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Manhattan Multiples
A publication of the Manhattan Twins Club June 2009
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Save the Dates
Scvanger Hunt...in NYC
Crafts for Kids
What's for Breakfast?
National Information
Product Recalls
For Sale
Welcome New Members
LoL
Under the Big Tent
My Gym Open House
New York State Convention
Twins on Vacation
Ask a Babyproofer
Nanny Conpensation Results
Staycation?
Upcoming Events
_____________________

SPECIAL EVENT:

UWS
CPR/First Aid Event

Mon Jun 1, 2009,
7:30-9:15 pm
$75 per person
To RSVP to this event, call 212-744-6649


___________________

SPRING FAMILY GATHERING
Sat Jun 6, 2009, 3-6 pm
Mineral Springs Lawn
in Central Park
(see below for details)


___________________

June Mom's Night Out

When: Mon June 8 ,2009
Nick's Pizza
1814 2nd Avenue
(at 94th Street)

See Big Tent for more details
___________________

Monthly Speaker Series:

Meet Relationship Expert
Rachel Sussman

Tue Jun 30, 2009, 6-9 pm
(Come for part of the meeting or the whole time!)

St. Bartholomew's
Community House,
109 East 50th St
(Lexington and Park)


Time to focus on you and your relationship with your partner!

Join Rachel Sussman, LCSW and learn how to keep passion alive, improve your sex life, affair proof your relationship, and more.

Read more about Rachel

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pregnant Moms Q&A
Open discussion for pregnant moms. Hot topics discussed including breastfeeding, nanny's strollers and more.

7:00pm to 8:00pm

  Parents Social Hour
 All parents welcome for our new hour long social. Hot Topic cards will be distributed and questions will be answered on a more social basis.


7:30 to 9:00pm
Featured Speaker:
Rachel Sussman

___________________

Looking Ahead...

Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting for Moms of Multiples
Fri Jul 10, 2009, 1-3 pm
Realbirth
715 9th Avenue (at 49th Street), New York, NY

___________________

For more event information visit the events page on Big Tent!

 
Save the Date(s)
for 2009!


June 6th -Family Picnic

October 4th - Family Picnic

October 27th - Tag Sale


Got any ideas for your club?

email us and we will organize it.





NEWS FROM NATIONAL:

In this section of our newsletter you will find an assortment of information passed to us from the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club in which we are ALL members! (Membership to this club is included in your dues)


____________________
CONVENTION 2009

MSMAM is comprised of Mothers of Adult Multiples from Nevada, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, Montana and Washington.  All of our twins are over 18 years old with the oldest being 52.  We are all excited to be hosting the 49th Annual NOMOTC Convention at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.      
Our theme Only in Vegas, is sure to please everyone as the entertainment scene has plenty of its classic glamour, but it has evolved to include so much more. In addition to the iconic Las Vegas entertainment regulars, Las Vegas offers a lineup of award-winning magicians, Broadway-caliber productions, work-renowned concert headliners and unique-to-Vegas production shows. 
     We have some exciting events planned for you so make your room reservations now and come join us in Las Vegas, July 26 - August 1, 2009.


A Copy of this months
Multiple Messages can be found here!

----------


MULTIPLE BIRTH AWARENESS MONTH
A Big Thank You!


THANK YOU CLUBS - FOR EXECUTING SO WELL DURING THIS EXCITING MONTH!

It has been a joy to read about all the wonderful events our local clubs planned for April in celebration of Multiple Birth Awareness Month.  But more importantly, it was very rewarding to read the comments that came in by email when clubs sent in their posting.  Comments about the fun, excitement, and teamwork that planning their events facilitated locally. 
________________________


MORE MEMBERSHIP NEWS.....
26,000 MEMBERS - WE ARE ALMOST THERE!

Attention all clubs...please be sure and send in any new member dues as soon as you can, at this point they won't count towards credentials, however, they will help NOMOTC achieve 26,000 members for the 2009-10 year and those members will enjoy all the benefits of belonging to NOMOTC! 

________________________


National Surveys:

Multiples within Blended Families
(to take survey, click title)


PURPOSE OF STUDY:
To examine some of the factors that affect family dynamics when multiples are brought into or born into families as step siblings or half siblings.

Twins and Classroom Separation
(to take survey, click title)

SUBJECTS NEEDED:
Parents/Caregivers of multiples who's children are attending school outside the home.

PURPOSE OF STUDY:
To identify the special needs and circumstances of military parents of multiples(POMs); to examine how local clubs support and connect with military POMs; to determine what additional support would be beneficial.

Have Family Coming from out of town and don't know what to do?

How about an Scavenger Hunt?

