The Twin Source - The Baby Days http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days Fri, 05 Jun 2020 01:51:21 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Carrie On: Stepping Away If You Need To http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/186-carrie-on-stepping-away-if-you-need-to http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/186-carrie-on-stepping-away-if-you-need-to

 Step Away

There are some things I wish parents would talk about more openly with each other. One of them is this: If you get frustrated or are overtired when caring for your babies, it's okay—and often wise—to ask for help.

That might seem obvious to someone who is fully rested and clearheaded, but how often is that the case when you are the parent of young twins? During the course of taking care of newborns all the way through toddlerhood, there will quite simply be moments of panic, fear, dread, and even anger that come over you all at once. At these times, it is important to step away and ask your partner or a friend to assist you.

Emotional Roller Coaster

It's very common to experience these moments of strong emotions, especially early on. I remember a few nights in the first few weeks after the twins were born when I felt like I was literally the only person in the entire world awake at 4:00 a.m. I felt alone but at the same time so needed by the babies that it was a continuous emotional roller coaster.

Or sometimes, things would get tough during what I like to call the witching hour, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. My husband would almost be home from work to assist me, and it was as if the babies could sense my need for a break. They would cry hysterically, seemingly enraged that I was hitting my max for the day.

Go Easy on Yourself

The truth is, the twins are the biggest gift I have ever been given but at the same time my biggest challenge. Every day since they were born, I have wanted to be my best, shiniest, freshest self for them and to be solely focused on them. But in reality, I am not so shiny half the time, and, because there are two of them, dedicated focus has always been an issue.

At times, I need to remind myself to heed my own advice and give myself a break. It's important to remember that I don't need to parent "perfectly." (Twin Mom Maritza talks candidly about letting go of mommy guilt.) Instead, I need to ensure that my babies are happy and that they grow into responsible little citizens—while making sure that I am happy in the process. I believe a mother's happiness truly extends to that of her children.

The stress and tension that accompanies twin parenthood extends far past diapers. I've learned a few techniques for managing the stress of parenting twins. But sometimes, you simply need to rely on the support of your partner to carry you through.

Ask for help.

Give yourself a break.

And remember to love yourself.

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

Articles & Resources

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) The Baby Days Tue, 28 May 2013 19:40:19 +0000
Maritza On: Dressing Twins Alike http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/184-maritza-on-dressing-twins-alike http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/184-maritza-on-dressing-twins-alike

Dressing Twins Alike

Whether to dress your twins alike or not is a personal decision, but lots of people will give you their opinion on it. Some will tell you "It's not good to dress your twins alike. It doesn't allow them to express their differences." Others will say, "You should definitely dress them alike. It is so cute!" In the end, it's up to you.


Special Occasion Matching

I enjoyed dressing my twin girls, Jennifer and Jessica, alike on special occasions when they were little. They looked adorable, and it made for some cute pictures. For their christening, for example, my mother-in-law made them beautiful matching gowns with bonnets.

I also dressed them the same on days like their first birthday and Christmas. Even if they weren't wearing the exact same dress, they were wearing complementary dresses. One year for Christmas, I found the prettiest Ralph Lauren long-sleeve knit dress in red with a gold pony. It was so cute! But the store only had one, so I also bought one in black with a silver pony. Jennifer wore a black velvet headband (she barely had hair!), and Jessica wore a black velvet bow. I loved how they looked in pictures!

Sharing Clothes

Eventually, I stopped dressing my twins alike for a couple of reasons:

  • I realized I could save a lot of money by not buying the same outfit twice.
  • They developed totally different tastes. (Those of you who are familiar with the TV show "Sex and the City" will know what I mean when I say I have a Carrie and a Charlotte.)

I felt better about spending more money on nice outfits when I knew my twins would be sharing them. I have always bought separate shoes for them, though, which can be costly and time-consuming to shop for. My girls wear different sizes and their feet are shaped differently, so it just has never been comfortable for them to share shoes.

Now that they are 4 and in preschool, my twins help pick out their outfits the night before. This allows them to have more say in what they wear and to express their individuality. Only rarely do they want to wear the same outfit—but when they do, look out! This is a great opportunity to teach them how to share and that there is always a second option.

 


Want more Martiza? Check out her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Maritza) The Baby Days Thu, 16 May 2013 19:17:18 +0000
Ashley On: Doctor Visits with Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/179-ashley-on-doctor-visits-with-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/179-ashley-on-doctor-visits-with-twins

Doctor Visit With Baby Twins

A visit to the doctor with twin babies can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be! Here are a few tips to help make the day go much more smoothly—especially if the appointments involve shots.

