Things I Learned from Our First Trip With the Twins

suitcase

This weekend we travelled to Ohio for my cousin’s wedding. We drove there and stayed in a hotel, so I’m counting it as our first real trip with the babies (not including our very long drive when we moved from New York to Pittsburgh, or a weekend at a friend’s house). I’d say it was a learning experience for all. Here are a few things I learned:

1. From now on, when we leave a hotel, not only should we double check the bathroom to make sure we didn’t forget any toiletries, but we should also check under the bed, under the chairs, behind the curtains, behind the dresser. Babies are sneaky with the hiding things.

2. My clothes will fit in a small duffel and the babies’ clothes will take up a whole suitcase. It seems like I’m packing too many baby clothes, but I’m not. They went through all of them.

3. Pureed baby food in pouches is awesome for travel. This trip we discovered they can suck the food themselves out of the pouch. They love it and it’s much neater than any other eating option. If they’re still into that the next time, we’re packing a lot more of those and a lot fewer jars and bananas.

4. Somehow travel made me realize the seriousness of the babies’ schedules. Four times milk, three meals, two naps, bed time, at the same times each day. The challenge of keeping to a schedule in a new city, with places to be at particular times, people to meet, really brought this point home.

5. The jury is still out on whether two umbrella strollers or the double stroller are preferable. This time we went with the two umbrellas, but next time we will probably try the double. Advantage of two umbrellas: they fit more places, are more portable, and can double as high chairs for eating. Advantage of double: One person has hands free for opening doors and carrying other things, like luggage, or a baby. One thing we do know, the babies are too heavy to carry: we packed the Ergo carriers and never used them.

Those are a few lessons learned, anyway. Final lesson is it’s tiring…but probably good for us.

Leaving On a Jet Plane (First Time Away from the Babies)

Image

This weekend I’ll be away from the babies for the first time since they were born (for more than a few hours, that is). I’m actually not taking a jet plane, I’m driving for seven hours to a friends’ wedding. So this is also the real christening of our silver chariot (ie Mazda 5, who as yet remains nameless). 

I honestly can’t decide if I’m excited (I can sleep in! I can paint my toenails! Wander around the city, sit with friends and relax, drink *multiple* cocktails!) or not (I’m going to miss those sweet baby faces, I’m going to have to pump breast milk the Entire Time, I’m going to have to drive for seven hours each way alone). But I think I’ll choose to be excited. See you on the flip side! 

Eight Hours in the Car With Twin Babies

This week, for Thanksgiving, we drove eight hours with the babies, from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh. As the day of our departure drew closer, we wondered if we had made the right decision in not flying. We wondered if we were completely insane.

We had decided leaving early, at 4 am, would be our best option. We would put the babies, still in their PJs, in their car seats and hit the road. This, we hoped, would give us a couple hours while they were still asleep, getting us out of New York City before the morning rush hour or Thanksgiving traffic.

What we hadn’t factored into the mix, in addition to baby and traffic schedules, was the storm of the century advisory, which would hit the very night we had planned to leave.

“I can’t even describe it,” the radio commenters said of the traffic leaving New York the night before the storm. “It’s so horrible, it’s so horrible. A parking lot.” There were ice storms, tornado warnings, wind advisories. Batten down the hatches, because we’re blowing away to Oz, was the tone. A friend called me as I was packing. “Don’t forget to pack some emergency supplies for the car.” She mentioned jumper cables. I stuck a gallon of water and some baby formula among our supplies. I imagined us stuck with the babies on the highway in a white out.

That night I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to the wind driving rain against our window panes, shaking the house with a low moan.

At 4 a.m. we convened in the kitchen, where coffee was dripping, set on a timer from the night before. “Should we go? What about the weather?” We watched some online weather videos, looking for clues. The longer we waited the closer it got to rush hour, the closer it got to time for the babies to wake up, while the weather remained just as bad. The wee hours are not the best time for decision-making, but after about a half hour we decided to go for it.

We drove the first few hours out of New York in the dark, frantically. I was still wearing my coat, having jumped in the car so quickly. It was dark and raining, we expected to hit massive traffic at any point, for the babies to start wailing at any second, for the weather to blow us off the road.

But none of that happened.

The babies slept. They slept right through until 9 a.m. when we had to stop and get gas and thought we better feed them, though they weren’t crying. They slept for most of the whole trip. Also, we didn’t hit traffic, and the weather, though there was a bit of snow and rain, was fine.

I think the babies rather enjoyed the whole driving experience. When we stopped to feed them they were so busy chattering away and looking around we could barely get them to focus enough to eat. And they laughed out loud at being changed in our laps in the car.

Clearly we should travel with them more often. They are ready for adventure.

Five Important Baby Things I Forgot to Pack

Image

This weekend the babies took their first trip out of town. Very exciting. They did well, didn’t seem disoriented, slept well. Packing, though, was a challenge. The car was stuffed to the gills with two adults, two babies, suitcase, double stroller, playmat, two carseats, this that and the other. And still there were five things I forgot. Maybe I will be organized and put together a checklist of baby things to pack for next time. Or maybe I’ll just write down these five things: 

1. Lots of plastic bags

Where do you put diapers when you’re at someone else’s house? They don’t have a Diaper Genie or Diaper Dekor (I love the names of diaper pails, so comedy, but that’s a subject for another post…). You need lots of plastic bags so you can take them to the trash outside. 

2. Stain remover

The babies pooped on my friend’s pillows. Not the best guest behavior, which leads me to number three… 

3. My Breast Friend Double Nursing Pillow

I thought the pillow was just too gigantic to bring, even though I use it seven times a day every day. I thought I could just substitute a pile of regular bed pillows (see item 2 above). Turns out bed pillows are cumbersome and you need a lot of them to support two twins in an upright position, and there’s crying and repositioning involved and you’ll probably just end up nursing them individually instead of together, which is a pain. (And they might get pooped on.)

4. Two moby wraps

I only packed one. In fairness, I thought D was going to bring the other up with him when he came (we went up separately). Still, there is nothing that is more of a pain than a double stroller. We want to take rustic walks in parks, and go to stores, and make our time away from home feel as much like a vacation as possible.

5. Two play mats

Again, I only brought one. Why am I only bringing one of these things? I have two babies! And they are big. They don’t fit in one moby, they don’t fit in one crib, they don’t fit on one mat. I will get it next time I swear.

And just as a note, we went through a pack of 31 diapers. In two days. And almost a whole pack of wipes.

But we did it. We got out of town. We moved ourselves and the babies to a new place for a couple days, levitated the house, and it was lovely.