Wednesday, April 25, 2007

First 3 months revisited

D: I never thought I would be the type of parent that offers unsolicited advice to other parents or soon to be moms and dads. I remember the outpouring of advice that we received when I found out I was pregnant. I was amazed at how ‘black and white’ people where on issues surrounding sleep, crying, strollers, diapers, breastfeeding and more. I now realize that their passionate counsel may stem from a lengthy run of trials and errors…and trials and errors again.

This is why, at 3 months into parenthood, I feel inclined to share what I've learned. This is what brings me to rave enthusiastically about diaper creams and swaddles. While I realize that advice is often obnoxious (especially when it comes to parenting, since every body seems to have some to offer) please keep in mind these are only suggestions derived from personal successes with the Deuce. Also, I am well aware that what works for one baby (or two, in our case) will not work for all. Therefore, these suggestions are probably useless, but here goes anyway…

Sleeping: There are what seem like ten million sleep books out there, and I feel like I’ve read them all. After a while, the books all seem to contradict one another. If sleep deprivation is not enough, struggling through all the ‘fool proof’ methods and schedules from these books will have you going nuts. Luckily, I’ve found the nuggets of knowledge that have worked for our family, and have bagged the rest. Those nuggets are:

Swaddling is a must for our boys. I haven’t really figured out when you stop swaddling, but for now it is working. Our favorite is the Miracle Blanket. Nothing wraps tighter and stays wrapped all night.

A routine has been really important in getting the boys to understand the difference between ‘night sleeping’ and 'napping.' This was important for our kids, since they were big sleepers throughout the day, yet were not able to sleep more than 3 hours without eating, day or night.

Once we got the nighttime routine started, and remained consistent (that part is much harder for the parents than the babies!) the boys were falling asleep much easier and staying asleep for longer and longer periods of time. Currently, their bedtime routine starts with a bath at 7pm, then a bottle of breast milk in their nursery (in the dark with no noise) and then they are swaddles and put down by 8pm. They usually sleep until 3ish for a 30 minute feeding and then they will wake around 6am. For awhile we were doing a ‘dream feed’ at 11:00pm, but we started pushing that earlier and earlier and it just became their last feeding at 8pm.

Breastfeeding: I don’t really have a lot of advice in this department because I fully recognize how lucky I have been to not have run into many problems yet. Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly worried about a reduction in my supply, but it hasn’t happened.

In addition to feeding the kids, I pump in the mornings and in the evenings to try to keep my supply up. In those first weeks, I recommend Lanolin for tenderness and cracking. I have gotten extremely creative with the positions of the babies in order to tandem nurse. If it weren’t considered ‘private’ I’d be pleased to post pictures, since it is something I am actually quite proud of. But instead I’ll just encourage any new mom of twins to get real comfortable with having tons of pillows stashed conveniently around the house. (And don’t forget lots of burp cloths stashed in the couch cushions!) Don’t be afraid to stack those kids on top of each other! Here is one position I can safely show you:

Useful purchases: I do not know what people do without bouncy chairs. Our kids are perfectly content watching us go about our daily activities, as we sing and dance as we pass by. Of course they get lots of holding and cuddling and time to roll around on the floor with each other. But I gotta say, they love their bouncy chairs almost as much as I do.

Second to a bouncy chair are the swings, for an entirely different purpose. You put my child in a swing and in 10 minutes he will be sleeping. Like magic.

We’ve just purchased the Safer Bathers bath pillows that make bathing both at the same time totally doable. (Until now we were bathing one at a time next to the sink in a little baby bath in the counter.) They are totally supported by the cushions and love kicking around in the big tub. Here is a picture:

Another geeky, yet handy purchase has been my Bluetooth cellphone headset. The outside world opened back up to me again, once I was able to talk hands free. This really is a lifesaver when you’ve got twins.

Diapering: The decision to cloth diaper was kind of a non-issue for W and I before the kids came. It was one of those decisions that was a 'given' for us, yet we had no idea what it entailed or how complicated it could be. For those of you who are cloth diapering you may have experienced some of frustrations that come along with getting it ‘just right’. Lets face it, there are a ton of options out there and not all of them work for you. We decided to go with a diaper service which is pretty darn cheap when you’ve got twins (they charge for the service, not the amount of diapers). We use the ProRap covers, which I did not like at first since they are plastic, but they seem to fit the best. We double up the diapers at night, which makes the boys look like they’ve got huge bubble butts, but we can successfully make it through the night with zero leaks, which is key.

