Wellness Visit Tips. A Twin Mom Experience!

Navigating Wellness Visits. Identifying Your Twins. Getting Your Questions Answered.

Navigating Wellness Visits. Identifying Your Twins. Getting Your Questions Answered.

Becoming a mommy means getting familiarized with all of the fun that a wellness visit with the pediatrician brings. I clearly say that sarcastically, because in case you missed the title, we’re talking about wellness visits, twin style! Doctor’s appointments can be emotional for any parent. You get to deal with shots, tears, and just general developmental worries. “Is my child gaining enough, Are they eating enough, Are they hitting all of their milestones?” With twins, you also get the added bonus of just making sure that you aren’t losing track of anybody once they realize that you aren’t really making that fun stop at the toy store.

They basically walked around like they owned the place, exploring anything and everything within reach. Their visit from 6 months ago was a little bit different because, we had their big sister and my husband tag along with us, and I’m also completely sure that the twins came riding in their double stroller. This time I figured that since they’re such great walkers now, Ehh why not? Right. Well, I might have been overly optimistic about my plan.

Helpful Check-Up Tips

1. Bring The Stroller/ Babywear
My very first useful tip would be to bring your stroller, or babywear your twins for their doctor’s visits. I didn’t this time, and while it wasn’t a huge deal (2 kids, 2 arms, no problem!) it became super inconvenient when signing them in, filling out papers, or even in between their check-ups when one child or the other was completely like, “I’m out of here mom!” It might have been easier to just strap them in and take them out when needed. Now, I do drive our double stroller like a BOSS, so cutting corners around their pediatrician’s office has never been an issue for me, but if your office has smaller spaces, then maybe baby wearing would be a better option for you.

2. Dress Them Comfy
Another great tip to think about before you even step foot out of your front door is to really take into consideration what you’re dressing your twins in for the day. When our twins were younger, we always chose to bring them in their onesies if it was warm, and sleepers when it was cold. It made things super easy because literally 5 seconds after arriving they’re telling you to undress your babies anyway! If your visits aren’t hectic enough, the last thing you want to be doing is wrestling over dressing and undressing, zippers and buttons, and losing tiny socks.

3. Dress Them With Identifiers
A lot of these tips can also apply to moms of singletons, (There I go using that word again.) but only a mother of multiples understands how important it is to help office staff identify your children! I can’t stress this enough, they will ask you at least 3 times before walking out of there, “Which one is this again?” Something super simple that I’ve learned in the last 2 years is to give the twins identifiers to help with any confusion. When they were still infants, I would dress them in different socks so that after getting them undressed it was still easier to differentiate between Baby A in the blue socks, and Baby B in the gray socks. The doctor has seen our boys plenty of times. Even more than the average number of visits, because they were preemies. Even more than the average number of preemie baby visits, because one of our sons has dealt with a few medical issues in his short life. Their doctor often still can’t tell them apart because well, identical twins, and because they’ve both grown and changed a lot since the last time she saw them. The boys also see the same few nurses when we go, and even though they recognize us when we walk through the door, they still don’t always know which twins is which. Now that they’re older, nothing has changed. I don’t often dress our twins alike anyway, but if I do, it won’t be on a trip to the doctor. I’ll choose to dress them differently, put a different cloth diaper pattern on them both, or I’ll still stick to my simple handy dandy sock trick.

4. Write Down Your Answers
I don’t know how it is for you, but we get asked the same few questions on our trips to the pediatrician. “How are they eating for you? How much? What are they eating? What are they drinking? How much? How often?” As many times as I’ve been asked these questions, I still catch myself stalling for answers. How much are they drinking? I don’t know, a cups worth of milk. But how many ounces are actually in their cups? Then, they use more than one cup throughout the day. But are they about the same size? I find that I tend to question myself sometimes! So, I started making notes in my phone. I don’t always need them as a reference, but it’s nice to have, especially with everything else going on in that moment.

