Saturday, August 29, 2009

flying with 9 month old twins

A friend asked in comments for some advice for flying with 9-month old twins and 3 adults, so here you have it! I posted twice last January about my experience flying alone with 4-month old twins -- at that age, their prematurity still showed, so they acted more like 2 month olds.

At nine months, and with three adults the trip should be easy, I think!! Assuming you have no seats reserved for the babies and will be having them on your laps on the plane, here's what I would do:

  • Check as much luggage as possible, both carseats and the stroller at the ticketing area.
  • For this age, I would recommend using a pouch for the plane, but you might want a regular back or front carrier like a meitai or ergo for walking through the airport. The ergo will be easier to get on and off for passing through security - the carrier will have to go through the xray machine, while both babies will have to be carried through the checkpoint. This is a challenging point if you are traveling alone with twin babies, but you should be fine, given that there will be three of you. Back to the pouch, I found this type of carrier great for the plane. The babies were comfortably contained while sitting on my lap during the flight, and it was nice to have them swaddled in this way that left my hands free. I really missed it this time when we flew - both of my boys are too big to cradle in the pouch now!
  • Plan to carry on one or two diaper bags. Include enough diapers that if they each poop every hour of the trip, you have enough. I know this might seem excessive, but I definitely travel in the "better safe than sorry" camp, especially after our experience in December of being stuck at the airport over night.
  • If you are not traveling with the nursing mama, be sure to bring double the amount of EBM or formula than you will need. I like to travel with Playtex bottles - one bottle for each baby, and plenty of liners and clean nipples so I can swap them out easily.
  • Aside from the diapers and feeding supplies (if needed), I'd just bring a handful of the favorite toys and a couple of books for this age. Novelty can be important later, but I think at 9 months, favorites would be enough. When in doubt, though, bring something new. Tie long strings onto each toy so that when they fall on the floor, you'll be able to pull them up by the cord. Traveling with 1 year olds, I found the single most important item was a portable DVD player. Without it on our last trip, it would have been pretty unbearable. My boys didn't pay any attention to TV until very recently, though, so again, I think you'll be fine with just toys.
  • Although I couldn't get my hands on any for the last flight, a friend and naturopath recommended getting some Herbs for Kids Super Calm. I tried using melissa and valerian alone on the last flight and didn't notice any really helpful effect. I did call my pediatrician about using benadryl, and they strongly discourage it. The APA does not approve the use of benadryl in this situation, according to my physician's office.
  • Finally, know that legally the airline cannot allow two lap babies in the same row. If you got three adult tickets seated together, they will move one of you with a baby. Pack your diaper/food/toy bag accordingly, because if you don't change your seat assignment early, you might be sitting quite far away from each other. This happened to us this time on the way to MA - I was flying with my mom, and we were split up.
I think the most important thing for me is to assume that people will be helpful, and to say "yes" in any way I can when people offer. This makes the trip much less stressful!

I hope this helps! Have fun, and let us know how it went, along with any new tips you might glean from your trip!

Friday, August 28, 2009

ta da!

One fun thing that's been going on, pretty much since the boys' birthday a few weeks ago is that they are imitating songs and finger plays. Laurie had taught Shoghi to clap a month or two before we left, and the boys were both starting to do the signs for more and milk, but now it seems like a giant leap in understanding has taken place.

signing "more" after his first ice cream cone during our visit to cape cod.

My mom, dad, and I sang songs with them quite a bit, and now they will make the hand motions for pat-a-cake, 5 little monkeys jumping on a bed, some of them from the wheels on the bus, peek-a-boo, and open, shut them. Max has mastered blowing kisses and making the "shhhhh" sound with his finger in front of his mouth.

"throw it in the oven for baby and me!"

We have a new DVD of some old Sesame Street songs, and Max has started actually singing - I kid you not - "ba-ba-bamba" and "quack-quack-qwamba"(only the ba and quacks!) to one of the songs. It is pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen or heard.

This morning, Laurie was doing "ta-da!" with them, and I got these cute photos of Shoghi:

Today was a great day. I opened the back screen door and the boys went in and out of the house to the back yard for probably an hour or more. It seemed to prevent the stir-craziness that occurs here about twice a day. Our back yard isn't great - there are prickly plants in the "grass" so I have to keep them contained on the "patio" (which we call "the slab"). It started to rain and I just let them keep going:

To answer Jen's question from comments, I started giving the boys pasta when they probably each had 4 teeth. I cooked some rice pasta really soft and let them eat it with their hands. For a good month or two, I mostly fed them orzo or alphabet pasta if I wanted to give it to them. As of today, they both have 8 teeth - Shoghi has 4 front tops and bottoms, and Max has 4 top fronts, the bottom middle two, and newly the top two molars! I just stayed close and really observed them to see if they were ready for the pasta. Lately I've been giving them sauteed polenta - they really love it with marinara sauce (or pesto!). HTH!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Since returning to Portland, Laurie and I have been in a little bit of a mad dash to gather up some more of the amazing fruits of the Pacific Northwest for our winter pantry. Since we almost completely filled our freezer with blueberries, marionberries, and blackberries in June and July, we had to expand our reach and try out canning. On Tuesday, we met after work and took the boys out to Sauvie Island Farm to pick basil and late season blackberries.

While Laurie and I took turns picking and watching the boys, they reached for every berry at arm's length, munching on berries in all stages of ripeness. They had fun, and so did we!

