The Individuals Within the Group

Posted on May 6, 2017. Filed under: Multiple Birth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Our multiples all arrive at the same time (obviously).  Not so obviously, because they have (inadvertently) been identified as a group because of their births, they are also individuals within the group.   They are not a package and you, as the parents, have the capability to make sure that their individuality is also celebrated.   Some great hints to encourage their individuality while also respecting their special and unique bond, are following.

If you have any ways you helped encourage your babies’ individuality, please let us know.  

~Don’t give them rhyming names, or even names beginning with the same letter.         ~Don’t continually dress them alike.  Once is a while won’t hurt, but not continually.         ~Have a Baby Book and Photo Albums PER child.  Otherwise, who does the one book belong to?                                                                                                                                                 ~Always have a birthday cake PER child                                                                               ~Always sing Happy Birthday PER child                                                                       ~Encourage family and friends not to send cards for Twins.  Who opens the card?  Who owns the one card?  WW3 could start here.                                                                              ~Do not compare the children to each other (your brother uses the potty, you need to as well) nor let others compare them.                                                                                                  ~Because there is a built-in comparison with multiples, take the word “Twin” or “Triplet” out of the situation and deal with the solutions on individual basis.  AS LONG AS EACH CHILD PROCEEDS AT HIS OR HER OWN RATE AND CONTINUES TO MEET MILESTONES, DON’T PUSH THINGS.  BRINGING UP MULTIPLES IS NOT A RACE OR COMPETITION.  Each child needs to be who they are, even in the multiple-birth setting.

Enjoy those babies and children!!!

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Having Twins or Triplets….

Posted on April 21, 2017. Filed under: Multiple Birth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Even though there are no guarantees, there are several elements that need to be in place to become pregnant with twins or triplets. Here are some of the possible elements, in no particular order:
1) If you already have other children;
2) If you are over 30 years old;
3) Chances are even greater if you are over 35 years old;
4) The closer they are to you on your family tree;
5) If you used infertility assistance; and
6) They will start on your family tree somewhere and perhaps you will be the one who will get things started.
I could add here that if you have one spontaneous set of multiples, i.e. no infertility assistance, it is said that you can up your chances by 50% of having multiples again in a subsequent pregnancy. There is one family who had nine children, including four sets of twins.
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THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE GROUP OF TWINS, TRIPLETS AND MORE

Posted on March 17, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Even though our babies arrive at the same time, or very close to the same time, they are individuals within the group. A parenting challenge is to support and respect the special bond our multiple-birth children have with each other, while encouraging each to explore their own identities and to be the best they can be. Parents can, and need, to encourage others to also treat the children as more than just a group. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of to encourage individuality:

~do not call them “the twins” or “the triplets.” Do not let others use these labels either. Encourage the use of their names, “the babies,” the children, and so on. Labels present them as a group and encourage the world to also see them as a group (these labels don’t even point out what gender they are) rather than understand that they are unique individuals as well as being part of a group;

~rhyming names (Tim and Tom or Cody and Jody) also add to the package point of view. Over time rhyming names become annoying for teachers, doctors, and peers, especially if the children look a lot alike. In the Tim and Tom scenario, both boys became “TimTom” to school chums, as children will not take the time to see the differences between them rather than just focus on the similarities. Help your children out by avoiding such a pitfall.

~same with constantly dressing them alike. Would you like to have your sister or brother constantly dressed like you? Probably not. Break the mould of the package and allow each to also be the individual s/he is. Dressed alike children can also be a safety hazard as you are screaming the name of one toddler running to cross the road, but with no distinguishing visual markers, you are screaming the wrong name.

~twins, triplets and more will probably not reach the same milestones at the same time, e.g. rolling over, sitting up, walking, moving up to the next car seat size, thereby reenforcing themselves that they are individuals within the group.

How have you handled things with your multiples which encourage each to explore their own capabilities and individuality?

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The Truth and Nothing But The Truth…..

Posted on February 16, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Posted on Instagram yesterday by “thebump.”  Just loved it, although adapted it to fit our particular situation:

“Growing humans makes me feel like a superhero.  A very tired, weak superhero that wants to eat all the time and isn’t allowed to lift heavy objects.”    Unknown

thebump’s notation is equally on the mark:  “Pregnancy is both empowering and exhausting.”

Never lose your sense of humour!!!

