Filed under: FYI
Raising Multiples: Tips From a Mother of Quads

Raising multiples 1

My husband and I welcomed four babies into the world last August. We already had a one-year-old son who was the love of our lives and is now a big brother to four more little loves. Although there’s a lot more on our to-do lists and life is hectic our world has changed in the best way! With the support of our friends, family, and each other, my husband and I are raising five little ones together.

Honest asked me to share what surprised me most about having multiples, and I guess it’s not really a surprise, or shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised that I barely have any time to sit down, or finish a cup of coffee, or eat lunch. I’m going practically nonstop from the time I wake up. Even on the days I have help! There’s just always something that needs to be done. Actually, there’s always lots of somethings to be done! I’m so glad we prepared ahead of time! Of course, you can never fully prepare for everything four babies require but planning was our best friend before the babies arrived.

I wrote a blog post in December about our experiencing having quads. In the more than five months since I had them, we’ve learned a lot. Below are some tips for parents expecting multiples, or anyone expecting.

For any soon-to-be parent of multiples, here is what I’ve learned:

  • Get as much organized as possible before they arrive. Most multiples arrive early, and many women end up on bed rest, or in the hospital as I did. We were in the process of moving when I landed in the hospital, so it was up to my husband and my mother-in-law to wash, fold, and organize all the baby clothes, towels etc. And don’t bank on a long NICU stay to give you time to get ready. Ours were home a lot faster than we thought. (Not that it’s a bad thing!!)
  • I created a binder to log sleep, feedings, diaper changes, medications, milestones, and notes because mommy brain is terrible. I bring it to the pediatrician so she can see how they are doing and I don’t have to remember.
  • I also made a schedule for the babies. I read some child-rearing books and I scoured the internet for other quad moms and moms of multiples to see what they did. Basically, everyone said getting them on a schedule is the most important thing. The NICU kept them on a schedule so when they came home it was easy to continue what they had started.
  • Accept help! Everyone told me this, and I just blew them off because I don’t like accepting help or asking for it. But I accepted help from my mom and a family friend who wanted to each come one day per week to help, and those are my favorite days of the week! Also, accept offers to babysit. I wrote down whoever had offered to help and when they were available. But nothing was scheduled until the babies got home because we had no idea what to expect, or how much help we would need. But you need to get out, even if it’s just to walk around Target, or to go on a date with your husband. Or if you have another child, it’s great if someone watches the quads so you can spend time with your older child.
  • Make sure you have a game plan with your husband as to what each of your duties are, and what kind of schedule you are going to keep. For us, we are both up at night when the quads are up, but you may want to take turns to give someone some continuous sleep. In our family, we agreed beforehand that he would continue to play ice hockey, and I would continue to play soccer as soon as I was able. It’s so important for us to be able to get out and relieve some stress with sports! I have also enjoyed time out with my girlfriends, thanks to my wonderful husband, and that is priceless to me. It’s easy to be consumed with your mommy duties, and forget about your fun away from all that!
  • As far as buying baby supplies ahead of time, we already had a lot of stuff from when our son was a baby but we knew we needed just more of everything. I got bottles off Freecycle, and my sister loaned us all of her baby stuff like Boppy, Exersaucer, bouncy chair, etc. We were given tons of clothes, and also received bedding, blankets, cribs and seats from friends who wanted to help. Due to the generosity of so many around us, we really didn’t have to buy much.  Just bottle nipples really. The most important things to have around are bottles, burp cloths, diapers, wipes, and clothes.
  • Most importantly, try to go into this experience with an open mind, and lots of flexibility! As much as you try to plan, things don’t always work out the way you thought, and things change along the way. Be open to switching things up. That being said, you will get a lot of advice, and people will say a lot of things to you that may have you second guessing yourself or making you feel as though you have to defend your parenting choices. Try to stick to what you believe in, and don’t let others make you change what you feel is right. This to me is the hardest part.

You can read more about Kerry’s life with quads on her blog, Quads Make It Seven

One Mom Shares How She Set Family Goals

family goals

When I decided that our family should set some goals my two boys were immediately excited. “Yay soccer!” said my six year old. “I’m really good at scoring goals,” said my four year old. Those aren’t exactly the kind of goals I meant.

There are areas in our daily routine where we all need some improvement. One of my friends mentioned she created a chore chart for her older son to help him learn the connection between work and money. I love this concept but I don’t want to give my kids an allowance yet for housework. However we could work on changing some bad habits.

We could also use more family time. My husband and I split most of the parenting duties. For example, he hangs with the boys on Saturday mornings while I go to the gym, then he gets some free time while I take the kids on a play date. Sundays we each split-up and take a child to their various sports activity. While this allows each of us to get some personal time, it also means we aren’t creating a lot of family togetherness for our boys or each other.

So, I created six attainable family goals that will hopefully change some bad habits and bring us closer together.

 

Family Goal #1: Eat a sit-down dinner together without electronics at least one night a week. Although my kids are young and have minimal to no homework, we still have after-school activities, play dates, and other appointments that sometimes make it hard to get home and have downtime before the dinner-bath-book-bedtime crunch. This year, instead of committing my kids to a different activity every single day of the week, I’ve dedicated one day for having dinner as a family. This has been a big adjustment for my boys and I can’t say they’re too thrilled so far with no TV, iPads, and us trying to find out about their day. Definitely a work in progress.

