A Common Topic Amongst Mommy Bloggers

When I decided to blog about my experiences as a first time mother to twins, I tried to define the goals of my blogging. I wanted my blog to be a source of decent information and tips for any mother-to-be. I promised myself that I will not stray from my lofty goals. Great aspirations except (like anyone in the vicinity of a baby will tell you), bodily fluids are a big part of motherhood and sooner or later - no matter how hard you try - you're gonna end up making some reference to bodily fluids on your blog.

And that is the position that I find myself this morning. Where else can I find an audience that will understand that for the first time in ten years, I wore a dress to work. 1 day out of the 3743 days that I have worked with this employer, I wore a dress. AND this is the one morning, that my child; this child that is by all accounts a little girl, decides to pee like a boy once I took her diaper off. I shoulda known she was up to something when she looked quizzically at my dress like
"Where are your favorite black pants mummy?"
"Well baby, I took them to the drycleaners to get rid of the snot + peas mix that you generously spat at me last week instead of just saying you were done"
"But mummy, you can still wear your nice blouse!"
"No honey, I can't. Umm, remember when I gave y'alls the egg yolk in the morning?"
"Yets mommy, I didn't really wike it"
"I know dear, but Sugar did. She really wiked it. And she ate it. And she gave it back to mommy in the evening. Like a picasso painting on my blouse"
"Oh, I wemember. Eeeeew! baaaarrrrrrfffff!" *Spits up*
"Darling, all you've had this morning is milk. Why are there streaks of orange in your spit up? At least the white woulda blended in! Anyway, lets go change out diapy..." Innocently naive mommy says as she walks towards the changing table unaware of the arsenal a little Spice has hidden in her undies

So yes, I have tried to do it with a delicate hand but it had to be done. I have become another mommy blogger posting about poop, pee and other bodily fluids that babies are so generously endowed with.

PS: I'm still wearing the dress to work! *Snap*

Note to self: What a little boy can do, a little girl can do with equal precision

Tricks for Making Baby Food

I've been making baby food for the twins for a while now, but I can't say it's something that comes to me naturally. It's been a learning curve but I'm gradually building an arsenal of tricks to keep the momentum going. Here's my list of tricks and tips which I'll be linking up to Amanda's top ten Tuesday
  1. Preparation - Use the freezer aisle of the grocery store. Just because it's homemade baby food doesn't mean it has to be made from scratch. This works especially well for peas. I recently bought a big bag of organic frozen veggies from Costco to make into puree.
  2. Preparation - Buy precut foods from the grocery store. The girls loved their mango baby food but I cringed at the idea of peeling and cutting mangos so I was super-excited to see precut mangoes at Wholefoods. I bought the package, tasted half of it and pureed the other half for baby food
  3. Preparation - Applesauce. Apples go with almost everything that a baby can eat but again peeling all those apples is a hassle. I got the idea from wholesomebabyfood to buy adult natural applesauce. Same contents as the baby jar
  4. Combining Proteins - First time I made pureed chicken, the ladies gagged a few times so I changed tactics. Now I boil the chicken with mixed vegetables and puree. This eases them into the taste and also means I don't need to combine cubes later on
  5. Food combinations - Speaking of combining, I get ideas for food combinations from the commercial baby foods. I check the list of ingredients and try to replicate
  6. Food combination - Replicate an adult meal. Another idea is to replicate combinations that most adults have as meals like beans and rice, chicken and veggies, oats and fruit etc. This is really going to help me as I introduce them to Nigerian foods in August
  7. Food combination - I've also read a few books and blogs for ideas on combination. Most Annabel Karmel books are good for this
  8. Texture - This is one area where reading could not help me. I needed to see for myself, so I buy a few packages of the commercial food to see exactly what "lumpy" food looks like
  9. Treats and bribes - They are nights when Spice is too tired to want to eat. (She's more of a big breakfast lady). On those nights I give her frozen pureed fruits or yoghurt in a mesh feeder. She loves it. She's never too tired to eat that and it means she still gets dinner so works for me.
  10. Cleaning the mesh feeder - First of all, no bananas ever again in that thing. Last night I soaked the meshes in vinegar and so far so good, seems to be helping
There you have it. Those are some of the tricks that stop me from falling off the wagon of making my own baby food.

Food Snobbery

When I was younger, I used to have a theory that everyone thought their mother's cooking was the best. I'm no Paula Deen in the kitchen so one of the things I've been looking forward to with my children is hearing them boast about my cooking "My mom makes the best boiled eggs ever!". Tell it like it is baby. 

