The Twin Source - Twin Outings http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings Wed, 27 Jan 2021 11:19:25 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Vacationing with Toddlers http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/166-vacationing-with-toddlers http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/166-vacationing-with-toddlers

Travel With Toddlers 

When you're vacationing as a couple, you can enjoy sleeping late, lounging by the pool, and exploring your destination at will. Things change when you begin vacationing with toddlers, but it doesn't mean you can't still have fun!

When you transition to a family vacation, your days are typically structured around what to do pre-nap, what to do post-nap, and what you can squeeze in before bedtime. This may be different from what you were used to pre-babies, so here are some tips for getting the most out of vacationing with toddlers.

Packing

Remember that you are escaping for a week or two—not moving out—so pack light and rent or acquire must-have baby gear when you get to your destination. A few ideas:

  • Rent car seats. Arrange with the rental car company to have car seats waiting for you upon arrival. Be sure to specify the type of car seat (infant, convertible, booster, etc.) when booking your reservation. Hertz rental car has a good service.
  • Rent baby gear. You can rent everything from a crib and/or a pack and play to a jogging stroller to a highchair—and everything is waiting for you when you arrive at your accommodations! Check out these baby gear rental sites: www.babysaway.com, www.babiestravellite.com, and www.akamaimothers.com (Maui).
  • Buy supplies locally. After you arrive, make a stop for diapers, wipes, and other supplies instead of trying to pack it all in your suitcase.
  • Take advantage of amenities. Check with your concierge ahead of time to see what amenities (cribs, pack and play, etc.) can be provided—often for free. If your accommodations include laundry, pack less and do a load or two of laundry while on vacation.

 

Accommodations

You want to find a place that offers the space you need and the entertainment you want. You don't want to be the only family at a honeymooners' resort!

  • Book a condotel, house, or suite. Having separate rooms allows you and your partner to enjoy some downtime while the kids are napping or sleeping. You might also have in-room laundry and a kitchenette, allowing you to travel light. Bonus: Multiple rooms mean you won't have to dodge cribs or pack and plays, which take up a lot of space.
  • Know what's included in your rate. When shopping around for accommodations, find out what activities and amenities are included in the per-night rates. Sometimes a rate that is slightly higher includes free activities and other perks, making it worth the extra cost.
  • Look for family-friendly accommodations. You want to find a place with a great balance of adult and kid activities. Trip Advisor has fantastic reviews of resorts and features great family recommendations.

 

Meals

Don't let mealtime become a big ordeal. Some ideas: 

  • Eat where you are staying. If you're staying at a resort, having lunch or an early dinner served to you poolside is a great luxury and a relaxing time-saver that the kids will enjoy just as much as you will. Many resorts offer a breakfast package for free or for a small daily fee, which means less meal preparation for you. Score!
  • Make reservations when dining out. Don't ruin your dinner waiting 45 minutes for a table. If the restaurant you want to patronize doesn't take reservations, go early. Yelp is a great resource for finding inexpensive local fare for families. (Bonus: Check out Twin Mom Carrie's tips on dining out with twins!)
  • Eat after the kids. Consider feeding your kids dinner in your suite or condotel before heading out to dinner. Once at the restaurant, get the kids a simple dessert like a bowl of ice cream. They will be excited and engaged, and you will get more time to enjoy and eat dinner.
  • Eat off hours. You don't have to avoid fine dining. Just go for lunch instead of dinner! The food is typically half the price, lunch is a more casual atmosphere, and service is a bit quicker.