 

Family Goal #2: Do at least one activity together on the weekends. Instead of divide and conquer, I’d like to do at least one thing together, even if it’s just a walk around the block with the dogs, a board game, or riding bikes in the neighborhood. I think this is going to be an easy one.

 

Family Goal #3: Create and follow chore charts for the kids with room for mom & dad to help. My six year old loved the idea of a chore chart so of course his little brother wanted one too. Now that we’ve started using the chore chart, I realize I have to rethink what’s appropriate for each kid. “Get self dressed” isn’t doable for my four year old without a little help.

 

Family Goal #4: Less Yelling. When you hear other people yelling at their kids it just sounds awful. Yet it doesn’t stop me from losing my cool with my kids much more than I’d like to. Everyone does it but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. My husband and I need to practice counting to three before we turn-up the volume.

 

Family Goal #5: Encourage Creativity. I want to encourage my kids to use their imaginations to build towers and invent superheroes rather than follow the directions on the box of some creative-type activity. I’d much rather see them make something on their own that can be built and rebuilt a thousand different ways. One of their favorite toys is a set of brightly colored interlocking plastic tubes. They’ve made creations as diverse as a super powered laser blaster to the world’s largest fork. I could use some work on tapping into my own creative side too.

 

Family Goal #6: Kids’ Choice. Once a month, have a kids’ choice day where they get to pick what we do, within reason of course. I’m hoping the possibility of a trip to the local arcade will be an effective incentive to encourage them to follow the chore chart!

 

How do you set family goals? What are your family goals for 2014?

By Robin Saks Frankel

Top Safety Tips for a Spooktacular Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips - Costumes and Decor

My kids and I love Halloween and getting creative with decorations and costumes. As a pediatric nurse, though, I always have safety on the brain to make sure the fun won’t be ruined by injury. Continue reading as I share the most common safety concerns that arise with Halloween and give simple and safe solutions for a holiday that is a guaranteed treat.

 Safe Pumpkin Carving

One of my favorite times of year is when we visit the pumpkin patch and pick out our Halloween pumpkins. Our injury prevention team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles created step-by-step videos for safe pumpkin carving. Check it out!

Halloween Lights and Electronic Decorations

Festive lights set the mood for getting everyone in spirit of Halloween. When purchasing lights, extension cords, and other electronic decorations, buy items that are UL-listed — this means the product underwent safety testing in a lab approved by the United States federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Use lights and decorations meant for outdoor use, which is usually stated on the packaging. If you put “indoor” lights or decorations outside, wet weather increases the risk of electric shock and fire. If you’re not sure if lights or decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use, just check the color-coded holographic UL mark on the product’s package.

  • Green mark: “Indoors only.”
  • Red mark: “Indoors and outdoors.”

Whether your decorations are brand-new or used, inspect all lights, electronic decorations, and extension cords for wear and tear before using as your Halloween décor. If you can repair the damage (i.e., broken bulbs replaced), do not use the item until the you’ve made the fix. Click here for more safety tips related to lights and electronic decorations.

Fake Spider Webs

When assembled correctly, fake spider webs look and feel pretty real — spooky! Three tips to consider when using fake spider webs in your Halloween décor:

  • If you have allergies, avoid getting the spider webbing near your nose.
  • Colored fake spider webbing looks a lot like cotton candy, so supervise your children if they’re helping you put up the spider webs.
  • When placing the webbing in a high place, stand on a stable ladder or sturdy chair.  

Costumes

For many kids, Halloween costumes are the highlight of the holiday. Here are some tips for your child’s costume:

  • The eye holes of a Halloween mask should be big enough so your child can see in all directions.
  • The mask should fit securely around your child’s head.
  • The costume should have snaps and velcro for closures if your child needs to get out of the costume quickly.
  • A safe alternative to a Halloween mask is face make-up. Why not consider natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic makeup instead?

Halloween is fun for families, especially when safety comes first. My sons and I have a great time, and I hope you enjoy Halloween by letting your imagination run wild and free!

- Robert Giesler, BSN, RN III, RNC-NIC, RRT, CPST, Clinical Nurse in the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Robert offers helpful tips for making sure there is proper venting in your child’s costume mask. Visit CHLA and WeTreatKidsBetter.org to learn more!

 

It’s #TagUsTuesday!

Have you joined our Instagram community? Share your photos by tagging @Honest and using #TagUsTuesday. Each week we’ll feature a new Honest friend.

 

TagUsTuesday

Welcome Home Baby with Freshly Picked’s Giveaway

#ShowUsYourBump Giveaway

 

Welcome home baby with the #ShowUsYourBump Giveaway hosted by our friends at Freshly Picked. They’re showering one winner with a suite of maternity and new baby must-haves. In addition to taking home three Honest bundles, the winner will receive 4 pairs of Freshly Picked moccasins, 2 Solly Baby wraps, a Puj tub, and a brand new crib from The Land of Nod!

Simply hop over to Freshly Picked for complete giveaway details and learn how to enter by sharing a picture of your bump — we’d also love to see adoption and proud papa images too — or reposting this image on Instagram. Go here to enter now through September 11, 2013 at 9 am PST.