I was so spoiled for the first 9 months that my mom lived with us that I didn't get the full "twin experience" until she moved out I don't believe. But once she was gone, I felt it full force, including that terrifying feeling about how I'd ever take them out - A L O N E!
Our first attempts to make it to the car together were just quick runs to my mom's house, so we were okay still wearing our sleepers with bed head. And then one day, I braved the adventure of actually taking them into a store alone. It was Kohls, and I ran in, looked around uneventfully, and left without even buying anything. But I had so much pride in my accomplishment you would have thought I'd run a marathon!
It's been about five months since Mom went back home, and with two now "walkers", it's still a bit tricky to get them to the car but getting easier every day. I thought I'd document for you our process in the works!
On any given day, we're heading out to a doctors appointment, a play date, or lunch with a friend.
I start by getting them changed and dressed on the floor of the living room. This works best for us because the room is enclosed and they can't get too far.
I get them both in my arms, and haul them (and only them) to the car. I slide open Brayden's door first (because he's the likely runner) and place Julie on the floor in front of his car seat (bum to carpet with my knee between her legs so that she doesn't fall out) and secure Brayden into his carseat. Then it's Julie's turn. I open the garage door, start the ignition and get the heat or air running. [On really COLD days, when I'm feeling nice, I'll run down before they get dressed and pop a few blankets into the dryer first which I then get out and put on them at this point.] If it's time for a sippy cup, we get that now too, and make sure we have a binky for each.
And I KNOW this is probably controversial, because yes, there is some possibility that someone could hijack my waiting minivan from the garage, but I do run back in, and grab my keys, phone, sunglasses, purse etc and run back down. I choose this route as it seems easier than loading the car with the kids crying and screaming abandoned in the living room, and then trying to calm them down enough to get dressed. The risks we weigh I guess.
Finally, I make it back to the car and away we go.
When we arrive, I start with the stroller if we're using it, and load child A- and then push the stroller to child B's side to load them. No real order here, whoever is dressed warmer gets out first.
Another controversial things here - we don't wear coats. I don't personally hardly ever, and I believe Julie has inherited my high pain tolerance so she should be okay too. Brayden - well... sorry bud... It is such a struggle sometimes to get out the door that I can't even fathom getting them on - to the car - off again - out of the car - on again - into the destination - and off again. It's just not worth it. And kind-hearted grandmas sand older mothers scold me all the time and even stop me to ask "aren't you putting a hat on that baby?" and I just say "oh they'll be fine" and scurry off. My comeback of choice will be "I'm training them to be Eskimos but I haven't had the nerve to really use it yet.
So back to our circus... If we're not using the stroller and are going into the store, I stuff my keys phone and purse into the diaper bag, and throw that over one shoulder. Find the two shopping cart covers, and stuff those under my arms. Grab Baby A, and then go around to Baby B. THIS is tricky now... I unhook Baby B with one hand and do my best to get them unstrapped. But since they can't really lean forward to get out on their own I have to do some maneuvering. I lean in baby A so that he balances between my forearms, and pull baby B out with my hands. Then I somehow split them to either hip, and shut the door. I can't explain how that part's done... it's a mystery to even me. And - sorry... I rarely lock my car door. If I'm really having a great day, after getting Baby A on my side, and opening Baby B's door, I'll open the passenger front door and push the lock button before getting Baby B out. Using the remote lock on a Toyota with the door still open doesn't work (just irritatingly beeps) and once both babies are in my arms, searching for my keys is a no go. So if you see a gold toyota sienna in the parking lot, try the handles! You might just be the winner of my back seat video system.
If we're going to a restaurant, which happens occasionally, we're even more wild when you replace the shopping cart covers with two booster seats. We don't like germs, so bring out own seats everywhere with no regrets - other than the challenge. (In case you're curious, the ones we have are the Fisher-Price Healthy Care Boosters) It's a bit bulky and you are likely to bop some unsuspecting diner on your way to your table, but boy do you feel like super mom as everyone gawks with
So that's our "how to leave the house with twins" spiel. It's scary at first of course, and undoubtedly difficult at times. But then you remember, how lucky you are to have twins... I dare to ask - which kid would you rather have given away to have your hands less full? Impossible to answer (on most days).
Tune in next "Twin Tip Tuesday" to find out how we manage our time out and about with two!