5. Write Down Your Questions
The same way it can be helpful to write down your answers, it’s extremely helpful to write down your questions. When we’re going back and forth between actual check-ups, height and weight, keeping your twins close, out of the cabinets, and whatever else they’re up to, it’s so easy to forget some of your questions or concerns. Our office is always friendly and helpful, so if I ever need to call back with a question it’s no problem, but I feel better asking their doctor in person. A day or so before coming in, I jot down things in my phone so that nothing is going unanswered.

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Potty Training a Child With a Speech Delay

I’ve finally reached the dreaded parenting hurdle that is potty training. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely want a potty trained toddler. In fact, I can’t wait! The only problem is, I would want it even more if I could blink my eyes and have it happen without my floors taking a hit from the accidents, or that feeling of a mini heart attack when you think its “go time” when in reality, their tiny bladders won’t be ready until exactly 5 seconds after you get them off of the toilet. Fun times, fun times. If potty training isn’t a huge hurdle within itself, I knew that potty training my little one with a speech delay might add an extra bit of complication.

I started doing some research, because I really plan to succeed. My daughter will be three in a few months so, no pressure, and I’m also not expecting a potty trained in 3 days sort of success story. However, what I plan to accomplish is for her to nail the concept that peeing in the potty: good, Peeing on the rug: bad. Even though we haven’t consistently attempted training yet, she does know to sit and stay on the potty. I’m just not so sure she understands why, and I’m absolutely positive that she doesn’t know to ask when it is time to go. All in all, my biggest issue I foresee in the process will be communicating. This will be where I get to be the innovative mommy that I am, and find out just what works for my little one.

She does a little bit better with receptive language, so getting her to understand. “Do you have to use the potty?” or “Do you have to use the bathroom?” and what that really means will be my easier communication task. After all, that’s normally where you start anyway. Constantly asking and playing the guessing game with timing, and then eventually they start to understand and come to you when they need to use the bathroom. The bigger task will be getting her to respond with appropriate answers (or answer me at all) and then eventually using her expressive language to come to me on her own to let me know that she needs to go.

How to Know They’re Ready

A big part of beginning the potty training process is knowing that your child is ready. If they aren’t ready, you won’t be getting far on the success train. You want your child to be willing and open to learning, and not trying to avoid the potty at all costs. No one wants a child with potty trauma, and toilet paper nightmares. If your child will at least sit there for prolonged periods of time, start there. Things will eventually progress from there, just remember to listen to your child and what they’re ready for.

A Few Easy Signs
• Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
• Being noticeably uncomfortable in a soiled diaper
• Hiding to pee or poop
• Interest in others using the bathroom (Not to be confused with them stalking you in the bathroom)
• Telling you when they have to go, or have already gone to the bathroom
• Asking to be changed

My Potty Training Game Plan

My daughter shows a few clear physical signs that she might be ready to officially start potty training, but again, I’m not looking for a potty trained in 3 day success story. Who knows, she might surprise me! At the very least, I know that she’s more than capable of working towards our end goal. She has no problem sitting on the potty for prolonged periods of time. This is something that we’ve done with her off and on for a few months now, just not consistently. She physically just wasn’t completely ready.

Now that we’ve made it to that point, I want to start to remove her attachment to diapers in the daytime. We have to teach her to slowly become aware of her body’s elimination signals first, and then we will move on to teaching her how to respond appropriately to those elimination signals by either coming to one of us to communicate, or going straight to her potty. If you’ve been tuned in to my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’m a cloth diaper mama, so we’re opting to try out cloth training pants for this portion of our potty training journey. This also works just fine with throwing on regular underwear, or just cutting down on dirty underwear laundry all together, and just letting them run commando. Unfortunately, we have carpet and we currently rent, sooo no thank you!

*Mom Tip!* If you’re choosing the commando route (and even if you aren’t) keep a bottle of cleaner handy for accidents .. you’ll more than likely need it.

