Twins of the month: Josh and Sam

89ec779f-07e1-4648-a9e8-62afb346c5c1This month we meet our Chair Jo Humphrey’s twins Josh and Sam

Twins’ Names: Josh and Sam

Age: 4 years

Birthday: October 2nd.  This was literally the only date in September and October that hadn’t been taken in the office sweepstake so the money was given to us. Good work boys!!!

Identical or fraternal: Fraternal

Favourite activity: Anything physical. They are real Duracell boys – they keep going and keep going and keep going……

A bit about Mum & Dad…Mum trained as a classical musician but eventually worked in Sports Tour Operating. Dad trained in IT and runs his own apple support company.

Buggy? Started off with the Baby Jogger City Select as we wanted a tandem where both children had good views. Really like that there were a variety of configurations and found it very useful that car seats could be attached to it as well. When they got to nearly 2 years old we also got a Baby Jogger City Mini as this was easier to fold and took up less room in the boot of the car. At this age it didn’t need to work with car seats anymore and it didn’t matter that it was a side by side so didn’t fit through the house door. However if we were making this decision now I would choose the Mountain Buggy Duet as they have improved it so much in recent years I personally think it’s the best buggy on the market.

Car? Nissan Qashqai. What I love about this car is that it has proved to be big enough inside to easily fit a double buggy in the boot (in fact once I actually got 2 double buggies in the boot) but also there was enough space in the back seat area to allow us to choose to go with rear facing car seats until they were 3 years old.

Help or not? Sadly we didn’t have any family in the area that could help. We tried to do it pretty much all by ourselves for the first 3 months but it was exhausting. After that we managed to get help once a week from a Homestart Volunteer. In general I felt I was coping well with the daytimes but Sam in particular was very small and he had bad reflux so the nights were pretty brutal. So instead of additional daytime help we decided to have a night nanny 2 nights a week. She would arrive at 10pm and stay until 6am and as I was bottle-feeding it meant that I could get a solid 8 hours sleep. This was invaluable as it helped me re-charge my batteries so I could cope with the other nights and still have energy for the daytimes too.

Quick tip for other twin/triplet mums? Try and get out of the house as much as possible. As daunting as it may seem I always felt better after making the effort. The days I stayed at home and didn’t see anybody were the worst.  To help with this I made sure that as well as a twin mum network I had a group of mummy friends who had just the one baby. This gave me the confidence to go out more as usually at least one of the singleton babies would be sleeping so if both mine were awake and demanding attention at the same time there was always an extra pair of hands to help out.

What advice would you give your pre-twins/triplets (pregnant) self?  If you can afford to do so try and stop work as early as possible. I worked up until 36 weeks and went into labour when I was still working. This meant that I had zero relaxation time before the babies arrived and having not stopped now for 4 years I yearn for those missed couple of weeks where I could have put my feet up.

What advice would you give about sleep training?  There is always going to be a period of time where disturbed nights are to be expected. However once the babies are over 3 months AND a decent weight then start looking at sleep training if they have not naturally started sleeping longer in the night. We left it far too long (14 months) and were exhausted and desperate by the time we got help. There are lots of different methods out there and the choice of how you do it will vary from child to child but if it turns out (as in the case of Sam) that a harsh method is required don’t shy away from it. We ended up using the cry it out method, which is heartbreaking to do and can be much criticized in various mums forums. However it’s what Sam needed and we went from waking 3-4 times per night to sleeping through in 10 nights (huge improvement after just 3 nights) and we have never looked back. We ended up with happier parents and quite frankly a happier child as we were not all utterly exhausted.

What advice would you give about breast/bottle feeding?  The most important advice I can give is that you must do what works for you and what is right for your family. Don’t allow anybody to pressurize you into one decision or the other. I ended up exclusively bottle feeding as I wasn’t really producing much milk and it simply wasn’t working for us. I was put under quite a lot of pressure to breastfeed and made to feel inadequate because in the end I chose not to. I wish I’d had the confidence to ignore those who were being judgmental.

Do you have any advice on weaning?  It’s not as scary as it seems. I remember spending hours reading books on the subject and mentally preparing myself to give it a go. For some reason I found the idea rather daunting. Hilariously Mike, who hadn’t read up on it at all, got fed up with waiting for me to try it out and one day just came in with some puree and gave it to Josh who ate it all up. No drama – easy as that!! We did wean the boys at different times as Sam wasn’t ready when Josh was. I would also say that of course it’s lovely to prepare all your own food using Annabel Karmel recipes but sometimes life just gets in the way. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to fit in homemade food prep if it’s just all too much there are now good pouch options full of wholesome ingredients. We lasted a few weeks making batches of homemade puree every Sunday but then we switched to Ella’s Kitchen pouches which the boys loved and eventually we moved onto COOK children’s meals. With the COOK meals they are all very good quality and whilst their appetites are small you can share one between two, which really saves on the costs. I also found that the variety they had allowed us to introduce a wide range of food to the boys. It really helped my morale on days where they would throw it on the floor, as at least I hadn’t spent hours slaving in the kitchen to make it. Is home cooked food better – probably but anybody who has met my boys can see they are a good size for their age, solid and healthy so I guess it didn’t do them any harm!!

Do you have any advice on potty training?  Wait as long as possible before attempting it. Don’t be in a hurry to get it done. Trust me a few more months changing nappies is worth it if you then avoid the nightmare of trying to potty train before they are really ready. I know so many people who endured weeks of hell as well as several attempts and if they had waited just a little longer it would have been a better experience. I was one of the last of my group to attempt it and Sam was trained in 2 days and Josh in 4 days. My other piece of advice would be to not train them at the same time. It’s easier and quicker if you can concentrate on one at a time and also often the 2nd child will get it quicker as they’ve witnessed their sibling go through it. There were 3 months between my 2 being potty trained.

Best bargain?  The best discovery for me was 2ndhand table tops sales such as the NCT and the Mum to Mum sales. I pretty much totally dressed my 2 for the first three years of their lives from these sales and the quality of items I found was superb. The items I found were good brands, often only worn once or twice or in some cases still had the label on them!! Now they are 4 this is really no longer an option as its rare to find clothes for older children still in tip top condition.

Best thing about having twins/triplets?  Although it’s hard work I quite like the fact that I’ve only had to go through each stage once. Having seen friends be up all night with a baby and then have to be up all day entertaining a toddler is something I’m delighted I’ve not had to do. It’s also been lots of fun watching their relationship develop, and when they do chat or play together (in between the fighting) and when they tell me they are best friends it melts my heart.

Funniest thing the twins/triplets have done?  I could fill this whole newsletter with funniest things they’ve done but what I love is now that they are talking they come out with the most hilarious things. I really wish I’d kept a diary, as I know the journey so far has been an absolute blast but some of the details are already fading….

I love Twickenham Twins’ Club because…I love being part of a community of families who have experienced so many of the same unique blessings and challenges that having multiples brings. I’ve loved hearing about what to expect from those whose twins are older and I’ve equally enjoyed passing on my experiences to those whose children are younger. I’ve made some fabulous friends who I know will be here to share the journey for many years to come.