Expecting Multiples, Helpful Hints to Prepare for the Bundles of Extreme Joy that are Soon to Arrive.
I actually felt your eyes roll just now; but multiples really are double (or triple etc) the joy, they are also double or triple the everything else. My multiples are twin girls, 2 yrs old, fraternal. You will need to know that last part but I’ll get to that soon enough. I’ll try and go in order because if you are like me (Type A, a woman, slowly going crazier and crazier with each passing moment) then giving them to you in order will be the first help I give you because you will not have time for lists and planning like you used to once the beautiful but helpless offspring are here.
- Plan ahead. Now! Start doing everything you can to be prepared. Reading this is a step in the right direction but once you are finished don”t watch another rerun of Roseanne (is it the one titled A Stash From The Past? If so you can start right after. Haha) , go do something.
- Nursery: Clear out your scrap booking supplies or your man’s many video games from the room formally known as the spare or catch all (the place you throw everything when ppl are coming over and you cleaned twice already that day but your children outnumber you so of course there was a blanket laying on the stairs and laundry not quite put away, etc). You will still need a place like that even more than before once the babies are born so find one, mine became the basement. Anyways, decorate it and assemble that Ikea furniture as soon as you can (when you find out the genders or if you decide to go neutral) because you don’t understand yet how much harder it will be the more pregnant you get.
- Freezer Meals: Some of the things on Pinterest will become reality unlike that amazingly beautiful yet impossible hairstyle board. Write down what you need for all of the ones you will be preparing (some pins have the lists there to print which is super). I started with 2 weeks worth to get my feet wet. Buy a crock pot if you don’t already have one! Buy meat and vegetables from the discounted (almost old) area of the grocery store. You are freezing it so it will not get any worse and will be as if you bought it and used it that day. Take an afternoon (enlist the hubs or a friend) and chop all the ingredients needed to be chopped and follow the directions for each recipe to prepare. It might take you a few hours but will save you so much more time in the future. Now, make those meals for dinner for the following week or so to see if you like them and how easy they are. Continue to make and eat them or at least make some for the first month or so to eat AFTER you and your suddenly bigger family are home from the hospital.
- Baby Shower: Have one. I don’t care if not your first child and it’s a faux pas, that goes out the window if you thought you were trying to have one child and got more than you bargained for. The few people who frown upon it can just not participate (those ppl still came to mine but if they didn’t I wouldn’t have let it bother me, I would just agree to disagree and move on). Things are expensive and you will need two of the same thing even if you are like me and thought you wouldn’t. Quick note about bottles to register for: Go with ones that don’t have a million pieces to each bottle because you will be washing every one of those about 12 times a day for a while and the less parts the better. At one time we had 35 bottles and still had to run the dishwasher every day to keep up.
- Diaper Party: Google it. Plan one (it’s the guys’ version of a baby shower), have one. Ours was about $90 to throw but we didn’t have to buy diapers until the girls were 18 months. If you don’t have any children yet you will not grasp the amount of diapers you go through let alone be able to imagine that number doubled.
- Be frugal. That means something different to each of us. Some used things are not gross, some are. Everything you can stand to get used or handed down use as long as it is safe (Google it and find out). Cut back on frivolous spending. Again, that means something different to each of us, but be conscious of your spending and whatever it is you buy all the time that is either bad for you or otherwise, reduce it a little but don’t give it up entirely unless you want to because you are still human and deserve brand name coffee, shoes, etc from time to time just not as much as you might be used to. Sorry.
- Buy Ahead: Buy clothes that match when you see them on the clearance rack at Target even if they won’t fit your kids now, just think about seasons and sizes. My biggest piece of advice on this is to search the Facebook sale groups for another mother of multiples like yours just a year or two older and buy their gently worn clothes and toys. Their sons wore that Christmas vest and boat shoes for 3 hours once and they weren’t even old enough to walk. Buy that. Santa should also start a lot earlier than before to save money too. My 3 children’s gifts may or may not be already wrapped…
- Get A Sense of Humor And Realize Life Can Always Be Worse
- Team Up: You and your significant other need to get on the same page for multiples. There’s no time for yourself in the first few months no matter who or what you are unless you are a celebrity and have maids, a nanny, and a cook (thank you crock pot freezer meals!). With one baby one adult can have the other adult “have a turn” so to speak with the baby so the woman can shave her legs finally or the man can go draft his fantasy football team. With multiples this is not the case. You will be holding one of the babies to either feed, change, bathe or put to sleep pretty much constantly for a few months. The only difference from singletons is now HE is too. You and him (or her or whichever applies) are going to be getting a lot closer now even though it will feel the opposite. Help each other, love each other, radiate that to your kids in the big picture. Which leads me to my next point.
- Constant But Not That Bad: There it is, the truth. Every child is different so again this means different things to each individual. My twins are Poop Picasso’s and my investment in a carpet cleaner has been one of my better ideas. My twins are also climbers and climbed out of their cribs before they could walk. Your multiples will be different from mine, we don’t know how so but they will be, so the best piece of advice any parent of multiples can give this that it’s constant but not that bad. Things will smooth out and everyone will adjust.
- Develop A Schedule And Stick To It For-evaa: Keep the constant not that bad by developing a schedule. With our son we parented kind of lazy, he had no strict schedule of naps etc. With our twins we had to, it was the only way to ensure the little peace there would be.
- Get Used To Strangers Blabbing At You: Why on Earth is the milk in the back of every store? You do not understand that obstacle until you have multiples. Every single elderly lady used to have the same hair color as one of your twins and every third person either is a twin or knows some twins and feels like you should know. Why? I don’t know, so you can bond while checking if each individual egg to see if it is broken in the carton you grabbed (from the top which surely means they must be if no one else bought them yet). Are they twins? Are they identical? Is one a boy and one a girl (even though they are both dressed in a pink dress in a pink and purple car seat)? How old are they? Do twins run in your family? How do you do it? Did you know you were going to have twins? The questions and comments are endless. Sometimes I answer, sometimes I pretend I didn’t hear them and on a few occasions I’ve lied. Are they twins? (As I’m quickly walking with two crying babies in the cart to get milk and bread which by the way has nowhere to go in the cart because there are currently two car seat carriers in it taking up all the room.) Nope. (And I kept walking). I just couldn’t pretend to pretend they actually cared that day. Oops.
- Make Time For Yourself And Your Relationship: This one is a bit tricky but still important. It can be as simple as watching a show every few nights together after the kids go to bed. If you and your significant other aren’t happy it’s hard to raise children who are.
- Know That Time Is Fleeting: Time really does fly. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not. Be present and try not to stress over every little thing that does or does not happen exactly when or how you wanted or thought it should go. That cute laugh when you tickle your babies will change but so will things that are absolutely not cute and trying during parenting, so just know nothing will last forever (and try and appreciate and enjoy the good times no matter how hectic each day is).
Lee Griffiths, Guest Blogger