What To Expect, When You’re Expecting doesn’t do this situation justice. I spent the next few weeks in the same haze that followed me home from the doctor’s office. I know how to have one baby, but two? I didn’t know where to begin. I wanted to feel something, anything, except for this fuzz that was where my brain used to be. What’s next? I’ve always liked the genuineness of everything on YouTube; there is no pretense, just ordinary people at their best and sometimes at their worst sharing whatever for the entire world to see. So I type in “twin pregnancy” and a ton of videos present themselves to me. Suddenly these ladies become my baby mentors and I find myself signing on for their pregnancy updates. I watch as these women share about the multiplicity

occasional pain, swollen everything, unrelenting stretching, and even bed rest. However, none of them are deterred from bringing their little ones into the world.

No warning, no fertility treatments, no genetics, just SURPRISE! I’ve been hoodwinked! After weeks of viewing videos, I begin to feel a bud of excitement mixed with anxiety, but excitement nonetheless. I consume anything and everything I can get my hands on about twins. My searches yield a new message for me to ponder instead of doom and gloom; I begin to feel blessed. I start to realize that a twin pregnancy is truly a wonder of nature. Instead of fearing the process, I embrace it and welcome the thought of these children into my heart. At 16 weeks into this wonder and amazement, I am overjoyed and for the first time, I feel THEM move. It’s amazing! I feel their bumps and jumps as my belly stretches to make room for them. I am thankful for these beautiful gifts given out of love that I never knew I wanted, but am so glad to have.

Sommer Harkins is a wife and full-time mother to five children. As a mom to many, she knows first-hand the challenges of motherhood for women, whether working in or outside of the home. In her pursuit toward “joyful” motherhood, coupled with her desire to help other women, Sommer founded Mom Enthusiastically. Through, Mom Enthusiastically she assists mothers in the area of “home management” with the hope of inspiring moms to revitalize homes. She also aspires to incorporate her passion for writing as a means to encourage moms through humor, honesty and compassion. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

25


how to survive a military deployment

with multiples by gabrielle morel

As a military wife and mother of two sets of twins, I understand first-hand the daily challenges of raising multiples while being a military family. My family is currently experiencing their second deployment and I have learned a few tips along way about how to survive. Though this list can certainly be added upon, the following tips are essential prior to deployments.

photo courtesy of cassie leigh photography

1. Come up with a plan of action for everyday outings with the kids, doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping. There are times when our soldiers will be in training or deployed overseas for long periods of time. It is extremely important that you have a plan for outings when your spouse cannot physically be around to help. In my own experience, grocery shopping with one set of twins was not so bad when I had an extra set of hands. After I had my second set of twins and many toddler tantrums later, I realized the importance of having a gameplan set for 26

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


even the shortest shopping trip with my children. The way I shopped in the beginning of the deployment was using “mommy hooks” on my stroller and reusable canvas shopping bags. The “mommy hooks” is helpful for small grocery runs or errands, but is not sufficient for longer shopping trips since twins can lose interest quickly. Even with my toddler twins, the “mommy hooks” method still worked, but my preferred method is the “push the stroller or pull the shopping cart”. I was able to stock up on diapers and formula with my twins actively engaging in shopping, rather than making many small trips to the supermarket.

2. Have the appropriate set of (stroller) wheels.

If you have young children, it is very important that you have the right set of wheels to transport your multiples around. Is your stroller able to fit through standard doors? Can you load and unload the stroller by yourself? Do you have a backup stroller in case something happens to it? These are important questions to ask before your spouse deploys. In the beginning of our most recent deployment, I realized I had no idea how my husband folded our Valco Tri Baby stroller or how he placed it in the trunk of our van with an additional seat. This was evident on a day that my children were extremely fussy, I was struggling outside in the cold trying to find out how to fit the stroller, and our groceries were in the van! Do yourself a favor and learn how

to fold your stroller and load it into your vehicle, before your spouse deploys.

3. Come up with a plan for emergencies.

Murphy’s Law. What can go wrong, will go wrong. No one likes the thought of their child being hurt, but if for any reason, you (or your children) have to take a trip to the Emergency Room (ER), you will need to have a plan ready. The night my husband left for his first deployment, I had to take my daughter to the ER because she was wheezing and her lips turned blue. She was okay, but I wasn’t prepared for the trip. We spent hours in the ER without any toys to entertain my babies or their comfort blankets to help them sleep. I really suggest having a hospital bag ready at all times, full of all your multiples’ essentials: diapers, change of clothes, non-perishable snacks, baby essentials (if applicable), a book or two to read, a favorite toy for each child, and a favorite blanket to help them nap while you all wait. Keep it close to your front door so you can grab it on the way out the door.

4. Have a support system in place.

As military families, we are always moving around leaving the support system of family and friends behind. We don’t have the luxury of dropping our children off with Grandma for the day and going out kid-free. The good news is that there are other military spouses who are in the same situation. Get out there and try to make friends with people multiplicity

who share your interests, or even other parents of multiples. Also, take advantage of respite care available on your military installation or at your local YMCA. This service offers a set amount of hours per month of childcare for free when your spouse is deployed. Whether your soldier is gone for a month-long field exercise or a 12-month deployment, it is important for you to have a plan of action in place. Having a plan brings peace of mind not only to your spouse, but for yourself. You’ll be able to send your soldier off to do their job, knowing that you can do things on your own with your multiples. You’ll be reassured in knowing that when times get hard and you can’t do things on your own, you have a support system and a back-up plan to get you through.

Gabrielle Morel is the mother of two sets of twins, one identical set (3yrs old) and one fraternal set (1yrs old). She is an Army wife whose family is currently in the midst of their second deployment. In her spare time, she writes for her website, From-the Frontline and writes weekly contributions for Mami of Multiples, a popular parenting site. When she’s not writing or crafting, she serves as the Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader for her husband’s unit. Find Morel on Facebook and on Twitter as the @ThingMom. To Morel, there isn’t anything better in this life than a busy schedule and a cup of hot black coffee!

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

27


book review for preschoolers & families by michelle leichty

for the little ones

Finding alphabet books for your preschoolers is easy. However, if you’re looking for books you will enjoy reading to your children as much as they enjoy hearing them, look for these gems: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. & John Archambault. Parents and children alike will adore this classic tale of all the alphabet letters climbing the coconut tree. The rhyme and rhythm are pleasant for reading aloud, and encourages memorization. Illustrations introduce both lower- and uppercase letters. Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendek. Sendek, famous for Where the Wild 28

multiplicity

Things Are, wrote dozens of children’s books, including Alligators All Around. In this alphabet book, Sendek follows a family of alligators as they act their way through the alphabet - including bursting balloons and juggling jelly. Illustrated in Sendek’s signature style, some of these alligator antics will make children giggle. I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan. I Stink! follows a garbage truck around New York City as it picks up the trash. It picks up the trash in alphabetical order, and includes gross stuff (leftover ziti with zucchini!) to thrill preschool boys. Jim’s illustrations are bold and colorful enough to capture any wiggly boy’s attention.

family favorites

Long winter evenings at home beg for family time. Instead of pulling out a movie, or even

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

a game, try popping some popcorn, mixing up some hot cocoa, and cuddling on the couch for an evening of reading a book aloud together. Here are some ideas: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Children as young as three will enjoy listening to the adventures of Elmer as he travels across the globe on an adventure to rescue a dragon. He packs some very strange things in his backpack, but makes very good, and clever, use of them on his journey. The chapters are short, and if everyone takes turns, your family could finish it in only a few evenings. And you can continue to follow Elmer’s adventures in the sequels, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. (Ages 3+) Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is another sweet, and short, story. Caleb and Anna don’t have a mother, and their Papa is lonely. He puts an ad in the newspaper, and Sarah comes to the prairies from Maine to try them out. They get to know each other, but Anna can tell Sarah greatly misses Maine. Will Sarah stay and be their Mama? Or will she go back home? Follow the family in the sequels, Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect Than the Moon, and Grandfather’s Dance. (Ages 4+) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. If you want, or need, a good laugh, pick up any of MacDonald’s Mrs.


