Category Archives: Tips

Beginning School

My oh my when I say time flies, it FLIES! I feel like it was just yesterday the doctor told me I was having twins and now they are officially little children entering Pre-K. Valeia was SUPER excited for the first day of school saying “Mommy I’m a big kid now!” Yes, she and her brother are now indeed “big kids” and I couldn’t be more proud of who they are becoming, while at the same time wishing time would slow down just for a little while to allow me to keep my tiny tots just a moment longer.

The night before school was filled with great excitement and confidence on the kids behalf and slight sadness and apprehension on my behalf. Why? Because even though this wasn’t my first experience beginning school with a child, it was my last. Not only was it my last time experiencing the first day of Pre-K, I also realized that this was the end of their care-free existence and now they were being inducted into adulthood (on a introductory level of course). What I mean by this is that expectations were now being placed on them and were being taught how to become productive citizens of the community by people outside of our immediate family. The small bubble placed around them was now going to be infiltrated by others with different beliefs and behaviors testing the moral foundations set by my husband and I.

From the time they could understand, my husband and I spoke encouraging words to our children, teaching them that the world is limitless and anything they strive for is within their grasp. Everyone has different experiences which shape them. I found that sometimes adults unknowingly cast their own doubt onto children making them dream killer’s instead of dream builder’s, having gone no further than their own glass ceilings. As we know peers have one of the biggest influences on decisions we make and I began to think how they would respond being placed with children who may not have come from the same type of uplifting environment.

I began to realize this thinking was not only unproductive but was the antithesis of what I believe. If my husband and I did as good job of building our children up, then they would influence their peers positively rather than allowing negativity to affect them. Their smiles would greet others with compassion and love, showing themselves friendly and willing to help the friends they meet along the way. After saying a little prayer, I felt more confidant and secure that my babies would be just fine and were two more little lights God placed in the world to shine bright in dark places.

The next morning when I watched them get on the bus, I smiled and waved watching them wave back, their little heads peeking out the window. As the bus pulled off I had tears in my eyes for they were beginning their own personal journeys. Every morning since that has been our routine. I kiss and tell them I love them and watch the bus pass and their little hands in the air waving back to me. Everyday I’m reminded that even though they are growing and learning to walk their on path, in every moment of pride and excitement, I’ll be there to wave them on.

Losing a Grandparent

One of the most dreaded days of our lives is the day you wake up knowing that one who gave you life is no longer present on earth with you. It’s a very lonely feeling that for the past 6 months I had to pray my way through. As difficult as it was (is) for me, it’s even more heart breaking to watch your children grieve after explaining to them that their “MeMe” is now an angel in heaven and will no longer be physically present for them. Even though I am coping with my own grieve of losing my mommy, my children’s feeling of loss far outweighed my own and in essence served as a way to help me find a new normal.

The day my mommy left this earth felt like a blur. It’s still very surreal to this day. Instantly, as her daughter and eldest child, I felt an obligation to make sure that the woman who gave me the best of her had a send off that would make her proud. I went into automatic drive making her arrangements alongside my dad and brother. I didn’t get the opportunity to truly process what had occurred until I had to explain my mom’s passing to my children. My oldest son, who is 10, took her loss rather hard. He understood the permanence of death. The twins on the other had a difficult time grasping the concept of my mom being gone. My husband and I explained that MeMe was now in heaven with the Lord and having taught them who God was since they could talk, they took the explanation pretty well. I had to remind them of this often, especially when we  would go to my parents house and the first question they would ask was “where’s MeMe”? Now when one of them ask of her whereabouts, the other will say “MeMe is in heaven with the Lord”. Hearing them say that makes me sad and smile all at once because though I miss her soooooo much, she has gained her place beside the Throne of God.

Grief is an unexplainable phenomenon that effects people differently. My mommy was an AMAZING woman who could bring sunshine anywhere she went by her bright smile. I choose to cherish her memory by wearing that same smile on my face to bring happiness to those around me. She taught me so much, and to me it would be a disgrace to her life to be anything but jovial. I look at my children everyday and smile knowing not only how much I love them, but how much she loved them. I thank God for the copious amounts of photos I took or the beautiful cards she would write just to remind them they were loved. These memories will forever serve as a testament of her unconditional love.