Give some thought to scheduling. Try to schedule back to-back appointments at the very beginning of the day. Having the first appointment in the morning can help your chances of being seen on time.

Pack a bag of essentials. I recommend the following:

  • Bottles of milk/formula. I found that if the twins had to have shots, giving them bottles immediately afterward helped comfort them and calm them down.
  • Tylenol. If the appointments involve shots, ask the doctor at the very beginning of the appointment if you can give your babies Tylenol at that time. That way, the medicine will start taking effect earlier than if you waited until after the shots.
  • Pacifiers (if your children are addicted like mine were). Bring extras in case one or more fall on the floor!
  • Hand sanitizer. I am not a crazy germ freak and try to limit the amount of hand sanitizer I give my twins, but it is a must-have at the doctor's office.
  • Diapers and wipes. Without a doubt, your little ones will need a change during the appointment. Doctor's offices don't always have extras, so be sure to bring some with you.
  • Age-appropriate special snack or treat. When the twins got older, I gave them lollipops. The treat needs to be something they don't typically get.

Pick outfits that are easy to get on and off. This is especially helpful if you are by yourself. Trying to get both babies undressed and dressed again after shots is not fun. Make it easier by limiting clothes with lots of buttons or other things you will have to fuss with.

Bring backup. An extra set of hands can make all the difference. It's even better if your helper can come back to your house for the rest of the day. Having someone there to help you soothe your twins means each baby can get one-on-one attention.

Pour on the TLC. I found that if the twins had shots, they usually cried hard immediately afterward and then fell asleep in the car on the way home. After their nap, they woke up in a terrible mood and cried hysterically. I think the shots hurt their little legs and they didn't realize it until hours later. It will help if you massage the area of the injection immediately after the shot.

 


Want More Ashley? Follow her many musings and check back often the list will grow!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Ashley) The Baby Days Wed, 24 Apr 2013 19:52:59 +0000
Tummy Time: A Step by Step How-to http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/175-tummy-time-a-step-by-step-how-to http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/175-tummy-time-a-step-by-step-how-to

Tummy Time for Baby, Tips

The first few times you try tummy time with your twins, you might feel a little lost. The following steps provide some guidance and should be incorporated into your daily routine:

  1. Lay a brightly colored blanket, activity mat, or colorful sheet on the floor. One blanket should suffice for both babies.
  2. Place both babies on their backs on the blanket, activity mat, or sheet.
  3. Get on the floor with your babies.
  4. Place your hand on one baby's back. Some people like to explain what they're doing by saying, "Mommy is putting her hand on your back."
  5. Place your other hand on the baby's chest, continuing to explain what you are doing if you wish.
  6. Count to three and gently flip the baby onto his or her tummy.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for the second baby.
  8. Be an active participant by talking to your babies and providing visual stimulation. Tell your babies that they are doing tummy time. Rub their backs. Encourage them to look forward, left, and right by using rattles, mirrors, music, or toys. Praise them for their hard work by saying, for example, "Great job looking at the elephant on your right side." For added visual stimulation, lie next to your twins so they can see your face or position your twins so that they are facing each other.
  9. Keep tabs on how the babies are doing. Once they start showing signs of being tired and/or having trouble holding up their heads, return them to their backs one at a time by reversing the process you used to get them on their tummies. Tummy time might last for only a few minutes in the beginning, but getting up over 10 minutes is ideal. At times, one or both babies might fuss. Bear with it. You might also find yourself in a position where one baby loves tummy time and the other can't stand it. Encourage both, and keep at it. Remember, tummy time is good for your babies!


5 Tummy Time Tips

Below are mommy-tested tips for doing tummy time with your twins. We know tummy time can feel like a chore at times. These tips are designed to help you and your twins enjoy the family time together!

Tip 1: Talk, talk, talk! Talk to your babies during tummy time and make them aware of what you are doing with their bodies so that they can feel comfortable with the process. Imagine if, as an adult, you were lying on the ground and someone came and grabbed your leg or moved your body unexpectedly. You probably would be startled or surprised and perhaps also would feel uncomfortable. It's no different for your children.

Tip 2: Use props. Kids' travel pillows are a fantastic way to squeeze in a few more minutes of tummy time before your babies begin to fuss. These pillows provide support under the neck and armpits so that tummy time can be extended. We love this version from REI. (A rolled-up blanket will also do the trick!)

Tip 3: Turn on some tunes. Play upbeat music at a soft volume during tummy time to encourage activity time as opposed to sleep time. Play music you enjoy—it doesn't have to be kid- or baby-specific music. We love the Jack Johnson soundtrack from the "Curious George" movie!

