Playtime with Multiples: Frugal and Fun

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Posted by vera | Posted in Books, Parenting, School | Posted on 30-12-2014

Parenting twins, triplets or more can be an expensive adventure.  If you think double (or triple) diapers and onesies are breaking the bank, just wait until two or more babies become twin or triplet toddlers:  All the companies that tried to convince you that you needed two (or three) Baby Bjorns, two bouncy chairs and two baby bathtubs will now be vying for your hard-earned dollars in exchange for all the latest baby toys.

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Alex and Simon

But there are ways around this, and they can be quite creative!

Lindsay, a teacher and mother of two, blogs here about making a family board book for her little one.  

Alex and Simon loved looking and pointing at books and photos when they were little, and I wish I had thought to repurpose old board books from yard sales in this fashion!

Dec 2014 colour matchy

Reblogged from FunkyLindsay.com

Another idea from Funky Lindsay is the colour matching game.  She paints the inside of a compartmentalised box with certain colours, and puts little toys and trinkets of matching colours in each compartment. 

Little ones love to sort and match items, and this is a great way to foster colour recognition and encourage clean up for toddler twins or triplets.  Miniature versions of the toy could be made with only two or three colours, and each twin gets a different set of colours.

Parenting multiples can be a blur, especially when they’re young.  Making toys and games with and for your toddler twins is an excellent way not only to save money, but also to keep materialism in check while bonding with your babies and beginning to foster a healthy family relationship with the environment by practising environmentally friendly playtime.

New Twins Book Falls Short

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Books, Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 23-11-2013

Involved fathers are often overlooked in pregnancy and baby books, even though they play a key role, especially with twins, triplets or more.

Involved fathers are often overlooked in pregnancy and baby books, even though they play a key role, especially with twins, triplets or more.

Twins by Carol Cooper and Katy Hymas (published by DK press) recently found its way into my professional library.

What first attracted me to this book was its subtitle: “the practical and reassuring guide to pregnancy, birth and the first year”. Who doesn’t love “practical and reassuring”, especially when you’re expecting twins?!

I also appreciated that it was not an American publication – nothing against Americans, but as a Canadian, I am very aware of how saturated the market can get, and it is nice to be able to read a different perspective sometimes (this book is a publication out of the UK).

Another thing that attracted me to Twins by Cooper and Hymas was the fact that it is coauthored by a family doctor and a writer, both of whom are parents of twins themselves.  These are important factors to consider when picking up any book about twins and multiples; does it have credible voice from both a medical perspective and a practical parenting perspective, from someone who’s walked the talk?  This book, presumably, offers both.

 

Non-inclusive Images Of Twins Families

Upon doing a pre-reading picture walk, though, I became a little wary… There are three things I am looking for, visually, when I leaf through a new resource: Families of colour, LGBTQ representation and images of dads with their babies, as these usually give me a sense of the overall flavour of the book, philosophically speaking.

This book had precious few of any of these three.  Although there were a few black women included, the vast majority of images portrayed light-skinned families consisting of a man and a woman and two white babies.  (I did discover one image of a father without a woman beside him; he was bathing a baby.)

While such a book may be “practical” and visually “reassuring” for white couples who happen to be straight and who have mom doing most/all of the child rearing, it does little to promote the sense that all kinds of different people are having twins these days.

 

Comprehensive Overview Of Topics

Determined not to judge the book (too much) by its pictures, I flipped to the contents.

The usual topics were included: Pregnancy, labour and delivery, babycare, and considerations for the first year.  The subtopics looked practical (“your hospital bag – what to pack” and how to manage “outings and holidays” once the twins arrive) as well as informative (“common symptoms” and “complications” in twins pregnancies, and “presentation of twins”).

Some of the chapters themselves fall short for those readers who are keen for specifics.  Current philosophy (when it comes to the rights of multiple births children) is also not reflected.  For example, the section on “twins demystified” refers to “identical” twins, the layperson’s descriptor for twins who originate from the same zygote. (It is commonly understood within the multiple births community now that monozygotic twins – though they share the same DNA – are unique individuals, and that this should be reflected in how we refer to them, i.e. “monozygotic” rather than the less empowering “identical”. Similarly, “fraternal” twins – who may not always be boys, as the label suggests, are more accurately “dizygotic”, meaning, from two zygotes, regardless of sex.)

On the other hand, a relatively in-depth discussion of relationships and learning is included.   “The Year Ahead”, moves beyond the basics, and gives practical ideas for how to help growing baby twins develop their own identities and learning, which is sometimes a rare find in books about raising twins.

 

Non-Inclusive Material Shines Through

Unfortunately, the suspicions I had from the photos when I first flipped through the book were generally confirmed when I began reading.

Potentially practical sections like “doctor’s advice” and “ask the parents” sprinkled throughout the chapters are overshadowed by almost oppressively mainstream assumptions like “Even some midwives don’t always realize [that the number of placentas isn’t linked with the number of eggs]” (boy, would I ever be mad if I were a professional midwife!)

The assumption that “all aspects of childcare, meal preparation, errands and light housework” will be done by the mother, and that it could be useful to have a “mother’s helper” (sorry to all the Dads I know who are raising or co-raising twins; you don’t get a “dad’s helper”!) is stifling in this day and age.

The entire book seems to be aimed at mothers (from the very beginning, the chapters are addressed to the women pregnant with multiples, inviting her to remember when she first discovered she was having twins, and talking with her husband about this, that or the other). This is surprising, considering that dads – and especially fathers of twins and multiples – are more involved than ever in preparing for and raising their children.

Interestingly, the word “partner” is often used instead of “husband”. Yet the photos would suggest that said partner is always male.  It’s as though the book makes a token effort at being inclusive, but doesn’t follow through with the substance to support it.

Twins by Cooper and Hymas offers a somewhat informative and easy read for white, mainstream mothers.  If you’re looking for something more comprehensive or culturally current, look elsewhere!