Multiples and AP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 03-02-2003, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all - I am looking to start a thread on AP and multiples. I am the mother of year old twin girls, as well as their amazing three year old sister. In all the literature I have read, I haven't found much on the special circumstances of raising multiples and would love to find some support and comraderie. At times more than a bit overwhelmed, all the time grateful for such blessings and want to see how other parents are handling all that comes with multiples.

Thanks!
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#2 of 31 Old 03-02-2003, 01:47 AM
 
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I believe there is already a thread on this topic. I'm not sure where it is located, but there are quite a few mamas on these boards APing multiples, maybe you could do a search for it.
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#3 of 31 Old 03-10-2003, 05:17 PM
 
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I think a lot of what you do depends on what exactly your idea of AP is. A lot of families find constant baby wearing to be very important, which poses a challenge with multiples. When my boys were little (except for doing kangaroo care) my focus wasn't necessarily on that so much as it was on spending time together and being promptly & consistently responsive to their needs. We had a permanent spot on the living room floor where our blankets & pillows layed & we spent lots of time on the floor playing, sleeping etc as a group during the day & evening. Co-sleeping is another interesting thing that we never had much of an issue with. The boys slept alone or with each other for 3 weeks in the hospital after they were born & when they came home, they always slept together. The kids have always slept together, in their own room. Dd has joined them. People always think that's wierd, that all 3 of them have shared a bedroom with all 3 beds together. Whatever works.
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#4 of 31 Old 03-11-2003, 01:14 AM
 
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This forum is kinda new so a little slow right now.I just found out it was here today yep thats what I ve been doing There is a thread goin on in finding your tribe with ahwole lot of us.Maybe you could go and have a read.Here is the link.

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=34122

There is 7 pages so give yourself time.I am sure this forum will get hopping soon.......
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#5 of 31 Old 03-12-2003, 09:59 PM
 
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Now that we have our own forum, let's talk. How do you ap with twins? It is IMPOSSIBLE with twinfants! I am really frustrated today. If they both are crying and want to be held in arms by me, I can't stand to pick up one and not the other. I do try the slings or putting them both on the nursing pillow, but sometimes they just want my arms. It is very hard to do this without dad around (he works on the road during the week).
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#6 of 31 Old 03-13-2003, 05:00 PM
 
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I remember those days... one would fuss so I'd pick him up... then the other would see me holding the other so he'd WAIL!! The first one would be calm so I'd put him down and pick up the second (crying) baby... and the other one would start SCREAMING!!! argh!

long walks, lots of nursing, lay on the floor with them, infant massage.... time

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#7 of 31 Old 03-13-2003, 07:44 PM
 
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I hate that I am getting used to hearing my babies cry. . . Today I was changing Luke's diaper and Jasper was screaming this horrible "pick me up!" cry from the bouncer at my feet, and then Luke started crying and it was all I could do to not join in.

I don't know how you do it with your DH out of town, laralou. My Dp is going back to work next week and she'll only be gone seven hours a day, and still I don't know how I'll manage. I still haven't been able to sling either baby. . . my back is recovering from the pg/ rapid weight loss that happened afterwards, and it just kills me to use a sling or snugli or anything. But I do think that things will be a little easier when I can do that.

Gotta go, baby crying.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#8 of 31 Old 03-14-2003, 03:13 AM
 
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I will tell you right now, I hope that you do get somewhat desensitized to it. It will never happen completely but if you can just get to the point where you can tolerate it, it will be much better for you. Somehow I lost my ability to tolerate it. I have been having to put them down and leave the room lately because I get so stressed out. I go down to the basement and scream at the top of my lungs. It has been so hot here and I like to keep the doors and windows open, but I am so paranoid that someone will call cps because it always seems someone is crying. We are new to the neighborhood so they don't know that I am not a child abuser.

I think Tristyn is teething so she is just plain inconsolable for hours on end. Dh will be here tomorrow and he knows I am at wit's end so he should try to help me.

They are cutting his per diem so it drastically reduces his take home amount. Now I don't know if money is there to hire a mother's helper. I wanted an older girl, but I guess if I get desperate, I can hire the 13 yo down the street and pay her less for just a few hours a week.

Don't let me scare you, Lex. I am still waiting for my antidepressant to kick in. I don't always feel like this, but it seems that I feel worse at night and that is when I post.