The Secrets of Central Park Family Scavenger Hunt


Recommended by Time Out New York and the New York Times

Kids and adults work together to explore the park below 72nd Street. To score points, you'll have to find Stuart Little, stick your tongue out at a rude animal, learn the motto of a hidden eagle, decipher a secret code by the pond seen in Home Alone 2, spot Cupid at the Carousel, unscramble a message in the sky, and find a witch turned to stone. For ages 7 and up. Kids must be accompanied by an adult, and vice versa.

Not your usual visit to the Empire State Building, this is something totally different!
 
Have Fun!





Dotty-for-dots Stamping


True pointillism may be a little more refined than this. But with a giant make-it-yourself stamp pad and an array of circular printables, your little one can turn plain paper into a delirium of dots.

CRAFT MATERIALS:

Large sponge
Washable, nontoxic tempera paint
Paper
Masking tape
Circle makers, such as Bubble Wrap, cotton balls, Q-tips, potatoes cut in half, round scrub brushes, and jar lids


1. Before you begin: Cover work surface, keep wipes handy, and wear a smock or old clothes
Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours


2. Begin by placing a large damp sponge on a cookie sheet. Squirt a few blobs of tempera paint onto the sponge, then either fold the sponge together to get the paint absorbed or roll it lightly with a rolling pin. Now you have a large nontoxic stamp pad that's great for all kinds of stamping.

3. Offer your child lots of items that print circle shapes (see What You Need for ideas). Tape a large piece of paper to the table. Then show your child how to press the stamp into the ink pad and then onto the paper, lifting straight up to make a clean print. But don't worry about holding her to this method -- after all, if your child drags Bubble Wrap across the page, who cares?

4. Keep the fun going! This is a great time to talk about circles (and other shapes) with your child. You can also go on a scavenger hunt around the house for round things.

Tips:
Getting Started with Creative Projects for Little Hands
1. Keep it safe. Make sure supplies are labeled nontoxic and are not choking hazards. Discourage kids from putting supplies in their mouths.
2. Set it up. Designate an art area in your home with an easel or a low table where young artists can stand to work (this is usually easier for them).
3. Don't rush. Make sure you allow plenty of time for setup, exploration, and cleanup.
4. Don't stress over mess. Set things up so cleanup is easier for you, then try to relax and let your child have fun.
5. Write it down. Before you forget, write the date on your child's creation and, if she's talking, what she said about it.





Thanks: Family Fun

 
What's for Breakfast: Cheesy Vegetable Scramble


 
PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: about 5 minutes
YIELD: 2 servings

1 tsp butter
1 Tbs thinly sliced scallion
2 Tbs thinly sliced zucchini or asparagus
1 Tbs sliced red or green pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
1. Tbs grated reduced-fat mozzarella or cheddar 1. In a small skillet, melt butter. Add vegetables, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Crack eggs directly into skillet. Using a fork or whisk, scramble into the vegetables.
3. Sprinkle on cheese and cook about 11-12 minutes, or until eggs are cooked and cheese has melted. Serve with toast, bagels, or English muffins.
 

HOW KIDS CAN HELP: Measure ingredients; older kids can sprinkle on cheese.

PER SERVING 111 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated), 232 mg sodium, 221 mg cholesterol

Brought to you by parenting.com

If YOU would like to contribute to our newsletter, email us with your favorite recipe and you will see it posted here!
National Organization News
ATTN:  PASSWORD FOR THE NATIONAL SITE!

   Did you know that as a member of the Manhattan Twins Clubs you are automatically a member of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs? With that said, you have full access to all their members only sections of their own website. 
FOR the password to this site, visit our Big Tent Page and look under "Files"

On the national site you will find a whole bunch of other forums, info on special needs twins, a new study on birth weight and length, and a new section for Single Parents of Twins!  So go and check it out! 
PRODUCT RECALLS

Samsung Recalls to Upgrade Certain Cell Phones; Could Fail to Reach Emergency 911 in a No-Service Area


We know you need a massage.
Darcie Edwards, the MTC's resident monthly meeting masseuse, is currently booking in home appointments for April, May and June.
Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Pre-Natal, Post-Natal, Medical and Deep Tissue Massages.
Call 646-831-6245
today for the best massage experience of your life.  You can quote me on that!




This is by far the best Mothers Day Gift you can give.  Gift Certificates are available.




Currently for sale on our Big Tent site under "classifieds" you will find -


White Jenny Lind changing table
White Jenny Lind crib-CHEAP!
2 Chicco portable highchairs
graco bumper jumper
Sassy Seat Doorway Jumper
EZ Nurse pillow
Double URBAN Mountain Buggy
Two Crib Bedding Sets
Two Sit-n-Strolls
Two sleep positioners
Quattro Tour Duo Stroller
Double Snap n go

and more!!!