My dreams got an uppercut in the chin yesterday. You know I've been making baby food for the girls to take to daycare. The normal schedule is 3-4oz in the morning and 2-3oz for lunch. However, I did have a small stockpile of commercial baby food which I decided to use up. With that in mind, each girl took a 4oz pouch of breakfast baby food and a 4oz jar of lunch baby food to daycare yesterday. I included a note telling their care provider that they would only take 2oz from the jar and to store the leftovers in the refrigerator. You can only imagine my shock when I picked them up and was informed that they not only ate everything up, they seemed to want more.

Are these girls trying to tell me that Earth's Best Spinach and Potatoes tastes better than mommy's chicken with peas, carrots, corn and green beans? Did they get the memo of loving mommy's cooking? Is this a male thing - this love for mommy's cooking? Because if it is, I'm going to get me a son or two because I'm not going down like this! 

PS: In revenge I gave them jarred carrot and tomatoes for today's lunch. Let's see how you like that girls!

Moving Babies to Convertible Seats

I'm messing with the idea of moving the girls to their convertible seats soon - still rear facing. They have not outgrown their infant seats yet but I have just one base for each seat. Instead of buying spare bases, why not just buy the next seats and keep them is Daddy's car so in case of an emergency, both cars are equipped to carry the babies.

It's still an idea floating in my head though. Here's a list of the websites with good information to help with choosing the right convertible car seats for babies

Buy Diapers in Bulk Online and Cheap

With twins, I'm always on the lookout for ways to save money on diapers and the best thing for me has been to buy our diapers online. I've had membership of Sams Club and Costco at different times in the last 3 years, but I still buy a lot of things in bulk through Amazon's Subscribe and Save program. Here's why

Costco's own brand diapers at $.18 per diaper delivered
Pampers Baby Dry from Amazon at $0.14 per diaper delivered (and I still get to use a $1.50 off coupon)
You can't buy diapers any cheaper than that. If you have twins or just need to save money on bulk diapers, I recommend buying from Amazon. You can click on the picture in the sidebar to join the Amazon Mom program and get special discounts on diapers and baby care items.

(Not) Cloth diapering Twins

Remember way back when I dabbled around with the idea of using cloth diapers at nights and on weekends for my twins? Well I took the plunge and... there was no water in the swimming pool. Considering how a lot of cloth diapering mamas online wax poetically about how great it's been, I'm hesitant to share my experience. However, the spirit of honesty and full disclosure compels me so here's how it all went down

  1. Prepping. Cloth diapers need to be prepared by washing up to six times to get to full absorbency and on some of the forums, I've read 10 times for the hemp diapers I bought. As I was on a goal of doing baby laundry not more than twice a week, prepping took me right about one month. It didn't make sense to run up an electricity bill for the "cheaper" diapering option
  2. Before the babies came, I switched detergents to Tide free and clear so I could use just one detergent for all the family laundry. Apparently Tide free and clear is not really good for cloth diapers and the  special detergent is waaaaay too expensive for family laundry
  3. Night time diapering is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cloth diapers. Most recommendations are to stuff the diaper with up to 4 layers of absorbency. That makes for a very hot tushie. Hot tushie = ammonia burns, diaper rash, yeast. I'm not messing with any of those
  4. First weekend in cloth diapers ended with tell-tale redness in Spice's diaper area for the first time ever. Granted, it could have been a coincidence, it could have been the tomato or mango baby food but still, it happened.
  5. I remained undeterred. Still tried the diapers for a few nights. First night in the Grovias, I was bathing Sugar when I heard Spice screaming blue murder in her crib - you know that girl can bellow right?! I pick her up and she's leaked right out of a diaper I just put on 20 minutes before. I changed clothes and sheets and concluded maybe I put the diaper on backwards, or I hadn't washed it enough times to reach full absorbency. Still I persevered
  6. First Saturday in diapers, Daddy said "Are these the nappies you were talking about" Me:"Yes" Daddy: "It makes them look like bugs". Me: "Bugs as in flies and spiders?" Daddy: "No. As in bugs with big backs". Okaaaay!
  7. I have a high-efficiency washing machine. High efficiency = little water used = Not enough water to wash cloth diapers in
  8. Tried the dry pail method with overnight diaper, then washed it in my HE washing machine complete with pre-wash and extra rinse cycle. Came out of the dryer smelling exactly the same way it smelled before washing
  9. My cloth diapers needed an additional drying cycle. Line drying is not an option in my apartment complex
  10. Honestly, cloth diapers are not comparable alternative to disposables and that's just it.
It actually took using cloth diapers to make me appreciate the depth of technology that has gone into making disposables as trim, absorbent and dry as they are. The chemical engineer in me tips off her hat. I feel so un-green and un-crunchy writing this post, but I can't help it: Cloth diapers are not for me right now. I still reserve the right to change my mind in the future though.