Tip 4: Be spontaneous at times. Scheduling tummy time can help ensure that it becomes part of your babies' daily routine, but you can put your babies on the floor at any time. Moms often think their babies should be placed "in" something when they're not being held. Instead, put your babies on the floor—on their backs or on their tummies—to encourage movement and strength-building skills. When babies are placed "in" something, such as a swing or chair, they are restricted from being able to move all their body parts freely.

Tip 5: Work your abs. Squeeze in your own set of ab work while you are lying on the floor next to your babies. Switch from the left or right side of the tummy time mat to encourage your babies to look from both sides. Of course, first get clearance to exercise from your doctor or health care provider.

 


NOTE: The information contained on The Twin Source is not intended for medical diagnosis. Any medical information found on this site should be discussed with your health care professional. Always consult your doctor for any medical advice.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) The Baby Days Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:17:52 +0000
Carrie On: The Truth About Sleeping Through the Night http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/168-carrie-on-the-truth-about-sleeping-through-the-night http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/168-carrie-on-the-truth-about-sleeping-through-the-night

Sleeping Infant Twins

Even parents who have "great sleepers"—and I place myself in this category—do not get a solid night's sleep very often.

This is one of those truths about parenting that you don't find out until after you have children. Parents don't openly share this because, to be honest, it is depressing and often a hard reality that they don't want to talk about.

My twins began sleeping nearly 12 hours straight when they were 3 months old. They took two daytime naps until they were nearly 2. As 3-year-olds, they still take a very solid afternoon nap. With all that bragging, I have to tell you this: My husband, Andy, and I are often still not getting a solid night's sleep. The twins are, but we are not.

Little Noises

When a parent says their child sleeps through the night, it almost always means that there are no more night feedings or diaper changes. It does not mean that the baby is completely asleep and quiet as a mouse every night. Babies will stir or cry out, and those noises will wake you.

A simple cry at 3:10 a.m. will get you on your feet and opening the door to the nursery to check on your twins. They may have already fallen soundly back to sleep, but you will be awake. And with twins, the reality is that this happens often. Very often. It will be your instinct as a parent to get up and check on them after nearly every whimper or noise.

As they grow, your children might experience night terrors. (Tip: Hush them back to sleep by rubbing their backs and saying you are there for them, then tuck them in and quietly exit the room.) Or sometimes they might simply talk out loud in the middle of the night. As long as the baby monitor is on and next to you, you will wake for those noises too.


What to Do?

As a mom, I am not sure that these little noises in the night will ever go away. I suspect the teenage years will be filled with a whole new set of nighttime noises that I am dreading and not at all prepared for!

For now, it helps to take advantage of power naps and cappuccinos.

And during bad spurts, my husband and I alternate as to who will get up in the night. This allows one of us to sleep through. If you and your partner are able to do this, I highly recommend earplugs to ensure a solid snooze when you are "off duty"!

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) The Baby Days Wed, 30 Jan 2013 08:40:15 +0000
Tummy Time for Infant Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/151-tummy-time-for-infant-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/151-tummy-time-for-infant-twins

 Tummy Time with Infant Twins

It must be said straight out of the gate that tummy time for your babies is not a fad. It's not going to become passé. Pediatricians are going to recommend it for years to come.

Tummy time has become a highly recommended activity to encourage proper physical development in infants. The act seems simple enough: Lay your twins on their tummies for a period of time every day, with the duration lengthening as they grow (upwards of 20 minutes for 3- to 4-month-olds). Your pediatrician will provide recommended lengths of time at your first few visits after the twins arrive.

 

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There are two main reasons tummy time is so encouraged:

  • It is a way to create strength and development in your babies' necks, which is of course critical. The sooner a baby can hold his or her own head up, the better. There is proven research that strength developed during tummy time assists with crawling development as well.
  • It allows your babies time in a position other than lying on their back. The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development's Safe to Sleep guidelines recommend placing infants on their backs when they sleep to minimize the risk of SIDS. The number of SIDS cases has dropped as a result of the Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly the Back to Sleep campaign), but there has also been an increase in "flat headedness" in infants. Supervised wake positions such as tummy time could help prevent the need for a cranial band to reshape your child's head down the road.

You can make tummy time fun for your twins by positioning them so that they can look at one another while they are on their tummies. Activity mats help too. Get down on their level and chat with them, encouraging them. You can rub their backs and dangle toys as well.