While we were out there, we also got 20 pounds of peaches, and a bunch of bartlett pears. Yesterday we combined our efforts and juggled watching the boys with putting up the goods. We did 9 pints of pesto and 7 quarts of peaches in a light syrup.

Aside from how hard it was to do this with two toddlers under foot, I was impressed at how quickly we managed to get it all done. The canning itself was as easy as Korin has always promised.

The boys absolutely love the pesto, and will gobble down an entire peach if given the opportinuty. After having fresh pesto with penne last night for dinner, the boys and I had scrambled eggs with pesto and tomatoes this morning for breakfast. I just love that they are into eating such great foods!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

working backward and looking forward

Well, well, well. We are back in Portland, and boy do I have a lot of catching up to do! I think I'm going to work in reverse to catch you all up.

So, first of all, jet lag and one-year-olds.... SUCKS!!! When we traveled from West to East, it worked out really, really well - a very early morning and a long day of travel actually resulted in a very short adjustment time for the boys. Of course, it was also nice to have them wake up at 8am instead of 5am! Coming back, though, has been really rough. By the time we left MA, the boys were regularly waking at 6am, so that meant that in Oregon they have been really thrown off. Keeping them up until 7pm has been pretty tough, because of course their little bodies still feel like it's 10pm! Just two days after arriving in Portland, though, Max is back to sleeping only 10 hours, the stubborn little guy, meaning that he was up and ready to go at 5am today. This is my ongoing struggle - putting them to bed at 8 is just too late. I need some down time, and evenings are long and hard as it is. But the fact that I cannot get Max to sleep for more than 10 hours just kills me every day!!

I think I'll put up a seperate post about flying with twin 1-year olds. It was an adventure both going to MA and returning. VERY different than flying with them last December. As with all things baby (especially twin babies), creativity, perserverence, and a sense of humor, even if dark, came in very handy.

We had the most wonderful visit, though. Four weeks of time with my parents, Memmae and Popi, meant that they got to experience lots of our routine and many new accomplishments on the part of both boys. They really bonded with them, and I can tell that part of the difficulty for them in settling back down at home has been separation from their grandparents.


Getting back to Portland is fraught with meaning for me as a mama. The last month closed my first year as a mother, and also brought to an end the time I had set aside to be staying at home with the boys. Financially, I can't swing it anymore. We're losing our private health insurance this month, and I haven't been able to find the time to grow my business to the point where I'm making enough regular money. It's all ok - I have room to be flexible and deal with these changes and challenges, but it means that I am going to have to find reserves of energy, clear thought, frugality, and patience in deeper places than I have yet had to search.

the birth day mama and her boys

The next few months loom in front of me and seem to be a kind of proving ground for me as a single mother to my beautiful sons. I face the reality that I will be spending less and less time with them at a point in their development when they are learning, changing, and accomplishing new things every day. I will certainly miss many of their milestones in the moment of unfolding. I fear the sadness I will feel on days when I spend time with them only in the hardest hours of their day, and when I think of them growing more attached to other care givers, I feel both happy for their expanded world of people who love them and loss at having to share their precious daily hours with someone else.

When I was 21 and in my first marriage, I started trying to have children. Fifteen years, three relationships, countless pregnancy tests, 12 cities, three languages, a Bachelor's Degree, hours and hours of therapy, yoga, meditation, self-reflection, and a complete re-orientation of my life later, I am a mother. Everything in that list except becoming a mom seems now to just have been stepping stones - secondary to the drive and deep, consuming desire to be raising children. To say I wouldn't change a thing wouldn't be true - I don't think I have fully come to terms with all of the loss I endured over those long, heartbreaking years - but to finally be living my dream of having children is miracuous, and is the source of rivers and oceans of gratitude.

The next chapter to unfold is the one where I get to continue to co-create a family with the boys and - for now - my sister, and it's also the part where I get to dream up and realize the contribution I want to make through my career. I have just become aware of how I put aside getting clear about my vocation in my quest to be a mother - how exciting (and scary) that I can now begin to hone in on my talents, my strengths, and the unique way I can give back to this world through my work. I have walked in enough shoes, worked a great variety of jobs, and seen myself succeed in diverse situations to know that if I can just empty my mind of fear and expectation, I can and will discover my calling that is ready to emerge from within. It will be when I find that familiar excitement and joy that I will know I am on the right track.

And so we go on. I'll try in the upcoming posts to catch you up on the last month, and hope you'll share your own victories and inspirations with me as I knuckle down in the months to come. I'm glad to have this place to try to make sense of it all.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


So far, travel has not benefited the blogging! Sorry we went MIA as soon as we stepped on the plane... it seems that my time at the computer since arriving in MA has been curtailed. At home, the computer is out and about while I watch the boys, but here, it's in a room the boys are not allowed in. Anyway, that's just to explain why so much time has one by, and why I'm going to keep this short.

Yesterday, my babies turned ONE! I'm still in shock over it - their toddler-ness is so evident, and they are no longer my tiny, sleepy, fragile preemies they were a year ago. They are the greatest gift I have received in my life, and surely their presence will be a guiding force for the rest of my days.

I have a post brewing, but not sure when I'm going to be able to write and post it. I've also got some photos - hopefully they'll go up a little sooner.

Loving greetings to all of you, my faithful friends! I miss sharing our adventures and reading yours, and can't wait to get caught up soon!