Check the Classified section of our
Big Tent!



Welcome New Members!

For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to what is going to be a fun and busy new life.

Our club was founded almost 15 years ago and started in a basement community room on the Upper West Side.  We have since grown to be the largest twin club in the nation under the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs with over 900 members annually!

As a member of our club you get:

  • This stunning and informative newsletter
  • Access to our Big Tent site which features forums, classifieds, reviews and more
  • Invitations to all our monthly gatherings including our Monthly Speaker Series with social hour, Monthly Mom's night out dinner, Semi-annual picnics, spa days, tag sales and whatever else we have up our sleeve for 2009!
  • Access to over a years worth of questions and answers in our Big Tent Forums
  • Member Only discounts to local stores and classes throughout NYC
  • And round the clock support via web.
  • Also, you have me (Natalie)!  If you need anything and can't find it, or have a question that you just can't get answered, or a problem that just can't be solved, just call me! 917-442-2020. I can help, and if I can't, odds are, I know who can.
Once again welcome to the best club in the nation and the best years of your life!

 
LOL
joker
My daughter Anna, 4 years old, was watching Batman.  Apparently the Joker was in this episode and she said
"Ma, I can't watch this, it scares me. I don't like when the Joker wears his EyePod".
Ahh, I love when kids mix stuff up like this!
-Nat
 
Have a funny story you want to share, email us
 
anna john st pats

Summer Time...And The Living is Easy...


Yeah, sure it is! The people strolling around town who are singing that, either don't live in today's economy and/or don't have multiples! lol

I, for one, am trilled that we no longer need to bundle up the twinnies and wonder how much longer they will have a cold.  I say this every year, but this winter was a tough one.

So as I look ahead, into the sunshine, I'm reminded of all the good things that have recently happened.


  • A major milestone for our club has been reached! We have finally attended our first State conference (see report below) and we are attending the National conference in July (Viva Las Vegas, it's all work I tell ya!)
  • We seem to have perfected our Big Tent site (if you disagree, please email us)
  • We had some very successful events recently, including our Mommy Social which we awarded Kristi Metzger with our Member of The Year Award
  • Our Nanny Compensation Survey for this year is DONE! (see results below)
  • And we are ready for the SUMMER!

So ladies, it's time to stock up on sunscreen, get the shorts out of the closet, and prepare to have fun!

Even if you can't take a vacation out of town this year, I'm including some tips below on how to make your "stay-cation" even MORE fun!

So bring on the SUN! Have a great month!
 

Sincerely,

Natalie Diaz

"What's Happening Under
the
Big Tent"


WHAT HAVE WE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ON THE BIG TENT DISCUSSION GROUP?


· Where to sit in a minivan?
· Does Dairy cause Congestion?
· Refusing to Breastfeed
· Sleeping through the night
· Where to keep potties?
· Acupuncture with IVF
· Summertime products you love!
· Portable cribs-Need Immediate Advice
· Looking for a great endocrinologist in NYC
· How to get dehydrated 9 month olds to drink  water out of a sippy cup
· When to interview for a mother's helper/nanny?
· Bottle with solids-7 ½ month old twins
· Advice on tandem strollers?
· Good Books on raising twins?
 
BIG TENT CONVERSATION OF THE MONTH
 
ORIGINAL POST

 
Nanny Reality Check
"Our boys are almost 14 months and we've had their nanny for the last 10. We love the way that she cares for them, takes pride in them and really is just a completely responsible and loving caregiver. However... when we hired her we offered her 'X' amount of dollars... two weeks vacation of our choosing and one of hers, as well as 3 sick days. Theoretically, these terms were non-negotiable until her 1 year review and she enthusiastically agreed to them. Plus, I can't offer time that I can't take off from work. I had been warned by one of her previous employers that 'everything would turn into a negotiation.' Low and behold, it did. We have given her TWO raises since she started (we are well within reasonable pay rates for our neighborhood). and every six weeks or so another issue seems to come up of something that we aren't doing to her satisfaction.
Well, this week she called in sick on Monday and also let us know that she wanted to take Friday as a sick day for a doctor's appointment. My husband and I both work outside of the home, so covering two days at the last minute in one week was a challenge. I called her to discuss how she was doing (i.e. would she be in to work the next day?) and the fact that she is down to her last sick day for the year - acknowledging that she has announced vague plans to take a week to visit family this summer - planning to use her 'chosen' vacation time. She said nothing yesterday (my MIL was visiting and with her) but today, at the end of the day and in front of the babies, she let loose with this commentary about how we didn't give her enough discretionary days and how 'everyone else' gets so much more. Basically, she accused us of being opportunistic slave-drivers.
I had had enough of feeling pushed around and told her that it wasn't a discussion I was willing to have until her year review. We've given her over FIVE weeks of paid time off in the last 10 months! There was a lot of back and forth (including her basically calling me a liar) and it ended with her giving me notice until I could find someone to replace her. I have spoken to the families that employ the other nannies she was referring to and they basically said that what she was quoting was incorrect, that they had very similar arrangements - if not more restrictive - to ours.
My questions: Does everybody's nanny renegotiate all the time? Am I really giving her a substandard deal (time-off wise)? Do I tell her that she is delusional and her friends are basically lying to her?
Am I crazy?"
 
