Tag Archives: multiples

Quads – could you do it?

Wow, just wow.

Watching the programme last night about the family with Quads was for me full of memories, joy and aspiration. There were similarities with mine as they were premature and they were both so tiny but that is where the similarities stopped. I had two, they had four.

I felt their exhaustion, stress, obsessing about their weight, relentlessness and days rolling into one all over again. I had complete empathy and awe for the parents.

Until you have more then one child you understand most but not all that multiple parents have to go through.

But a 3 day break abroad? I mean seriously?? I break out in a sweat trying to contemplate the logistics of a family of 4 but not 6?!?  And to top it all off their bags were lost – every travellers nightmare!  I would have had a meltdown – actually I would have had one in the beginning just trying to pack for the holiday (do you know how much “stuff” you have to take everywhere!)   They are very brave and a perfect family with the perfect attitude for quads.

Ultimately It put things into perspective for me. No matter how tough a day I am having someone, somewhere is having just the same or tougher and it’s not how you deal with it (my preferred tonic at the end of the day is red wine) it’s how you embrace it and deal with every challenge thrown your way.

The word of the month is GENTLE!

I love watching the girls really looking at each other and their surroundings. They are becoming more aware and curious of the world. I love seeing things through their eyes where everything is new and exciting and AMAZING.  To be a baby again and find a piece of paper the best thing in the whole wide world spend hours happily turning it over and over, examining it, mouthing it and ripping it. Oh the joy!

Every day they are discovering a bit more about the existence of the other. First it was just staring from afar and now it is by touch. I lay them down together to change their clothes and nappy in the mornings and little hands reach out. Sometimes they stroke, sometimes they pat, sometimes they grab and pull clothes and on one occasion I caught Miss P with her finger up Miss C’s nose!

They have increased wanting to touch and feel our faces but what with their little nails and the last second of grabbing means all I seem to be saying lately is GENTLE in many tones (mainly as a yelp). It fascinates me that they grab at each other’s faces and neither of them cry out. I know it hurts but they do not say a word, yet as soon as they flop backwards and miss the pillow that was placed strategically behind them, onto the soft mat, out comes the wail!

Each day their exploration gets a little bit more bold. Clothes are now being pulled until the other falls over. Each others ears, noses and hair are fair game to them to yank and their latest game is to grab each other’s hand in the high chair and pull as hard as they can. This makes mealtimes an already time consuming feat.

One of our poor cats actually sits and allows them to grab at him. They go ecstatic when they see him! His tail and ears are pulled, his hair comes out in large tufts and yet he goes back for more! I try and show the girls what a gentle stroke is but they are so excited that this furry ginger thing with whiskers and tail goes near them that its all grabbing, excited cries and flailing hands.

The only time this cat kept a wide berth from them for a least a day was when he slowly approached one on my knee when,….’BURP‘, the girl brings up some milk and it cleverly lands all over the cats head. I’ve never seen the old cat move so fast.

Exploding poo

No one tells you about the poo. I mean the poo after the newborn bit and how it appears. You really are in for a treat. You are going to love how warm it gets too!

I had around 16-20 nappy changes a day at the beginning, not including when they go immediately after a nappy change. The exploding poo or worst poo incidents always seem to be at the most inconvenient time.

I’ve had poo dripping across the floor and all over the scales at a weigh-in with the midwife.

I’ve had poo land in my hand as I changed them. It looks like icing coming out of a piping bag! I always wonder how such a small baby could produce so much poo! Where are they storing it?

I’ve gone through 3, yes 3 nappies in less then a minute as the poo just kept on coming!

I’ve had poo cover the whole surface area of inside the nappy so when you take it off it looks like they are wearing a nappy made of poo.

I’ve had poo filling up the whole leg of a romper suit. I thought Miss C had hurt herself and her leg had swollen up but no it was full of warm gooey poo.

When they are on solids, the colour varies according to what they have eaten (which makes it very interesting) and is less runny and more firm like a poo you and I would do. I call these nuggets especially if they are small and perfectly formed. If I find one of these I consider myself lucky. I usually pick these straight out with a wet wipe and reuse the nappy. (I know what you are thinking. Seriously? Eugh! – But when you have twins and change as many nappies as I do everyday you look for short cuts – But I only do this if the nappy isn’t also wet).

Once on a play date, I was at an NCT ladies’ house and I changed Miss C’s nappy. It was a typical nugget as described above and instead of picking it out I thought I would be polite and just change the whole nappy as I was with company. But when I held the nappy in my hand and started to wrap it up, the poo fell out and rolled across her carpet…..I was mortified! Thankfully it was so firm that it didn’t do any lasting damage but coincidently I have not been invited back since!

