Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Adventures in Twin Parenting

They look innocent enough, right?

Wrong! Ever since these girls became mobile, it's been chaos in our house. Ever since I was pregnant with them I have worried about the day they could get up and move. People told me how hard it was with newborn twins but that part never bothered me. I have always just dreaded the day they would be able to get around on their own.

As newborns these girls would nurse and sleep wherever I put them. I could lay them on a blanket on the floor and go about cleaning the house and caring for the boys. It's not so easy anymore!

The girls started crawling back around Thanksgiving and are now taking those wobbly first steps on their own. Today they are 10 months old and I know they will soon be walking everywhere. I'm just not ready! Having 4 children running in different directions is a scary thought. And believe me, with a 4-year old boy and 2 1/2-year old boy, they will all be going different directions.

I am constantly torn between feeling terribly inadequate and feeling like I deserve a medal for getting through each day. I can't give each child the personal attention they deserve and for that I feel guilty. Sometimes I have to hide for a few minutes of peace before I lose my sanity. I can't even go to the bathroom without someone (or several someones) following me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this life and wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm just having a day when I'd like to spend a few minutes alone with my husband and that just isn't a possibility for us.

This is the hardest part about raising twins and being over 600 miles from our closest family. There are NO breaks. There is no "me time." No date nights, no quiet dinners out. No quiet dinners in either! LOL It bothers my husband more than me. I know these days will quickly pass and I will look back and wish they were still little. I already look back and wish they were still newborns!

Our most recent adventures have included a nasty chest cold and a last-minute trip to visit family. Luckily the colds came after the trip. I took both girls with me and left the boys behind with a friend (for the first time EVER!!!) while I went to visit my dying grandmother. It was nice to be back home but it was difficult circumstances.

Just for fun, here's how I managed to get through the airport by myself:

Put the girls in the double stroller. Toss purse under stroller and hang one carseat on handle. Hang diaper bag and duffle bag on other handle. Put other carseat into a travel bag and put it on my back.

Go to the check-in counter and drop off one carseat and the duffel bag. (Relief!)

Head to the security checkpoint. Luckily, no wait since we had a stroller and were waived right through. Take off my shoes and jacket and the girls' jackets and put in a bin. Put diaper bag and purse in bin. Put carseat through x-ray machine, followed by 2 bins. Put boarding passes in my mouth, stick one baby in sling, hold other baby on hip. Collapse stroller and struggle to lift onto x-ray machine before TSA guy offers to lift it for me. (Yeah, thanks for the assistance!) Go through the metal detector and then repeat the above steps in reverse order.

Next, on to the gate. We were supposed to pre-board. The lady let us outside (onto the tarmac because this was a commuter jet so we had to climb the stairs in the freezing cold) about 3 minutes before everyone else. I go outside and take the girls out of stroller and strap diaper bag and purse on my shoulders. Collapse stroller and put onto cart. Now what? How do you get the carseat into the plane? All of the other passengers are boarding at this point. Luckily another passenger offers to carry the seat for me.

Climb the stairs and struggle to fit sideways through the narrow door. Get into the plane and realize I am too tall. My head brushes the ceiling as I squeeze sideways down the aisle. All the way to the back, row 18. The LAST row.

Stick one baby in the carseat and pile bags under seat. Put other baby on my lap and start nursing.

Then of course we do it all over again to get off the plane. It was 20 degrees in DC that day. Nice and chilly.

On the way home things were the same. I got a few compliments from amazed onlookers who couldn't believe I was brave (or crazy?) enough to travel alone with twins. The other funny thing was the TSA guy who asked me 3 times if I had any liquids... "No bottles?" "No" "Not even empty ones?" "Nope" "You don't have any bottles in any of your bags" "No, I BREASTFEED." His face turned red and I moved on. LOL

Anyway, that's a few of my recent adventures in twin parenting. Stay tuned for our next adventure when I drive up to DC again (by myself) with all 4 kids and the dog. Should be exciting!
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