Piggle-Wiggle books. With no children of her own, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle certainly has plenty around. In fact, parents send their children to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when they have a problem they cannot seem to solve - like when their child refuses to pick up toys. The children’s problems are familiar, but extreme, and Mrs. PiggleWiggle’s cures are hilarious. The original books are gems worth reading again and again and include: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; Mrs. PiggleWiggle’s Magic; Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; Mrs. PiggleWiggle’s Farm. (Ages 4+) Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld. Children and adults alike will enjoy this suspenseful mystery set in Ancient Rome. Although full of action, it’s also full of humor as the boys of Xantippus’ school try to figure out who framed their classmate Rufus. A side benefit is learning about how children in Ancient Rome lived and interacted with adults.

Michelle Leichty has read, and continues to read, hundreds of books to her four children in the course of their homeschooling journey. She blogs about her favorite children’s books at www.KidsBooksThatRock. com. Click here to learn more about her writing business.

ask the veterans

twins beyond the twos... Q: What can I expect in regard to separation when my twins begin elementary school? Many parents know how unequivocally important education is for their children, but parents of multiples always have several other facets with which to deal --- primarily, the decision of whether or not to keep the twins together. While some schools are receptive to parents’ opinions, more often than not, parents of twins are told it is against the school’s policy, when in fact, no such policy exists. Since around 2005, there are now laws that protect parents’ choice, but they vary by state, which is why you should do your multiplicity

research. A great resource can be found at www.twinslaw.com. Tracy, mom to triplets (identical twin daughters and son), kept them together throughout preschool, but felt a change necessary when it was time to start Big Kid School. She noticed her girls did everything for their brother, but seemed independent of each other. “Although it was tough to see him have to go on his own, I am proud to say they all soared --- even all getting Terrific Kid Awards. That truly made me feel like I did the right thing.”

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

29


they’

30

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


to work. I made myself comfortable on the table and turned to look at the screen. Just as I moved my head the tech said to me, “I can’t believe you did that to me!” “What did I do?” I asked. “I can’t believe it,” she said again. A little embarrassed I said, “I’m sorry I moved.” And then she laid it on me.

re

twins?

“You’ve got two up in there!” “Excuse me?” I asked. “You’ve got two in there!” she said. “Twins?” I asked jokingly. “Uh huh.”

when others just don’t understand by maria amelia bazdekis

t

My husband called as I drove home and asked me if everything was OK. I told him we were expecting twins. At that moment our lives changed in a way we never could have anticipated. We found out right away that the girls were fraternal. I understood that they would not be identical. I never had a clue, though, just how different they would be. I’d heard every story possible from all of my friends who had friends or family members with twins. The stories generally revolved around differences in personality (one is funny and the other one is serious) or in personal style. But I always expected some similarity in appearance or demeanor.

photo courtesy of firewife photography

hey’re twins?! I hear it every time I introduce the girls to someone new. I hear it every time I take them shopping for clothing or shoes. I hear it at the most unexpected moments in time, and sometimes I can predict it moments before it will be said. And, sometimes it hurts. I remember the moment I found out I was expecting twins like it was yesterday. I suppose most mothers of multiples do. I had not expected to get an appointment for a sonogram so quickly - next day in fact and so I told my husband he didn’t need to come. I didn’t want him to have to change his schedule and inconvenience his patients to attend a routine first sonogram, the kind of which he had already attended twice before. “I’ll call you when it’s over,” I told him. There was no waiting in the waiting room that day. I’d gone to the radiology department of one of the medical centers I had once worked at, and was told to come right in. The Radiology tech welcomed me and got right multiplicity

The truth is they were different right out of the gate. One weighed 9 ounces more than the other. One had dark hair, and one was blonde. Blonde? Yes, blonde. In a family of brunettes, a blonde was born. “Blondie” as we nicknamed her, and would pronounce the same way Eli Wallach’s character “Tuco” did in the movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, didn’t look like her twin sister or her older sister. In fact, Blondie’s twin and older sisters could pass for twins were it not for their age difference. Blondie was, and still is, a reminder to my husband and me about how beautiful and random life can be. She was “Twin B”. She is no more special or beautiful or important to us than or her older or twin sisters are. I say it simply because she is unique to us. As time passed the differences continued to become more noticeable. “Mama”, nicknamed (contd. on pg. 42) the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

31


should we have another? why I’m glad the decision was made for me. by leigh ann torres

m

y hands trembled as held the plastic stick and watched in disbelief as two pink lines immediately appeared, indicating what I’d been trying to push out of my mind all week: I was pregnant. And my identical twin girls were only 15 months old. Do I even have to mention that this was not planned? My mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, emotions, and worst case scenarios as the reality sunk in that we were unexpectedly expecting. I don’t enjoy being pregnant; my body doesn’t handle it well. How would I cope with the exhaustion and growing belly while chasing two toddlers around? Would I develop preeclampsia again? Would having a new baby be a detriment to what would have normally been a really fun age with my twins? Could we even afford this on our already tight budget? I cried for three days. When a mother of twins announces she’s expecting again, she’s often met with looks of surprise, and the invasive question of whether or not it was on purpose. Why on earth would you want another child after having twins? Are you crazy? Or as a friend of mine put it, “I just thought you were done since you already had two.” The obvious fact is that there is no limit to the amount of children someone should have. There is no quota. It’s a very personal decision based on each couple’s unique idea of what they want their family to be. If they get to make that decision, that is. Some families struggle to even have one

32

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


child. Some, like us, seem to get pregnant just by looking at our bed. It’s not uncommon for parents who had multiples the first time around to toy with the idea of wanting more children. Many find themselves wanting to experience what it’s like to have “just one”--a chance to reclaim those lost moments of babyhood that got overlooked due to the sheer amount of work and baby juggling that ensued. One baby to feed in the middle of the night. One baby to tend to during the day. One baby to rock to sleep for naps. But in reality, it’s not just one. It’s one in addition to the two, three, or more that are already there. When we brought Zoe home, we marveled at how easy it was to take care of her. She was easy. The twins were easy. But it was the dynamic of the three of them that threw us for a loop. That first year having three children was

uncommon for me to be simultaneously nursing the baby and cutting up oranges. I became a master of juggling. I administered many a timeout while bouncing a crying infant, or wore her in a sling so I could keep her happy and keep my hands free to push her sisters on the swings. I read books to my big girls while holding their sleeping sister. Despite the difficulties, the juggling, and the frustrations, I held. I rocked. I napped with her in my arms whenever I could. I got to experience the pleasure of snuggling one baby, free from the guilt that often plagued me when the twins were infants. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether or not to add another child to your family. It’s a very personal decision. It took me a while to come to terms with the news that I was pregnant, but I can say with confidence that I’m glad it happened this way. Had we been faced

