Twin Tips: Surviving Sickness with Twins plus Two

My heart breaks when my babies are hurting. It’s got to be the worst feeling ever to see them in pain. Last Sunday, Kate had a virus and then Clara got it a few days later, despite our attempts to sanitize and separate. You can see we were both worn out (even though I kind of look upset.)

Having sick babies is hard work. Thought I’d share a few tips that help us get through it:

  • Separate sick kids from healthy kids as much as you can. I realize this is sometimes easier said than done and it seems to not have worked this time for us but it has in the past. 
  • Sanitize. Sanitize your hands. Sanitize everything you or your sick one has touched. We use a lot of Lysol and Clorox wipes because they’re convenient. 
  • This round of sickness was the vomitting kind. Always a favorite. Obviously babies can’t tell you when they’re going to puke so mine just cry, cough, and then puke on whatever they’ve got in front of them. In my case, it seems to happen when they’re asleep on my chest. It gets on everything this way. What I found to be best is to strip them to their diaper, wrap them in a cuddly blanket rather than PJs and then put either a burp rag, soft towel or something on you to catch anything. Mind you, I learned this after multiple wardrobe changes. 
  • I like to hold and cuddle my sick babies. I think it makes me feel better knowing they’re feeling my love. Everyone is different and this isn’t always possible for me with four kiddos to tend to but it is nice when it can. 
  • Make sure they’re getting enough fluids. You should be able to tell by how much they’re drinking and if they’re still having wet diapers. If in doubt, talk to your pediatrician. You do not want a dehydrated baby. 
  • When you have a sick one, make things as easy as possible around the house for you. This may mean letting your older kids watch a movie, getting take-out, or eating on paper plates. 
  • Always keep Infant Tylenol and/or Advil on hand in case they have fever. The last thing you want to do is have to go to the pharmacy. Also, make sure you know how much your baby weighs so you can quickly measure the correct dosage. 
  • Take care of yourself too. Especially if you’re still nursing. I’m terrible about eating and drinking enough when I’m busy tending to sick babies. The better health you’re in, the less likely you’ll catch it too. It’s terrible when mommy or daddy get sick!
  • If you feel uncomfortable about your kids’ sickness, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician. Always trust your “mommy (or daddy) gut.”

There you go- tips from a mom of four, including twin babies. What other tips do you have for surviving sicknesses?


Mommy Review Monday: Baby Banana Teether 

Both Clara and Kate started teething over 4 months ago. We quickly realized we needed some teethers that were easy for them to use. Our good friends’ son had this banana teether and they said he loved it so we found it on Amazon and ordered a couple. 

What I like about them:

  • They’re available on Amazon Prime. 
  • The girls can easily hold on to them and have been able to since 4 months. 
  • They fit easily into their small mouths which is something a lot of the traditional larger teething rings can’t do. 
  • Since they are dishwasher-safe, they are easy to wash. 
  • They’re made of medical-grade silicone so I’m pretty sure they’ll hold longer than we need them…if we manage not to lose them, that is. 
  • BPA, Phthalate, Latex, and Toxin free means you theoretically don’t have to worry about whatever bad things these materials cause. 
  • They’re actually baby toothbrushes so we are basically training them for brushing their teeth. 
  • The girls love them. Obviously that’s important. All of these other points wouldn’t matter if they hated them. 
  • This isn’t really that important to me but they are super cute. We take them almost everywhere and people always ask us where we found them. 
  • They have open loops so you can use plastic chains or pacifier straps to keep them from dropping.  

What I would change:

  • They could be a bit better priced. They’re not outrageous but $7.44 a piece does seem a little expensive to a tight-wad like me. It obviously wasn’t bad enough to keep us from buying multiple. 

We love these so much that we’ve ordered 4 more, bringing us to 5 total since we sadly lost one somewhere. This way it is always a two-banana day at the Graves household.  (The link is to a song by Big Block Sing Song, a hilarious band that sings children’s songs)

Dancing Queen

Anna is a ham. Last night we ate dinner at Raising Cane’s. They had upbeat music and we all were in pretty good moods so it was hard not to bounce to the jams. But Anna took it a bit farther…

And Garen caught it on camera. No doubt she’s going to cringe watching this in about 10 years. 

​It’s a little long but the conversation with Will is pretty hilarious too. 

These kids keep us smiling and laughing!

Twin Tips: How to Include Older Siblings

Will and Anna were 7 and 4 respectively when we had Clara and Kate. I read quite a bit about preparing older kids for new siblings but there wasn’t much out there about preparing them for welcoming two (or more) to the family. 

I should start off with the disclaimer that I am not a child psychologist, counselor, or even always the most attentive mother but we think that our older kids have handled this big adjustment very well. 