I shall seek redemption by linking up to Amanda and reading from some of the marvellous mamas in her linkup

Eight Months Old Twins

I wish I could say something less cliche than "Time Flies" but I can't. Time really does fly. Childhood really needs to be cherished I tell you

SpIce aka Twin A
Weight             18lbs 5oz 
Dress size        6 - 9 months
Diaper size       Size 3 

Sugar aka Twin B

Weight             16lbs 14oz
Dress size        6 - 9 months
Diaper size       Size 3

No major change to the schedule except the girls are sleeping longer before waking up for their early morning bottle now around 6am. Breakfast is  still 4oz of solids at 8:30am in the daycare. Lunch is 8oz bottle of formula followed by 2-3oz of chicken and veggies around 1130. Afternoon snack is a 8oz bottle at 330 PM and dinner is 8oz bottle plus 1oz solids at 600pm.

This is the month I introduced the girls to proteins - yoghurt, egg yolk, chicken and spices. I confess, the chicken is the only protein I'm feeling right now. The yoghurt seems to give Sugar excessive BM. For the coming month, I'm planning to introduce them to Nigerian foods and flavours and lumpier textures.

Top Gear - My fave 5 
Orthodontic pacifiers that glow in the dark - What would mama do without these?

Our new playarea 

Our drum - The root cause of many a baby squabble

Oster Blend-N-Go Cup - Still making perfect purees

Take and toss bowls for daycare

Three days ago, Sugar started army crawling (and my life will never be the same again :) ). Also, both girls can sit unsupported for longer periods of time now and there's no mistaking, mama's in the house

Sugar & Spice Chronicles: Rock and Roll Edition

I've always wanted twins (triplets actually but when I came to the US and saw how fearsome kiddie tantrums can be, I dropped my expectations a notch).  I dreamt of having identical twins who would be polar opposites personality-wise or fraternal twins who would be extremely similar personality-wise. As luck will have it, I have neither. I have fraternal twins who are really, really different in patterns and behaviour and the analytical part of me just takes a lot of delight in their differences despite emerging from the same DNA pool.  

So what am I going to wax lyrical about today? It's the subject of motion or rather attempts at motion. The girls are both at the stage where they are very mobile without actually being able to crawl or walk. 

On the one hand, there's Spice - she's my rolling baby. She can roll her way from San Fransisco to Atlanta with a stop in Detroit without batting an eyelid. Seriously! The child is so comfortable getting around by rolling that  I suspect she's going to skip the crawling phase and just start walking.

Then there's my rocker baby. Ms Sugar has finally figured out the business of getting on all fours. All well and good except she doesn't know what to do next to get her little body to move. Her mind (and grunts) are willing her body to move but all she gets is a rocking on the spot motion and no actual movement.
So yes, until something changes, I have rock and roll babies in the house.

Choosing Drinking Water for Infants

Let's start from the beginning shall we. At my first visit to the pediatrician, I asked about giving the girls bottled water and he nixed that idea and recommended "distilled water". My sister (who happens to be a pediatrician too - shout out sis, muaaah!) also talked up nursery water. That's how I found myself lugging  gallons of distilled water every other day from store to car and up the stairs to house. I have since used the following brands - Nursery water, Gerber and Walmart's. As the girls are clocking 8 months, I've been considering making a switch to boiled and filtered tap water but I'd also heard some rumblings about fluoride so I need to put on my researcher's cap.

Fluoride in baby's drinking water
Do babies need fluoride in their drinking water? Not before 6 months
What if the drinking water has fluoride? According to the dentists and pediatricians, it increases the risk of enamel fluorosis. This applies to babies taking their formula in the form of powder plus water.

Here's the kicker - Nursery water has added fluoride but Gerber and Walmart's Great Value water do not. What does this mean to me? Well, if there was an issue with fluoride supplemented water for babies under 6 months old, I've already passed that stage and yes my girls have had a LOT of Nursery water. I am going to have faith that if it was a big deal, the FDA would have said something right? I hope so.