My favourite is a sneaky poo. It lulls you into a false sense of security. You go for a nappy change,… you wait with bated breath as to what you might find,….you open the front of the nappy and see…. a pea sized nugget. Phew, what a relief. Quick nappy change here then……. or so you thought!  As you lift the legs up you see the nugget getting bigger and bigger and bigger and then you realise that it has been squashed all the way up the back. Brilliant. Not a quick nappy change as you thought but half a pack of wet wipes later and another change of clothes.

Its very rare a day goes by that you don’t find some clothes soaking in the kitchen sink but don’t even get me started on the day I came home to find Mr G had poo on his face!

Parenting twins

Parenting twins is nothing like parenting singles.  You try and explain to friends and family and they give all the right noises and nod their heads and say “of course”, “yes I understand” but their eyes always glaze over.  They will always be cuddling one child at a time when visiting and so they will never have a time when they are left to deal with both and really understand my point of view.

There are certain things I have never done as a parent – which is rock my child to put them to sleep and I have never held a child constantly in my arms or on my lap all day whilst they slept on me. Why? Because there are 2 babies. I have had to do things differently so that I can make things easier during the days when I am on my own.

For comfort and sleeping problems, the girls have come to know the pat and rub method – which is something I can do with one hand in each cot if they are both needing me. Rocking them now would just agitate them. It is on rare occasions and usually from complete exhaustion do I get one falling asleep on me but its usually when Mr G and I are together somewhere so there is another pair of hands to assist with the other baby. Although, I am pleased that they are happy to sleep in their cots and are not reliant on Mr G and I, I do wish sometimes that they would want a little cuddle and a nap on me!

I also secretly love it when one of the girls wakes up from their naps before the other. It means I can spend some quality one-on-one time with them.

The most common comment I get from people is about waking the girls up for a feed. Yes, I do. Blasphemy isn’t it? With singles you can feed on demand, you can work the day around them, you can follow their lead – which is what most parents know and understand. But not with twins. You have set feeding times, you feed them at the same time, you have to fit in a certain amount of feeds before bedtime to know that they will sleep through the night comfortably and have had the recommended amount of milk.

If people just stopped and put themselves in my shoes for just a minute they would understand the challenges faced with multiples. In my opinion, the routine has not only helped me but helped the girls and I have 2 very happy and content little babies who have consistently put on weight considering they were premature. We got our evenings back from when they were 10 weeks old and they have slept through the night since they were 15 weeks old.  I don’t want to sound boastful but hey, I must be doing something right!

In the beginning…

Looking back, it was quite simply hell.  Yup, I’m putting my hands up and admitting that I went into being a parent with my eyes completely closed. It’s seriously hard work. I completely under estimated what it would be like and it is relentless.

The first 6 weeks were the worst.  Mr G and I felt we were in a war zone and we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only were we experiencing being parents for the first time and finding our feet but we also had 2 babies to deal with. We would get through the day in a complete blur. We didn’t shower or change out of our PJs for days. Eating was a luxury and it was done quickly, one handed most of the time, and whenever we remembered.

At the beginning,  I thought OK we can put them to bed and we can all get some rest and start the next day fresh……uh, no!  Babies do not know the difference from day or night, they have to be taught. So on went the zombie feeling from lack of sleep, exhaustion and repetition through the night and into the next day, and the day after that and the day after that…….

On one particularly tough day, Mr G and I decided some colic medicine would be worth a try. It was 9pm and Mr G and I were still in our PJs and covered in milky vomit. Mr G put on some flip flops and went to walk out of the door. I asked him if he was going to change into other clothes before going to the late night chemist and he just turned to me with an exhausted look on his face and said, “Erin, I just don’t care any more”.  Priorities in life definitely change after having children. And in my opinion colic medicine doesn’t work. I think it’s meant to placate the parent and make them feel that they are doing something to help their child.

I found the days when Mr G went back to work leaving me outnumbered with two screaming babies extremely exhausting. I didn’t know who had spent the day crying more – me or the girls. The hardest bit was hearing one cry whilst I was dealing with the other with a nappy change or something. I told them over and over I wasn’t ignoring them, I just had their sister to deal with first. Of course they didn’t understand or know what was going on – all they knew was that they were not being comforted or made to feel secure. I felt awful, I felt a bad mum. I was not able to provide and comfort both my babies at the same time. But logistically you can’t, so it took a long while but I hardened up and you realise you just have to deal with the most important thing at the time and let the other one cry. It sounds awful I know, but I went through it and there is never any lasting damage and no baby has died from crying. Horrible to say but it’s the truth. I got to them as fast as I could but when one has more important needs, then the other takes a back seat. I think from this experience I can confidently say that I can change a nappy with lightening speed!

But in all honesty there was light at the end of the tunnel at 6 weeks. Things changed. They became more aware of you and their environment and then things changed again at the 12 week mark and its been getting better and better every day since.