RESPONSES

"I don't think all nannies renegotiate that way, but many do. I also think your nanny is a little crazy to feel so entitled in an economy where many caregivers are being let go or their hours reduced. But given that she did it before it sounds like her personality issues. I have had a few part-time nannies and one of them tried to constantly renegotiate her salary, sick days etc and I found it intolerable. I thought she generally interacted well with my girls, but I couldn't stand having her around. So I ended up letting her go after 10 months and felt a tremendous relief and also found there were people out there much more suitable for me, happy with what I had to offer salary and benefit wise and could also take very good care of my little girls. Still changing caregivers is a big adjustment. I think you need to figure out if you can live with her cause it doesn't sound like she's going to change. I would also be sure if a reference says something negative or highly questionable to probe further and take it seriously. Most people don't give references who say negative things!! I think there are a lot of very good nannies out there right now and that yours will have a hard time finding a good position."

"I think that is totally unacceptable. In my opinion I think she was looking for another job because I don't think you just quit a job in this market without another one. I have had my nanny for 5 years, since my twins were born. I also have an 11 month old. My nanny has never acted like that ever. In fact I did not give her a raise for the last year only because we have given her raises every year and she never asked me for one or why she didn't get one. My nanny gets 2 weeks vacation and sick and personal days, too be honest, I never keep track of her sick or personal days because she rarely takes any days. "

"It appears the traditional Nannies in NYC hold twin Moms to ransom. I have heard of several cases where the parents kept giving in to demands of these Nannies as they felt that is what everyone else is doing. There are plenty of reliable, healthy educated Nannies out there for you who will not be so demanding and be grateful to have a job of any kind in the current economic climate. My Nanny of 2 years have only had one pay increase since she started because that is all we can afford. However, she is treated like part of the family, gets discretionary gifts throughout the year, get taken out for dinner etc. She have only been ill once and has worked 7 days a week for the last 3 weeks as we have had overseas guests and I had to travel abroad for one week. We rely on our Nanny 100% as we have no family in the US and she is the only adult our boys are used to apart from myself and my husband. Find another Nanny and tell her good luck and good bye. Take control of this situation and you will move on have a happy, secure environment for your babies and for yourself and your husband."

"If I were your friend I would tell you that where you went wrong was in renegotiating the first time. However, as a fellow mommy in the struggle, I think you did the best thing you knew to do at that time. In hindsight, we know that people are people. What we didn't know is that a grown person would try to carry you like a pre-socialized toddler. So, I've reordered my worst in life - dealing contractors is worst than dating, and dealing with nanny's who try to get over is worse than dealing with a good contractor dragging his feet. You're torn because she's good to your kids. At the end of the day, no means no. I personally don't care if its my kids, my mom, my whatever. I looked at how I can tell the folks who love me no in a heartbeat so why shouldn't I tell someone else no if no is appropriate. I think you are right to move on. Can it lead to a headache - YES. But being nickled and dimed and basically swindled by deceit makes you question her character and therefore what's best for your kids. Cut the loss, the kids will move on (trust me and trust me some more they do) and just hold your position in the future to avoid this. While no strategy or plan goes without bumps, try to focus on the positive once you cut her loose so you don't become enraged thinking of it. Good luck and please reach out if you need to."

"There are several things about your nanny's behavior that you described in your post that bother me. First and foremost is her approach. You are her employer, she is your employee. This is a job, albeit a much different one than, say, working in an office. However, some of the same expectations do apply. For example, if there is an issue she would like to address with you, she should let you know that and schedule a time that would be good for both of you. It is completely unprofessional to blurt this out at the end of her shift. That being said, she sounds friggin' nuts. I mean, I received 5 weeks vacation at my old job ... after being there for 10 years! Her expectations are completely ridiculous. What job do you know of that offers so much time off right off the bat? To be honest, I wouldn't be under the impression that her friends are lying to her, but rather that she's lying to you when she tells her friends have all these perks. "

Bottom line,: You are NOT crazy.


For a full listing of all the topics, visit our "forums" section on Big Tent!

 


MY GYM COULD BE YOUR GYM!
 