Losing my mother was a experience that no amount of time could have gotten me ready for, but it’s the not-so-good part of life. I believe occurrences such as this is where the adage “live each moment to the fullest” came from because no amount of time of earth is guaranteed. My mommy truly lived like this and touched many people while doing so, one of which was mine. She will always be the brightest light that radiates from my soul and I am forever grateful to God that he chose me to be her daughter. 💗

                           I Listened

I listened when you said “baby always make time pray”

I listened when you said “I know He’ll make a way”

I listened when you said “because of Him I live”

I listened when you said “you were the best of me I could give” 

I listened when you said “trouble doesn’t last always”

I listened when you said “hold your head high and articulate what you have to say”

I listened when you said “sorrow only last a night”

I listened when you said “but joy comes in the morning light”

I listened when you said “baby girl you must be smart”

I listened when you said “you will always be my heart”

I listened when you said “I might not be here throughout all your days”                                       

I listened when you said “but I gave you my love that will last always”

-Virronica Dixson

Knowing your Limits

As almost every parent in the world with children know that sometimes you reach your 100 Fahrenheit, also known as your boiling point. Depending on the day, your demeanor and how you deal with stress, some people hit this point sooner than others. With the dynamite duo, they sometimes tend to work together to help me get there faster than when it was just our eldest son. None the less, as fast as they can aggravate is as quickly as they can entertain and turn my day right back around and continue to cloud nine.

How to prevent yourself from becoming enraged? Know when enough is enough! Before you go off the wall like Michael Jackson and ring the alarm like Beyonce (two of my favorite artists), give yourself a time out whether thats putting on headphones so you don’t hear the noise while being in the midst of chaos or just taking a 15 second mental potty break. Look at yourself in the mirror and remember that you were made for this and dig in and reach for that supermom power that all mothers have and conquer the situation like the Olympic champion you are. Now depending on the circumstance, you might not be a gold medalist (meaning you kept cool and calm through the entire ordeal) but maybe you finish with a silver (lost your marbles a little but got them back) or even bronze (took a while but your calm because they are now in bed and you finished your first glass of wine). However it happened, you and your tiny tots made it safely through the day and some days that’s all we can ask for.

 

Two is for Teaching

Most people call it “the terrible two’s” but I think it should be called “the teachable two’s”. This is the age that learning is at it’s pinnacle and when modeling can become habit if you take the time to teach your tots.

Potty training of course is a huge milestone that most two year old’s achieve but what about the development of good habits such as making the bed, cleaning up after meals, picking up toys when they’re done playing, or the biggest of them all, manners? I say why not get a head start.

Once my tiny tots began to talk, my husband and I began teaching them to say “please” when making requests and “thank you” once the request was fulfilled. This soon became habitual requiring very like effort on our part. Now that their vocabulary has expanded, we’re teaching them proper grammer while speaking such as saying “she hit me” instead of “her hit me.” Correction now leads to instinct later.

My tiny tots, especially my daughter, took interest in assisting me with household chores. They watched me vacuum, sweep, mop and wipe down causing them to reciprocate the same behavior. When crumbs are on the floor, they ask if they can help me vacuum. I let them because in a few years chores won’t be a foreign concept but one that they have already become familiarized.

Getting dressed is a huge part of their independence, one that requires patience from you. By 2 my daughter could put on her own clothes because she desired to be independent, my son on the other hand could do the same but it required more patience on my part to help him learn. Dressing is important especially when potty training. They should be accustomed to pulling on and off their pants or it will just make potty training all the harder.

Teaching begins in the house hold NOT at school. By 1, my dynamic duo could not only site their alphabet but also could name their body parts. Their grandmother, who has been a child care provider for 25 years, also assisted in helping them with their shapes and colors. You’d be surprised how simply saying “May you hand me the black square pillow please?” can subconsciously teach them manners, shapes and colors without much effort.

Your tiny tots are sponges and can learn almost anything effortlessly. This even mean they can pick up on bad habits of yours being their primary role model. They are a reflection of how you act and soeak. If you use profanity often, don’t be surprised if they pick it up and use a few choice words, correctly might I add.

Learning is fundamental so make it fun and you’ll see them blossom into marvelous little beings.

Double Care

There is no better feeling than to see the babies you’ve given birth to interact with the wonderful  people who gave birth to you. There is an irreplaceable love that instantly forms from the moment they gaze into one another eyes.  So what happens when you need to become caregiver of not only your kids but your parents too? What I would suggest are to pray, get rest and try your hardest to find balance.

