How to Decrease the Sibling Rivalry Between Your Twins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 27-04-2012

sibling-rivalry-fighting-twinsBeing taught to share is one of the first lessons we learn as children. And if you’re a twin, you’re expected to share clothes, toys, friends, schools, activities and even the same parents. As much fun as some of this sharing can be, however, sometimes sharing the exact same things all your life with someone who may even share – as in the case of monozygotic twins – your physical appearance can create a tendency for twins to act out for attention as well as strain the twins’ relationship.

Of course, a little bit of rivalry is common between siblings—but to ensure that competition, fights and jealousy don’t tear your twins apart, be sure to check out the following ways to decrease the sibling rivalry between them:

Spend time with each child individually.

Twins can sometimes feel like they only come as part of a package deal…and because of this, competition often arises. To avoid competition between your kiddos, make sure that you set aside special time to spend with each twin on his/her own to give them each your undivided attention. Focusing on one twin at a time and strengthening your bond with them individually can contribute to each child’s happiness, and will often lower the inclination they have to fight with each other. Read the rest of this entry »

Why the First Year with Twins is a Blur

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 05-04-2012

the first year with twinsToday we have a special guest post from Joe Rawlinson of DadsGuideToTwins.com.
Joe is the father of two boys and identical twin girls, and is also a new friend of BabiesinBelly.com. Enjoy!

Before our twins were born, we had friends with twins tell us that the first year would be a blur. I believed them because I figured they knew what they were talking about. However, I didn’t realize exactly what they meant until I lived the experience.

You’ll be in a blur with your new twins for several reasons:

• You’ll be suffering from sleep deprivation.
• There will be no time to relax.
• You’ll constantly be taking care of one baby or the other.
• Every day will seem like the last.
• You won’t be eating as well as you should since you’re so busy with the babies.
• If you have other kids, they will be extra demanding of your attention because you, out of necessity, are giving more to the twins.
• If your twins were in the NICU, you’ll have logged countless hours at the hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

Techniques for Photographing Twins, Triplets and more!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Travel | Posted on 11-10-2011

This guest post comes to you from Cristina Sacco of Boy Girl Photography Studio:

Photographing multiples requires a fully-charged camera battery, so that you are ready to capture the full load of action coming your way!!

IMG_3339I have been the owner and photographer of Boy Girl Photography Studio since 2006 and based on my past and present experiences with photographing weddings, I was ready to take on the challenge of photographing all 5 brothers in the Asuama family during a recent photo shoot in Toronto: 10 year old Twins, Jeffrey and Justin and 6 year old Triplets Jeremy, Joel, and Jason!

IMG_3374When looking to photograph twins and a set of triplets at the same time, your best bet is to bring them to an outdoor playground so that they are free to run and play. Also, if your camera is on the manual setting, you want to make sure that you do not forget to change your settings with the aperture and shutter speed throughout the photo shoot as the lighting conditions can change with the clouds moving in front of the sun. I normally decide on my aperture setting based on the number of children I am photographing, in this case there are 5 brothers, so I made sure to have my aperture setting at F-Stop 5 and I did not lower my aperture setting unless I was shooting one boy at a time.

IMG_3421If you end up using your wide angle lens to fit all the children inside your photo, just make sure you do not end up getting too close with it or else you will end up warping the kids who are closer to the edge of the photo. The same thing applies with your point and shoot camera lens. I used my Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens, which is my favorite lens for taking portraits. Although I could not zoom out with my lens, I used the next best thing, my legs! Just take a couple of steps back and voila, you have everyone in your image and there is no warping to the children.

I also like to look for patterns and use of shapes when I’m setting up my clients to be photographed outdoors. Right away I saw the monkey bars on the playground and had the twins and triplets stand on them, and this created a great image. As for the weather, although it was a chilly day, we were lucky to have a cloudy day because the clouds created a soft box effect in the sky and this in turn created an even distribution of light on the twins and triplets.

IMG_3429Clothing is also important to consider when you want to take some great family portraits of your children. We had the boys dressed up in their white tops and blue jeans and this made the photos look fresh and clean. If the children are dressed in different colours, than you will want to make sure you coordinate where they stand beside each other based on the colours they are wearing.

Now that you have learned a couple of techniques to use to photograph your twins, go outside, make it a family day and have fun capturing your kids!! If you have any questions on how to photograph your twins and triplets, or if you have a set of twins and triplets like Vida and her husband, feel free to send me an email at info@boygirlphotography.com with your questions.