Andrea, thanks for the suggestions. I do some of those things, but I haven't taken a walk in ages. I'll try that tomorrow!
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#9 of 31 Old 03-14-2003, 03:26 AM
 
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I know what you mean about the crying. It is so hard, because one of mine (3 1/2 mos) whimpers so sadly, and the other screams at the top of her lungs, and how do you choose? Both are so sad to hear. I have accepted that when we get into carseats that there WILL inevitably be crying, but that it will stop when we start to drive.

I try to put them both in my lap now that they are kid of sitting up, or hold them and put the other right in front of me in the baby seat and switch regularly. I have been wearing both in baby Bjorns at the same time, but then I lifted my 3 year old into the stroller while doing so and there went the back.

I have a really hard time sleeping with one on either side. They love it, but I can't really sleep.
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#10 of 31 Old 03-14-2003, 04:21 AM
 
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Quote:
I have a really hard time sleeping with one on either side. They love it, but I can't really sleep.
No, because, like Dr. Sears says, babies are like little heat-seeking missles and they gravitate towards you so eventually you have no room to move. I sleep like this: dh, baby 1, baby 2, me (when he is oot, ds moves down to join us and take dh's place). I do a lot of moving of babies all night long.

And speak of the devil, one is up, gotta go!
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#11 of 31 Old 03-14-2003, 10:45 AM
 
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heh. I remember nights where I'd take them for a walk in the double stroller and they'd be all calm and we'd get home and they'd freak out and I'd turn around and go back out to take another walk LOL

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#12 of 31 Old 03-14-2003, 03:38 PM
 
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I am so glad to have stumbled onto this forum. This has been a really important issue for us. My B/G twins are 10 months old and it's not getting any easier. In one sense, they can play by themselves for a little bit, and can be distracted for a little while (e.g., while I'm feeding the other), but then that's not really responding immediately to their needs and this bothers me.

I also found it extremely helpful to have someone help me during the day. It does cost a lot but we cut in other areas and think it is 100% worth it - otherwise, I felt just frazzled all day long, and worse, felt like I was constantly mothering as though I was working an assembly line!!! That didn't do anyone any good. Once she started, things got so much better, and the babies calmed down too.

I nurse them often, which is great, and they sleep together in the same room. I also made a point not to put them on a schedule, much less the same schedule - imho I wanted to make sure they were put down for a nap when they were tired, ate/nursed when they were hungry, etc... not according to a schedule that would make my life easier. But we never would have been able to do that had we not had help during the day, and I know that sometimes mothers of multiples just have to do what works, even if it's scheduling or whatever. We never did cosleeping because I didn't think that was the right choice for us (being honest here). What I found works is my spending as much time with them as I can - one-on-one "momma" time too - and treating them like individuals, really trying to respond to their own needs. It is frustrating sometimes when my friends are out and about with their young singletons, and I am at home most of the time. We (meaning me and dh) do babywearing, but now they are 17.5 and 21.5 lbs and it is getting backbreaking to do it tandem in the sling. Instead, I hip carry one in sling while I make dinner or some other chore, while the other plays nearby, and then switch. And me and dh wear them as much as possible on walks.

I thought it would get easier after the newborn stage, but instead I found it actually got harder for me. Because now they're little people who know what they want (me!), cry out for me, want to nurse when the other one is, get jealous of my attending to the other twin, etc etc. I feel like now I'm hurting their feelings when I can't respond promptly.

Anyone else have pre-toddlers?? How do you handle nursing jealousy? (I haven't tandem nursed since newborn stage... b/c I wanted the focus to be all on the one I was nursing, bonding, etc.).

I am so glad to hear it's not just me!!!
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#13 of 31 Old 03-17-2003, 12:51 AM
 
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I try to console myself with the fact that while I may not be doing as much AP as with my singletons, I'm still doing a heck of a lot more with my twins than most people do! I also remember reading that Sears says it's okay for them to cry if you are in the act of consoling them. I take that to mean bouncing with a foot and talking to them while I nurse the other. LOL

Robin, MOM to MZ Twin girls Owen & Clara 12/21/02
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#14 of 31 Old 03-17-2003, 02:31 AM
 
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Momofmany,

Good point. I always try to talk to the one who is left crying without being held, touch her if I can, and take turns. Always hard when both are crying, because it seems unfair to pick one up, and not the other.