 

Sleep

Most toddlers require an afternoon nap and must go to bed at a decent hour—or else everyone suffers. Sleep is the key to a successful vacation, but sleeping away from home can be tough. These tips can help:

  • Keep your sleep routine. Chances are, your kids will stay up a little later, nap a little later, and hopefully sleep in a little later when you're on vacation. This is fine so long as you keep a consistent, predictable routine that your toddlers can rely on. It's less about sticking to the clock and more about keeping the routine. For example, if you give the kids baths and then read to them before tucking them in at home, do that on vacation as well.
  • Bring an item from home. A blankie or sheet with the smell of home can be comforting to your little ones when they go to sleep. Note: Even though you want to pack light, you don't want to skimp on bedtime supplies!
  • Use naptime to travel. If your kids nap well in the car, go for a drive during naptime. Time it so they wake up when you get to a fun destination. If the kids don't nap in the car as you hoped, though, make sure you avoid a big night out!

 

Miscellaneous Tips

Here are a few extra ideas to help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest:

  • Plan for some adult time. Bring a nanny with you or meet with your concierge to hire a nanny so that you and your partner can slip away for some quiet time. Most nanny services are reputable and can be researched in advance.
  • Share parenting duties. Take turns with your partner bringing the kids back to the room for daily naps. This way, each of you will get some quiet time by the pool, at the beach, and/or at the gym.
  • Take long walks with your family. This is a great way to explore your destination by foot, get some exercise, and keep your kids entertained for an hour or so. You may even want to rent a jogging stroller at your destination.
  • Enjoy and take lots of pictures. You will be surprised—your children will slip into vacation mode just as easily as you do!

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) Twin Outings Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:08:11 +0000
Ashley On: Keeping Kids Safe in Big Crowds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/135-ashley-on-keeping-kids-safe-in-big-crowds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/135-ashley-on-keeping-kids-safe-in-big-crowds

Travel8 Ashley

If you are anything like me, the thought of bringing your little ones to the airport, a museum, the circus, a fair, or any place where there might be hundreds or even thousands of people makes your stomach turn.

I grew up in a law enforcement family. While I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, it does things to a person. I mean, there is a stranger around every corner ready to grab my children and run, isn't there? Even the sweetest old man in line at the grocery store just has to have an ulterior motive when smiling at my children, doesn't he? Oh, and the nice lady that walks her dog by my house every afternoon gazing at our front porch? She is not admiring the flowers. She is plotting how to get into my house and take one of my children, right? I could go on and on and on, but I will save that for a future therapy session. It's just awful!

In all honesty, though, I am constantly afraid of losing a child in a crowd, and having twins sometimes makes it feel like the odds are stacked against you. How is it possible for one person to safely watch two little ones, especially after they become mobile? Even at my little neighborhood grocery store, I have had one twin running toward the veggies and the other simultaneously heading toward the deli, making my head spin out of control.

Here are a few tips I have found to make these public outings just a little (and I mean a little) less stressful:

  1. Dress the twins exactly alike. This is for two reasons in my crazy, overprotective head. First, it's easier to find them. Second, it's easier to remember what they are wearing. We've all seen those Lifetime movies or "Law & Order" episodes where a child goes missing and, in her panic-stricken state of mind, the mom is trying to give a description of her child to the police but for all the tea in China can't recall what the child was wearing.
  2. Dress them in bright colors. When we hit a crowded spot, I dress my twins in the brightest neon polo shirts I can find. (Reasons are the same as in #1.)
  3. Write your cell phone number on your children's arms in marker. Who cares if it takes three days and four baths to come off? It's well worth it! I tell each of my twins to show another mommy his arm if he gets lost.
  4. Talk to your twins about safety, no matter what their age. The more you talk to your children about safety tips, even when you think they are not old enough to understand, the better. You would be amazed at how much they really do comprehend. Tell your little ones it's important that they stay close to you in a crowded place, and explain what they should do if they get lost. I tell my twins to look for either a police officer or a woman who has little kids with her. The chances are very good that if a mom encounters a lost child, she is going to do everything she can to help. Wouldn't you?
  5. Teach your twins your phone number and name. Start reciting your phone number to the children at a very early age. Ask them to repeat after you, and make it a fun game. Make sure they know your full name too—you know, your first and last name, not "mommy" or "daddy."