Many find themselves wanting to experience what it’s like to have “just one”...in reality, it’s not just one. It’s one in addition to the two, three or more that are already there. undeniably the hardest year of my life. Like I feared, I developed mild preeclampsia, putting me on bedrest for the last six weeks of my already grueling pregnancy. After Zoe was born, we were mostly homebound again, save for the occasional playdate. I felt alienated from my friends who were planning trips to the local fire station or zoo, meanwhile I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered. I began to resent them for what I viewed to be their easy lives with “just twins.” At home, keeping the baby safe from curious, prodding hands proved to be a challenge. My fantasy of showing my toddlers how to hold the baby turned into their four hands versus my two, poking, prodding, and even smacking her poor little head. They would try to sit on her in her bouncy chair or activity mat, push and poke her in the swing, or toss their toys into the port-acrib. The safest place it seemed was in my arms, and boy, was I exhausted. Because of her impeccable timing, I developed a knack for creative multitasking. It wasn’t multiplicity

with making the decision ourselves, I’m not sure we would have ever taken the plunge. Our family of four was so square and perfect, and we were content with what we had. I saw this new baby as an intruder, someone who was going to mess up our chi, causing horrible imbalance and disrupting our perfect lives. And she did. But when I look at this little girl, who is a perfect miniature version of myself, I remember the fear I felt as I held that plastic stick. I remember thinking I could never love another child like I loved my twins. Life with twins and another child is far from easy. But in hindsight, it couldn’t be a more accurate picture of what my husband and I envisioned for our family. Leigh Ann Torres is a freelance writer and blogger living in Austin, TX. A mom to three year old identical twins and a bonus baby, she blogs about the good and the bad at Genie in a Blog. She’s sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but always real. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

33


photo courtesy of simona balint

alone time

Just Do It! healthy parenting. happy twins.

by joan friedman, ph.d.

34

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


a

few months ago I was speaking to a multiples group and a twin father-to-be asked me the following question: If you were to choose between family time and alone time with each twin, which option is most beneficial? Since he had been listening to my talk for quite a while, I don’t imagine he was surprised to hear me say that alone time is more important when twins are young. He seemed a bit perturbed by my response because he clearly felt that family time was the preferable answer. Fortunately, many of the more seasoned parents in the audience chimed in to agree with me. One mom shared a poignant personal story that resonated with many of us in the room. She and her preschool twin daughter were together at a coffee shop. Her twin son and older son were not with them. Sitting “alone” together with her preschool age daughter, she recognized how emotionally disconnected she felt. She struggled to make meaningful conversation. Mom vowed to spend time alone with her daughter in order to address her maternal sense of sadness and loss. She happily reported that the alone time solution worked wonders and helped her feel enormously reassured and optimistic about her attachment with her daughter.

so that they can leave one twin and then return the favor another time. The alone time activity itself is secondary to the emotional pleasure experienced by spending time alone with each twin. The focused attention and attunement that you can give each child during these moments of alone time contribute to building a secure relationship with you as well as one’s twin. The time apart from one’s twin sibling helps parents get to know each twin without the interference of the other. More often than not, many parents of twins do not understand why spending time alone with each twin is so important to a twin’s emotional well-being. Some are under the impression that the twins’ relationship with each other is the most important connection. In fact, often parents of young twins are mesmerized by their babies’ connection and concern for one another. No doubt, twins do have a special and unique connection to one another. Consequently, parents worry that separating the twins to take them out by themselves will be disturbing and detrimental to the twin relationship. Naturally, if the twins are unaccustomed to being apart, there will be a period of adjustment for all involved. Parents have to work out their concerns and make alone time a family priority so that the children and parents are on board with these plans. In a very short time, the twins will get accustomed to this routine and will eagerly look forward to time alone with mom, dad, or a significant other.

“The beauty of incorporating alone time in your schedule is that it is never too late to begin...”

The beauty of incorporating alone time in your schedule is that it is never too late to begin, and it does not require an enormous sacrifice in terms of time. In reality, it takes some planning along with a commitment to making alone time with each twin a priority in the family routine. Time alone with each twin can be simple and uncomplicated. Alone time can be giving the twins separate baths, reading books before bedtime – one at a time, taking one twin on an errand and leaving the other one at home with your partner or helper, walking around the block with one and going to the park with the other. Naturally, it is important to take turns so that each twin predictably expects that his special time will come. Moms of twins who do not have help often make arrangements with other moms of twins to share babysitting duties multiplicity

Twins need and crave exclusive attention. It is a treat for them to be with loving adults who are solely focusing on them. It provides a short respite from sharing the limelight, fighting for attention and recognition, and being constantly compared and labeled. Alone time is a gift you give to your twins as well as to yourself. Once you overcome whatever emotional or practical obstacles and make the commitment to alone time with your twins, you will feel rewarded and pleased. It’s a breeze to go grocery (contd.) shopping with one child. It’s heavenly to have the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

35


it’s tax time Good news for taxpayers with multiples!

It’s that time of year again! While usually a dreaded chore, parents of multiples can rejoice, as many favorable tax provisions have been extended through 2012, including:

* Marriage penalty relief:

The increased standard deduction and expanded 15% bracket for married taxpayers filing jointly will remain;

* Child tax credit:

by ann reilley gugle

* Reduced tax rates:

The reduced tax brackets of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% will remain in place for 2011 and 2012 but are scheduled to revert to15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6% in 2013.

* Capital gains:

The lower capital gains tax rate of 15% (0% for taxpayers in the 10% and 15% tax brackets) has been extended through 2012;

* Itemized deductions and personal exemptions:

* Earned income credit:

Here are four basic tax tips to consider for 2011 and 2012:

The increased starting and ending points for the earned income credit and the increase in the credit amount for families with three or more qualifying children will remain;

Proposed itemized deduction phase-outs and personal exemption phase-outs have been tabled for two years through 2012.

1. Plan to contribute the maximum to your 401k ($17,000) to reduce 2012 taxable income.

* Child and dependent care credit:

Rules will remain liberalized (allowing the credit to be calculated based on up to $3,000 of expenses for one dependent or up to $6,000 for more than one). Depending on your income level, you could get a credit of up to 35% of the money you paid for childcare while you worked or looked for work. Remember to ask your child care provider for their tax ID number. 36

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

photo courtesy of svilen milev

The $1,000 credit per child remains (it was scheduled to revert to $500 after 2010). Thanks to the “additional child tax credit,” you may be able to take the credit AND get a tax refund, even if you don’t pay enough income tax to take the entire child tax credit against what you paid.


2. Consider making a 2011 contribution to a regular IRA by April 15th --- it may reduce your taxable income for 2011 depending on your adjusted gross income (AGI). That range is from $92,000 to $112,000 for couples filing jointly. If only one spouse is covered by an employer plan, the phase-out zone for deducting a contribution for the uncovered spouse is higher –AGI from $173,000 - $183,000. 3. Rollover any 401k plans from previous employers – it gives you more investment options. You then also have the option to convert this IRA rollover to a ROTH IRA in 2012 with the idea of paying the tax in 2012 while the rates are lower. The advantage of this is that all future investment gains on the account would be tax-free going forward. This makes particular sense if your investments have been beaten down and you have many years until retirement. 4. Set up or continue to contribute to 529 plans for those multiples. College costs continue to rise and for those with younger multiples with long time horizons, now is a better time to ever to invest and enjoy the benefit of tax free earnings. You can gift up to $26,000 per couple per child per year without incurring gift taxes. So, with all those great tips in mind, it’s time to pull out that file folder and start organizing and preparing those documents. Happy saving! Ann Reilley Gugle is a Principal at Alpha Financial Advisors, an independent feeonly firm based in Charlotte, NC. Ann’s expertise includes building comprehensive financial plans for clients that integrate all aspects of her client’s finances, including investment management, insurance, tax planning and estate planning. Ann has 8 year old twin boys and two daughters age 10 and 6. She is currently serving as treasurer on the NOMOTC Convention Committee for this year’s national convention in Charlotte.