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Twins, Triplets and more are Also Individuals

Posted on February 19, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

A parent’s challenge is to respect the multiple-birth bond, but also encourage their children to become happy, healthy individuals.  It can be easier to do things within the group and there is certainly much less pressure to socialize multiples, but are we doing them a favour when we constantly see them only or the majority of the time as a part of group?  I don’t think so.  I also think it is better for the children to be introduced to their separateness while they are still young, the younger the better.  In that way, doing somethings without their co-multiple(s) becomes a natural part of their lives and who they are.  Here are some ideas on encouraging your multiples to also go it alone:

1.  Encourage individual preferences, likes and dislikes amongst the children.  This can range from food choices, to book choices, to sport choices, to course choices.  Letting them choose their own clothes for the the day can also help them feel comfortable with choices that pertain to each of them individually.

2.  Grandparents may take only one for a sleepover.  This is so win/win for children, parents and grandparents.

3.  Going on an errand?  One on one time can be hard to have happen with multiples, so work that time in in the natural flow of things.  Take only one child on the errand: to the bank, for groceries, to the drugstore.  These little times apart present opportunities for parents to learn about each child’s particular ideas, thoughts, fears, and interests.  Helps with bonding as well.

4.  Don’t constantly dress them alike.  When they look like a package, they will be perceived as a package by everyone.

5.  This also goes for rhyming names.  We can do our children a huge disservice when we chose their names.  We are not always present to protect them as Larry, Harry and Gary need to go it alone sometimes.  Don’t help make them a target of ridicule over something they have had no control over even though the names may be a family tradition or because the parent thinks it is “cute.”.

6.  Separating their school classrooms can be an obvious choice.  They still see each other at lunch and recess but lessons are separate.  Stories at the end of the day are individual, with no competition between them.

7.  There is another very important reason to help our multiple-birth children also be able to be apart.  They arrive in the world together but they most likely will not leave the world together.  Giving them tools to learn to be separate from each other may be an important step in helping them deal with the future when their “We” will become “I.”  I have worked in multiple-birth bereavement support for nearly 25 years and it breaks my heard to hear from grown-up surviving multiples who cannot accpet or go on without their co-sibling.  They are stuck, in unbearable grief and cannot go.  Some are also suffering from survivor’s guilt.  Of course they will miss this very close person whom they have been together with since the beginning, that is natural.  What we don’t want is an inability to move forward, live a good life, and be happy just because their co-multiple has died.  A worse case scenario would be if the survivor(s) wished to join their deceased multiple.  Giving them some tools to be separate from each other at the beginning of their lives, while still enjoying and celebrating their bond, could be a gift that will present itself many years down the road.  You, as the parents, may not be alive to console and hold, so it will be even more important that the survivor(s) be able to work through their grief in a healthy manner.   Please remember that your children are individuals and multiples.

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Multiple Tips for Raising Your Multiples…….

Posted on November 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

This isn’t a complete list because every scenario cannot be anticipated but it is a list of thoughts to help you and your family on its way:

-remind yourself, and others, that they are Individuals, even though they arrived together and may look alike.

-as such, each may make a different choice (e.g. clothes, hair, food, interests).  Let them do so.  It helps them learn to be different parts of the whole.

-if ever you are worried or confused about an issue, e.g. allowances as you have one who can handle $ and another who spends more than he has, take the word “twin”, “triplet,” or “multiple” out of the equation and ask yourself:  How would I handle this if they were NOT multiple-birth children?  Sometimes the answer can be very simple when you know your children’s capabilities and have “removed” the position that they are multiple-birth children.

-don’t try to be fair.  Life is not fair and learning from an early age that not everything is equal is an important lesson for any of us.  You are there to work things through and explain any disappointments, where they feel safe.

-be gentle with yourself.  You will NOT get everyday right, but tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it and you can try again.  It is important to admit to your children when you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, “can’t think right now, so I am going to go into another room and think about it and answer you later.”  You are not expected to have an answer at your fingertips, so taking time to think of something without acting impulsively is a good teaching tool for the children to learn.

-if you are angry – TAKE A BIG BREATH, say you cannot deal with this at the moment and need some time to think about just what happened.  Do not lash out in anger or something may be said or done which could have consequences you are not proud of.  Once again, a “Time Out” for yourself will give you a chance to gather your wits, calm down and then deal with the situation.

-don’t rush, rush, rush through everything.  Take some time to drop your routine/schedule and just have fun with the children, at any age.  Some times, while intense, go oh so quickly so remember to have some fun too.

-think about splitting the kids up for some one-on-one time.  It can be as easy as only taking one on errands with you.  Just because they are multiples does not mean they need to spend every minute together.  Starting younger with splitting them up is much easier than starting when they are older.