As a last resort, tie anchors to their legs. A ball and chain would work just as well.

 


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

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Ashley) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:41:04 +0000
Communicating with Toddlers When Flying http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/134-communicating-with-toddlers-when-flying http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/134-communicating-with-toddlers-when-flying

Travel6 EntertainOnPlane

The most important tip when flying with toddlers is communication. It's that simple. Communication should begin before your trip begins and then continue at the airport, during the flight, and after you land.

Before Your Trip

  • A few days in advance of your trip, start talking to your twins about where you are going and how you will get there.
  • On a map, show your twins where you live and where you are traveling to.
  • If you see an airplane in the sky, tell your twins they will get to ride on an airplane and go up in the sky.
  • If you are planning a visit to see long-distance family members, look at a family photo album as part of your nightly routine for a few days leading up to the trip.

At the Airport/On the Plane

  • At the airport, describe where you are and what you are doing. This is especially important when trying to establish boundaries and keep your on-the-go toddlers from darting off.
  • As you get close to takeoff, give your toddlers ample warning of what's to come. Say something like, "In a few minutes, you will no longer be able to stand. We will need to sit down and put on your seat belt. Can you help me click your seat belt?"
  • Remind your twins not to kick the seat in front and to be gentle with the tray.
  • If your twins are getting sleepy, let them know they are in a safe place and can go to sleep. Give them a blankie or make a cozy spot for them to sleep on your lap.

At Your Destination

  • Tell your twins where you are and what's going on. For example, tell them "Daddy is going to get the rental car while we go to baggage claim."

 


Melanie is a Malibu mommy who has flown cross-country with her toddler several times.

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Melanie) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:35:01 +0000
How to Keep Toddlers Entertained on a Plane http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/133-how-to-keep-toddlers-entertained-on-a-plane http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/133-how-to-keep-toddlers-entertained-on-a-plane

 

Travel7 FlyingCommunicate

When flying with toddlers, have a resourceful diaper bag handy. It should include snacks as well as in-flight toys and entertainment. Remember to stress to your children that they may play with only one item at a time and that the other toys must stay in the bag.

Here are some sure-fire ways to keep your duo entertained in flight:

  • Use an iPad to access games, videos, educational programs, you name it! Make sure you get kid-safe volume-controlled earphones.
  • Reusable sticker books like this one provide hours of fun. With 400 reusable stickers, you can create scenes (there are blank pages in the back), or you can point to a sticker and let your kids tell you what it is a picture of. Because they are lightweight and flat, sticker books fit easily into almost any diaper bag.
  • Paper is always great to have handy and is also easy to pack. Giving each child their own little notepad can be fun too. They can even use the stickers to decorate their pads.
  • If you bought each of your twins a special toy for the trip—something small like $1 matchbox cars—chances are they will be exited to play with those.
  • Tegu blocks are great for in-flight entertainment. Because they are magnetic, they are less likely to "disappear" in flight.
  • If you let each of your kids pick out a special snack at the airport gift shop, they will be probably be excited to enjoy it during the flight.


Melanie is a Malibu mommy who has flown cross-country with her toddler several times.

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Melanie) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:26:12 +0000
10 Tips for Flying with Infants http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/132-10-tips-for-flying-with-infants http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/132-10-tips-for-flying-with-infants

Travel9 FlyingInfants

Flying with infants for the first time can be overwhelming for a new parent, especially a parent of twins. Before you panic, take a deep breath and familiarize yourself with the following infant travel tips:

  1. Have a plan, and allow yourself ample time. For example, decide in advance how you want to handle car seats. Will you take them through security and check them at the gate? Or will you check them curbside and carry or stroll the babies through security? Divvy up tasks as necessary. For example, one parent might park the car while the other parent handles baggage claim. (Curbside check-in is best with two babies in tow.) While you are waiting for boarding to begin, get a gate check tag for the stroller, allow your twins to have some tummy time, and change the babies' diapers.
  2. Talk to your babies about what is happening. Airports, crowds, loud noises, and elevation changes can be overstimulating for little ones. It's comforting for your babies to hear your voice as you describe where you are and what you are doing. Imagine if, as an adult, you went to a new and chaotic place without a guide. How would you feel? You'd probably feel much better if you were being guided along the way. So keep your babies informed at all times. It's as simple as saying, "Now we are going through security, now we are boarding an airplane," and so on.
  3. Wear light clothes. This goes for both you and the babies since it's easy to get overheated on the plane. Because you will be holding the babies to you for at least part of the flight, you will get warm quick.
  4. Bring extra clothes. Pack extra outfits for you and your babies in your carry-on just in case there is spit-up or a poop attack in flight.
  5. Minimize ear discomfort. Have your babies suck on a bottle, breast, or pacifier when ascending and descending on the plane. This will help alleviate the pressure they may feel in their ears.
  6. Check with your airline about its policies regarding infant carriers. These carriers are fantastic for travel, especially if sleeping babies are able to stay put during takeoff and landing. Find out if your airline allows this. There's nothing worse than having to wake a baby for a two-minute takeoff.
  7. Ward off germs. Dab just a little bit of Neosporin or Vaseline in your nostrils and your babies' nostrils. This will prevent nasty airplane germs from getting inside your nasal passages.
  8. Use car seat bags. Check your car seats in a car seat bag like this one from Babies R Us. Airlines allow you to check car seats for free. Put each base and car seat into a bag, then fill the seat and remaining parts of the bag with extra diapers, wipes, bottles, and other necessities. These bags fit a ton of stuff, so take advantage. We all know how much "stuff" is needed for these little babies!
  9. Know what liquids you can bring on board. Read and print out the Transportation Security Administration's rules for traveling with liquids. If any questions come up, you can share a copy of the rules. More than likely, you will be expected to open any premade bottles of breast milk or formula for the TSA to inspect. Be prepared to have a free hand to assist with this process. Sometimes ice packs get confiscated as an unnecessary liquid, so make sure you bring extra sealable plastic baggies to fill with ice after you go through security. This will help keep milk chilled if you will be flying for a long period of time. If you need to warm up a bottle in flight, you can ask for hot water from the flight attendant (if mixing with formula) or you can place a premade bottle of breast milk or formula in between your legs for 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Prepare a few diaper packs for in-flight diapering. Simply take one diaper and a few wipes and place them in a sealable plastic baggie. Grab the baggie when you need to change one of the babies, then place dirty wipes and the dirty diaper in the baggie and throw it away. This way, you don't have to lug your diaper bag to the bathroom with you and you can easily deal with any stinky diapers by sealing the used baggie. Most bathrooms have a changing table and liners. Try to avoid changing diapers in the main cabin; that's gross.

Lastly, keep a few Starbucks gift cards handy in case you encounter a situation where your fellow passengers are not happy about being seated near two infants. An iced latté can make even the meanest of the mean happy!

 


Melanie is a Malibu mommy who has flown cross-country with her toddler several times.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Melanie) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:13:44 +0000
10 Tips for Flying with Toddlers http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/131-10-tips-for-flying-with-toddlers http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/131-10-tips-for-flying-with-toddlers

Travel10 FlyToddlers

Let's face it: Toddlers can be challenging, and flying with toddlers is no different. Here are a few suggestions and tips for flying the friendly skies with your duo:

  1. Talk to your toddlers about what is happening. Communication with your kids should begin before your trip begins and then continue at the airport, during the flight, and after you land. For example, a few days in advance of your trip, start talking to your children about where you are going and how you will get there. Once seated on the plane, remind your kids not to kick the seat in front and to be gentle with the tray. (For more communication tips, check out Communicating with Toddlers When Flying.)
  2. Plan your flight to coincide with nap time or nighttime sleep. This is especially good advice if you will be traveling for a long period of time.
  3. Avoid traveling during "rush hour." In other words, skip the Thursday night flight where you might be the only family on a plane full of suits. Business travelers have zero tolerance for your "cute" toddlers.
  4. Use car seat bags. If you plan to bring car seats, check them in car seat bags like this one from Babies R Us. Airlines allow you to check car seats for free. Put each base and car seat into a bag, then fill the seat and remaining parts of the bag with extra diapers, wipes, bottles, and other necessities. These bags fit a ton of stuff, so take advantage. We all know how much "stuff" is needed for these little babies!
  5. Build excitement about the trip. Give each of your children a new toy—something small like a $1 matchbox car—and let them know this is their special toy for the flight. Or go to the gift shop at the airport and let each child pick out a snack. They will look forward to eating it later on the plane.
  6. Let your toddlers take in the experience. Allow them to walk around the airport. Take them to the window to see the airplanes. Walking from window to window can help keep them engaged (and help wear them out a bit!). During boarding, let your children stand and look out the window; this is very exciting for them.
  7. Plan ahead to cut down on stress. While you are waiting for boarding to begin, get a gate check tag for the stroller and change your toddlers' diapers.
  8. Minimize ear discomfort. Have your toddlers suck on a bottle, breast, or pacifier when ascending and descending on the plane. This will help alleviate the pressure they may feel in their ears.
  9. Prepare a few diaper packs for in-flight diapering. Simply take one diaper and a few wipes and place them in a sealable plastic baggie. Grab the baggie when you need to change one of the kids, then place dirty wipes and the dirty diaper in the baggie and throw it away. This way, you don't have to lug your diaper bag to the bathroom with you and you can easily deal with any stinky diapers by sealing the used baggie. Most bathrooms have a changing table and liners. Try to avoid changing diapers in the main cabin; that's gross.
  10. Have a resourceful diaper bag handy. The bag should include snacks, sippy cups, and in-flight toys and entertainment. (Try the suggestions in How to Keep Toddlers Entertained on a Plane.)

Finally, stay calm. It's inevitable that your toddlers will win at least one staring contest with the strangers seated behind you. Just remember that you will never see these people again!

 


Melanie is a Malibu mommy who has flown cross-country with her toddler several times.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Melanie) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:04:26 +0000
Visiting Family with Your Infants http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/130-visiting-family-with-your-infants http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/130-visiting-family-with-your-infants

Travel11 VisitingFam

You've survived the long flight or car ride, and now your family visit can begin! While spirits are usually high at the beginning of family gatherings, these situations sometimes become stressful—especially when you have the added responsibility of keeping your babies happy and healthy while you're there. These tips will help keep you sane and help you stay in control:

  • Don't micromanage your family members when they are helping with your babies. Instead, consider modeling what works best for you and let them follow your lead.

  • Try to maintain a normal routine for your babies. Don't worry about following a strict by-the-clock schedule; just keep consistency in the routine. For example, read a book before sleep or change the babies' diapers before meals.

  • If you or your babies are getting stressed, take a break. Drive around in the car or take a walk with the babies.

  • Try to avoid physical contact between small kids and your infants. Little cousins and other young children can be germ incubators. Ask them to look but don't touch.

  • Be protective. Avoid situations that are likely to result in overstimulation or illness for your babies. Ensure that someone (your mom, sister, friend, etc.) is on board with your plan to support and protect your babies so that you have some support too.

  • Continue to make tummy time a priority. Set up a small area for tummy time and use it as a safe place to lay the babies down, instead of asking someone to hold them.

  • Talk to your babies. Make sure they know where they are and what they are doing at all times. Being in a new home with lots of new faces can be overwhelming.

