No apologies necessary: Raising twins is uniquely amazing

“After bringing my partner into the room, she repeated her apologies. And I still love his response: ‘Sorry!? Why are you sorry? This is amazing!’”

No apologies necessary: Raising twins is uniquely amazing

Three years ago I found out I was pregnant. My periods were always regular—almost to the minute regular, so I knew something was off when I was two days late. Just after four weeks, we took our first home pregnancy test. It's an understatement to say that we were shocked.

Through the next hours, days and week, we went through the whole range of emotions. But I knew, and felt, that we would be making this work. While we'd known each other all of all of five (gasp!) months, somehow we just knew that we had some sort of strong love that would get us through.


So at five weeks, we scheduled our appointment with my nurse practitioner and everything looked great. I got all my blood work done and she scheduled us for an ultrasound at six weeks. Why so early, when most initial ultrasounds are scheduled around 12 weeks? We didn't even think about it—we were still reeling through the emotional ups and downs about how we were going to face this new life with a baby. In hindsight, I assume it was because of high HCG levels (this is the hormone that is measured to detect if a person is pregnant).

On April 9, 2014, we went in for our first ultrasound. Up until about five weeks, I was free from any symptoms, save for the missed period. I remember thinking I would somehow escape morning sickness. And of course I got hit by it soon after. Or, rather, to say hit is an understatement. It came into my life and took over my body, to a point that I could barely move from bed to the bathroom. So after my usual morning puke(s), I somehow scrapped myself out of bed and began downing the required early ultrasound water on our walk to the clinic.

I had never had an ultrasound before and had no idea what to expect. I was excited to "see" my baby, but also extremely uncomfortable and feeling downright awful, from the nausea and water filling my body. The process began with an abdominal ultrasound, but because we were so early on in our pregnancy, the technician moved on to a trans-vaginal ultrasound. (Okay, so anyone new to this world, let me explain: A trans-vaginal ultrasound is basically a wand that they put a condom on, plus lube and then insert inside of you. It's intimate, to put it simply.)

About two minutes in, the technicians phone rang. "Oh, sorry, I need to answer this. It's my son." To my complete confusion, she then proceeded to chat with her son for five minutes, while still holding the wand—umm, awkward anyone?

If this wasn't weird enough, after she hung up, she started prying into my life. Here's how the conversation unfolded:

Technician: How did you get pregnant?

Me: I'm sorry, what do you mean? Umm, I'm not sure what you want me to say...

Technician: Was this a natural pregnancy?

Me: Yes... What do you mean by "natural"?

Technician: No fertility treatments?

Me: No...

At this point, I'm starting to feel the urge to grab my pants and run out of the room. Really, does she not know how babies are made? Does she want me to tell her the romantic tale in full detail? My mind was whirling and I was shaking from the nerves and confusion.

Technician: Have you been feeling sick?

Me: Yes, really sick actually.

Technician: I need to go talk to the doctor.

And this was when my stomach dropped.

Anyone who's had an ultrasound will know how impersonal and often, nerve-wracking it is. The technicians are not authorized to give you very much information—it all gets sent to your OB or midwife, who will then relay it to you. But they will give you a bit of insight into what is going on, after talking to the radiologist. Those few minutes when I was left alone were tense and terrifying. My mind was racing...

Finally, the technician returned with her news.

"I'm so sorry," she started, causing my jaw to drop and buckets of tears to well. "You're having twins."

My jaw shut closed and I started laughing.

After bringing my partner into the room, she repeated her apologies. And I still love his response: "Sorry!? Why are you sorry? This is amazing!"

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You can imagine how our family and friends reacted. We'd already deeply surprised them with the news of one baby and now we'd launched them into a reality TV show, with the news of twins. The best part of the story, is that everyone thought we were joking. Being so close to April Fool’s Day, EVERY SINGLE PERSON we told laughed and thought we were just continuing the joke-riddled day, over one week later.

But we weren't. And I'm so deeply grateful that it wasn't a joke, because my life is fuller than it's ever been.

There are many variations of what a family looks like. And, I suppose, on the surface ours looks quite “conventional.” But our story isn't and I LOVE that it has this depth to it. We made it though this April Fool’s non-joke, weaved through PLENTY of judgement and have built a family that is a safe and warm space for all four of us.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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