I just wanted to tell you about my girls' experience with MY GYM located on 22 West 66th Street off of Central Park West. My girls have been attending MY GYM since they were a year old and they are now 2 years old. And they still find it to be a fun filled and challenging experience!
 
MY GYM offers a very dynamic and activity filled gym class for babies and toddlers. They have a large space and lots of equipment such as a trampoline, tree house, slides, stairs, a horizontal hanging bar, a tub of plastic balls for kids to swim around in and even swings. It is a great place for little ones on both cold and hot days to work out their jiggles and wiggles. The staff is also constantly cleaning the toys and equipment making the place as germ free as possible.
 
I like that the hour long gym classes are a nice mix of structured and unstructured activities starting with a circle time where the little ones do exercises with the assistance of their caretakers as well as little tumbling exercises such as somersaults and head stands. There is also a surprise "adventure" every class for the little ones to try out. Towards the end of class there is a short separation time, where the tots play with toys while staff interacts with them and parents sit back and relax a little. Then the class ends with a puppet show and the goodbye song.
 
MY GYM membership also includes a weekly free play. MY GYM offers a 50% discount for the second sibling so it is a good deal for twins. My girls even take an art class there! The staff is warm and supportive and great with kids. For a limited time, one can get an additional $25 off on their My Gym membership if they are referred by a current member (such as myself). So give them a call and try it out: 212-724-3400.
 
Riva Tait





New York State Mothers of Twins Club Annual Convention


by Natalie Diaz

Every year, at the end of April, the New York State Mothers of Twins Clubs holds their annual convention.
In the history of the Manhattan Twins Club, we have never attended, but this year we put an end to that.
After taking a SUPER quick JetBlue flight out of JFK I arrived in Rochester. I checked in to the beautiful Woodcliff Hotel AND Spa, setteled into my beautiful room, got all my paperwork together to begin working, and then went down to the lobby to begin working.

Attending well over 100 conferences in my day (I worked in Marketing for an African Tour Operator in my previous life), I figured I would get down to business gathering as much info as I can from sister clubs.

I went with the mission of finding out:
#1. How do we retain members beyond the 5 year point.
#2. How do other clubs raise funds
#3. How do we form partnerships with other MOT area clubs
#4. How do other clubs run their events
#5. What services do other clubs offer their members
and the list continued till you hit about #40 or so.

I got my notebook, some club cards, and went on my fact finding mission.  To my surprise, I found NO ONE! There was no twin moms to be found. Being that this was my first time spending more than 40 hours away from my twins, whom are now almost five, I decided to take the opportunity to relax, and went down to the pool to watch the sunset.

When I got down to the pool area, I found the hot tub to be jumpin!  AH HA, I've found all the twin moms. The atmosphere seemed more like a sorority party then a twins club event. Little did I know, these two are NOT mutually exclusive.

After a round of introductions and they found out where I was from, I felt like the bell of the ball! Since the NYC club has never attended, and we have the largest numbers, it never made sense to them.  So what I thought was going to fact finding mission, they flipped it right around on me and I was the one getting interrogated, but in a good way. You see, for the past eight years or so, our NYS representative (who is the one who gets all the info on state conventions) was missing in action!  So we were left out of the loop for MANY years.

I immediately clicked with this group of moms, all of whom are with the MOT of Buffalo, and they let me in on all the tips and tricks of the weekend. First of all, they came to "work" first, but planned on partying like rock starts!  Since this is an annual convention, it's the one time a year that some of the moms see each other, so they come early and stay late, literally.  They arrive a few days early, see the local sites, and then it's all business.

I was quickly told to "look for the turtles".  If there was a turtle on the door of a room, it meant that the room belonged to one of "us" and I would be welcomed there. I didn't know the full extent of the turtles till later in the weekend when I was initiated into a secret society revolving turtles (you'll have to come next year to find out what that is all about).

I can go on for days about how wonderful everyone was, and how welcoming they were.  I already look forward to next years meeting on a personal note. It was also a sheer delight to FINALLY meet moms from our local area clubs, Queens, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk County.  (You might see some more news from those clubs since we are currently in the working trying to figure out some kind of associate membership)

On a business note, I got all my questions answered, found out how State runs their organization, seconded my first motion at the business meeting, came in 3rd in the Newsletter Contest (they didn't accept web formats), received an award for being the new NY State Representative, and even got elected to a position on the NYSMOTC Executive Committee! You are now looking at a member of the nominating committee, thank you very much!

On a personal note, I had the best girls weekend of my life (not in Vegas), met a group of women who I immediately bonded with, re-realized how special it is to be a twin mom, had a few to many JelloShots, danced till my feet were sore, attended my first sock hop, had a massage, watched the sunset over the BEAUTIFUL hills of Rochester, and got welcomed into a sisterhood that I was always apart of.