Twinmommy,

I did not hear you say that it got worse!!!!!
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#15 of 31 Old 03-17-2003, 02:42 AM
 
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Sorry girls she is right,it does get a little harder IMO.Well it kinda goes up and down.Right now at this age it really is tough.They are 29 months.
Just do what you can!Already your twins have a great start if your go against mainstream!You do not let them CIO,you respond as quickly as humanly possible,you shower them with TLC whenever you can!Your really are making a diference!Please try not to be so hard on yourselves.
Just imagine what it is like for twins who are brougt up in an Ezzo or Ferber household...........
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#16 of 31 Old 05-15-2003, 01:46 AM
 
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I have had such a hard time letting go of the fact that I will not be able to give my two little munchkins as much AP as my first son. I get really stressed out when they are both crying and they are now 6 months old. I don't think I will ever get over this. I do try and carry them as oftne as I can. Letting them be on different schedules does help. When they both want to be carried I put one in a baby bjorn and the other in a back carrier or sometime double sling. This can be harsh on the back but it is always easier when I can fit in yoga which is not often. They also nurse when ever they like and we all sleep together. My biggest comfort is that eventhough I can't give them as much attention as I would like they do have eachother to cuddle with. That must count for a lot! As for the question, "does it get harder or easier as they get older?" I don't know if it does get harder or if I am jsut run down. I have finally reached a point that I feel I can not parent all 3 children myself. We have decided to move in with my partner's mom for now. She is home most of the day and having that extra hand does not mean that I am any less busy but I do feel like everyone's needs are being met more quickly. I feel very good about this. I have many people question my AP with my kids. "Couldn't you make your live easier if you did things differently?" they ask. Maybe, but when all is said in done I want to know I did my best and gave them as much as I could. I just hope I stay sane trying to do so
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#17 of 31 Old 05-15-2003, 08:02 PM
 
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that sounds like a great decision.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#18 of 31 Old 05-17-2003, 10:49 AM
 
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It's been 2 months since I posted last time and now I feel I need to vent / need support more than ever.

It has been one of THOSE weeks. Both babies are going through pretty intense separation anxiety, and every time I even get up off the floor much less leave the room, they start whining. Sometimes outright crying. My ds is a better/faster crawler than dd, so he seems happier overall, because he can just crawl or cruise right after me. But dd is slower with her crawling (still combat style) and I've noticed she is getting fussier and fussier as time goes on. I have been telling myself it's because she's frustrated that she can't follow me as quickly, but...

I hate to admit it, but I am truthfully starting to question AP at all - well the "all or nothing"-ness about it anyway. I mean, I think I know I'm doing the right things, but sometimes I wonder whether all this focus, all this attention, all this mamma time.. is bad for their independence. Am I in danger of raising (dare I say it).. whiny, bratty kids??? If I pick my daughter up every times she needs to be held, is that really helping her or hurting her? It is SO hard with twins. I think their own competition for my attention/arms/boobs!/energy adds a lot to the complexity of sticking with AP. I can't be in two places at once. I think dh and I have the right mindset and goals, but I am just really wondering if I shouldn't maybe teach them that the world doesn't end when mommy leaves the room. I've always hated CIO, but am I nuts in thinking they should learn to amuse themselves more and not panic so much when I leave the room???

Is this a phase all babies go through or am I heading into trouble down the road? When does it get better? I am SOOOO at the end of my rope.
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#19 of 31 Old 05-17-2003, 11:35 AM
 
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I do not remember all the exact phases that my oldest went through but I did hold him as much as he wanted and allowed him to achieve his own independence. He was very clingy at times (it came and went)but he eventually did become less dependent on me as time went on and is now a very confident 3 1/2 year old who can play well on his own and with others (children and adluts alike). Any mothers out there with older twins with experiences similar?
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#20 of 31 Old 05-17-2003, 12:12 PM
 
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Well, there are definitely lots of phases and they come and go quickly and can drive you absolutely insane. This too shall pass, and I don't, personally think, that you are raising potentially whiny, bratty kids.... you might want to check the yahoo groups list for 'apmultiples'. Karen G. the author of that great twins book---the name of which escapes me now is a regular poster. It is a bunch more active than this, and there are a lot more people posting --- with kids in your age range. I found it very helpful, and extremely supportive.

Sometimes simply knowing you are not the only one it is happening to is a huge comfort.

Hang in there.
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#21 of 31 Old 05-18-2003, 12:36 AM
 
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I don't remember much of my twins first year . My DH was out of town for the most part, so it was up to me. I do know I had them sleeping with me for...well, all of the time. Now, they still sleep with me and DH and DS3. It's a crowded bed, but I like it.
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#22 of 31 Old 05-18-2003, 03:01 AM
 
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Hey there, TwinMommy...look, I don't have twins and my heart goes out to you mamas. It must be really hard to stick to your ideals of AP when you are alone dealing with two at a time! But I did want to say something regarding your doubts about responding to your children and their future "independence".