What You Need To Start
• Potty or Potty Seat
• Underwear or Cloth Training Pants
• Step Stool (Optional)
• Potty Visuals
• Positive Reinforcement (The Potty Box of Rewards)

I have both a potty seat for the toilet, and a regular mobile potty for my daughter to use. I prefer the toilet seat, because I find it easier for her to make the recognition that this is where using the bathroom happens for everyone, and she also really likes to flush the big toilet by herself. I’m going to be placing her on the potty between 15 and 20 minute intervals, and I plan to keep my schedule flexible, but as consistent as possible. She’s also in part time preschool so I’ll also be working around her school schedule a bit as far as time of day goes, but our rough time frame schedule will always be first thing in the morning, 10 minutes after eating and drinking, and immediately before and after naptime and bedtime.

I want to start my daughter out using potty visuals. She uses visuals a lot in preschool to communicate with her teacher, so I want to incorporate that into our potty routine. I created a 123 step poster to show Step 1: Got to Go, Step 2: Potty Time, and Step 3: All Done. I will also be incorporating some sign language, so that she can sign things like “Potty” and “All done” to better communicate when she is ready to go on her own.

Last but certainly not least, I plan to create a fun box of rewards for her to utilize positive reinforcement, which she loves. Along with lots of claps and praise for going successfully, I bought some fun items like stickers, and tiny toys from the dollar store, and food is always a great motivation for her, so sometimes I plan to offer her small snacks like gold fish crackers when she uses the potty successfully. Eventually she will realize that using the bathroom in the potty is a good thing, and she will be more compelled to continue to use it when good things happen and she’s rewarded for it.

*Mom Tip!* A good must have if you’re planning on frequent outings, and potty training on the go is a travel potty.

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Sensory Bin 101. My Sensory Bin Experience.

Sensory Bin 101. My Sensory Bin Experience - Chic and Domestic

I’ve had so much fun creating cool sensory bin ideas for my daughter. She’s very hyperactive, and often has issues with her attention, so sometimes it’s hard to gauge the things that will be an “easy try” and things that might take a little bit more trial and error for us.

Sensory bins are made for just that, appealing to the senses through your child’s play and exploration. Sensory activities like bins and bottles create a fun way to explore and naturally learn while playing, investigating, and exploring different things.

Our first sensory bin was a simple bin of macaroni noodles. I was nervous to try something with so many small pieces, but her Occupational Therapist told me to just try it and feel it out. I am so glad I did, because she loves it!

The great part for me is, there is no right or wrong way to create a sensory bin. That’s part of the fun of it! You can literally put together a bin of fun tactile objects, sometimes even simple items that you already have in your home, and leave your child to play and explore. Sensory bins are a great opportunity to promote independent play, and for my little it’s the perfect way to decompress.

My daughter jumped right in with her curiosity, and it was amazing to watch her actually sit and focus on something for so long. I normally let her play freely, so whatever she’s feeling that day is usually okay with me. Sometimes she’ll scoop and pour, other times she likes to bury items at the bottom of her bin. The options are really endless.

Controlling The Mess!

One of my immediate concerns was clean up. I’m a bit OCD, so I wanted to make sure to find a way to make clean up easy. I don’t know about your kids, but my littles can’t seem to resist the urge to dump things out when exploring. They need to have every little part of an activity at their fingertips. We still have this problem, I must admit. It’s an uphill battle, but over time it’s gotten so much better to calm my nerves and just observe the (somewhat neat) play time. The key is being consistent in how you allow your child to play. I still allow my daughter to explore amongst herself, but I still give a watchful eye given the nature of what’s in some of her different bins.

I like to either do play at the kitchen table, making it easy to brush off and sweep up, or we play on the floor and I put a blanket down, making it easy to shake off when we’re finished. When the weather is nice, I’ve even done a few activities outside that contain messier things. Our summer for instance, was filled with tons of sensory activities that contained things like water, or shaving cream.

Learning through Play

While sensory activities are stimulating your child’s mind and senses, it’s a great way to also incorporate things like literacy, or numbers and number recognition. While I already have my daughter’s focus and attention, after a few minutes of free play I try to have her do things like counting items in her bin, or labeling her colors. I’ve noticed that she does best while already in a very focused and calm state of learning.

The possibilities with sensory bins and activities are really endless. We get to easily incorporate fine motor skills, colors, and number recognition, and for my daughter it’s a great way to incorporate words.