  • Bring a little bit of home with you. Take a blankie or crib sheet from home (make sure it has been slept on before) and use that bedding for your babies while you are away. Doing this keeps the familiar smell of home close when they are sleeping in a new place.

  • Don't overschedule. Try to have as much downtime as you can during your visit. If you want to see several relatives, try to encourage everyone to meet at one place at one set time so you aren't constantly shuffling from place to place.

  • Bring a copy of your babies' feeding schedule, instructions for making bottles, instructions for cleaning bottles, and emergency information. This will be helpful when you and your other half get to sneak away for a date or if one of your family members is helping you care for the babies. You'd be surprised how many relatives forget that babies can't eat solid foods until 6 months!

If you're stressed, your babies are going to be stressed. Try to relax as much as possible. Luckily, there will be lots of helping hands around if you need to take a break!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) Twin Outings Thu, 02 Aug 2012 07:50:03 +0000
Carrie On: Air Travel with Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/114-carrie-on-air-travel-with-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/114-carrie-on-air-travel-with-twins

Travel5

Twin Mom Lauren grins and bears it.

 

"Me + Andy + my sister + 2 babies + 2 car seats + 2 strollers + 3 carry-ons + 4 suitcases just landed in Pensacola. We roll light."

And that, my friend, was my Facebook post upon landing after our first flight with the twins, who at the time were 11 months old.

Twin Mom Ashley's comment summed up our experience pretty well: "Reading that, you just literally gave me a migraine."

The idea of flying with the twins was daunting—even more daunting than a road trip (though only slightly). But we got through it, and you can too.

Here are some tips to make air travel with twins easier: 

  • Bring help. If you are traveling during the twins' first year, your partner should make the flight with you. Quite simply, you will need more than two hands. If you can enlist a third party to help as well, do so without hesitation.

  • Choose your travel time wisely. The middle of the night works well if you have solid sleepers, but this could backfire if they have sensitive ears—and then you might have an entire plane full of passengers giving you dirty looks. If you are traveling during the day, try to fly near nap times in hopes that your twins will fall asleep.

  • Pack smartly. Be sure to carry with you all the food and bottles your tots will need for the duration of the flight. Also pack in one of the carry-ons entertainment for the twins—their favorite toys, a portable DVD player, or books—so you can provide them with distractions.

  • Arrive at the airport early. The process of checking in, heading through security, and getting settled at the gate will take much longer than you think.

  • Purchase inexpensive umbrella strollers for use at the airport. There is no need to lug an expensive double stroller with you. They are difficult to navigate through airport thoroughfares, cumbersome, and heavy.

  • Schedule a checkup. If possible, arrange a monthly checkup with your pediatrician prior to the trip. Things to discuss: the travel, your new locale, and any advice the pediatrician might be able to provide.

  • Be mindful of time changes. If a time change is involved, do your best to get the twins on the new schedule if your trip will last longer than a few days. You can do so by moving the schedule in forced increments of half an hour or even an hour.

  • Ship ahead. Don't be afraid to ship in advance a box or two of items that you won't need during the flight but will need during an extended stay at your destination.

Finally, remember The Twin Source Recipe for Sanity, and double the dose of patience!

 


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) Twin Outings Fri, 15 Jun 2012 21:20:16 +0000
Carrie On: Road Trips with Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/113-carrie-on-road-trips-with-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/113-carrie-on-road-trips-with-twins

Travel4

It is safe to say that during the first year of your twins' lives, traveling any great distance—whether it's by plane, by car, or however—is a heroic effort.

When taking a road trip, you're going to need to remind yourself to keep the mood as light as possible. The unexpected will undoubtedly occur—maybe terrible traffic or a baby who poops three times in four hours—but you will get to your final destination, so keep patience and a sense of humor in your back pocket at all times.