Here are a few tips from our house to yours if you’ve got older siblings to prepare for twins:

  • Take special care in deciding when you will tell them about the babies. I’m not trying to be negative but we waited awhile to make sure everything was ok with both babies before telling Will and Anna. I couldn’t imagine having to tell them that something happened. I realize this is a very personal decision. 
  • Let your children’s teachers know early on so you can be involved and find ways to communicate easily. It got to the point that I couldn’t attend a lot of school activities because I already was missing so much work. Teachers can be a good support for your kids and make this transition easier.  
  • Try to be as involved as possible with them before the babies come. There’s a chance with twins that they’ll be premature and you won’t want to get them out in public much. This can be hard on your older kids. 
  • Involve them in the pregnancy as much as they want to be. Anna wanted to love on my tummy but Will was much more reserved. Each child is different and we respected that. 
  • Find a good support network early on in the pregnancy to start interacting with the kids and become more involved with the regular routine. They will be better prepared to step in and easily pick up where they need to when the babies arrive. 
  • Let them be involved in picking out a few things for the babies- whether it’s clothes, toys or stuff for the nursery. Including them in preparations will help them feel important. 
  • Try to keep the routine as normal as possible for them after the babies come home. I am a strong believer that kids thrive on routines. Our morning and night time routines stayed mostly the same, including dinner as a family so we could talk to everyone. It’s hard, so don’t put too much stress on yourself to make this happen every day. 
  • Once the babies arrive, make it a point to take time daily to do something with your older kids without a baby in your arms. This one was very hard for us but it was important. Most days it was just tucking them in, reading a book, or doing homework but they need to feel special too. 
  • Plan some time out for them to do something fun with you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate- going out to eat, to the movies, or the park will make them feel special. This will help you get out without babies too!
  • Our family and friends were great about making it a point to take the older kids to do fun things. This made things exciting for the kids. 
  • For some this may seem materialistic but we put together gifts bags from Clara and Kate to Will and Anna. Nothing too fancy- Will got a batman shirt and beanie and Anna’s was a sparkly outfit. Amongst all of the goodies that the twins got this was nice for them to get to open something. 
  • Take good care of yourself- both mom and dad. All of your kids need you. You need to eat and sleep as much as you can. If you’re struggling, get help, if possible – whether it is bringing in a babysitter to help around the house or going to see your doctor about possible postpartum depression. 
  • Have fun, make jokes and smile. This is a very small window of time. Check out my post on tips for what to do when feeling overwhelmed. These tips have helped me throughout the hard days with both my big and little kids. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the constant needs of two newborns. No parent aims to intentionally ignore their older children but there may be times that the older kids feel this way. The above tips can hopefully help to limit the times that this happens. If you’re taking time to read these tips, chances are you are a great parent so relax, smile, and just make the most of every day with your little and big ones. 

Adventures with Four: Picnicking with Donuts

Sometimes I think the best way to stay sane with four kids is to load everyone up and go somewhere. Here’s my logic behind today’s early-morning adventure to the park:

  • Donuts are always a big hit with the kids (even if they aren’t the healthiest). 
  • Picking up breakfast meant I didn’t have to cook. 
  • The kids felt special because they got to pick their own treat. Check out the extra-cool donuts at our local shop. 

  • Picnicking with donuts at the park meant no stray sprinkles or chocolate on the floor- one more meal that my freshly cleaned kitchen stays that way. 

  • We got the kids out of daddy’s hair while he tended to the yard. (I think he got the short end of the stick but I did bring him some kolaches)
  • It was beautiful first thing this morning. We were out the door by 8:15 and back around 9:45 or so. If you’re from Texas you know that early-morning park trips are the best. We still had some good shade at one of our beautiful nearby parks. 

  • Sitting in the house all day makes me crazy. Mainly because it also makes the kids crazy. Keeping them moving outside for as much time as possible is good. Will and Anna can burn off energy playing and Clara and Kate are big enough to swing in baby swings finally. 

Part of the morning adventure was selfish reasoning and the other part was the joy in seeing happy kids on a Saturday morning. Regardless, it’s a win-win for us all!

Photo Friday: Spring School Photos

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that our preschool brings in a good photographer twice a year. They have a crew  of photographers and make sure the kids are posed cute. 

I never got around to posting these and thought I’d share. I think they turned out great. It may be just me, but I think the girls are all pretty photogenic. 

Unfortunately, they didn’t do it for the after-school group, so Will isn’t in any of these. It is what it is. 

Enjoy some happy faces this Friday evening!

Road Tripping with a Real Map

We will soon be embarking on a road trip to Branson. Google maps tells us it will take 7 hours and 51 minutes. We will have a few stops with the kiddos, so we are estimating 10 hours. 

Ten hours in the car with a 7 and 5 year old, plus 9 month old twins. Sounds like we’re nuts. And, as nuts as it is, I’m actually really excited about it. 

As a child I remember many road trips with the whole family all loaded up in the family truckster (ours was a red suburban). One of the things I remember loving was looking at the road map and calculating how far we had come, how far it was to our next Dairy Queen, or how far it was to our final destination. As I thought about this, I realized that my kids probably haven’t even seen a real road map before. By real, I mean paper. Heck, I honestly can’t remember the last time I looked at a paper map. It has to have been during college, in the age of Google maps that you could print out (I realize you still can but I don’t). 

Amazing. I think using my iPhone’s navigation is wonderful. How great is it to know what traffic is going to be like and your ETA adjust accordingly?!? And no need for paper!

But…I also think there is some benefit to the kids learning to use a real map. Soooo, I’ll be getting a real paper roadmap for them to use on the trip for a fun learning opportunity. Maybe we will make a game out if it somehow…

Family road trip ideas welcome!