If you’re in need of some ideas for sensory activities, make sure to check out my Pinterest board A Sensory Sensation. It’s full of things I’ve tried personally, and a ton of other must try activities from other people.

 

What ideas have you tried for sensory activities? If you’d like to see more of the things we’ve tried. Let me know!

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How To Know That You’re Officially A Twin Mom

 

How To Know That You're Officially A Twin Mom - Chic and Domestic

Are you currently a twin mom or a soon to be twin mom? Have you ever, just out of curiosity wondered what it was like to live that #TwinMomLife? From my personal twin mom experience, (and BOY has it been exciting) you don’t know that you’re officially in the secret Twin Mom Club until you’re actually living in it. Never in my life did I think that I would be a mommy to two perfect little boys that just happened to match! NEVER. They were my little surprise gift. A guest with a plus one that never RSVP’d. I was initially excited to be having twins, because uhm, hello? Twins are adorable. Then it started to really set in for me .. What the heck do I do with twins!? Is it really as hard as parents with singletons like to say, (It’s surprisingly not .. not all of the time by the way) or is it just going to be a brand new learning experience? I’m here to tell you what it’s REALLY like to be a mom of twins, and how to officially know that you’re a twin mom.

Pregnant Twin Mom

1. You’ve reached this weird celebrity status
Being pregnant with twins, I don’t know what it was, but I felt like I had reached this strange new level of fame. As if people, (strangers included) don’t like to invade a pregnant woman’s space enough. Imagine the amount of people I had to swat away for trying to touch my magical crystal ball into twin land. OH MY GOSH. “When are you due?” “What are you having?” The average mom knows what it feels like to be asked these questions. We automatically carry our cute little billboard bellies just open for Q&A, but as soon as you say, “Oh, there’s two.” Or “I’m having twins” the dynamic duo immediately gets the “Oohs” and “Ahhs”

2. You get to teach family and strangers about how babies are made
After the double trouble “Oohs” and “Ahhs”, you now get the privilege of educating family, friends, and strangers on exactly how you got it on, to hit the jackpot and multiplied with multiples. “How did this happen?” “Did you do IVF?” “What position got you here?” “Do twins run in the family?” Then you get to explain genetics! No exaggeration, I’ve been asked some really personal questions. Nobody asks so many personal questions when you’re only having one, because we all know how that happened, but having thing 1 and thing 2 growing inside you makes you like the world’s largest gumball, or the bearded lady. Which, I guess isn’t terrible if you’re a sharer. (I’m not lol) I always feel like I’m slowly being sucked into an awkward conversation that I can’t get out of.

3. When your ultrasound appointment (any kind of appointment really) takes 10 times longer because of twinny like activity
Now, I didn’t always mind my frequent appointments, and I obviously enjoyed my ultrasounds even more, BUT having appointment’s that last for days because your baby is playing hide and go seek .. behind your other baby? Not so much. NOT SO MUCH. Even worse trying to find a heartbeat, and then determine whose heartbeat belongs to whom. Even worse, having your twins take turns kicking at the heartrate monitor. After all, as if differentiating between mom and one baby wasn’t fun enough.

4. When your health insurance company keeps rejecting things as a “duplicate” bill
Seriously health insurance company? Seriously? They’re TWO people. Two people, same birthdays, different socials. I’ve had my share of twin woes with this one. Then once they get past this mishap, you start to get your hospital bills where Twin A in the hospital, isn’t Twin A on the insurance information so yet again, it won’t go through. Talk about a headache.

5. You can shop based on things like trunk space for your double stroller, or backseat space for two convertible car seats
New babies, means the possible need for a bigger car. This was a huge concern for me. I STILL think about this now. This for me is essential, because what ever would I do without my wonderful double stroller? I’m lucky to have a car that fits everything and everyone, but right before our twins came home we had to car shop. I was almost ready to literally crawl into a trunk if I needed to. I’m exaggerating .. Obviously, but you do what you’ve got to do.