-when you need to explain something, use age appropriate language and use the correct words.  I am especially thinking the “Sex Talk.”  Vagina, penis, uterus, etc.  Better they should learn the right things in the right manner from you, the parents.  Builds trust.  “Mom and Dad will tell me the truth!”

-if something is an issue for you, it will become an issue for them, especially if you are not aware of your own actions.  If you don’t like peas and never serve them, they probably won’t like them either.  Or are afraid of snakes/spiders, for other examples, your reactions will imprint on them.  Try and be neutral and let them make their own decisions.  Our daughter held a tarantula at aged 3 years in school and I would still be hard-pressed to consider holding one!  And from the time she could walk, she loved snakes and frogs………makes me crazy but the Joy on her face is really something special to behold.    I could have missed all of that if I had given into my own feelings around “cuddling” a snake!   LOL

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Dionne Quintuplets

Posted on May 28, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The surviving Dionne quintuplets, Annette and Cecile turn 80 years old today.  They have given Multiple Births Canada permission to celebrate Canada’s National Multiple Birth Awareness Day, today, their birthday.  With women waiting longer to have children, having more children than in the recent past and using infertility assistance, there is an increase in multiple-births.  Not only do we need to understand the unique issues challenges in raising two or more infants at the same, but we also need to ensure that what the Canadian , Provincial and local city governments made this family suffer, Never happens again!

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Breastfeeding in Public Challenges

Posted on April 1, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I wanted to comment on a local news story and was drawn to a halt by the fact that it now seems to be untrue.  I decided to move forward nevertheless because even though this particular story may not be true, it is true that breastfeeding in public can produce quite the negative stir.   At the height of the story, our local CTV news station ran a poll and asked:  “Does breastfeeding in public make you feel uncomfortable?”  While we do not know how many people responded, their gender, age or life’s circumstance (i.e. childless or not), the results were, for myself, surprising:  60% were OK and 40% were “uncomfortable.”  Not that far from half the respondents had “uncomfortable” feelings about seeing a mother breastfeeding her baby.  How sad.  We have a long way to go to be able to publicly breastfeed without judgment, possible negative harassment and shame.  It certainly has been my experience with any breastfeeding woman and baby I have witnessed, Mom has been discrete, calm, only focused on the task at hand and most placed a blanket over baby and her shoulder.  Literally, there was nothing to see or take offence to!!  Recently at a train station, I watched a woman breastfeed her young baby quietly, efficiently and without fanfare or ado.  How anyone could perceive what was going on as “uncomfortable” or offensive is beyond me.   I witnessed love, being available, caring, comfort, gentleness, and necessity.  I have never yet, and I am a senior, been subjected to a nursing woman who made a spectacle of herself, who flaunted or drew unwanted attention to the breastfeeding.  I feel safe in suggesting that if there are any negative feelings they are those felt by the viewer and projected onto the mother, rather than the viewer taking ownership of his or her (yes, some of the negative comments come from women against women) “uncomfortable” feelings.  It would be so helpful if “uncomfortable” viewers would take responsibility for their suspect feelings (and perhaps look at why they feel “uncomfortable” – but that is another story) and focus on a natural, normal occurrence in which the most vulnerable (and our future) in our society are nourished and comforted.  It is as it should be.  I would wonder if those same viewers also make charges against the skimpy outfits and lingerie that society is constantly subjected to in magazines, billboard, TV advertising and shows?
It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words.  I remember seeing a photo several years ago and while I have searched around for it again, I cannot locate a copy of it.  As my recollection goes, Che Guevara  (a politician from Argentina, now deceased) was at a political rally and animately carrying on a conversation with a mother.  Both were staring into each other eyes, focused on making whatever their political point was and, from the body language, not really agreeing with each other.  What was most astounding (by North American standards) and meaningful was that the woman had a toddler at her breast and he was feeding contentedly.   The photo, IMO, was powerfully focused on two people with opposite opinions each intent on making their point and one of them was, incidentally, breastfeeding her baby, a natural and accepted occurrence in Argentina.  There are many areas in the world who are strides ahead of what is be deemed “uncomfortable” in North America.
Here’s an overview of the story which was recently in our local news:
You may have been following the story about the woman in the Ottawa Ikea store who was breastfeeding her 9-month old in the check-out line.  Apparently Mom, her baby and 2-year old and a friend had gone to Ikea, made their selections and at the cash there needed to be a price check.  After some minutes, the little one began to fuss, so Mom, as was usual for them, began to breastfeed to help sooth her baby while they waited for someone to complete their price check.  The story continues that a supervisor came to the mother in line and said to Mom she had would provide the price when she finished her “disgusting” behaviour and “why didn’t she take it to the bathroom as she was holding up the line?”  Both Mom and her friend were taken aback by these nasty comments on nursing her baby and Mom filed a complaint with Ikea as well as went to the press.   As an aside, Mom reports that her 2-year old, whom she was also still nursing, would not nurse that evening as he went to bed and was their ritual.  He cried and said it was “yucky.”  It took some time to settle him that night.
 