I know it can be frustrating when you can't even go to the bathroom without them crying; when your DH finally offers to take them for a while but they only want you so you end up with no "me" time at all...in those moments I just remind myself of how important it is that DD's (she's 10 months old) needs be met at this critical time in her life. I'm reading a book right now that is not an AP book, but leans heavily towards child psychology and states quite emphatically that for the first 18 months (give or take a few months depending on the child) the child must have it's needs met consistently. It is during the next phase, from 18 months to about 3 years, that the child begins to venture away from the parent figure and explore the world. But in order for him to do so with confidence he MUST know that the parent is there whenever he wishes to return.

Imagine if someone took you into the deep end of a pool to teach you to swim, and refused to let you swim back to them to hold on when you got tired or a bit scared. If you know that you can return to their safety whenever you need to, you will venture out farther and farther away. If you cannot count on them to be there, you will not be concerned about exploring and learning to swim further and further; instead you will be worried and stressed and just focussed on whether you are going to drown or not. Thus it is with babies. They MUST know that the parent will always be there when they need them, then they are relaxed and confident and free to explore.

When someone makes a crack to me about how I am not "teaching her to deal with it" (my mother, for example) I respond with a few examples: by changing her diaper am I preventing her from learning to potty train? by carrying her from one room to another am I preventing her from learning to walk? by feeding her when she's hungry am I making her dependant on food? You see, emotional skills need developing just like physical skills do. They come when they are ready, and that's different for every child, but it will come. I know you probably already know this, but I find it helps to remember that from time to time.

Well, I've just written a novel here, haven't I? lol. I hope it helps!

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#23 of 31 Old 05-19-2003, 01:24 PM
 
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Piglet, thank you for your words of encouragement. I needed them. Your examples were also helpful to keep in mind!

I do think most of us with multiples have a very hard time being AP style consistently and continually. There are just choices that have to be made, prioritzation of who needs XYZ most, and so on. It's very frustrating because it brings up totally different issues than if you had a baby and a toddler.

With the passing of their first birthday, and all the celebration that entailed, I'm feeling renewed in my commitment to this style of parenting. I just wish their were more information out there about ways to do AP with multiples. MDC has been only source of info I've found.
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#24 of 31 Old 05-23-2003, 12:07 PM
 
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Most of the moms have said it well. You have to change your idea of AP parenting some what with multiples. This was difficult for me at first and probably most others. Luckily my boy twin didn't require constant holding and wearing and was very content by himself or with a sibling. My twin daughter wanted constant attention and made it very difficult for me to accomplish anything in a day! I had such terrible feelings of guilt and still do for my other children, especially my then 3 year old who was home with me all day. It has gotten better but is still hard at almost 2 years of age. We do a mixture of their own beds and mostly co-sleeping and have always 100% breastfed (which was tough at times). We did not do cloth diapers. I remeber when they would fall asleep and Iwould put them in their swings I felt such relief. With all my other children I just wanted to sit and hold them. SO many things are different ths time around and simply had to be. Everyone is different I know but we all have to take one day at a time and make each day work for us in our own ways! Good luck!
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#25 of 31 Old 05-24-2003, 01:04 AM
 
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Oh, Twinmommy, hang in there!
My ds and dd are a little over 2 1/2 now, and they both made it through the exact same stage your little ones are in. Of course, then one or the other of them would go right back into it, so for a while it felt like it would never end, but, really, it has. Stick with your instincts and your heart, and get as much help as you humanly can. I will admit that sometimes I just couldn't take it and would occasionally say, (ok, yell), "just cry" but it only made things worse.
To commiserate for a minute, I had found a free early childhood care program in my city, just for a few hours a week, which I put them in, not because I thought it would be great for them, but because I just needed to have a few minutes to myself. Well, most of the time I ended up being in there with them...either nursing one or both of them, or at the least being in the room where they could see me. And because "I wasn't fostering theire independence" they kicked me out of the program!! This was over a year ago, and I'm still steamed.
I am so glad that this forum exists, and wish that I had had this support and resource when things were so unbearably hard. Here are some of the things that we did/do to cope:
we have a fabulous double stroller (Inglesina) that we used as soon as I could hobble a half-block (after my c-section). That stroller literally saved my sanity, b/c both babies were soothed by it and almost always took their naps in it until last year.
I also followed the tactic of being really present for both babies, even if I could only hold one: we sang a lot, used their names a lot, verbally reassured them that I was here and would help as soon as I could, etc.
We had a "baby playground" everyday with pillows, blankets, etc. plus all of the things a mommy needs, and I would hold one with the other in the crook of my leg, or put them both down and play with them at the same time (one hand for each baby, lots of going back and forth, looking crazy!)
I also learned to nurse them both at the same time out of sheer necessity and still do it often.
We started out with them sleeping in a cosleeper right next to the bed, and when that stopped working at ~6 mos. (every time I'd nurse them to sleep, lay them down, and they'd wake up screaming), I started putting them right next to me (NO SPACE!) and that worked...so we got a really big bed, I learned how to nurse lying down, and we've been doing it ever since (ups and downs along the way, but worth it all).
Okay, this is way, way too long, but I hope some of it helps. I'm happy to answer any other specific questions instead of just rambling along!
Last note, my friend says all the stages spiral, and I think she's right...just when I think life has me at the very, very end of my rope, things calm down. And just when I get complacent about it, I can't be two feet away from them again...sigh.
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#26 of 31 Old 06-13-2003, 02:10 AM
 