Post Pregnancy Twin Mom (raising twin infants)

6. You find that you’re rocking this assembly line thing
Fun fact, I’m not just a twin mom. I’m actually a mom to Irish .. triplets? Yes, I know. That’s some serious momming right there. So I ultimately rock the hell out of the assembly line thing with or without the twins. Diaper, Diaper. Onesie Time, Onesie Time. Sleeper time, Sleeper time, zippp! AND don’t get even get me started on feeding. I was an exclusive pumper, and let me TELL YOU! Mastering the art of pumping, while also feeding two babies just to stay on a consistent feeding schedule made me feeling like the ultimate supermom. You couldn’t tell me nothin’!
•  6 ½ The fact that you even have an assembly line. BOOYAH!

7. You can change two diapers in the time it takes most moms to change one
When you have to start operating like a robot to keep up with demand, things like finding your superhero speed tend to kick in. Check them, wet. New diaper, under. Old diaper, off. Wipe, Wipe, Seal them up! It eventually just feels natural, like breathing.

8. When you get to your car (two non-walking babies in hand) and realize you’ll be opening the car door with your mind
This. Right. Here. My biggest struggle at hand was lugging around two infant carriers on a trip to the car. Now, the weight of carrying around two extra humans plus car seat weight soon became nothing, plus it’s a built in workout that’s great for your arms. Actually getting in and out of the house, and in and out of the car took some innovative thinking. Let’s be honest though, how innovative can you get? I always had to think of my game plan prior to starting my journey, always.

9. The fact that you can drive that damn double stroller like a BOSS
Trial and error mama, trial and error, but once you’re good, you’re GREAT. Like anything else with having multiple babies, you have to master the art of multitasking. Sure, you’ll run a few people off the road of the grocery store a few times, but that’s okay! Trial and error sweetheart. Soon you’ll be whipping that thing around corners, through doorways, in and out of elevators, like a BOSS.

10. When it’s time to pack a diaper bag to go somewhere, you feel like you’re packing for a vacation, just to go out for the day
Double trouble means double, well, everything! Double the bottles, double the amount of diapers and wipes, double the amount of baby foods, extra EXTRA spare outfits for spills and blow outs. You start to feel like you spend more time preparing for your outings than you actually do being out. Mom Tip, start to keep your diaper bag “packed” at all times. Keep essential things like diapers and wipes in them, so when it’s time to go out, all you have to do is a quick count of things, and add in whatever else is needed. Mom Tip #2, keep a spare bag or basket in your car with emergency baby items. You never know when you’ll forget something (it happens, and you will) and they’ll be needed.

Toddler Twin Mom (Hey, that’s me!)

11. When you typically don’t have photos of just one child because they’re always together
My twins share a bond like no other. They laugh at each other’s jokes (I don’t get them) they do everything together, and they even like to cuddle together *Inserts “Awwww” Inseperable twins, means very rare single photos.
• 11 ½ When you typically don’t have photos of BOTH children because they’re both ALWAYS going in different directions

12. When every sale you shop is BOGO
My twins are the best BOGO sale I’ve managed to catch, but my need for BOGO obviously didn’t stop there. BOGO pants, BOGO shirts, BOGO shoes. We have to buy for two kids, at one time. If I’m able to save some money, I’m all over it!

13. When shop for toys with the thought of whether this will be a shared toy or if you should just buy two and avoid the fighting
My twins are at the age where they’re adamant about what’s mine is mine. If I have it, it’s mine. If I put it down, and you pick it up, it’s still mine, because you know I was planning to come back to it. Don’t argue because then it’s like an all out Fight Club. *Inserts a longggg motherly eyeroll.
• 13 ½ When people look at you funny for buying 2 of the exact same thing for gifts for your kids

14. When you feed the need to shop in “evens”
With my daughter, I didn’t mind much that packs of socks, bottles, and blankets came in packs of 3. With my twins, it low key drives me looney. I don’t match them alike very often, but same things I like to buy them that actually match. Things are never even when it’s a back of 3 socks with 2 pairs of white socks, and one pair of black socks! Only. One. PAAAAIR! *Falls to my knees. So, then I have to suck it up and get more than one pack. Womp Womp.