Like to Travel? HOPE for Parents of New Multiples

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Posted by vera | Posted in Holidays, Parenting, Travel | Posted on 18-02-2011

1My boys and I are en route home from a service trip to a school in Honduras.  For those of you dreading travel with your baby twins or triplets, take heart in the photos below.  As you can see, once your children get a little older, having several at a time can actually be an asset.  I carried nothing more than passports and boarding passes, while my two 6-year-olds managed all our carry on luggage.  🙂  Keeping them entertained on the plane required merely a few snacks and some previously purchased and wrapped activity books that I had kept hidden until the ride home.

2Yes, friends, with a little pre-planning and good training from an early age, travel with multiples can be a pleasent and enjoyable experience!

(BTW, for those interested in reading more about the great Honduras Adventure with Vera and the twins, feel free to check out my blog at www.verateschow.ca — click on BLOG from the menu at the top, and then select “Honduras” from the menu at the right side of the blog page.)

The Launch

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 18-01-2011

quadsIf you’ve finally mastered the art of diapering your newborns, and are getting them changed superfast like an assembly line, you may be surprised to discover your twins suddenly wiggling free of the diaper change area and “launching” themselves up whilst you attempt to change them!

This typically happens at around 5-6 months of age, when babies become more active.  Lying around getting changed is no fun, and launching themselves into the air and watching mom or dad freak out can be quite entertaining for a baby this age!

Try to incorporate songs, stories or other fun and engaging activities into change time to keep your babies in one spot while you wrestle on a new diaper:  Sing a short by engaging song, or try giving them a new and interesting toy to examine in the air above them while you quickly zip off one diaper and put on the next one.

At this stage, it is also extremely important to NEVER LEAVE A BABY UNATTENDED!  One self-initiated launch could parachute your baby right onto the floor!

The Joy of Volunteering

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 12-01-2011

quads

Alex and Simon visiting their little twin friends Ben and Oliver

If you are in the middle of newborn twin chaos, you may be wondering if things will ever get better! And important and valuable part of your support team is the “volunteer”. The volunteer could be a neighbour, teenager, or professional volunteer from a local organization. In any case, volunteers can really help fill the spaces in your week where you need an extra set of hands to help out with newborn twins, triplets or more.

Volunteers can help feed one or more baby, they can read, sing or talk to a single baby to give him or her that important and tricky individual attention, or they can help with household chores like walking the dog, doing a load of laundry or preparing the next round of bottles (if you are using bottles).

Once your multiples get a little older, why not consider paying it forward? One of our greatest rewards has been watching 6-year-old Alex and Simon bond with a little set of twins we recently started volunteering with in our community!

Thanksgiving with Multiples

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Posted by vera | Posted in Holidays, Parenting | Posted on 11-10-2010

Our thanksgivings have always been a bit unconventional; since I am an orphan and my husband’s family is out of town, most years have found us sharing our table with various immigrants and refugees we were volunteering with, or enjoying a meal with our “surrogate” family, friends from church or elsewhere.  Once our twins were born, things grew increasingly complicated: Both boys suffered from reflux, so the first year was an event filled with such screaming and pain that subsequent years were approached with caution; we had few friends willing to spend their holiday surrounded by two screaming babies/toddlers.  On our third Thanksgiving, we were invited by fellow struggling parents to a local restaurant’s Thanksgiving Buffet.  This worked somewhat well… yet over the following few years, our Thanksgiving traditions became inconsistent at best.

Now our boys are six, and they don’t scream so much anymore.  J  And we have surrounded ourselves with other multiples families who are more tolerant of our “busy” family life.

This year, we decided to invite ourselves over to a family with 8-year-old twins and 4-year-old triplets – all boys!  We ordered a pre-cooked thanksgiving meal from Supperworks, and took the whole to-do over to Kofi and Vida’s, where we four parents hung out in the kitchen re-heating the food, while the SEVEN boys played in the playground outside their little front yard.  When the feast was marginally warm, we threw it unceremoniously on the table, and everyone helped themselves and the nearest triplet to some food.  No one went hungry, everyone enjoyed the company of his neighbor, and after dinner, the older boys entertained each other and two of the triplets, while I sat on the sofa snuggling a third triplet, their mother sharing photos from years gone by, and her pre-multiples figure.

On the ride home, I marveled at the simplicity of our dinner, compared to the lavishly prepared events of years past… perhaps most surprisingly of all is the contentment I feel, even without cloth napkins, fine china and matching centerpiece candles.

The thankfulness comes from the peace of being surrounded by genuine people and decent food.  As many parents of multiples soon discover, the authenticity, rather than the presentation, is what really counts!

Happy Thanksgiving, to all, especially those sharing their turkey with multiple turkeys this year!

The Toothfairy Cometh…

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Teeth | Posted on 02-10-2010

Ah, the drama in our home when a tooth is lost.  First, there is excitement, then a little bit of jealousy by the co-multiple who did NOT lose a tooth over all the attention the other one is getting… but the REAL drama comes the next morning, after the tooth fairy has left her treasure.  Until last night, the tooth fairy usually left two quarters and whichever boy lost the tooth had the good sense to see that clearly the tooth fairy knows he’s a twin, and left two so he could share with his brother.