This convention is open to ALL members who are part of the New York State club, and that means YOU.

So next year, let's make a pact, don't make me go alone!  Attend the convention with me and experience the same joys I did.  Next year I am going prepared, I'm entering myself into the door sign contest, buying a new costume for the theme party (I scrambled at the last minute) and making my own concoction of JelloShots to share with the rest of the group!

It was my pleasure attending on the Manhattan Twins Club behalf, but as I said, next year, who's coming with me?





(paid advertisement)

babyproofersplus summer
 


Taking Your Twins on Vacation
 
By  Christina Baglivi Tinglof
Contributing writer for Twins Magazine


When I gave birth to my fraternal twins boys, I vowed they would never keep me at home. After all, I had been a woman on the go having romped my way around Europe and Australia by the time I was 25. So naturally I pictured my husband and me calming strolling the Champs Élysées while our babies peacefully napped in their double stroller. With my twins' arrival, however, the bubble didn't exactly burst but it certainly fizzled a bit.

As I wrestled daily trying to get my twins out the door my attitude began to change. By the time they were fed, diapered and dressed, I had to nurse them again. Often I'd throw up my arms and cancel my plans-it was just too difficult to be mobile with young twins. Yet I persisted and over time I became more confident and resourceful. We managed to travel not only to the supermarket, but my boys have logged many miles both in the air and on the highway. Today, even after the birth of my third son, my husband and I find family travel to be an enjoyable adventure.

Traveling with your young twins can be daunting. All that equipment times two. A double bundle and not enough hands. But traveling with your little band doesn't have to be stressful. In fact, with a little planning, some flexibility, and a sense of humor, taking a trip with your twins can be fun. Not only does traveling as a family build your confidence as a parent, but also the kids learn about their world around them and quickly become adaptable adults.

Gearing Up
Whether it's a trip across state to see the in-laws or across the ocean to see the Continent, the biggest drawback to traveling anywhere with multiples is all the paraphernalia that they require. Wherever you travel, however, remember to keep things simple. When it comes to traveling with twins, less is usually better. Less to pack and carry means you can concentrate on having fun with the kids.
On short jaunts to grandma's house, for instance, ask if she can borrow cribs and high chairs from neighbors or friends. Many people keep baby equipment for years and would welcome the chance to put it to use. Or, rent them once you arrive-it's surprisingly inexpensive. Better yet, keep a spare right there (hit local garage sales for a deal on used high chairs and portable cribs).

Most gear can do double duty, too. Car seats, for example, can act as bouncy seats and even as high chairs in a pinch. Don't pack two port-a-cribs-most infant twins can sleep in one until they're about six months old. (Just place a rolled-up towel down the center to keep each one on his side.)

If you're traveling overseas, carefully consider the country and type of trip you'll be taking (will you be staying put or moving around?) so that you can decide what equipment will help rather than hinder your touring. Unlike the United States where handicap ramps are commonplace, most of Europe and Asia is not stroller friendly. You'd be better off with two backpacks instead of a double stroller, for instance, while wandering the stair-filled passageways of Venice, Italy, or the castle-packed English countryside. Be sure to borrow or purchase backpacks with sturdy frames and hip support, and always try out the packs weeks before you leave by walking around with your twins carefully stowed in the overhead compartment. Toting a 20-pound child is hard work, and when each parent is carrying a twin, there's no opportunity to trade off. Many parents with twins bring both backpacks and lightweight umbrella strollers allowing many touring options: two backpacks, two strollers, or one stroller and one backpack. Still, some bare-bones families choose to take only one of each and have the kids take turns.

And what about port-a-cribs? Many smaller European hotels and inns won't have cribs. Savvy families with multiples either have their children sleep with them, or create makeshift beds by removing two dresser drawers and padding them with towels and blankets. Be sure to pack a nightlight, too. With two small children sleeping in a strange place, you're bound to get up at least once during the night.

Packing Pointers
Unlike two siblings of different ages, twins don't need separate wardrobes (unless they're boy-girl twins). They can share play clothes (go with dark stripes instead of white-they won't show stains as easily), cutting down on what you'll need to pack. To help organize everyone's stuff, yours included, use large, self-sealing plastic bags-T-shirts in one bag, socks in another. A bag for each category of clothing keeps things orderly, eliminating long, messy hunts through your suitcase.
Another caveat to twin touring is the diaper dilemma. Two babies use up a lot! If you're traveling within the states, you're just a supermarket away from a clean diaper. But it's a different story in the rest of the world. Although many European and Asian countries now carry disposables, sometimes the product name, sizes, and quality are different, and often they're much more expensive. To add to your troubles, you many not find any in that quaint hillside village or remote Caribbean island where you're staying. To combat the problem, fill a duffel bag with disposables purchased here in the states, and then fold up the empty bag and pack away in your suitcase or use it to tote souvenirs home.