Ikea issued an apology to Mom, offered a gift  pack to the toddler son and stated that women are welcome to breastfeed their babies in any area of their store.  The Ikea employee who made the initial statements has apparently not yet been identified and Ikea was making an effort to track her down.
An update on Ikea’s side of the story:  After extensively reviewing their tapes, Ikea reported being able to identify the mother and her children going through the cash.  She did not breastfeed her child at all, from the tapes, nor engage an employee to do a price check for her.  In short, they feel the alleged altercation did not happen.  Nevertheless, this past Sunday, there was a sit-in at Ikea of about 20 breastfeeding Moms, several of whom stated that the story was not as important as the fact that there are many places in Ottawa were breastfeeding in a public area is not accepted, and this story has raised an important issue so they were taking advantage of the chance to raise the profile of breastfeeding in public.  A couple of Moms noted that Ikea is a welcoming store and they have previously breastfed their baby in the store without incident.
There is a caveat here though:  it is a challenge to breastfeed two babies at a time in public and quite likely that there will be greater breast exposure on Mom’s part.  It could even be a proposed Olympic sport to then place a blanket over two nursing babies when both arms are already full.  Having said all of that, one has to do what one needs to do.  One twin Mom shared that both of her babies were fussing while they were at the mall and she needed to quickly find a quiet place to feed them.  She chose a bench in a corner where she thought they would not be too conspicuous.  She just got both babies latched when an older man “marched over” towards them, mouth set and teeth clenched.  Before he could open his mouth, she reportedly said:  “I’ve got two hungry babies and two breasts – you do the math!”  The fellow backed down, tusked, and walked away.  Mom still felt bullied, picked on and embarrassed.  This type of even wordless guilt trip shouldn’t happen to any nursing mother.
An important issues about simultaneously feeding two babies is that they are safely held and not in any danger of being dropped.  At home it can be easily assured that all is in place to ensure babies are safely held for a simultaneous feed.  In public, there could be a higher anxiety level on the part of Mom regarding feeding two fussy babies, quickly picked up on by the babies, as is their ability, and if this is the case, add to any possible challenges.  Removing yourself to a designated or friendly feeding area of the public space could help everyone relax, ensure babies are held safely and easily fed.  If Mom is self-conscious about having to breastfeed two and the babies begin squirming, they can be a challenge to safely hold.   Do take care.
I would like to offer another piece of advice if I may.  If you are breastfeeding in public and subjected to judgement, criticism or negative posture, try not to argue back in kind.  Responding negatively has the power to escalate the interaction.  Try to keep calm, perhaps look at the person, smile, make some eye contact and smile some more.  Being non-defensive can defuse a situation.  You are the best judge for the situation you are in, but if suitable cut them off – you do not have to listen to mean, nasty judgement or bad language – and quietly ask them to keep their voice down as it is disturbing the babies or you might say you will discuss things with them only when you are finished, now your focus is your babies and you need cooperation.   When the babies are safely finished and back in the stroller, you can then simply walk away.  You are not required to justify your choices, especially to someone who does not feel the need to understand.  The object would be to defuse the interaction so that you and your babies can safely walk away.  Responding may also lead you to say something you will regret or bursting into tears and still not liking how it ended.  Each situation will need to be handled as you see fit, but keeping calm, maybe focusing on the babies feeding and humming to them, will help you get to a time when you can leave.  I sincerely hope that you are not ever faced with anything belligerent.
Do you have any thoughts that you might like to share?  Have you been challenged about breastfeeding in public, even with a singleton?  What did you do?  How did you handle it?  Where did you feed?  Where there any store or mall employees who might have come to your support?  How did you feel if you were challenged?  What do you think would have helped you and your babies to have a more relaxing experience?  If you have a story to share you can reach me at lynda@jumelle.ca

Reprinted with permission in #14-03:  The MilkyWay, Multiple Births Canada’s Breastfeeding Support Network e-newsletter 

 

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Triplets and their 2-year old sibling

Posted on February 15, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Question:  What could be some of the possible long run physiological effects for a two year old and the birth of triplets if the older sibling constantly felt left out.   Could that real or perceived lack of attention/love cause real problems?  If so what? A.D.D.?
Jim

Suggestions:

You have asked important questions and there are several things that can happen to make sure that your 2-year old still has a supportive environment and feels love, affection, caring and not side-lined.  I don’t think at all that ADD would be one of the side effects.  Even with lots of attention, some children experience it.  I think you will find that it is more of genetic make-up rather than situational, although situations can make children feel resentful, angry, vindictive unloved.