Running the numbers
Nursery water states that their water has 0.7ppm or less of fluoride
0.7ppm = 0.7mg of fluoride in 1 liter of water
For a baby taking formula made with 30oz of nursery water daily, that's 0.62mg of fluoride being injested daily
The CDC recommendation is a tolerable daily upper limit of 0.7mg of fluoride for babies under 16lbs/6months.
Skating the edge a little wouldn't you say? 

The summary? 1-I am switching to filtered and boiled tap water after I check the stats on my county's water supply. 2-An educated parent is a child's second most valuable safety net (the first of course is the covering grace of God). 3-I ain't a doctor.

Further Reading and Resources
Clinical study from the ADA (Really long and techie)

Best Playpen for Twins

The typical playpens are too small for two babies or toddlers to play in. If you're looking for the best play pen or play area for your twins, you have to be innovative. This is what I recommend.

  1. Gated Super Play Yard - All the twin moms seemed to unanimously recommend this gate over a conventional play yard / pack and play. One good thing is it has extensions that can be bought and added as the babies grow older and need more room. I purchased mine with 2 additional extensions so that the babies had a bigger play area. (Click the pictures above for size and specs)
  2. Rainbow Interlocking Foam Mats : These were the thickest foam mats I could find and I also like the lack of any specific cartoon character. I emphasize the thickness because a playmat that's too thin will not adequately cushion the baby from trips and falls. These ones made by eWonderWorld are over half an inch in thickness and I've been using them for over two years. The foam is still firm and it's in like-new condition. Definitely a well-made and long-lasting foam mat. 
  3. Boxes to store the smaller toys
As the twins grow older, the gate can be used to cordon off areas of the house you would like to keep them out of e.g around the television or Christmas tree. You can then switch to an arrangement similar to the one shown below.

Play area for toddler twins
All the items listed above can be purchased from Amazon.com by clicking here. 

While you're looking, feel free to check out my other posts on best diaper bag for twins, best playmat for twin babies and how to shop cheaply for twins

Baby Feeding Schedule and Log

Lessons Learnt from Maintaining a Feeding Log for Twins

I maintained a feeding log for my twin girls schedule from when they were a month old till around 4 months old. I used the Baby ESP app (the only app I've ever paid for)and I also used a modified paper version of this log (yes, I designed my own excel spreadsheet).

Note, if keeping a log is hard work, other options for tracking your twins' feeding are the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer (click link for more information) and Nursing bracelet

I learnt a lot about how to design a feeding schedule for babies from the logs and cannot over-emphasize the usefulness of keeping a log for baby scheduling. Here's a run down of what I learnt
  1. Babies are born with an internal clock. I fed on demand for a while and used that time to observe the twins' eating habits. They ate at different times, but from the logs I was able to pick the best times to feed them both and I started them on a feeding schedule
  2. Babies know how much food they need in a day and they WILL get it. With the schedules, I noticed that within a 24 hour period and without fail, the girls always ate the same volume. They were accurate to the ounce. When they wanted 24oz of milk, they got it. It didn't matter if it was 12 bottles of 2oz or 6 bottles of 4oz; so I always aimed at increasing their bottles to whatever holds their tummys for 3-4 hours. That's how we went from 8 bottles every 3 hours to 4 bottles every 3-4 waking hours.
  3. Speaking of waking hours, from #2, I figured that if babies get their daily calorie requirement in the daytime, they would sleep through the night. The issue is for a while, they are not physically able to take all that formula in during the day. When their bodies were developed enough to hold ~28oz of milk from daytime bottles, they started sleeping through the night. (This point for both babies came when they were around 14lbs in body weight and 4-5 months old)
  4. From #3, I figured that when my babies start waking up at night and not back to sleep an hour later and are fussy even with a pacifier on hand, they're hungry. I feed them and I also realise that it's time to increase the daytime calories again.
Why am I posting about this? Well, both girls have been living up to #4 now so I know it's time to get some more solids in those little tummys so mommy can get some semi-interrupted sleep.

Please note that this is what I've observed from my babies. All babies are different so... that's my disclaimer right there. 

