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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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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Washing Your Cloth Diapers.

Dos and Don’ts, Wash routine, Detergents, Mom Tips, and Sunning Your Diapers.

Here it is, here it is! My official “How To” on washing your cloth diapers in its entirety. I’ve discussed all of the good, bad, and the smelly in this three part beginners guide entitled the, “All About Cloth” series. I’ve broken down the normal how, why, and where questions about cloth diapering, in Cloth How? Cloth Where? Cloth Why? And I even shared some very useful and very honest tips in my post, Cloth Clean Up. Where Does The Poop Go? I’ve kept it simple, thorough, and to the point so far, and this will be no different.

No need to overwhelm yourself with the notion that washing your cloth diapers will be nothing but a hassle. Every cloth diaper mom will tell you, but doing diaper laundry really shouldn’t be any harder than doing a regular load of laundry. Although, who really likes laundry day anyway? You’ll obviously want to take a few extra steps to keep up the longevity of use with your diapers, but nothing that would make the process too strenuous. I prefer to wash my diapers every 1-3 days. 3 being the longest I would EVER wait to do a wash. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to really get your diapers clean in my opinion. Realistically, I probably do diaper laundry every 2 days. I do have to cover 3 booties, so things pile up a lot quicker than it would for someone with only one child in the home.

Products To Use/ Products to Avoid

Use: Make sure to use a fragrance free detergent that is also free of enzymes and extra additives (whitening and brightening ingredients) just to be on the safe side. If you’re cloth diapering a newborn, it’s even smarter to be cautious of what detergent you’re using to wash your diapers. You always run the risk of irritating your baby. I must admit, I’ve used a regular, scented Tide detergent before, and no, I didn’t kill all of my precious diapers in the process.

Mom Tip! If you find that your diapers have detergent buildup (they’re not getting clean, they’re less absorbent), you may need to experiment to make sure that the detergent you’re using is compatible with your water. Also make sure that you’re not using too much detergent. An excessive amount of detergent will make it harder for your washer to rinse out.

Don’t Use: Fabric Softeners. Long term, it can effect the absorbency of your diapers. Much like detergent, you also run the risk of irritating your baby’s skin.

Use: A good odor eliminator for diaper washing is baking soda (about half a cup per load). Another option is to add white vinegar (about one cup per load) to the rinse water, but this is NOT always recommended by manufacturers. Be sure to read your labels for laundering. In addition to helping with odors, vinegar helps to soften the diapers. I don’t use white vinegar personally, just to avoid having to sort or run the risk of ruining anything. I would prefer to keep my routine simple.

Don’t Use: BLEACH. Although many cloth diaper gurus will tell you to avoid it like the plague, I say bleach goes on both lists. DO use bleach to fight infection (yeast or diaper rashes) but DON’T rely on it in a regular wash routine. Bleach breaks down fibers in cloth diapers that can cause them to deteriorate. It can also ruin your adorable covers if you aren’t super careful. Add bleach to the rinse water sparingly to avoid mishaps.

Washing Your Cloth Diapers

Always be sure to wash your diapers in a separate load from regular laundry. Clearly you wouldn’t want smelly diapers washing around with your new sweater, would you? You can however, toss in your covers, inserts, and cloth wipes all together unless they have special washing instructions.

Try not to overload your machine. You want them to get a really good toss around the washer to ensure that they’re as clean as possible. Diapers that are suffering from those clean, but not so clean washes will be highly ineffective when it’s time to use on your little one, and no mommy wants that.

It will depend on the specific size of your washer, but about 2 dozen diapers is a good cut off point for load size. Having 3 kids in cloth diapers, when I do my cloth diaper laundry sometimes it’s a lot easier for me to just do two separate washes and split up the covers (because we’re a pockets family!) and our various inserts.

Mom Tip! If your family uses diaper systems with more fabric than a normal cover or pocket diaper, I would highly recommend separating your AIO (All in One) cloth diapers from any inserts or cloth wipes to make sure they’re washed thoroughly.

Step 1. Do a pre rinse in cool/warm water to remove any excess urine and stinky stuff. I think it all comes down to preference really. I’ve read that cold water use is better to avoid stains, and why use extra hot water when you don’t need to, and I’ve also read that urine is more easily removed with warmer temperatures. I say go with your gut on this one!
Step 2. Do a heavy duty wash in warm/hot water with your chosen detergent.
Step 2 ½. (Optional) If I’m finding my diapers to be extra smelly this go around, I’ll normally go ahead and do a second regular wash in cold water with less detergent. I just love for my diapers to really feel clean, and this really helps to ease my mind a bit. Lingering odor can mean lingering bacteria and germs. NOT GOOD.
Step 3. Do a short rinse in cold water to remove any missed detergent. I find an extra rinse to be very important. You want to try your best to avoid product build up.
Step 4. Hang dry or tumble dry your diaper laundry.

Drying Tips

Avoid using extreme heat on your cloth diapers. This should apply throughout your entire wash routine, but definitely during drying to avoid damage.

Mom Tip! If your family uses diapers with Velcro fasteners vs snaps, be sure to close them to prevent linking or damage in the dryer.

Line drying is always an option for drying your cloth diapers. For the crunchy moms, it’s environmentally friendly, and for the frugal moms, it’s definitely cost efficient! This always provides a great window of time for sunning if you’re line drying outside. Sunning your diapers is the cheapest, and easiest way to help whiten your diapers just by giving them some tanning time.

Hang drying or line drying your diapers can sometimes cause a bit of stiffness, in which I would just recommend a quick tumble in the dryer to loosen them up.

 

Be sure to check out What’s In My Diaper Bag. (Cloth Edition!) or some of my cloth diaper reviews, here on my blog.

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What’s For Dinner!? Chicken Tortilla Soup. In the Crockpot!

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe - Chic and Domestic

This chicken tortilla soup was so perfect for dinner this week! I was really in the mood for soup, but also in the mood for anything with cilantro (mmm, cilantro). Lucky me, I also caught a great deal at Walmart on 3 packs of chicken breast, and utilized a lot of what I had on hand. I had an extremely busy week so I opted to just throw everything in the crockpot, and forget about it. No hassle for me, it just cooked all day, and it turned out GREAT. I periodically checked the chicken after an hour or two, and shredded it before combining it with everything else still in the crockpot. From start to finish this meal took me about 10 minutes to prep, and about 5  hours give or take (Who really knows with a crockpot!) on high to cook.

INGREDIENTS
2 large Chicken breasts
2 cans Black beans
Fresh Cilantro
2 cups Frozen Corn
3 Cloves of Garlic (mined)
1 (16oz) Can Petite Tomatoes
½ Yellow Onion
2 (16oz) Cans Chicken Broth
2 cups Water
2 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1tsp Paprika
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp Cumin
Cayenne Pepper (If you like spicy!)
Tortilla Strips
Cheddar/ Monterey Jack Cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Season your chicken breast and place them at the bottom of your crockpot.
2. Add in you diced onions, black beans, corn and petite diced tomatoes.
3. Season your crockpot with salt and pepper.
4. Add in your chicken broth, and water.
5. Occasionally check in on your soup, season your soup to taste.
6. Garnish your finished soup with tortilla strips, cilantro, and cheese.

 

For more recipes from The Chic Kitchen, check them out here!

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