My husband and I often remind ourselves it could be worse: We could be the traveling brood that is the Jolie-Pitt clan. How on earth do they do it? I'm not sure, but I can tell you what works for us:

  • Plan the trip around the twins' sleep schedule. Most babies fall asleep in the car. In the twins' early days, if you can travel at night—beginning your journey right on schedule with the babies' bedtime—they will easily fall asleep in the car. You can also plan your departure around a nap time and make a rest stop at about the time they should wake up.

  • Pack wisely. Even with larger vehicles, pack for your trip as efficiently as possible. For example, if you will have access to a washing machine and dishwasher at your final destination, do not overpack clothing or bottles/sippy cups.

  • Stock the car ahead of time. Fill the tank with gas, load up on drinks and snacks for the adults, and have the car packed and organized before putting the twins in the vehicle.

  • Always keep the diaper bag and toys within arm's reach. This way, you can easily get what you need and can pass things to the twins.

  • Purchase pacifier connector clips. This is key if your twins use pacifiers. If a paci falls out, you can somewhat easily reach behind you and place it back into the tot's mouth.

  • Do not allow a lot of snacks for the twins in the car. In fact, we recommend no snacks in the first year so that you don't have to deal with the hassle of cleaning. Instead, make stops when it's time to eat; this also gives everyone a change in environment and a chance to get some fresh air.

  • Have cribs waiting at your final destination if at all possible. Arriving to even just one crib is so helpful. Two pack and plays take up a lot of trunk space, so if there is any way to avoid packing two of those, you should.

 


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) Twin Outings Fri, 15 Jun 2012 21:08:39 +0000
Lauren On: Joining a Twins Playgroup http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/108-joining-a-twins-playgroup http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/108-joining-a-twins-playgroup

PlaygroupsLauren

When I was pregnant with twins, I joined a local Parents of Multiples Club so I could meet other moms with twins in my area. The club had a listserv where I could bounce questions off other twin moms and an online marketplace. It also had a fabulous consignment sale twice a year. But perhaps the best thing I found through the club was my twins playgroup.

When I saw a posting for a newborn twins playgroup in my town, I thought joining would be a perfect way to expose my babies to other sets of twins and to find a group of moms going through the twin experience at the same time I was. Little did I know that these mom/baby trios would become some of our best friends.

 

Camaraderie

I had my first experience with the playgroup about two weeks prior to my delivery date. The mom who had formed the group hosted everyone at her house one Thursday morning. I showed up to find seven moms and 14 little bucket car seats crowded into her living room. The oldest babies were 5 months, and the youngest were my little in-utero babies.

It was so nice to be with other moms who had just experienced what I was about to go through. There were lots of conversations about the NICU, sleeping, eating, schedules, and all things twins.

I remember walking away from that first playgroup thinking, “I better get used to some crying!”

For a few months, we met weekly at local parks. But as the babies grew and started crawling, walking, and running, we found that meeting at a park meant we inevitably ended up chasing toddlers and being unable to keep conversations going with each other.

We decided it would be easier to start taking turns hosting the group in our homes. There, the babies were contained so it was easier for them to crawl around and easier for us to talk. Those conversations with other adults were very important to us stay-at-home moms!

 

‘Anytime Except Thursday Mornings’

My twins playgroup went from something I hoped I could make to something I planned my schedule around. When making various appointments—including doctor’s appointments—I would always say, “Anytime except Thursday mornings.”

As one of the moms in the group noted, our kids’ relationships with each other go deeper than friendship. It is almost as though they are cousins. And we moms have been through all the various stages of raising our twins together, good and bad, which has given us a unique bond.

It started out being all about the babies, but it has become a group of friends that feels more like a family. We have been through three years of life together, and I consider myself really lucky to have known the other moms during that time. Playgroup has become a little haven where I can get ideas, complain, have a cheering section, and most importantly be with moms who know exactly what I am going through.