You might find that one or both twins fuss during tummy time. This is not uncommon, and it should not prevent you from doing tummy time with your twins. Think of tummy time as a necessary workout for your babies. As is often the case with adults, it's not always easy to get motivated to work out but the benefits of doing so are many. Do your best to coach your twins through tummy time.

Trusted Resources:

Parents.com on Tummy Time

The Mayo Clinic examines Tummy Time

NIH Talks SIDS Prevention

The Twin Source: To Doc Band or Not To Doc Band?

The Twin Source: The Cranial Band

 


Always remember, the information contained on The Twin Source is not intended for medical diagnosis. Any medical information found on this site should be discussed with your health care professional. Always consult your doctor for any medical advice.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) The Baby Days Wed, 10 Oct 2012 19:35:54 +0000
Maritza On: Baby Sign Language http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/120-maritza-on-baby-sign-language http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/120-maritza-on-baby-sign-language

 signlang

'Milk' is one of the first signs that www.babysignlanguage.com recommends teaching.

 

I used sign language with all four of my kids, including my twin girls, when they were very young. Babies are able to use their hands and fingers before they are able to talk, so sign language gave them a way to communicate when they couldn't speak. It also served as a bridge between Spanish and English, which was important to me because I am raising my children bilingual.

Learning How to Communicate

I had heard from various people that sign language is a great tool to teach your baby starting at 6 months, so I took a class with my firstborn, Jordan, when he was about that age. A friend and I drove about 40 minutes from where we live to attend the class.

I did not take a sign language class with my twins, but I remembered the signs I had used with Jordan and there were lots of other ways the twins learned the signs. You can find many books with great illustrations that teach basic sign language, and we had a Baby Einstein video that the kids loved.

My kids also got to learn and use signs with each other. Sign language gave Jordan a way to communicate with the twins. Later, we used sign language with their younger brother as well.


Common Signs

Some of the most common signs we used were:

  • Milk—open and close one hand as if you are milking a cow
  • More—join your fingers together on both hands and then touch your fingertips
  • Banana—hold your pointer finger up, then with the other hand pretend you are peeling a banana
  • Cracker—make a fist with one hand and hit the bottom of your elbow
  • Yogurt—hold one hand flat and open and stir on your palm with one finger
  • Cheese—hold two hands flat, press together, and spin
  • Shoes—make two fists with your hands and bump them together
  • Socks—hold both pointer fingers together and slide up and down

I also used sign language to help with manners. My kids could all communicate sorry, thank you, and you're welcome way before they could speak.


Benefits

Using sign language as a bridge between English and Spanish has been very helpful as I raise my kids bilingual. My husband's first language is English, so he would speak the English word that corresponded to the sign he was using. Meanwhile, when I used the sign, I would say the Spanish word. For example, the first word my kids learned was milk/leche. So, my husband would say "milk" while he opened and closed his right hand (it looks like you are trying to milk a cow), and I would say "leche" while using the same sign.

I didn't find a big difference between using sign language with the twins and using it with a singleton. It was always a big help as far as communication. It cut down on some of the frustration kids feel when they cannot communicate what they want—which cuts down on parents' frustration as well!

 

Additional Information

Sign imagery is courtesy of www.babysignlanguage.com, a fantastic resource for teaching your twins their first signs.

 


Want more Martiza? Check out her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Maritza) The Baby Days Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:38:03 +0000
The Twin Experience http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/67-twin-experience http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/67-twin-experience

Having twins is an experience unto itself. In this section, we will give you a peek into actual twin family life via The Twin Source YouTube Channel. The selected videos are meant to provide a "day in the life" look at raising twins. For more great videos that answer your how-to questions and provide useful tips, check out the complete channel today.

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) The Baby Days Thu, 09 Feb 2012 02:34:25 +0000
Fido and Your Babies http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/63-fido-and-your-babies http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/63-fido-and-your-babies

RubyDog

Let’s be honest: If you became a dog owner before having children, your pooch is often considered your firstborn. In those early days of puppy parenting, that little fur ball can do no wrong. And as time goes on, the dog will convince you that since you have mastered the art of “raising” a pet, you are ready to have children.

What the poor pup doesn’t realize is that once those screaming infants come home, life will never be the same. If your dog knew this, he or she would probably try to be a little less cute, loving, and loyal from the very beginning!

Your dog (or cat) is a part of your family, and you are going to want to do your best to make your pup as comfortable as possible when the family immersion process begins.

Here are a few tips and anecdotes to help you and Fido during those early days of “sibling” introductions:

  • Have a sitter lined up. When you leave for the hospital, make sure a friend or neighbor will dog sit while you are away. You want someone who will keep up with the pup’s schedule and make sure he or she is getting a bit of extra love and attention.