Fly Me Two the Moon
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows a child under the age of two to fly free if he sits on the lap of an adult, parents should purchase seats for everyone. When each parents holds a twin, there's no break for anyone. There are no extra hands if someone needs to use the rest room, and it's impossible to eat while balancing a baby on your lap. Besides infants, babies, and toddlers sleep much better when in a car seat. While you can hope for two empty seats, they're quickly becoming extinct now that airlines are cutting back on flights and experiencing record numbers of passengers. Most importantly, a child flying unrestrained is in danger, especially during severe turbulence. (FYI: The FAA requires everything down to the coffee pots to be secure during take off and landing with the exception of babies under the age of two. That should tell you something.)
Although flying is expensive, there are ways to save money. Many airlines offer reduced-priced tickets for children under age 11 flying out of the country. Staying in the states? Try one of the low-cost airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest. JetBlue offers individual satellite TV on every flight-it keeps the kids totally entertained for hours!
Be aware, too, that each airline has different guidelines concerning how many car seats it will allow per aisle. Some permit only one seat per row causing families with twins to split up during the flight. Be sure to ask when booking your tickets.

Undoubtedly the most stressful part of traveling with twins is navigating through the airport. Always give yourself plenty of time. It's better to arrive at the gate an hour ahead of departure time and let the kids run or crawl off some steam than to race through the terminal dragging them behind. Teach them from early age that everyone is responsible for his or her own luggage, too. Yes, even a two year old can wheel a small piece of carry-on luggage, and it's amazing how less stressful it is on you. Invest in a fold-up luggage cart. It's essential for transporting those bulky toddler car seats (and safer than piling them on top of your double stroller). And don't forget to ask the gate attendant for "priority boarding." Not all advertise that they'll let young families board first, but if you ask most will accommodate.

Eat, Sleep, Be Merry
When booking a hotel room, ask if cribs are free. Some hotels charge upwards of $20 per night per crib. Ask for the largest room within your price category (sometimes corner rooms are bigger), too, or if the hotel offers a discount for adjoining rooms. With two cribs, you'll need the extra space.

When it comes to dining out, family-friendly restaurants are key to having a good time. Look for a restaurant with a kid's menu, and a casual dining room, void of tables dressed in linen and china. Always call ahead to reserve two high chairs. While in Santa Fe, not a very child-friendly city, we neglected to do just that, and ended up taking turns holding a baby all through dinner. While infants often sleep even in the loudest restaurants, if you have toddlers, eat early before the crowds and be sure to pack a plethora of distractions-crayons and paper, books, small toys.

If you have the travel bug, don't let your multiples hold you back. Hit the road when they're young, and travel often. Start by taking small, overnight trips and once you feel confident, the sky's the limit.

 

# # #

Author's Bio: Christina Tinglof is the mother of three sons including 12-year-old fraternal boys and a 10-year-old singleton. She's also the author of Parenting School-Age Twins and Multiples, and Double Duty: The Parents' Guide to Raising Twins. Her website is www.talk-about-twins.com.


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The answers to three questions most often asked of a babyproofer
by Rene Appelbaum, co-owner of Baby Proofers Plus, Inc

Why hire a professional baby proofer?

  • According to a December 2008 Center for Disease Control Childhood Injury Report, during the years 2000-2005, over 16,000 children under the age of four years, died from a preventable and controllable cause.  More specifically, these deaths were caused by suffocation (which includes choking, strangulation and entrapment (representing a striking 40%), drowning (20%) and another 15% of fatal injuries resulted from being struck by or falling into objects such as sharp corners.
  • The statistics for preventable injuries and deaths among young children is alarming --- for sure every parent wants to keep their children safe and help them live to their full potential.
  • A baby proofer better understands and sees these problems and can help reduce the risk that one of your children will become part of these devastating statistics. For some things it is best to have a baby proofer provide protection while, for other situations the baby proofer can give parents practical tips for prevention. The combination of these two strategies can significantly help lower the number of casualties in and around the home.
  • A professional baby proofer will recommend and properly install the best safety products to improve the overall safety of the children's surrounding environment.  On average, a typical two bedroom, two bath apartment in NYC costs $500-$600 to baby proof, safety products and installation included.
 
 When is the right time to baby proof my home?

  • Before your children become mobile and inquisitive - age can vary, typically 6 months - 9 months.
  • Start the process early and build on it - it is always best to be ready.
  • Doing it in stages allows parents to baby proof their home incrementally as their children grow and develop.  You want to be proactive not reactive.
  • Get the obvious dangers taken care of initially and then see how your children develop --- crib to bed, a pet, moving to a new/larger home, etc. - all could be reasons for stage 2 baby proofing.
 