multiplicity

just do it contd. --------

dinner out with one child. As one mother told me, you have a much wider selection of better restaurants when you have only one twin with you! It’s a terrific developmental accomplishment for you to see that your twins can handle being apart from each other and look forward to the experience. For parents, alone time provides opportunities to discover each twin’s uniqueness and sensibilities. While twins do have a special connection, children cannot be nurtured by a same-age sibling. It is the parents who provide the important emotional nutrients that solidify healthy attachments with others. Twins whose parents have taken the time and trouble to carve out time alone and provide varying degrees of separate experiences grow up to have the healthiest adult relationships. Twins in these circumstances have not experienced excessive dependence on their siblings because their parents have been their primary attachment figures. Singletons rarely depend so completely on their siblings. Unlike twins, they have to face their developmental challenges on their own. They attend preschool without a best friend, go on playdates by themselves, and navigate social relationships on their own. It is important for parents of twins to realize that, at times, having another person around all the time can prevent a child from taking risks, feeling self-reliant, and managing separation anxiety. Think about “alone time” as a life changing commitment. Try to make it part of your daily routine and family rituals. Whether it is taking turns to walk outside to get the mail, having separate playdates, or enrolling in different after school activities, your twins will reap the rewards of a healthier relationship with you and their twin. Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D. is a critically acclaimed twin expert, mother of adult twins, and an identical twin herself. She is the author of Emotionally Healthy Twins. She has just completed her second book entitled My Self, Your Self, a breakthrough book that offers guidance to adult twins adjusting to difficulties traced to their twinship. Dr. Friedman is an avid spokeswoman and advocate for fair treatment of twins in the media, education, and psychology. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

37


winter woes

t

by beth strauss

he winter season brings cooler temperatures and an increased likelihood that our kids will get sick, especially with a cold or the flu. For parents of twins or more, the chances of tending to a household of sick children and taking numerous trips to the doctor’s office are doubled -- even tripled. “When one of my girls is sick, you know the other one is going to get it -- whether it’s the next day or the next week,” says Tammie Whitaker, a mom of four-year-old twin girls. “At least when it happens right away, I know I’ll be sleeping again soon.” Trips to the doctor increase during the winter when the viral infections that cause the cold and flu run rampant. The top concern for

parents during an illness is whether their child is in any danger, says Dr. Arthur Lavin, MD, a pediatrician, father of twin girls and co-author of “Who’s the Boss? Moving Families From Conflict to Collaboration.” “I try to be very clear to parents where the line is for each illness, “ Lavin says. “For colds and flus, we worry most when a child is struggling to breathe or having symptoms of severe pain, a stiff neck, or the inability to wake up. For stomach flus, we add decreased urination to the list of concerns.” While the issues all parents face with winter viral infections are the same, the key difference for parents of twins or multiples is, as always, intensity. “It is much harder to have twins sick

While the issues all parents face with winter viral infections are the same, the key difference for parents of twins or multiples is, as always, intensity. 38

how to hang when the kids are feeling the blues

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


with a bad cold than just one child ill,” Lavin says. Other common concerns that come up in the doctor’s office range from the appearance of a rash on a child’s skin and whether their lungs are clear, to how to stop a cough at night or get their child to stop spitting up their medicine. Parents of twins with special needs typically have added concerns when their children become ill. “When my boys get sick, it’s always a concern whether or not they are getting enough calories,” says April Beard , a mom of three-year-old twin boys who were born premature and are autistic. “I usually modify what they are eating, using some recipes my doctor has provided, to make sure they are not losing too many calories during their illness.” Lavin says viral infections present dangers to children with special needs specific to their particular situation. For example, if you have a child who has a suppressed immune system, your doctor will pay special attention to ensuring a serious bacterial infection hasn’t developed even with the most viral-looking fever. Or if a child has a shunt or a catheter, your doctor may be concerned about whether a shunt infection has developed if the child has a fever. Beyond the dangers that an illness can present to their children, many parents of twins or multiples want to know what they can do to help their kids avoid getting sick in the first place. Some tips for helping your kids avoid getting sick this winter include:

1

2

Get flu vaccinations - Most doctors recommend children six months and up get one in the fall every year, and this is especially important for parents or any other caregivers in which the multiples may come in frequent contact. Wash hands frequently - Germs are spread easily among children because they tend to put their hands on their faces and in their mouths. Washing their hands frequently, especially when they have been in germ-ridden multiplicity

environments can help prevent the spread of germs. Use hand sanitizers when soap and water aren’t available.

3 4 5

6

Wipe down common surfaces with Lysol or Clorox wipes - Items like car seats or a play table that tend to carry germs should be wiped down at least weekly to help prevent illness. Take a multivitamin - Supplement a healthy diet for your twins with a multivitamin every day to help keep them healthy. Make sure your kids eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Watch for sharing of items that could spread germs - If you twins are drinking from a bottle or sippy cup, try to avoid allowing them to drink from each other’s bottle or cup. The same goes for toothbrushes. If you use saline nose drops , buy separate bottles for each child and label them. Get plenty of sleep - Rest is so important both physically and mentally for your twins’ overall health. Make sure they are getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age each day.

While some prevention measures may help avoid some illness, most moms know that they can’t prevent their kids from ever getting sick. “Sometimes I debate if it’s worth it to take my girls out or if we should just stay at home,” says Whitaker. “But I realize that they’re never going to build an immune system if we always stay home. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that things will be easier as they get older.”

Beth Strauss is the founder of www.workingmomsoftwins.com, which offers support and advice for working moms of multiples, and is the mom of 13-year-old twin girls and a four-year-old singleton daughter. You can find her on Facebook. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

39


oh, bab(ies)!

exploring the journey from

“me” to motherhood

i

am exhausted, but cannot sleep. I just want to stare at them. I am in awe of their tiny cuticles – how they look like they could belong to a grown person even though they are only days old. I wonder which they prefer: being inside of me or nestled under my arms. This is what it feels like to love somebody. However I defined love before, now seems so terribly off. SO very not like this. When I look over at my husband, I know he knows and understands it, too. From this moment forward, he will be the only person who understands how I feel, who can look at Ella and Aidan with the same eyes, no matter how differently we may look at each other or the world.

by jennifer parker

I wanted to live in that hospital bed, in that very moment. I knew that the house would soon be a mess and the nurse wouldn’t come in to check on me and wrap Ella and Aidan up in the perfect way in their swaddling blankets. We were so comfortable right then and there, in our bubble world with a red button that brought help. There won’t be any red buttons from now on. Ella and Aidan are so tiny, just sweet little newborns. In many ways, I am a newborn as well. Everything looks different now. Two babies! In my arms! I have to pinch myself. They are still there, nestled in the crooks of my arms, breathing in sweet little tides, in and out. I am crazy in

40

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


love and scared to death! As we left the hospital, I swallowed tears and sat squashed against the door, watching out the windows as the world passed by. Once we arrived home the chaos began and the ecstasy was only matched by the agony. They won’t sleep --- they just scream and cry. I just want to sleep, but I can’t. Finally, when they do sleep and I manage to doze off, they are awake and it is my job to stop their cries.