During my 2 month hiatus, my mother fell ill.  Not only was it stressful worrying about my mother’s recovery, but also finding a way to be present for everyone including my kids, sibling, parents and spouse. Being at the hospital until late, picking up my children, cooking and still maintaining a decent household very quickly took its toll.  As a woman, we have a propensity to keep going and going until we become physically and mentally tapped out. Once I became noticeably agitated and exhausted I knew it was time to make some alterations. I had to set specific times to visit my mom at the hospital, allowing me more time to spend and truly enjoy the company of my husband and children without feeling overwhelmed.

Of course being at the hospital, I wanted to make sure my mom was being cared for properly. Once I was satisfied with the care, it made it easier to sleep at night knowing she was in good hands. I also learned to accept help from family members and close friends who had experienced similar occurrences  in their lives and wanted nothing more than to help and be there for my mom and family. This made it easier to devote more time to my children and husband without the guilt of not being present at the hospital 24/7 and it was necessary for my own mental stability.

I also learned that though I wanted to be everywhere and do everything, it wasn’t possible. I had to take time out for me which would consist of me relaxing on the couch watching the latest tv show or alone time with my husband watching a movie. Just recently my wonderful husband surprised me with tickets to see Janet Jackson which was a GREAT and much needed date.

Though I’m still learning how to cope with being a duel caregiver, I have been taught by others who have walked this road before not to feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s not only desirable but necessary. As my aunt told me, “you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first”. If your lucky enough to have parents as great as mine, taking care of them is something you take pride in because of the morals they have instilled in you and the opportunities they’ve made possible. Love and honor your parents remembering that everyday is not promised so cherish every moment and never EVER take them for granted.

Welcome Back!!

Hello twin moms!!!  After a short hiatus this supermom is back at it again with new tips, tricks and humor to make the journey a little smoother.

If your lucky enough to have an older child (or children) you know that back to school is a VERY busy time of the year. Between getting the necessary supplies, clothes and shoes and becoming acclimated to a new teacher, maintaining your sanity can be tough. Just like the newborn stage with twins, it will soon get easier as soon as you establish a routine that works best for you and your household.

Here a few things that have worked for me;

  1. Purchase a large calendar and write down all the monthly activities . It will TRULY assist you keeping order.  Make sure you and your spouse phone calendars are in sync so that nothing easily slips between the cracks event wise
  2. COMMUNICATION IS KEY! If you see yourself becoming overextended be sure to express this to your honey bun. You both are a team so learn to lean on each other and know one another’s weaknesses so you can help one another before anxiety kicks in.
  3. Set boundaries and expectations for your children; If your older babies arrive home when your twin blessings are sleeping, inform them that until their nap time is over they must be quiet when entering the house.  If your babies go to bed early, set that time as quiet time for your older children.
  4. Pay attention to your daily routine and adjust your schedule accordingly. It may not be feasible to cook dinner at 5:30 pm if your nursing or your older child has extracurricular activities. Maybe prep dinner earlier when they are napping so you can just pop it in the microwave later or into the oven. Hyperviglance is the key!
  5. Be cool! Things pop up and things happen. Learn to go with the flow. It has happened multiple time to me that the babies will be ready and all of a sudden one of them decide to go to the bathroom. Try to give yourself extra time to avoid the inevitable.
  6. Minimize multitasking if you can. Mom and multitasking go hand in hand, but sometimes its difficult to truly pay attention to your older kids homework or rundown of their day if your cooking, changing diapers and laundry at the same time. Try to devote personal time to truly engage with your school aged children. It truly matters.

I wish your children the best during this school year and that you mom’s maintain your sanity 🙂

Holidays with Toddlers

Yes! We made it through the holidays. With two tiny tots running around and getting into any and everything, making it through the holidays in one piece is like running and winning a marathon. From cooking to cleaning, shopping to gift wrapping, decorating and baking, the holidays quickly  become time consuming and potentially stressful. Now add to the equation  two little ones who require round-the-clock parental supervision and you can barely keep your head from spinning.

By eighteen months I have pretty good handle on the dynamic duo so all I did was apply old lessons to novel situations. Here are a few things that helped me conquer the holiday season;

1. Keep them Busy

I learned from earlier experiences that the best way to do anything while keeping your little ones safe is to keep them occupied in the same room you’re in. When in the kitchen, I would play music and take some breaks to dance and play, all while allowing them to bang on my pots and pans with utensils.

2. FEED THEM!!!!

Food makes everyone happy especially little ones! Snacks keep toddlers happy for an extended time period allotting you time to complete the task at hand. As long as my tiny tots had food and drink, they were very content children.