What are some surprising hidden dangers most often found in a home?
  • Monitor wires near cribs. If a baby can pull the wire through the crib slats he/she can then bite onto a live electrical wire or wrap the cord around their neck. Solution: Be sure the wire is out of reach.
  • Because children mimic what they see (monkey see, monkey do) belts, neckties, dog leashes, scarves, and other typical household items 7" or longer should not be hanging around.  You don't want your children wrapping one of these items around their neck.
  • Common chokable dangers include things like coins, jewelry, pills, buttons, bottle water caps, small refrigerator magnets, etc. You get the idea. Get down on all fours and check under appliance and furniture (your children's territory) for these and other small chokable hazards. If it fits inside of a toilet paper holder it's probably a chokable hazard.
  • You might think your children are totally safe when being carried by an adult. But, now that your children are higher up, any distraction like answering a phone or checking the stove top means your babies can grab items like knives on a counter-top, dimmer light switches, window blind cords, dangling telephone cords, etc.  Take notice and look at these typical household items from a new, educated perspective.
  • Have a shoe fetish like so many Moms do?  Be sure you remove the silica deodorizer packet that comes in the shoe boxes of all new shoes. They are the perfect size for little hands and little mouths.
  • Keep plastic dry cleaning bags, plastic shopping bags, kitchen wraps with serrated edges on boxes and food storage bags out of reach of your children.  Any plastic presents a danger to a youngster if they put it near their mouth.
  • Don't forget grandma's house - before you put your babies down on the floor to crawl around and explore - make sure everything is safe and sound  (i.e. make sure there are no pills on the floor that grandma/grandpa dropped and forget to pick up).

Editorial provided by Rene Appelbaum, co-owner of Baby Proofers Plus, Inc., a leading and trusted full-service child safety company helping parents in NYC/NJ avoid preventable home accidents and injuries since 1993.
 
For more information: www.babyproofersplus.com, 212.628.8052. All Manhattan Twins Club members receive 15% discount on all safety products

NANNY COMPENSATION
SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN

Here is the experience of the "average" Manhattan Twins Club member:
  • Has twins who are between 12 and 23 months
  • Employs a caregiver full time, 40.0 hours/week
  • Pays $811 per week
  • Gives the following paid holidays
  • New Years Day (January 1)
  • Memorial Day (end of May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (beginning of September)
  • Thanksgiving (end of November)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Offers 11 paid vacation/personal/sick days per year
  • Gives the caregiver a Metrocard
  • Includes the following duties and responsibilities of the caregiver:
  • Children's laundry
  • Preparing children's meals
  • Light housekeeping
  • Accompanying children to classes
Need a Staycation! 
Here are some ideas:
  • Dine Al Fresco (June 1 - September 7, 2009) 8:00AM-4:00PM Mulberry Street Pedestrian Mall Streets are closed except to pedestrian traffic. Come Eat Drink and Be Merry!  Pets even welcome since you can enjoy lunch outside!Governors Island
  • Need to see some green? Visit Governors Island!  Tons of free activities for children and adults alike.
  • Mermaid Parade. Have kids that are obsessed with Ariel?  This is your chance for your kids to see "real" mermaids... check out the aquarium that weekend as well.  I've never missed this event!
  • Melting Outside?  Time for a Movie? Every Thursday morning, the folks at Clearview Cinemas are handing over two of their Manhattan theaters to a "growing" customer base. Families can enjoy such faves as Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and The Tale of Despereaux on the big screen while cooling off in industrial-strength AC (that's our idea of thrills and chills). Tickets go fast; please arrive no later than 10am. Thursdays at 10:30am, Jul 2-Aug 20. 
  • Calypso Soca Caribbean Party. Couldn't swing a Jamaican vacation this year? There's always Flushing. The limber can limbo to music by Bob Marley, the Mighty Sparrow and other rhythmic masters performed by Tribal Legacy. This party is one of four garden concerts at the Smithsonian-affiliated cultural center. Jul 26 at 2pm. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd at Main St, Flushing, Queens
  • Maclaren Soho Playdate-  Even a company that sells strollers designed by Burberry, Kate Spade and Philippe Starck is not oblivious to the needs of the less rich and famous. On Wednesdays, the showroom screens kiddie flicks like Kung Fu Panda; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it provides a complimentary space for playdates, along with free snacks and art supplies. Screenings: Wednesdays 11am-2pm; playdates: Tuesdays, Thursdays 11am-2pm; reservations suggested. 150 Wooster St between Prince and W Houston Sts
See next month's newsletter for more ideas!!!! P.S. anyone wanna meet at Maclaren? I'll gladly be there with my monsters.