“i am crazy in love and scared to death.” I feel completely alone even though I haven’t had a moment to myself since before they were born. Yet amidst the craziness, there is a sense of peace. When both Ella and Aidan are asleep in their swings, I get lost in the sounds of stillness, the sweeping whoosh of the swings, the tick of the wall clock that counts the seconds of peace and quiet like a child counts the cracks in a sidewalk. I know this won’t be easy. There will be times when I will be beyond frustrated with myself and my husband and

maybe even Ella and Aidan. Times when I’ll want to be alone and won’t be able to, when I’ll want to get in my car and drive to a rustic shack where I can hide out and just write in peace. But that’s the other side of what it means to be in love. To be passionate is to momentarily fantasize about throwing it all away. My husband and I have now entered a new life phase with lines that we mustn’t cross and things we shouldn’t say. There are two babies now, who rely upon us to show them the ropes, set a good example, and love them unconditionally. We’ll make plenty of mistakes as we find our way as parents, but in the end, we will succeed. Jennifer Parker is the owner of FireWife Photography and enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to three little ones --- 4.5 year old twins, Ella and Aidan, and 4 month old, Lauren. Jennifer’s little ones were her inspiration for picking up a camera in the first place, and she has been determined to never miss a single moment, either via the written word or a moment in time captured on film. She uses writing as an outlet as she still has all of her diaries from childhood. Add a husband, three children and a successful business, and Jennifer now has extensive journals – from struggles with infertility, miscarriage and IVF (and finally pregnancy), to the unbelievable surprise baby (our Disney miracle!) that the doctors told us we would never have! multiplicity

just say no contd. -----

“The hardest thing I’ve had to say “no” to is a lot of Girls Nights Out/weekends away,” said Sherman. “It’s nice to get a break but I feel guilty saying “yes” to a friend, when (and if) I could really get a break, I’d like it to be with my hubby.” Of course, we are not always given the option to say “no” to everything and anyone. Under these circumstances, the best solution is to try to reach a compromise and if all else fails, deal with the situation the best way possible. Believe it or not, learning to say “no” may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and it will not be the end of your world as you know it. “Look at the benefits that you will get with your family,” said Gunter-Bartnik. “A new memory; a good laugh; a surprise. Look at it as investing in your children.” ‘Write what you know and keep reading.’ This is the inspiring advice that Frankie Howley has carried with her from the very start of her writing career, and has done since hearing of expecting twins in 2009. She is the mother to her 12-yearold son, Zachary, and toddler twin daughters, Jasmine and June. With a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from USF, St. Petersburg, Frankie is a staff writer for Twiniversity. com, a former staff writer/editorial assistant for the St. Petersburg Times, and freelances for outlets such as ParentGuide Magazine and CitiLife Magazine.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

41


they’re twins contd. -----

this because she only wanted to come to me as a baby, grew faster. The development of her verbal skills also outpaced those of her twin. These verbal skills, coupled with an intense desire to communicate (i.e. she talks a lot) positioned her to become the “dominant” twin. But since we’d read about this twin phenomenon, and were of reasonable intelligence, we picked up on it right away, and let their pre-school teachers know so they wouldn’t unknowingly feed into it. We were constantly on the lookout to make sure no one fell into the roles of leader and follower. Our main goal was to preserve their self-esteem while allowing them to develop at their own pace. “No comparisons” we were advised. “No comparisons” we counseled our family members. Everyone went along with the game plan and each twin flourished in different ways. It was easy to manage the twins’ surroundings when they were infants and toddlers. But children grow up. As soon as the girls hit the big time in grammar school, our ability to protect them from the hurt caused by sometimes innocent comments, and at other times ignorant words, came to an end.

them physically might cause them problems until Blondie’s kindergarten teacher suggested that we not dress them alike any longer. I didn’t dress them identically, but I did buy similar articles of clothing in different colors. I asked her if this was because it was important for them to develop as individuals. “No” she responded. It was because the kids in both of their classes would occasionally point out “same shoes, same shirt, same pants, but she’s little.” This broke my heart. I beat myself up for being so stupid. How could I have done this? How could I, who had taken such painstaking care to make sure no one compared them to each other, have set them up for this? I stopped dressing them similarly for school right away. I slowly began to let them pick out an outfit here or there, and it was interesting to see how divergent their tastes were. When I went back for the next conference, her teacher told me the comparisons had stopped and that Blondie was feeling more confident around her sister.

“This broke my heart. I beat myself up for being so stupid. How could I have done this?”

It didn’t even occur to us that the differences between 42

multiplicity

Naturally, the comparisons have not completely stopped. More often than not, people who do not know us will assume that we have three daughters of different ages, and that Blondie is the youngest. But we quickly correct the confused person and explain that they are twins. “They’re twins?!”

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

The girls, of course, hear it differently. “You’re twins?” I’ve witnessed it at the monkey bars, at the swings … well you get the picture. Sometimes the comment ends there, but sometimes it leads to teasing. I can’t stop the occasional taunt, just like I can’t prevent them from falling. But I can help them grow to be happy and comfortable in their own skin, no matter their size. And so we do what we can to encourage and foster their different skills. Currently Blondie is our resident gymnast and tough cookie, while Mama is an avid reader and adult pleaser. And even though occasionally the words “you’re twins” still sting, the sting is diminishing and they clearly revel in their individuality. And they love each other like only twins can.

Maria Amelia Bazdekis is the mother of three beautiful girls and the wife of her college sweetheart. While pledging to never work in human resources or healthcare management, her professional career consisted of increasingly responsible positions in human resources and healthcare management. She luckily joined the stay at home workforce just prior to 9/11, and has worked in online marketing and social networking since 2006. She is the founder of Mommylogue, and can be found tweeting as @MariaAmelia3 and on Google+ as Mommylogue.


5easy steps for thecontrolling chaos

a

by traci zeller

nother holiday season has come and gone, and now – besides the wonderful memories – you are probably left with lots and lots of stuff. Well, if your house is anything like mine, that is! Toys, photos, memorabilia (reindeer antlers, anyone?) – you name it and it seems to have multiplied during the month of December. So what’s an “I have enough chaos with my multiples” mommy supposed to do? Most importantly, take a deep breath and relax. The chaos was not created in a day, and it may take more than a day to get it under control. But just know that you’ll feel better as your organizational systems take shape and you regain control over your environment.

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

43

photo courtesy of dustin peck photography

a place for everything


Ummm, well, as much control as life with twins, triplets or more will let you have! Now let’s get started.

(1) Donate or throw away anything you don’t need or want.

I am ruthless when it comes to donating or throwing away. If it’s broken and you don’t want it, no one else will either – so give Goodwill a break and just put that game-missing-half-itspieces into the trash. If whatever you are looking at is in good condition – say, board books your children have outgrown – earmark those items for your local thrift store or consignment sale. For items going to a thrift store, put them in the car --- now. If the front passenger seat is filled with bags to drop at the Salvation Army, it’s hard to ignore them. For items you plan to consign, store them in a clearly marked storage bin – “For Spring 2012 Consignment Sale” – so you won’t forget what you intended to do with them … or heaven forbid, get them mixed back up with the keepers. What about the things for which you just cannot decide? Maybe the pair of shoes that pinch your toes but they were on sale and oh-so-fabulous? If you aren’t convinced you want the shoes, you’ve already decided that you don’t. You simply aren’t willing to admit it! Begrudgingly – because you don’t really want those things – I recommend using a clearly marked storage bin – “Maybe. Reevaluate July 2012.” Once you have all the “maybe” items stashed in the storage bin, put it somewhere slightly out of the way, but not too difficult to reach. If you really want any of the “maybes,” you’ll remember and pull that item out to use. If you haven’t pulled it out, well, isn’t that all you need to know? Take those items to the thrift store and be done with it! Of course, the easiest way to clean things out is never to buy them. Let your resolution for 2012 be to only buy things that you truly love and have definite plans to use.

(2) Create empty storage space.