 


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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Lauren) Twin Outings Tue, 05 Jun 2012 08:58:05 +0000
Carrie On: Dining Out with Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/100-carrie-on-dining-out-with-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/twin-outings/100-carrie-on-dining-out-with-twins

DiningOut

To say that I am passionate about managing children properly in a restaurant is an understatement. You see, I have been on both sides of the table—I've been the patron who arrives with young twins as well as the server who takes the order. So I know what works, what doesn't work, and what is sure to turn a nice meal out into a complete fiasco.

Prior to motherhood, I had managed, bartended at, and waited tables in restaurants off and on since I was 15 years old. My first job as a sophomore in high school was at a local McDonald's. I later worked in beach seafood restaurants, college bars, and the best steakhouse in town. And I will tell you that, for a server, there is no greater fear than that of the unknown quantity of a child—more specifically, a toddler or infant who is the "plus a highchair" at the table. (Except maybe the unknown quantity of two children.) You truly never know what you are going to get.

Over the years, I have witnessed it all. On one end of the spectrum, you have borderline neglectful parents who bring their 3-year-old child into a top-rated steakhouse at 9:00 p.m. in his pajamas, completely overtired and therefore bouncing off the walls while they enjoy a nice cabernet. On the other end of the spectrum, there are moms and dads who are apologetic from the moment they arrive, gracious to the point that no matter what happens you shrug your shoulders and hope their kindness translates into the tip (sorry, but verbal tips do not pay the bills).

Because of my experience in the restaurant industry, I am adamant that my twins always act appropriately when we are eating out. I will literally leave mid-meal if I feel that things are about to reach "meltdown" status. I refuse to be That Mom. Absolutely refuse. And furthermore, I want my children to, in restaurant industry speak, "have respect for the house" and always respect the environment that is feeding them. Eating out is a privilege people often take for granted.

So, here are my tips on how to successfully take your twins out to eat and live to tell the tale:

 

  • Always dine based around when the twins eat. You should plan on arriving at the restaurant at least 10 to 15 minutes prior to the normal time you would feed your twins dinner. This allows for unexpected time spent waiting for a table or finding parking. You never want to enter a restaurant with two starving babies. Ever.

  • Start venturing out in the first few months. For the first year of our twins' lives, my husband and I took the babies out every Sunday to a restaurant. Whether you go to Chicken Out or a nice little bistro, getting the twins out helps them to become comfortable dining in new environments.

  • Treat the meal as an experience. Communicate to your twins that it is special and a big deal that the family is dining out. Even at a very early age, they will sense your happiness and appreciation and will feed off of it. Again, eating out should be viewed as a privilege, always.

  • Pace the meal. Pacing is a term often used in the restaurant industry. The goal is to time things to maximize the customer experience—as a server, you never want entrees coming out a few seconds after you have delivered the appetizer. Use the same principle when managing your twins' meals out. Pace their meal from the moment you are seated. Have snacks prepared, and immediately determine what the twins will be eating from the menu. When the waiter arrives for initial introductions, ask for a glass or two of milk or water to pour into the sippy cups/bottles you have brought along, then place your drink order and the twins' food order. Their food should arrive with any appetizers. They will take longer than you to eat, and once they are full will be happy to people watch. When the drinks are delivered to the table, you should be ready to order your entrees. This helps ensure good pacing during the course of your meal.

  • Ask for the check early. This is a simple pre-emptive move. Ask for the check when your entrees arrive. If the twins are doing great when the waiter brings it out, you can order dessert without an issue. But if things go south, you can quickly pay the bill and exit the restaurant prior to any major disruptions.

  • Be gracious, and tip accordingly. Saying please and thank you makes a world of difference and will absolutely get you better service. And when tipping, be mindful of your overall experience, what you are leaving behind—including the mess on the floor under the twins and on the table—and how many items you had to box up because things were touch-and-go.

  • Lastly, enjoy it. Have fun! And remember that dining out is a wonderful experience to share as a family!

 


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) Twin Outings Mon, 07 May 2012 18:31:22 +0000