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Twinmommy,

I can sure understand where you are coming from. I haven't posted in months, wonder why? My girls are 6 1/2 months now, and it has become harder now that they recognize when I pick up one and not the other. My son who is almost four, however, is handling things much better now. I have incredible support, my mom comes for a week once amonth and my hubby comes home from work at 1 pm, when I leave the house for a few hours of peace and quiet (ie, work!) And I still feel crazy most of the time!

I don't see AP as all or none. I see it about forming the closest attachment with your kids as you can, and having the intention of being patient, tolerant, loving, invested in your child over other parts of your life, committed to listening, responding to their needs, but it is fine for them to learn that other family members have needs too and that we work together to meet each other's needs.

I have been reading "Playful Parenting," when I should be sleeping, but I love it. He has a wonderful metaphor for AP about filling your child's cup. It made me realize that when my cup is drained, I can't fill anyone else's. That made me realize that I have to do certain things, for me that means sleep (ok, just four hours ok?) and going to the bathroom when I need to! I have to realize that I CAN'T respond when everyone needs me at once, I can just try, and keep telling them all that I love them and I am trying my best. I think breastfeeding on demand goes a long long way towards forming a wonderful attachment, but, although I did cosleep with my first, there is just NO way I can get any sleep with twins in bed. I just want to SLEEP BY MYSELF for 3 or 4 hours at least, not even my dear snoring hubby.

I guess these things (working outside home, sleeping alone a bit, asking kids to sometimes wait a minute before I can get to them) might make me less than a 100% AP parent in the eyes of some, but for me, it makes all the difference between managing and losing my mind, and who can parent lovingly at that point?

Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Parenting multiples is even more so, and we have to be kind to ourselves about how we are doing and sometimes be able to let something go. For some, that might be letting cosleeping go, for others, pumping so someone else can feed every now and then, or whatever, but if it keeps us functional. . .
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#27 of 31 Old 06-13-2003, 02:12 AM
 
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almost forgot: marblesmama, thanks for all the great tips. I use the "one in the crook of the leg" one too, and kind of feel like a mama monkey!
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#28 of 31 Old 06-17-2003, 01:31 AM
 
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Theo's Mama, I am so glad that you are still alive. LOL!

I do think things have improved for me, but I do have the problem of the other getting jealous when I pick one up. I am sure I get judged when we are out and I am trying to comfort a baby without picking her up. They don't know from experience like I do that as soon as I pick her up, her previously peaceful sister will start to wail and then I'll have to leave.

I recently realized that I no longer feel resentful for having been blessed with twins (see stupid questions thread), so it must be getting easier.

Piglet, what book is that?
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#29 of 31 Old 06-17-2003, 01:38 AM
 
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Twinmommy, I agree with everyone else that it is just their developmental stage. You aren't hurting them by responding to them.

I kind of know how it feels. If Tristyn is awake, she has to be in my arms constantly. Tabitha will play on the floor a bit, but not Tristyn. At least it is only one. I don't know what I will do if they both get like that. I save up all my stuff for when ds can help or when they both are napping.
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#30 of 31 Old 06-17-2003, 02:04 AM
 
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Hey Laralou!

Glad things are better. You've been on my mind, but I've been crazy busy. Will email one day. Funny to hear that you are trying to settle one without just picking up because then the other will wail. I didn't realize until just a little bit ago that I was doing that, when a friend went to pick one up and I started to say, "Don't, her sister will cry then too!" not realizing I could hold one too. Seems to me one is needy in the morning and one in the afternoon. DH thought one much more clinging and I thought the other was, until we realized it was who was caring for them at the time of day.

Paige
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