Hopefully you have already cleared out some storage space by donating or discarding used items. If you haven’t cleared out some storage space, please return to Step 1. But let’s assume 44

multiplicity

that you have created as much empty space as possible – and you still need more storage. Now is the time to think creatively! Whether it is space on the walls, space under furniture, or space hanging from the ceiling, there is likely available storage that you have overlooked. Take a family room, for example. Even if your multiples have their own playroom, you probably still have toys floating around. Corral them! Does your sofa have a skirted bottom? Is your coffee table leggy? These are perfect spots for stashing an open basket. You can find a basket to fit your size and style at retailers like The Container Store or Target. Assign a basket per child or a basket per type of toy – whatever is appropriate for your room and the toys that find their way there. When the basket gets full, it’s time to put the toys back where they usually “live.” A “drop zone” is essential, whether it is a mudroom or just the space near the door to the garage or outside. Not enough room? Think vertically! You are losing storage space if you don’t use the vertical space. Locker systems are readily available at retailers like IKEA and Pottery Barn. Inexpensive wire baskets can be hung on the wall to hold lightweight items like mittens or mail. If the space is awkward, a custom system can maximize every inch.

(3) Put everything away.

Everything needs an assigned “home.” Think practically when deciding where “home” should be. In other words, where is that item needed the most? Perhaps a screwdriver does belong in the kitchen junk drawer because you need it to open the endless battery compartments. Firstaid kits are commonly kept in bathrooms, but – if you spend most of your time in the kitchen and adjacent rooms – wouldn’t it make more sense to keep bandages and antibacterial ointment in the pantry? Toys should have their “home” somewhere that makes sense too, and is easily reachable, by children.

(4) Label with names or photos to identify where everything belongs.

Once you have decided where everything belongs and put it there, now it is time to label! Especially

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


when an organizational system is new, it is important to label with the name of what belongs there. Hanging tags are especially useful for baskets and bags. Adhesive labels work well for shelves and anything that gets sent to school or daycare. Photos are fantastic for toy bins when children are not yet able to read. My favorite products include the Brother P-touch, Lovable Labels, and Pottery Barn Kids’ Chalkboard Labels. If you own a personal electronic cutter, vinyl lettering works in many situations.

Congratulations! You are finished – for now. The next task is to keep everything organized. Create a routine where everything gets picked up at certain times of the day. Everyone – parents and children alike – should participate because everyone benefits from an organized home. More importantly, if your children and spouse are not invested in maintaining the organization, you will make yourself crazy picking up after them!

I also subscribe to the “touch everything once” rule. If the “home” you have created and labeled is intuitive, it is quick and easy to put something away now and be done with it. You’ve completed the five easy steps for controlling chaos. What now? Embrace life! Having multiples is a wonderful, crazy experience – and, yes, it often requires organization. Remember, though, that the goal is not to have a perfect home or a perfect life. The goal

photo courtesy of dustin peck photography

(5) Create a routine to clean up.

is to have a home that functions for you and your family and enables you to enjoy each other. Happy organizing! Named by Charlotte Style magazine as one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Stylish People in 2010, Traci Zeller is an interior designer known for her clean, sophisticated mix of classic and modern pieces. Traci developed her refined aesthetic through years of extensive travel, multiplicity

including exposure to the finest art, architecture and interiors around the world. As a busy wife and mother to active twin boys, she appreciates the need for spaces that are beautiful and functional. Degrees in both accounting and law enable Traci to assist clients with budgets and contracts throughout the design process. Traci also authors a blog, in which she shares her stylish favorites with as many as 120,000 readers per month. Her firm, Traci Zeller Designs, provides full service design and e-decorating packages.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

45


my not so planned

C-

section by amanda nethero

i

will never forget the day I sat in my OB’s office discussing my twins’ birthday. Since she does her surgeries on Mondays, the kids would be making their debut on May 5th. My husband, Scott, and I immediately thanked her for picking such an amazing day (our kids will thank us in college). On that day, I would be exactly 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I literally was the size of a beached whale, and it was amazing. On May 4th I felt like garbage. My parents were in town, continually commenting on my whale-like shape, and we were going to have one last dinner before the babies came. We were having my favorite, spaghetti with as much meat as humanly possible, which is what I craved at every moment of every day the last few weeks. Oh, and it had to have at least

46

multiplicity

half a container of parmesan cheese on it. The whole day I was sick to my stomach and just felt uncomfortable. I assumed it was just nerves since the next day was “the day”. I didn’t say a word to anyone since everyone was already concerned. After the feast, Scott and I finished packing our hospital bags (yes, we were that ballsy and didn’t pack until that night) and settled into bed for what was to be our last full night of child-free sleep. As Scott was getting ready to roll over he said, “How long do you think you would have gone if the c-section wasn’t tomorrow?” Almost on cue, Aaron (Baby A) kicked me and broke my water. Let me tell you, a pregnant woman has never moved as fast as I did when that happened. All I could remember was the Lamaze teacher talking about the water getting into your mattress and having to buy a new one because you would never be able to get rid of the smell. Scott let out some choice words and ran down the hall to my parents while I ran to the bathroom.

Once my mother realized what happened, she was in the bathroom with me, and there’s nothing like your mother seeing you in all your glory at this moment in time. My father on the other hand was lining the passenger seat of our car

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

with black garbage bags. Let me clue you in on my Dad, he’s old school, and if there is ever a problem, chances are it can be solved with duct tape, a black garbage bag, or Drano. When I got to the car I didn’t even bother counting how many bags were on the seat; I assumed half a box. As I roll myself into the car my father is trying to buckle me in at the same time. You can only imagine how well this worked. Finally, we were off to the hospital.

“...there’s nothing like your mother seeing you in all your glory at this moment in time.” The contractions started when we were halfway there. Yes, that was a fun surprise. I was met with a wheelchair at the hospital and pretty much taken back immediately, much to the chagrin of the other pregnant mothers in triage. Once there, the nurse had me hooked up to all of the monitors and said they had to verify my water actually broke and that I didn’t just pee all over myself. Um, I’m pretty sure I know the difference, but yes, please check. My nurse also commented on how in all


her years she has never seen contractions so hard and close together for someone at only 3 centimeters. Fabulous, just what I wanted to hear. So, between that and Scott telling me to “just remember the breathing”, because you know I really paid attention in Lamaze, I was ready for the anesthesiologist like 5 minutes ago. Apparently, Jillian (Baby B) could read my mind and broke her water sack. I was on my way to surgery. Within what seemed like moments I was in the OR waiting for the “team” and Scott. I couldn’t see a thing because I was wrapped in warm blankets, but I knew Scott was in the room when I heard him say “Where are the mirrors? I don’t want to see anything.” The doctor reminded us that we may not hear the kids cry at first and not to be worried.

Then the c-section started. I think I held my breath until I heard Aaron not just cry, but scream. Then I heard the nurse gasp when he “christened” the entire length of the OR. Next up was Jill, and in true Jill form, she was not coming out until she was ready. The doctor, (and I am not lying), had to peel her fingers off of me to get her out. I even heard her say, “You have to let go!” That is why she is 2 minutes younger than Aaron and not 1 minute or less. Jill also let out a big scream, which was an amazing sound. The moment I saw them was the most amazing moment of my life. After everyone left the room, I just smiled, well until the assistant mentioned that was his first set of twins ever. I’m glad he saved that bit of trivia until that moment. I rolled my head to the side, looked

top 5: babyproofing tips As a child safety professional, I am often asked, “what are the most important things that need to be baby proofed?” While each house is different, we listed the 5 areas of a home that require medical or emergency room care. These accidents, in most cases, are preventable with proper parental planning and supervision.

fire escape plan to ensure all family members escape unharmed.