Ah, but the age of innocence ends all too early.

As the boys grow older (they are 6 now, and going into grade one!), they discover the ways of the world.  Both Simon and Alex are now well aware that a coin is more than a shiny souvenir.  They know that some coins can be put into machines and a gumball or other treasure gotten out. They know that street musicians play for coins.

But most of all, they know that several coins often garner great new riches when traded for goods at a yard sale.  So, when Twin B woke up this morning, and found two loonies under his pillow, he chose NOT to share his personal gain with his brother.

Twin A was understandably upset, and you can imagine the drama which ensued.  Even with much cajoling and reasoning (“surely the tooth fairy left two coins, meaning for you to share.  Maybe if you don’t share, she won’t come back next time you lose a tooth”, etc., etc.) Twin B could not be convinced to part with a coin.  Twin A’s howls grew louder and more extreme as he sang the song of his injustice.

In the end, the boys cooperatively selected a toy from the yard sale we visited later in the morning, and the wealthy twin paid.

But oh, the misery of the morning… how many more will we endure?!

Healthy Teeth and Gums… Healthy Twins, Triplets and More?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Health, Parenting, Teeth | Posted on 21-08-2010

We are proud to share this guest blog, co-authored with Erika King, Dental Hygienist. Enjoy!

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A sometimes overlooked health factor when pregnant is… Dental Health!

Carrying  multiples in particular impacts the health of your gums and teeth; both can be affected by your pregnancy, and in turn your pregnancy can be affected by how well you take care of your mouth.

Some women find their gums become puffy or swollen and bleed more when they are pregnant.  This is due to the increased production of estrogen (normal during pregnancy and particularly increased for moms pregnant with twins, triplets or more), and is called pregnancy gingivitis.  For some women the increased estrogen causes their gums to become extra sensitive to plaque (bacteria) that accumulates on their teeth.  Women who experience this need to be extra diligent in their oral care at home, and it is usually recommended they also see their dental hygienist during this time for additional cleaning and/or guidance.

One of the early signs of multiples pregnancies is more extreme than normal morning sickness.  Women who experience morning sickness also need to pay special attention to their dental health. Frequent vomiting or regurgitation can lead to acid erosion of the teeth. When stomach acid frequently comes into contact with teeth, the outer enamel covering can wear down, weakening the tooth and increasing sensitivity.  After an incident of vomiting, the best thing to do is to rinse out your mouth with water or mouth wash, and avoid brushing your teeth for at least 45 minutes.   Brushing your teeth right after vomiting actually increases the rate of erosion as you are scrubbing the acid into your teeth.

Many pregnant women, particularly those pregnant with more than one, also experience nausea or an increased gag reflex, making it difficult to take proper care of her teeth/gums.  Using non-foaming toothpaste often helps (i.e. no sodium laurel sulphate– these toothpastes may be hard to find, try looking in health or naturopathic stores, or online.  Some examples of brands are: Tom’s of Maine, Therabreath, the Natural Dentist, Nature’s Gate, CloSYS, Squigle, Sapphire Toothpaste ), as well as leaning over the sink while brushing your teeth, allowing the toothpaste to drain out of your mouth instead of building up.  (Yes, this becomes a bit tricky towards the end of the second and into the third trimester, when your belly is full of big babies!)  Other women may find it helpful to take a deep breath and then hold it while brushing the teeth at the back of the mouth. Using a smaller toothbrush, as well as using floss holders may also help.

So why is gum health so important during pregnancy? Scientific studies have found women with severe gum disease are seven times more likely to have pre-term, low birth-weight babies. This is due to the labour-inducing hormone called progesterone, which is present in oral bacteria.  When your gums are unhealthy, the bacteria in your mouth can enter your blood stream, increasing the circulating progesterone. This becomes especially significant for women pregnant with multiples, as they are often already at risk for pre-term labour.

Seeing your dental hygienist for regular dental cleanings can help you have a healthy pregnancy. She will give you advice and guidance for your specific situation. She will also teach you important preventative tips for your growing family.

Erica King, RDH

www.ericasmobilesmiles.ca

In Search of Mary Poppins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Nannies, Parenting | Posted on 12-07-2010

We have our first guest blogger! This one comes from Janet MacDonald, president of Optimum Childcare and Nannies. Hope you enjoy!

Many parents become overwhelmed when recruiting and screening nannies. Often this leads them to rely on a stereotypical idea of what makes the perfect nanny. But even though Mary Poppins may seem to have a lot to offer, parents require more that a spoon full of sugar and a song to meet their expectations. Read the rest of this entry »