Firstly I would make sure that the babies are not called “the triplets.”  Use their full names at all times.  When they are called “the triplets,” not only do the babies
lose out on their individuation, the older sibling soon realizes he is not a part of the “special package.”  As parents, you call the shots so indicate to everyone that names are to be used only and correct as necessary, each and every time.
A challenge is that a 2-year appears so mature and capable next to three, probably premature, infants.  Remind yourselves that a 2-year old is still very young
does not yet understand being careful, what dangerous means, getting dressed, eating properly, etc.  A 2-year still needs a lot of guidance, time, caring and
affirmation.
Don’t use the 2-year old as a constant ‘go-fer.’  Fetch a diaper, get a bottle, hand me this, hand me that.  It is OK to help once in a while because a family is about
the Team, but don’t fall into the trap of using him in a lot of the day to day  caring taking.  They are not his babies, but are the parents’ responsibility and a 2-year
old still needs to be a child.
You might consider having the 2-year old in an activity that belongs to only him:  preschool, art camp, swimming sleepover with Grandparent or such.  Then when he gets home you can discuss what he did, friends he made, songs he sang.  In other words, he is the centre of the universe for a time.
Set aside time each day, just for the 2-year old with one-one-one.  Could be bath time, story time, errands or something else.  If he really needs you and you
aren’t available, give the child a timer and set it for a few minutes and say “when it rings, I will be with you.”  Try to keep your promise.  He needs to be able to
count on you and promises made.  This is an investment in both of your futures.
Sometimes have the babies wait while you finish what you are doing with the 2-year old.  You know the 3 are safe in their cribs and a little crying won’t hurt them,
but the fact that you don’t immediately jump up and run to 1 or more crying babies, sends a message to your 2-year old that what you are doing with him is equally important.  Once again, an investment in future behaviour.
There is no guarantee that there will not be any psychological problems in any of our children, but we can stack some of the cards and play them in a kind, caring,
meaningful way.  If you cannot go when your 2-year wants your attention be honest and explain that you are tied up and will get back to him as soon as you can.
Don’t ignore or snap your child.  This will cause more problems in the long run for the 2-year old than a lot of other things.  Instead of interpreting things as “Daddy does not want to be with me” he understands that Daddy is busy with my brothers and sisters and will be with me shortly.  Little children tend to internalize what is going on around them rather than really understanding that because of the situation, I am not available but can be shortly.
And what is important for the triplets is that they be treated as individuals as much as possible, in spite of their type of births.  Rhyming names, constantly dressed alike and the label of “the triplets” presents them as a package and that is how the world will see them.  They will each have their own likes, dislikes. abilities and capabilities and we, as the parents, need to encourage them to go after their own choices.  Start early such as taking only one on an errand, let Grampa and Gramma rotate as to who will go visit or sleepover.  Starting earlier is much easier on everyone than trying when they are older and have opinions.  Don’t make it an issue.  If it is an issue for you, it will be an issue for them.  It is really good for your 2-year old to witness that all the siblings are treated as individuals, important individuals.
I hope that this has helped you somewhat.  If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Sincerely and best wishes,
Lynda
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Twins = Two automatically

Posted on February 6, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

It is interesting how many people call twins “two twins.”  Twins = equals two from the same set, usually.  And yet society will often describe a set of twins as “two twins.”   I just read a post about “two twins in the tub.”  Of course there are two babies in the tub because there are two babies in the set and “twins” means TWO.  So in effect the article is translated as “two two in the tub.”  We just don’t know what gender they are.   I understand why one might want to say “two twins,” but it is incorrect.  “Twins” means two and is sufficient in itself.

There is an exception, however rarely are we describing “two twins” each being one from two DIFFERENT sets.  In this case, “two twins” would be the correct description.  This situation is most likely to occur in large gatherings, perhaps in school, multiple-birth event celebrations and such.  In this case, I would tend towards using  “both of them are twins,” which can also be confusing in itself without further clarification.

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