First syllables

The twincesses have been saying mama and dada for a couple of weeks now and I am firmly convinced that they are knowingly referring to us because
  1. It’s 1am in the morning and I can’t find my paci – call mama
  2. It’s 2am in the morning and I lost  my paci again – call mama
  3. It’s 3am in the morning and I rolled over onto my tummy and don’t know how to get my head down on the mattress – call mama
  4. Sugar took my toy and won’t give it back – call mama
  5. I didn’t finish my dinner, it’s 4am and I’m hungry – call mama
  6. I got my foot stuck in the crib slats – whimper mama
  7. I see my bottle and it’s got milk in it and it’s not coming towards me – scream mama
  8. Mama’s coming towards me with the nasal aspirator – yell dada
  9. Mama has me pinned down and is putting this eyedrop thing in my eyes – call dada
  10. It’s 7am on a Saturday and we want to get out of these cribs and play – you call mama, I’ll call dada and we’ll see who answers first

Dem girls know what they're talking about I tell you. I linked up with Amanda's top ten Tuesday. Check out some other great lists of ten over there

Our adoring aunty was kind enough to nominate us for Best Parenting blog by a Nigerian. Would you be kind enough to vote for us here. Thank you and muuuah!

First Vacation with Twins

So, we finally took our first vacation as a family of four. I looked forward to it with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Both feelings were justified. Here's a recap of the good, the bad and the ugly sides of our first family vacation with twins.

The Good (Smart mama moves)
  • Opting for a 3 hour roadtrip. That way our luggage was not limited
  • Making the hotel booking online and then calling the reservation manager of the hotel to request two cribs. I actually called to change our booking from one night to two. I had originally booked a suite but for two nights, we could only afford a double room so that's what we changed to. During the conversation, I mentioned to the manager that I needed two cribs as I had twins.
  • Confirming from the hotel that their cribs were actually pack n plays
  • Buying and packing my own pack n play sheets.
  • Travelling after the girls bedtime. Nice quiet ride
  • Choosing a hotel with restaurants and  attractions within walking distance (That way, after babies were in bed, mommy could stroll and enjoy the sights)
  • Getting an upgrade from our hotel without asking. They kept us in the junior suite for the price of the double room. Awesome.
  • Changing room and mother's room at Seaworld
  • Plenty of people held doors open for us on sighting the double stroller
  • In two days, came across 5 twin related people - The elderly hotel housekeeper who brought the cribs was an identical twin, met a set of twin brothers and their spouses in The Gap, mom of twin boys behind me in line at Seaworld, dad of twins runs across store to help open the door, another mom of twins does a similar thing. Really nice meeting all those people
The Bad
  • After a phonecall and confirmation while checking in, still got to our hotel room and there were no cribs. Girls spent the night on a pallet I made by tucking blankets into our pack and play sheets. The cribs did show up in the morning though
  • Going to Seaworld with our stroller. Everytime we stroller-parked, I had nightmares of not finding the stroller when we got back. Next time, a $20 umbrella stroller is the place to go.
The Ugly (I'd like to forget)
  • Taking 7 month old babies to Seaworld. They were too young to appreciate the shows or rides, and mama did not appreciate the $60 admission fee, the lines or the food
  • Driving back in the daytime. Babies have limited tolerance for car confinement.
I'm glad I packed: Ready to feed formula, pacifier with clip, quilted pack N play sheet , lotion with sunscreen

I wish I had packed: a travel seat, some sort of travel bath tub, stroller toys
Our adoring aunty was kind enough to nominate us for Best Parenting blog. Would you be kind enough to vote for us here. Thank you and muuuah!

Baby-Related Recalls for May 2011

Ever since I downloaded the Recalls.gov app on my phone, I make it a point of duty to check the recalls monthly and make sure there's nothing we have / own that's been recalled. For the month of May, here's a listing of kid-related items being recalled
  1. Kahn Enterprises Beeni Baby Hats (Baby hats with a pacifier attached. Great concept if not for the asphyixiation risk)
  2. TJX Companies Emma's Garden Polka-Dot girl's dresses
  3. Target Circo Child Booster Seats
  4. Big Lots Metal Futon Bunk Beds
  5. Gamma Sports quick kids junior tennis racquets
  6. Target Circo Aloma Infant Girls Sandals
  7. Britax B-Nimble umbrella strollers
  8. Adventure playset Bellevue, Bellevue II wooden swing sets
  9. Sage Creek Organics enchanted forest, forest friends, Golden Dragonfly children's sleepwear
Our adoring aunty nominated us for Best Parenting blog by a Nigerian. Please vote for us here. Thank you and muuuah!

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