  • Start with the sense of smell. Before bringing the babies home, take a blanket or two that the babies have been swaddled in for at least a few hours and place the blankets in your dog’s bed or crate so that your pup can investigate and become familiar with the twins’ scents.

  • Expect things to go a bit haywire. Maybe the dog barks every time the babies cry for the first day or two (yes, this can happen) or the pup has accidents wherever and whenever despite just being walked (we can attest to this too). This abnormal behavior most likely will pass as things become more and more familiar, generally within a few days.

  • Maintain the schedule. Do your best to keep the dog’s regular schedule for walks and feeding so that your pup’s routine stays constant with few surprises.

  • Allow for the dog to be part of the family. This may be the first time you don’t want your dog around, for a variety of reasons. But the best thing for everyone is to get familiar as soon as possible. Soon enough, the dog will be sleeping at the foot of the twins’ beds every night.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) The Baby Days Tue, 17 Jan 2012 02:53:29 +0000
Word on the Street http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/61-word-on-the-street http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/61-word-on-the-street

Word on the Street pregnant twins

Pregnant women and people with infants get asked the oddest things by strangers at the grocery store, at the shopping mall, or just walking down the street. Twin pregnancy and twin parenthood are no different.

Here are some honest-to-goodness true encounters we at The Twin Source have had with total strangers that we can laugh about now—though sometimes still through clenched teeth!

  • “Are they identical?”
    Even though you have your baby son dressed in blues and your little girl pretty in pink, most people do not make the connection that if babies are opposite sexes there is absolutely no way they can be identical. Incidentally, we believe this question will come up a few times a year pretty much until your twins have their driver’s licenses.

  • “Did you have fertility?”
    It is just plain wrong and rude for someone to ask a pregnant woman whom they do not know very well if she used fertility treatments. It is no one’s business, particularly not your waitress’s or your mechanic’s. But people will ask. You can answer any way you see fit, but we prefer a quip such as, “I don’t feel comfortable answering that. It’s private, and wouldn’t it be a shame if I struggled with having children for years?”

  • “Do you need a ride?”
    Picture this: You’re crossing the street to meet your girlfriends for brunch, and you’re just about in the middle of your second trimester. But, girl, you will be looking so big to the average person that some strangers will ask to assist you. Politely let them know that you are fine, just pregnant with twins.

  • “Get some rest while you can.”
    This one might make you cry a bit when it happens. You see, every twin mom who has ever been pregnant knows that sleep stops happening well before the babies are born. It’s sad to tell you this tidbit of truth: Once you are in your third trimester, sleep will basically be something you dream of. You will be either constantly moving to try and get comfortable or, worse yet, making your 10th trip of the night to the bathroom.
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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) The Baby Days Mon, 16 Jan 2012 08:29:55 +0000
Mari On: Identical Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/26-mari-identical-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/coming-home/the-baby-days/26-mari-identical-twins

IdenticalTwins


My husband and I found out we were having identical twins very early in my pregnancy. My doctor saw something on the ultrasound that gave it away. We weren’t 100% sure, though, until the placenta was tested after the babies were born.

Identical twins start as a single fertilized egg that splits. It’s a spontaneous and random occurrence. Identical twins are more rare than fraternal twins. Just three in every 1,000 deliveries worldwide are identical twins. There is no hereditary trait that predisposes you to having identical twins, the way there is with fraternal twins.

We didn’t have trouble telling the babies apart during the first couple of months. Sienna was bigger and had a redder complexion (for all the extra feeding she had done inside my belly), and Chloe was smaller and paler, as her sister hadn’t left much for her to feed from.

When they were 3 months old and Chloe was almost as big as her sister, we decided to have their ears pierced and give them different earrings to be able to differentiate them. I didn’t want to wake up one day and not know who was who. My mother (who stayed with us until the girls were 5 months old), my husband, and I never needed the earrings to tell them apart, but other family and friends did.

Now, when I look at pictures from when the girls were between 3 and 9 months old, I sometimes have trouble knowing who is who. I have to examine the photos very carefully and look for clues—like, Sienna’s hair grew faster, and she had redder and rounder cheeks. It’s amazing how similar they looked but we were able to easily tell them apart.

Today, at 3 years old, it’s very easy to tell who is who. We have no trouble at all. Still, I have given them different looks to make it easier on their teachers and kids at school. Chloe has bangs and shorter hair, and Sienna has longer hair. I never dress them the same because I want each one to have her own identity and personality.


Want more Mari? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!


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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Mari) The Baby Days Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:09:22 +0000