1. Fire safety - make sure your home is equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke/CO detectors, and a well-rehearsed

4. Secure all loose cords and wires. A child can easily become entangled in dangling cords, causing choking and/

2. Anchor all uneasy furniture. Bookshelves, TV's, changing tables, lamps and many others can easily be tipped causing serious injuries, if not worse to children of any age. 3. Latch all cabinets that contain any type of dangers.

multiplicity

at my nurse anesthetist and asked if I they needed me for anything else or if I could just finally get some sleep. After all I have twins now. Amanda Nethero is a native south suburbanite of Chicago who has the accent and White Sox apparel to prove it, that now lives in the sunshine state. Besides taking care of her 3 ½ year old twins, Aaron and Jillian, she also runs Multiples and More, a blog network for families with multiples. You can also keep up with her on Twice the Love…Half the Sleep. Amanda is also a sippy cup hunter, boo-boo kisser, peace talk negotiator, pop culture know-it-all, cook, & loving wife.

by james hirtenstein or strangulation. Cord cleats for blinds, as well as strips that secure low wires to walls are highly recommended. 5. Cover all electrical outlets and power strips. Low laying outlets and power strips are perfect targets for crawling and wandering toddlers. All these items should ensure you a safer home, but there is no substitute for parental supervision and you should never rely on mere baby proofing alone.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

47


positi

48

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


how to foster a

ve relationship

e

between siblings by jenny richard

very parent wants their children to get along, but it can be especially difficult with multiples. The key to developing a positive relationship among siblings is to be proactive and start as early as possible. There are some keys to creating an atmosphere of love and safety within your family.

Avoid comparing kids to one another.

This sounds simple, but can be difficult in practice. Recognize that each child is unique (even if they look just alike!), and treat them accordingly. Getting to know them better on an individual basis can help.

Present a United Front. photo courtesy of jane goodrich

As parents, it’s vitally important that you work out parenting differences with each other in private and show the kids that mom and dad are a team. When one child comes and asks you for permission to do something new, a good answer is, “Mom and Dad will have to talk about that and get back to you.” This will help you avoid making a commitment to a child that your partner doesn’t agree with. multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

49


Along with the above, you and your mate should avoid taking sides in squabbles. The best thing to do is to let them work it out on their own. Be a consultant to your children, giving them advice on how to work things out with their sibling, instead of solving their problems for them. Always pay attention to ensure no physical force is being used and that someone is not being hurt.

Fair isn’t always equal. As adults, we understand this philosophy --- we wouldn’t expect a shoplifter to have the same consequence as a jewel thief. The same goes for our kids. Each child is unique and has unique challenges and needs. For example, if one child is invited to a party, that doesn’t always mean the other is invited, too.

you help each child to develop friendships with other children.

Provide Opportunities for Fun and Bonding. Family outings don’t always have to be about the whole family having fun together. Sometimes, bringing the children to a place where they can have fun together in a safe, controlled setting, can help to deepen their bond and build a positive relationship. For instance, you can take them to the beach where they can play, swim, and build sand castles together, but you are not necessarily involved in

Don’t force your kids to be “buddies.”

Allow your children’s relationships to develop as naturally as possible. Forcing them to spend too much time together, or play only with one another, can cause resentment and negative feelings. It’s fair to expect siblings to be civil with one another, but they may not always be excited to spend time together. Therefore, it’s important that 50

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

each activity they do. Play cooperative board and card games like Forbidden Island, Hoot Owl Hoot, and Richard Scary’s Busytown Eye Found It are good fun and require the kids to work together.

Give each child their own special space.

Finances may require that your multiples share a room, but you should still try to find a way to allow each child to have a space that’s their own. Everyone needs to have a place to go to “recharge their batteries” and be alone. Kids also want to know that their special belongings are safe. Providing this can be as simple as getting a trunk for each child that has a lock (for younger children, make sure it has safety features to prevent a child from being locked inside), or specifying a corner or side of the room that is for one child only. If each child has a safe place to go and be alone and feels their belongings are also safe, they can be more relaxed and able to interact positively with their siblings.

Physical play can be OK.

Especially with boys, it seems kids require some strenuous physical activity each day. Wrestling and other forms of physical play don’t have to be taboo. Just make sure to set clear limits, such as, “When someone says, ‘NO’ you have to stop right away.” Allowing

photo courtesy of christy davis photography

Don’t take sides.


additional resources

Parenting SchoolAge Twins & Multiples, Christina Tingloff

Emotionally Healthy Twins, Joan Friedman

The Art of Parenting Twins: The Unique Joys and Challenges of Raising Twins and Other Multiples, Patricia Malmstrom children to release physical tension in a positive and controlled environment can help them to bond and let go of stress.

Support each other.

Your children have different talents and abilities, and will probably participate in different activities or sports. When one child is performing in a concert, or playing in a soccer game, encourage the other to support and encourage the performer. The watching child will learn to appreciate their siblings talents and abilities and the performer will feel valued by their sibling.

Seek help.

If you have been trying to foster a positive relationship between your children and nothing is working, it may be time to seek help. A professional mediator or family therapist may be able to help your children to develop coping strategies and to compromise with each other.

MOM = WOW!

in resolving for the New Year, fellow MOMs share their proudest MOMents... I feel accomplished when I do things that most moms only have to do with one. It really makes you think creatively! ~ Theresa M.

I felt like an accomplished MOM the 1st time that I left the house with three kids and returned with three kids! ~ Sara W.

I felt like a rockstar grocery shopping with my 3 year old and 3 month old twins. Said rockstar moment came to an end in the ice cream isle, but 45 minutes with three happy little ones was a proud mom moment. ~ Karen H.

One of my proudest moments was when my son defended his twin brother on the playground. I don’t condone violence (especially not with 4 year olds) but it’s nice to know that even this young, they have each other’s backs! ~ Juliane K.

I feel accomplished when I make it through the day of running 2 businesses, a household, being a stayat-home Mom to 3 year old twins and a 6 year old, a ton of carpooling & activities, & still have a smile on my face at the end of the day. ~ Tiffany N. I will always remember the 1st time the two of them giggled at each other. I also treasure the 1st “I wuv oo” from them. ~ Jenny S. The 1st time both my babies tackled me was amazing! ~ Mandie B. multiplicity

I love when my twin girls reach out and hold each others hands while nursing. ~ Sarah H. The excitement and squeals of joy [my twins] showed when I would pick them up after I went back to work full time. That makes having to work full time worth it. ~ Tabatha S. The 1st time they really interacted/played with one another, crawling after one another and laughing. It’s like medicine for the soul! ~ Brittany M.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

51


&

raising a bilingual

a

multicultural family by joscelyn ramos-campbell

s a wife and mother to a multi-cultural family, my family is a total mixed breed descending from European and Latin countries. My Irish and Scottish Philadelphia bred husband, my

52

multiplicity

own New York raised Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, and Italian heritage, and our children who are a total compilation of all our cultural backgrounds. Having children in our home from the age of toddler twins to a teenager has helped us in the desire to integrate our cultural customs and traditions into our lives. We want our children to be proud and honored that they are Americans, and equally grateful that their ancestors made that possible for them. We try to share our backgrounds with our children through frequent interaction with older relatives, cooking traditional and ethnic foods, reading bilingual books, watching cultural movies, and talking to them in another language. Bilingual culture is a part of everyday society, including in the world of children. The proven benefits of children

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

speaking dual languages have been reflected in schools and the media. From dual language immersion programs in elementary schools to television shows that portray bilingual characters, such as Disney’s Spanish Handy Manny or Nickelodeon’s Chinese Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, teaching another language to a child has become highly recommended. Most families of multiples have an “instant” school in their home with two or more children of the same age. In a recent article in the New York Times, language specialist Roberta Golinkoff says, “Being immersed in a dual language and living within it are what leads to language learning.” Parents, including those of multiples, can create a daily environment where the dual language is prominent. For a bilingual family, you can keep the languages separate by person and place. (contd. on pg. 56)


curly girl contd. -----

My little chick jumped up, gave me a big hug and kiss and said “I know.” Awww, how could you not love her?!? After our little pow-wow with the other curly girl client we met Michael, our stylist. He did a consultation, then cut it dry (yes, dry when the curls are in their natural form), wet it and used some NoPOO, let it dry under a dryer, cut it again, and then sat us down and schooled us on the Art of the Curly Girl!