3.  Make them Feel Useful

At eighteen months, toddlers love modeling what they see and thrive on praise when completing the task correctly. Give them a tiny twin size task to take on  and make sure to applaud them for their work during and after completion. For instance, while cooking I would ask them to cook me a meal on their kitchen set or if folding laundry, I would give them two blankets to fold (or cover their faces and chase each other with :-)).

4.  Make Good Use of Naps

Lets face it, some things still aren’t capable of being completing while your tiny tornado’s are awake. Once they lay down use the time wisely to finish (or start) the task at hand . 

While these 4 things assisted me throughout the holiday season, they can also make your daily chores more manageable or family events throughout the year. I hope all you twin supermoms had a MARVELOUS holiday season and I wish you all the very best of God’s blessings for the upcoming year.

 

Tiny Tornadoes

You can finally see your bundles of joy evolving into tiny people, in which we toddlers.  When you thought they couldn’t get into anything else, your walking baby dolls are now reaching for things on top of the table, opening cabinets, pulling out drawers and taking out whatever interesting things they find. As they are discovering the world around them, you will truly find entertainment watching them.

Hopefully you took baby proofing serious when they began crawling because it will definitely benefit you now. Though we placed safety locks on drawers and cabinets, baby proofed all power plugs, and placed everything that could be harmful out of reach, they still managed to make a mess. They took absolute advantage of their mobility  running from room to room pulling out any and EVERYTHING! As long as it may have taken me to clean up, in a matter of 5 minutes my hard work could be reversed.  Initially it drove me CRAZY when my angels would take everything out, but I learned how to tame the tiny tornadoes, only allowing them to take a few things out at a time.

As you can see from the photo, they love my pots and I took full advantage of their interest while I was cooking. Allowing them to play with my pots  allotted me more time to cook while enjoying the musical stylings of my little wonders. Of course putting back my pots several times a day can become monotonous, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. If you are a neat freak ( as I once was before children), you must learn how to become somewhat flexible, allowing your toddlers freedom within reason. Toddlers, in my opinion, experience the world by making a mess. Taking things apart, turning things over, putting things in their mouth and even breaking things just to learn more about their surroundings. Luckily toddlers are little sponges, so just as you teach them to operate a toy is the same way you can teach them how to clean up. After watching me clean so much, my daughter takes out the diaper wipes and wipes down all inanimate objects within her reach. It’s actually quite adorable to watch her clean. She’s even gotten her brother interested in cleaning.

Learning to deal with your tiny tornadoes can be difficult in the beginning, but once you learn to operate within chaos, your world will become easier and even amusing (and you thought it couldn’t get any better). As always, enjoy your little marvels. Time flies so enjoy every waking moment.

 

 

Healthy Eating

Once your little angels begin eating table food, it’s like a new world has opened for them. They want to eat everything you put in your mouth and even try to eat things that don’t belong in their mouths. This is the perfect time to get them accustomed to healthy eating, feeding them lots of fruits and vegetables. Salt and sugar are just additives that we have grown to be accustomed too, but your little ones pallets are fresh and new and doesn’t need to be introduced to them so young. Natural sweetness from fruits are all the sweet they need and you may find the healthier the food you feed them, the more it forces you to make better eating decisions.

Now I’m no dietitian but I have learned how to eat better. This came in handy when it was time to lose that post partum baby weight.  As important as it was for me, and the babies since I was nursing, I found it was crucial when I began feeding my little angels table food. As with any baby, they want whatever goes into mom’s mouth. If what you have is of nutritional value, that is what they will learn to desire.

Starting off at about 5 months, I fed my little darlings Gerber ® fruits and vegetables. At first they were willing to consume whatever I fed them, but once they became acquainted with the food, they became keen of some and not so keen of others. I continued to purchase baby fruits and vegetables while integrating more solids into their diet. By 10 months I no longer purchased baby food because they became more interested in what was on my plate than theirs.  This held true when it came to drinking as well.  I would allow them to have watered down cranberry and apple juice once a day along with water and breast milk.

I paid great attention to the type of food they were consuming and quickly found they enjoyed green beans, asparagus (surprisingly), corn, sweet potatoes, watermelon, grapes, ziti, brown rice and beans. As with anything with twins, they won’t always like the same things. My daughter loves broccoli and chicken while my son isn’t the greatest fan. Though they have a good diet, I have allowed them to taste cake and cookies and of course they LOVED it, but that is an occasional thing. As with anything balance is the key, and if you start off right they won’t desire anything but the good. Give your little ones a good start and it will take them far.