Activities to keep you from going stir crazy: I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, the key to a happy successful day with twins involves anything OUTSIDE of the house. Even if it is a trip to the drycleaners, I feel much more satisfied as a functioning member of society if I’ve completed a task outside of my home. (And yes, a trip to the coffee shop is definitely an important task.) I also can not stress the value of a good stroller walk once a day. The dog loves it, you need it, and the babies could not be happier to get some fresh air.

My only parting tip is the cliché that everyone will say, but I really could not stress it enough: don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if our house is a mess and I haven’t vacuumed in 2 weeks. So what if the babies don’t get changed out of their pj’s till 3:00pm some days. Who cares if right now I am wearing a shirt that’s been covered in spit-up and pants that Finn peed on while sitting on my lap. When I look back on the last 3 months these are the furthest things from my memories of our time with the boys. And if I do remember them, I hope I laugh.

Oh yeah, and take lots and lots of pictures!!

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 9:46 PM :: (2) comments

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We like to take pictures...

In case you were wondering, we love taking pictures.





Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 6:33 PM :: (4) comments

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day, everyday

Walker: Happy Earth Day, everyone. It's the one day of the year that we set aside to remind ourselves that we live on a fragile planet that requires our protection. Pardon me for saying so, but every day should be Earth Day. Finally, a critical mass of folks are starting to agree. A wide variety of social forces are coalescing around the idea that environmentalism is the major issue of our time.

If you don't buy Al Gore's moral arguments in his Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, then I recommend checking out Thomas Friedman, the noted conservative economist, who argues in The Power of Green that America can regain its stature in the world economically and politically by becoming greener. If that doesn't sway you, check out the Evangelical Christian environmental movement.

Here in Twin Town, we're trying our best to do our part, and it is important to realize that we can always be better. We used to only recycle, but now we compost too. I used to drive a car to work, then I rode a Vespa, and now I ride my bike to work everyday (May is Ride Your Bike to Work Month, by the way). Organic food. Environmentally-sound cleaning products. Buy used. Sell it to someone else. Remodel your home with environmentally responsible materials.

In the picture below, the Deuce are wearing cloth diapers, so we're not clogging our landfills with disposables. Yes, it's more work, but when we look at our little guys, it's well worth the extra effort.

I guess that brings me to my final point, which has everything to do with our boys. When, 20 or 30 years from now, they ask us what we were doing to stop Global Warming/Climate Change, I want to tell them, "I was doing everything I possibly could do." Join us, for the next generation.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 1:03 PM :: (1) comments

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Our little chunker

O weighs in at 13.06lb. EXACTLY the same weight as his brother, by the way!

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 7:15 PM :: (4) comments

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hanging out in the Chair


Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 1:16 AM :: (5) comments

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Singalongs and lullabies

D: I've become obsessed with singing to the boys. In all honesty, it is about 80% of what I do all day. Most of the time I make up songs about poopy diapers and sharing their turns being held by their momma. Occasionally a really great song will pop into my head and I get such a kick out of singing it to my children I'm forced to go an buy it on itunes. I started to make a CD for my friends with children (or soon to be) and thought I'd share it with anyone else who might be searching for some great song and dance tunes. The list below can also be purchased all at once on itunes by clicking here. How nifty is that?

O and F's Lullabies and Singalongs

The Rainbow Connection ~ Willie Nelson
Sunrise ~ Norah Jones
Ah Bos Cee Dah ~ Johnny Cash
You Are My Sunshine ~ Norman Blake
Monkey and the Engineer ~ Grateful Dead
Blackbird ~ The Beatles
One Love ~ Bob Marley
The Lion Sleeps Tonight ~ The Tokens
Day-O (Banana Boat Song) ~ Harry Belafonte
Iko Iko ~ The Dixie Cups
Here Comes the Sun Again ~ M. Ward
You Are My Sunshine ~ Ray Charles with Chris Isaak
What a Wonderful World ~ Louis Armstrong

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 12:34 AM :: (2) comments

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I need a stick

D: I have found a flaw in my beloved Peg Perego Duette stroller. As a tandem stroller the front baby is situated more than 4 feet ahead of me, completely out of arms reach. There usually is not much of a need to reach your babies while operating a stroller, unless of course it is to protect your child from the capricious hands of strangers.