15. When you feel like a sheep herder, but not a very good one
Did I mention that I’m a mother to Irish Triplets? Triplets? I guess that would be the better term. I herd little people all day long, but even when it’s just my twins and I they’re still going in completely opposite directions. You grab them both to sit them down, and one is right back up and going to the left. You grab the one that was exiting stage left and realize that the other one is already halfway off of the couch and ready to run off. I’m a terrible sheep dog.

The final and ultimate way to know that you have OFFICIALLY made it to the Twin Mom Club is something that you’ll come across at any stage. Your rightful passage of answering those typical “twin questions” and half smiling at those typical “twin remarks.”

“Yes, they are identical.” “No, they aren’t identical.”

“No, boy girl twins can’t be identical.” “Yes, I do know that they look a lot alike.”

“Yes, they are natural.” “Nope, never did IVF.” “Nope, no acrobatics in the bedroom.”

“NOPE, I didn’t eat pounds of sweet potatoes, or do the Hokey Pokey, or stand on my head to get them.”

“No we didn’t plan them.” (I never knew that was a thing with natural twins..)

“Yes, I do know we have our hands full.” “One hand, Two hands. One baby, Two babies.”

“And NO, you may not touch them. Thank you though.” Lol

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Parenting A Child With A Speech Delay

Parenting A Child With A Speech Delay - Chic and Domestic

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I wanted to write it with complete honesty. We all know that parenting can be hard work. Parenting is quite possibly one of the hardest responsibilities I’ve had in my lifetime. Parenting a child with a speech delay? Even harder. Think about how important it is to be able to properly communicate with other people. Then think about just how often you have to communicate with other people. In life, for any reason, it can be frustrating when your needs aren’t being met, but it’s also frustrating to feel like you’re not being heard.

Imagine someone dumping you in a foreign country, and needing an answer to a question as simple as, “Where is the nearest restroom?” or “Where is the closest restaurant?” and not being able to both understand responses, and vocalize your needs. I can only imagine that this is what it feels for my daughter at times, without even having to leave the comfort of her own home.

She has a hard time expressing that she’s thirsty, that she’s hungry, and even if she gets my attention enough for me to fully understand what she needs, it gets difficult to know exactly what it is that she’s asking for. Sometimes she points, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she signs, and sometimes she doesn’t.

My daughter was officially diagnosed with a speech delay almost a year ago. My tiny little lady is almost 3 years old now. She says plenty, just not very much that you would be able to understand. The entire thing has been a new experience, a hard experience, and a huge period of adjustment.

I love my daughter, but I would be lying to say that the gap in communication doesn’t frustrate me at times. It’s hard to communicate simple commands, commands for safety, even discipline her. As a mother I had a hard time with feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, or that I wasn’t doing things right. Sometimes I was worried that I wasn’t being as patient as I could be, or that I wasn’t being understanding.

Before it was “official” that she had a speech delay, I tried really hard to teach her things that the average growing baby was doing. As she got older, I tried to teach her things like ABCs and 123s (She also has hyperactivity and an attention problem, but that’s not my current point lol) but it was always so difficult, and I couldn’t understand why. Even now, I constantly feel like I’m in an uphill battle trying to teach, while also feeling like an awful teacher.

So, we brought in some outside assistance for help. It was helpful for her, but her speech is still a challenge. For her, and for me. Bringing in outside help meant more opportunities for her, like in home therapy options, and now the option to attend part time preschool, but that also means more labels. I had to get over the hump of hearing words like “special needs” and “IEP” and come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to let the average social stigmas define her.

My daughter is brilliant, caring, and energetic. She’s full of love, and she doesn’t need her words to express that. And I don’t need my words to express that to her. I will always have to be more patient with her. I will always have to be her number one advocate. I might share my spot with my husband one day, but until then he lets me mostly run the show.

Years from now, she could still struggle, or maybe she won’t be struggling at all. One thing I do know is, I will be right there, continuously trying to teach her, continuously helping her through her struggles, reading to her, and eventually letting her read to me.

Parenting can be a struggle. Parenting a child with a speech delay just makes that emotional roller coaster that much more rocky, but a speech delay is not an end all be all. My child is NOT a special needs label. She has specific special learning needs, but she, is just SPECIAL, period.

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