A practical guide to escaping the house with your (young) twins!

Oh my god! Have you looked outside? It’s hiking season! And if it isn’t hiking season where you are, it will be soon! The photo is my first hike of the season! And that is my son and husband. Where are the babies? I am wearing them of course! And that makes all the difference.  As twin moms, many basic tasks, are no longer basic. Simpy loading our children in the car could require us to break laws (like leaving a child in a car, or having to leave a child on a side walk to get first child in the car), things many moms, and social justice warriors simply don’t under stand.

My twins are almost a year. That means, at this point, I have seen a small span of developmental changes in my girls, and trying to get out. And would you believe it, I think that getting out when they were newborns was easier??   Let me tell you my credentials: I live in the middle of no where. A trip to the store means a thirty minute drive. A trip to the city means a three hour drive. So I am accustom to road trips alone with my girls. My husband is a farmer. I had my twins in the summer, so I did the first months of their lives essentially alone. Well, I had the help of my eight year old, which is more help than you’d think, but comes with it’s own issues. I had my husband home all winter, but that sure isn’t the time to get out and about. Especially not here where it gets to be negative thirty on a normal basis. The cold was the hardest thing to deal with. So I will make sure I touch on that. I love hiking and running around and getting out really truly helps depression. When the girls were nine weeks old I went on this vacation with them alone. And I went on a hike through a cavern with a 1000 ft increase and decrease while ducking under ceilings and scooting through small openings. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am so proud I did it. I probably would have passed out if it were not for the sheer will of showing the people around me that I could do this, and I hadn’t fucked up by choosing to go on this hike.

With my first child I thought I was damned to a stroller. I had no clue how to get out like I wanted to. But I did master going to the store. He didn’t like his car seat, so I carried him every where. My twins don’t like their car seats either, and I have never gotten away with leaving them in the car seat on a trip to the store. With my first I was gifted a carrier, but I didn’t know how to use it, and while it was nice, I don’t think (knowing what I know now) that it was very practical. So lets talk about that stroller first. Does your car really have room for it? Is it going to go every where you want? Are your twins going to let you leave them in the damn thing? Mine didn’t. When I was pregnant a mom asked me if I was going to baby wear. I laughed. and laughed and laughed, and frankly I was a smart ass in my answer to her.

But at six weeks we had a party in the mountains. And I could not figure out how we would go.. how would I hold them both and not be miserable? And that was when I ordered my stretchy wrap. I remember waiting for it to show up took about as long as waiting for the last week of pregnancy to end. I watched you tube videos, I packed the angry babies in it, extremely poorly I might add, I practiced twice. And then I went to the party. And it was glorious. I was hooked from then on. Now, I have huge boobs, and that means my back isn’t the best. I was a care taker and CNA for many years, my body is worn. And of course, still recovering from the hell that is carrying twins to term. But it simply isn’t that bad. Especially with the pay off of being free that comes with it.  There are so many situations where you just can’t get by with a double stroller or packing two car seats around.  It makes shopping so much easier.

So lets talk about carriers for a second. Woven wraps are amazing, but hot, they are great after you get the hang of them. They last much longer than a stretchy wrap. If you want to try these you will need to start with a size 8. The stretchy wraps only work until your babies are 25 pounds combined. Which might last you a while (in my case it lasted up till 8 months), or it might not. But they pay off to the short life is that they are more user friendly. If you mess it up, you probably won’t drop your baby. I once went shopping with a baby not supported in it at all, and I didn’t know until I was pulling her out. And that, and that alone, is why I love the stretchy wraps. Yes it takes time to put it on, but a three minute dance where you look like you are dressing up as a jedi (and the weird looks when you tell people that you are, in fact, dressing up as a jedi) are worth the pay off of hands free shopping, hiking, playing.  You can use two ring slings but the rings some times rub when you double up on them. Now, after the babies can sit unassited you can switch to the twingaroo or the twingo. I have the twingaroo and I love it. It is much cheaper. You can also use a woven and learn the ruck ties to place a baby on your back. If you have small babies the woven is a good idea because the soft structured carriers can harm a small baby if the baby isn’t fitted properly.

In the twingaroo I take a small baby blanket and roll it and jam it in. Swing the baby over my shoulder and then double check the baby in the reflection in the car window. Now lets get away from carriers.

What if the babies need changed? My answer here is the same in the woods as it is at the store. Do it in the car. This is much easier when the babies can’t roll. Before they can roll you can stick two babies in the drivers seat laying down and change them next to each other. After they can roll you have to do it one at a time. You can leave the baby you are not changing in the car seat, or if your car is clean (mine is not) on your floor boards with your parking break on. If you are in the woods you can also set them down by your feet and watch them to make sure they don’t eat a rock. Leaves pull out of baby mouths pretty easy by the way. You can also use the trunk of your car or suv.  But doing it where people can’t see or “help” you really helps.  It’s probably ok to put a baby down in the woods, it is probably not ok to put them down on the bathroom floor near a changing table.

Are you breast feeding? Have those babies in the drivers seat? Pull out the titties while standing outside of the car. Scoop the babies up and sit. Lean your seat back so you are supported. It’s actually more comfortable than most nursing positions on a couch!  When the babies are between one to two months old they can start sitting on your thighs while you lay back. Until then you just have to lay back far enough that you can tolerate holding them.  And of course, if you are in the great outdoors, and not a parking lot, the best part of nature is getting to pull your titties out where ever and no one cares!

DOn’t want to pack that diaper bag around? Good, I don’t. I have one that would last me a few days if I had to live out of it. I leave it in the car. Since I do most of my baby related tasks in the car, it’s safe there. And unless a baby is shitting down my shoulder, I am not changing the angel I am packing around. I didn’t with my son, and I don’t now. And it has never caused an issue. No shame in walking to the car with a shitty baby. Just like there is no shame leaving the car with a baby covered in puke to go change them in the gas station.

How about the cold? UGH I don’t want to think about the cold right now! It was so cold one day, and my husband was sleeping. I had told him that I just couldn’t figure out how to go to the store in the cold with the girls, because I couldn’t put them on me out side of the car. Well… the second I said “I don’t think I can” I decided I would. Because fuck me. Seriously. So off I went. The girls fell asleep. I packed in both car seats. It was miserable. One woke up. SO here I am pushing two shopping carts, one with a sleeping baby, and one with an empty car seat and me carrying a baby. Mid way through the trip the girls were both awake and I pulled out my trusty wrap.  I asked two walmart employees if I could leave the car seats and carts with them, they were happy to help me. See, we are celebrities (or so my husband says), every one knows us. The regulars at the store who might eventually stop asking you about the twins. The workers who scold you when you come in alone. They see us, and they know us. And while they don’t understand a damn bit of the struggle we go through, they are always happy to help. In the extreme cold I bring the babies in in car seats, and I leave the car seats at customer service.  And off I go.   By the way, sams club has carts with two baby seats in the front. I honestly only shop there for that reason.

I hope this helps some one some where. I hope it explains some of the things I see moms struggle with. Remember moms, we are amazing. And nothing, not even angry twins, can stop us.

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