Last week I was walking the boys in the stroller downtown when suddenly a man, appearing quite dirty and intoxicated, matched my stride down a busy sidewalk, along side the stroller. Before I knew it he was reaching for the first baby with a slurred "Awwwe, twinnns!" I quickly swerved the stroller out of his reach, saving poor unsuspecting O from the man’s grubby hands. Unfortunately the stroller is so big that while maneuvering it out of harms way it nearly collided into several people who gave me looks that suggested I should not be operating such a large piece of equipment on the sidewalk.

Yesterday at Whole Foods, while standing in the checkout line, I encountered yet another stranger attempting to touch my baby! And because I was sandwiched in between the checkout stands I could not reach F to protect him from the woman in front of us who has turned to ohh and ahh over the twins. Now ohhing and ahhing I can handle (let's face it, they are cute!), but I can not tolerate someone inappropriately reaching for their faces, with (GET THIS!!) a band aid on her hand! Just as she was about to stroke F's face I yelled "no don', they're sick". I don't know where that came from, but it stopped her in her tracks. She said, "oh, thanks", and turned around.

What's with people touching babies without permission?? Who actually thinks that's OK? Now I keep thinking how helpful it would be to have a 4 foot stick to carry with me, to swat away any unwanted touching from the baby I can't reach myself.

I've asked around and found that many other twin parents are also experiencing the same annoyances. Some suggestions I've heard for handling these situations are:

-Say "we're teaching our kids personal boundaries."
-Blankets draped over the car carriers/stroller.
-Carry one in a front pack and have only one car carrier in the stroller so you don't obviously have twins.
-"They're sick...please don't come too close."
-"You can touch their feet"--usually said to children, but could work on adults.

And my favorite...
-"Watch out, he bites!!

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 9:28 PM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Family Self-Portrait


Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 12:16 PM :: (0) comments

Monday, April 09, 2007

Picture Pages


O napping at Tutta Bella


O taking a look around.


The exception to the rule.


Hanging out with Dad at the park.


O in green.


Happy Mom & Dad

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 3:27 PM :: (0) comments

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Baby-Industrial Complex

W: Several years ago, my roommate and I came up with a consumer spending strategy with the simple goal of making the products we frequently buy also go to work our investment portfolios. First, we take a hard look at the products we buy, and then we buy stock in the company that produces the product. That way, we "gain" from buying the products as long as the stock price goes up over the long run.

At the time, Anheuser-Busch stock was in. Later, after we purchased houses, Home Depot and Lowe's made more sense.

Fast-forward 7 years, our lives have changed. Mikey and his wife are expecting their first this summer, and the Deuce is going on 3 months old. The strategy & goal is the same, but the companies have changed.

First, let's cover the obvious. Carter's, Baby Bjorn, Fisher-Price, Babies 'R' Us, Graco, Target, Costco, etc., are companies that fit into the Baby-Industrial Complex (BIC). It should be a law that every new parent is issued shares in a BIC mutual fund as soon as the parent signs the birth certificate(s).

Next, let's talk about companies that produce Duracell and Energizer. I harbor a strong belief that an unholy alliance/vast Battery Manufacturer-BIC conspiracy exists, but nonetheless all parents should buy stock in Battery Manufacturers. Woe the night that the swing runs out of batteries at 2 a.m. And since you must buy batteries, you may as well feel better about it by owning the stock in the company.

Also, I encourage you to get creative. For instance, take my local dry cleaner. He's making a killing on me now! My dry cleaning bills have risen lockstep with the Deuce's ability to dodge the burp cloth and hit my sweaters with spit up. So don't be afraid to look at private companies...diversify!

That's enough - I know there's more to investing than what I've presented here, but I'll tell you, when you're buying the 20th package of batteries in as many days, the sting in your wallet won't hurt nearly as bad.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 12:29 PM :: (1) comments