Wednesday, July 28, 2004

twins

this is a trackback to cec cuz think she's cool.

i speak with some authority about twins. mine turned 1 this month. And my two year old turned two in march. (That's right, folks. For a while I had three kids under age two, and all of them are still in diapers.)

This, then, is my (male) experience:

0) Children thrive on formula, even if it's inferior to breast milk. My wife chose not to breastfeed the twins, and tried and failed the older child. Our pediatrician's attitude was, "I'm here to help you," and he supported our decision. Our kids are none the worse for wear.

1) Diapers cheap in bulk good good. If you go with disposables (or even if you don't), invest in a sam's or costco card. You will save the cost of the card very quickly, and as life goes on, you will be amazed at just how convenient it is to shop at one of those places, once you learn how. DO learn how; you will spend much less time shopping and schlepping. It takes more planning, but the result is worth it. And DO get a second freezer once your kids get to the eat-real-food stage. your use of frozen food will balloon astronomically unless you're a cooking maniac. and if you're like me, the only thing you've ever been maniacal about cooking is your fix.

2) Costco has a house brand baby formula that is nutritionally equivalent to Enfamil's Lipil. Unless you have an allergy problem with it, buy it instead. A gigantic can of Lipil at sam's or costco (a size that, not coincidentally, is not available at a regular grocery store) will run you $27; a gigantic can of the Costco version will cost you $17. At the height of my formula usage, we were chewing through four cans a week. $40 is a case and a half of paper diapers (and four and a half cans of formula paid for the cost of the costco card).

3) Men can learn to change diapers. in the case of twins, men must learn to change diapers or they will find their wives across the room from them very shortly, holding a bloody knife and a pair of testicles. it isn't that hard, and once you've learned what makes them explode, it's not even all that nasty.

4) that big can of formula i was talking about? well worth the aggrivation. it's huge compared to what you get at a regular grocery store. the grocery store cans are $23; the sam's name brand is $27; the costco house brand (like i said) is $17.

5) running out of forumla in the middle of the night is way, way, way bad. don't do it. ever. get as anal with formula as you did about your dope. reason: grocery stores lock it up or hide it behind customer service counters because it's a popular theft item. in some stores, the keys go home with the manager at night, meaning you can't get it even if the store is open 24 hours. (kinda like condoms. ever had that problem?) even if the formula can be unlocked at oh-dark-thirty, it frequently takes dealing with people with less intelligence than your children to get it, and it's aggrivating when the kids are crying, whether or not they're actually with you in the store.

6) twins can frequently sleep easier at night if they sleep in the same crib, at least until they're old enough to turn over. note, however, that in some jurisdictions (texas being one), it is illegal for a childcare provider to put two children (even of the same gender) in the same crib. coordinate with your childcare provider if you have one.

7) millions of families through history have survived this. you can too.

8) this one is something i've learned from bitter experience, and is especially sent out to those new families who have members who are friends of bill w. and jimmy k: meetings, meetings, meetings. make time. you will not have time. you must make time. i failed to do so and when my twins were about two months old, i melted and spent a week in the nut hut getting patched back together. do not make this mistake. it will piss off your spouse, who will be stuck taking care of twins totally alone.

9) nausea: sucks. sorry. train your husband to look for a bathroom the instant you walk into a restaurant.

a) the first year is hell. and it is wonderful. and it is hell. and wonderful. just like with all children.

b) if you're going to start a family tradition, do it early, but keep it simple. ours is silly, and simple: in april, where we live, highways blossom with wildflowers. indian paintbrush, buttercups, and most famously, bluebonnets. they came from lady bird johnson's texas beautification program, and they make the highways beautiful, where they grow. our family tradition is that we march the family out onto the side of some highway in some picturesque patch of flowers, and take pictures. the annual wildflower shot. we've gotten them in three seasons now (and in the second the flowers we used happened to be immediately next to some prickly pares, so we have pictures of our older son in the flowers, and also [turned 90 degrees] seemingly in the prickly pares.) and it's wonderful. the successive pictures hang on our wall: the first two years our older son (and the first year when he was less than a month old), and this third year all three of our children. it's even better if you take some non-family member with you to shoot the pictures.

c) take lots of pictures. just like everybody says, you will wonder where it went. disposable cameras are great for this. and since you're a blogger, you can check the little box and pay the extra fifty cents and get them to scan your pictures onto a cd for you, and save you the hassle. the cameras are cheap, the processing is cheap, there's no running out of memory on the camera -- just use another -- and the cameras are available everywhere. buy lots of them.

d) odaat. your children will have short memories. so should you.

e) children love cats. it's even better if the cats love the children. however, cat scratches and bites infect very badly, even worse than dog bites. beware. (we've not had a problem with our current cats, but once upon a time i very nearly lost fingers to a cat incident.) even the most docile cat in the universe, like ours, will eventually bite your one year old. when it happens, it will be the child's fault (even if she doen't understand why). remember that as you deal with the situation.

f) make time for you. make time for you yourself; allow your spouse to make time for him or herself; make time for yourselves as a couple apart from your children. round up the grandparents or friends and dump the kids for a few hours two or three times a month. your relationship and sex life will thank you.

10) do yardsale organization the instant you start retiring things as too small. baby stuff, which will fall out of the sky on you for a considerable amount of time after your children arrive (so much so that even if you dress them in a new thing every day, you may not get through all of it before it gets too small), is worth a ton of money at yard sales. money that you can then use to buy more diapers. "baby stuff" on yard sale signs draws big, big crowds.

11) child safety seats for cars are a subject near and dear to my heart, and are a subject that i can write an entire blog entry about. educate yourself about child safety seats well before your baby(ies) arrive. you may need to replace your car over it.

12) despite what everyone believes, children really are not that fragile. yes, you want to be careful with them. but yes, they will survive a litthe rough handling when required to control their struggling against you when you change a diaper.

13) twins are fantastic.

14) twins are scary.

13) twins are fantastic.

14) twins are scary.

15) this can be done. i promise.

the thumbnail of my experience with twins.

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