Lesson One: Know Your Curl.

Find out if you have Cherub Curls (like Taylor Swift), Botticelli Curls (like Shakira), Corkscrew Curls (like Nicole Kidman), etc. For a full list you can check out this great book called Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. Once you know what type of curl you have, you can figure out how to treat it best. Note: my chick has Corkicelli Curls.

Lesson Two: NEVER use shampoo!

WHAT? Apparently the chemicals in traditional shampoo are too harsh. Using sulfate-free washes are your best bet. In our house we use a product called NoPoo, but only once a week! She conditions her hair daily and uses JUST the conditioner like most of us use just shampoo. Note: When you are in the shower,

make sure you squeeze out ALL the water before adding in the conditioner so it can really be absorbed. Also note, after you are out of the shower, it’s not a bad idea to add in a bit more conditioner for good measure. THEN, when towel drying, “scrunch” it, don’t rub it. Finally, don’t use a comb or brush, use your fingers. If you can’t get your fingers through, add a bit more conditioner until you can.

Lesson Three: Say Goodbye to Frizz.

When styling my curly girl, we use a gel that is alcohol and silicone free (once again because of drying issues) and use about a half palmful to hold her curls in tight without the frizz. After it completely air dries, she can wear it up, down, in a headband or in pony tails (my personal favorite).

day. Once we stopped using shampoo alone the difference was remarkable. As for products, we like almost everything in the DevaCurl line. We use their NoPoo, One Condition Conditioner, Set It Free daily conditioning spray, and their AnGEL gel. We have tried and failed many times with many other products and we are THRILLED to find some that fit the bill for my little chick. You can find these products online or at one of their authorized stylists in your area. So, if you are lucky enough to be the mom or dad of a curly girl or boy, study up and let your child love the fact that he/she has some uniquely outstanding hair that most adults would kill for. Think about it, how many folks do you know that got a perm or bought a curling iron recently? Enough said!

These three lessons will ensure that your curly girl has the most beautiful curls on the playground. If you happen to be the mom of a curly girl, I STRONGLY suggest you pick up two books and read them cover to cover. 1. Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey and 2. The Guide to Girls’ Hair by Cozy Friedman of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids. These two guidebooks should be on hand and I promise you they are worth the money. Since September, we have been treating my daughter’s hair with our three new golden rules of curly girls and the difference is night and multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

53


hope after a diagnosis

finding by katiana harrison

i

’ll never forget September 8, 2006. That’s the day I received my daughters’ official diagnosis of Autism. It was a day that would change all my days to come. Hearing the word Autism in regards to my then 15 month old twins was heartbreaking. From that day on, in addition to being a wife and a mother, I would be an advocate; fighting every step of the way to get my girls the services that they very much needed to make progress. An Autism diagnosis meant my family as a whole would have a very long and hard journey ahead of us. Finding hope in what easily could have been a sea of despair was an enormous challenge for me. In the very beginning, it was hard to find any type of hope. I remember reading the evaluation reports and crying as I absorbed all the information that led to the actual diagnosis. I was scared for my girls, and I was worried about how much catching up they would have to do because of how delayed they were. What did those reports really mean for my girls’ future? Would my daughters be able to live independently one day? My husband was concerned about them being accepted by society and the possibility of them being bullied because of their special needs. No one wants their child to have a hard life. How about all the goals and dreams that we had for our girls? Would those have to disappear completely? These are just some of the questions and worries we had.

54

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


Right after receiving the diagnosis, I started researching about Autism and the different types of therapies. I dedicated most of my time to fighting for the services my girls needed and were entitled to receive. It wasn’t an overnight process, but over time I started to think differently. I had to stop mourning the loss of dreams and goals that might never have come to fruition anyway, even without a diagnosis. Our dreams for our children aren’t promised to any of us. This didn’t mean that I would stop having dreams and goals for my girls; they would just be a little different. I went on a mission always searching to see what different special needs programs were available. I wanted my girls to feel like they were a part of something, to enjoy themselves just like neurotypical children. If they liked something or were good at something, I wanted to be able to facilitate their interests. I don’t always find the activities that I am

them to stay hopeful. All that any of us can do is our individual best for our children. Passing on the information I have gathered, as well as the message of hope, helps me to stay encouraged. Over the years, my girls have come a long way. They have made so much progress, and they have worked so hard to learn skills that seem so easy for others. They still have a long way to go, but I know they will get there. I know that their potential is limitless; it just takes them longer. I always keep in mind that I must see my girls beyond Autism, because there is more to them than just a diagnosis. They are beautiful, affectionate, loving, sweet, and intelligent girls who just happen to have Autism. Those words best describe my girls. They make me laugh often and can put a smile on my face even on the hardest of days. I am so thankful for them.

Our dreams for our children aren’t promised to any of us. looking for, but that doesn’t stop me from always searching. It’s been five years since receiving that diagnosis. And with all the research that I have done and still do, I have gathered so much information --- information that I never hesitate to share with other parents who have received an Autism diagnosis. It can be complex and daunting to navigate the educational system. Since I’ve been there and done it many times now, I try to make it easier for other parents who are just starting out. Besides letting them know what their child is entitled to receive, I always make sure to tell

Coping with an Autism diagnosis, as well as navigating the world of Autism can be arduous. We have good days and bad days, but through it all, I hold on to hope. I owe it to my girls to have all the optimism in the world for them. On this they can depend: I will never stop hoping for them. Katiana Harrison is the mother to six-year old, twin daughters, who both have Autism. Her love for and dedication to her daughters have helped her to grow into an Autism advocate. This article is her writing debut.

To learn more about Autism and Autism affects 1 in 110 children what’s being done Autism affects 1 in 70 boys Children as young as 1 year old can show signs to help, visit Typical signs may include: www.autism *arching away from caregiver to avoid contact *no smiling or joyful expressions from 6 months on speaks.org. *no babbling by 12 months

learn the facts...

Information collected from www.autismspeaks.org and the Autism Research Institute at www.autism.org.

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

55


Ah, we’re so glad to see you happy! Want to see more? Want something specific?

We want to hear from raising bilingual contd. ---

For example, Olga Murphy, pregnant with twins wanted to raise them bilingual. She spoke to them in German and her husband spoke to them in English. At the age of two, the twins had no problem separating the language saying goodnight in German and in English. Now elementary aged school children, the twins speak to each other in English at school, but German at home. Some helpful resources for raising bilingual children include:

You! For suggestions or comments (please be nice!), email us at editor@multiplicitymag.com.

* Language Lizards, duallanguage books, CDs and posters in over 40 languages. * Multilingual Living, a place for inspiration, tools, advice and support. * Hispanic heritage resources from Scholastic Magazine and The Smithsonian. * Florida Dept. of Education bilingual recommended reading list Whether teaching children a second language or just wanting to gain a deeper understanding of your cultural roots, make it a true family experience…because after all…it’s who you are! 56

multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


57

multiplicity

the must-have magazine multiplicity for all moms the of multiples must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

57

Multiplicity Magazine - Winter 2012 Issue  

the must-have digital magazine for moms of multiples!

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you