Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: Double Duty

Next up, I'm going to review Double Duty: The Parents' Guide to Raising Twins, from Pregnancy Through the School Years by Christina Baglivi Tinglof. I'm going to review the 1998 1st edition, rather than the 2009 2nd edition because, well, that's what I got from the library. I assume the second edition is fairly similar, but with fewer references to VCRs.

At first this book intrigued me. Most books that we've been looking at focus on pregnancy and the first year. While this makes sense for us now, it seemed like it would be neat to "peek ahead" with a book that had a little less about pregnancy, a little more about the first year, and a couple of chapters about life beyond that.

Unfortunately, my interest did not last long. Flipping through the book, I found the advice,
Try not to refer to your children as "the twins".
Really? Most parents I know talk about "the kids", "the boys", "the girls", etc. More to the point, why not? After some discussion, Christina (my wife, not Ms. Baglivi Tinglof) and I decided that it was reasonable to refer to them as "the twins" in the third person -- as in, "We just dropped off the twins with their grandparents, and we're headed for Vegas." It did, however, seem inappropriate to address them as such. ("Twins, get in here!") If we're going to be accused of causing lasting psychological damage to our kids, I'd at least like to know why.

Reading the introduction, I see how the book was constructed. The author interviewed a bunch of parents of twins, and a pediatrician, and compiled the advice she got. The result, unfortunately, is a mix of good and bad advice, with little way to distinguish between the two.

In the first chapter, she tells us,
African races have the highest incidence of twinning (about 20 percent more likely than Caucasian women), followed by Europeans, then Mexicans. Asians have the lowest incidence.
Reading this paragraph aloud provoked a lecture on Mexican racial identity from the Mexican-American in bed next to me. (Summary: It makes about as much sense to call Mexicans a race as it does to refer to the "United States race".)

The author provides numerous Top Five lists. The "Top Five Comebacks to Annoying Questions and Comments" caught our eye, since we're planning to institute a similar feature here at (Preview: "Are they twins?" "No, they're triplets...oh, crap, one's missing again.") We were brought up short by #4:
Question: "Twins? How do you tell them apart?"
Answer: "We had only one twin circumcised."
OK, at least we laughed at that one, but it seemed a little inappropriate.

In short, I can't recommend this book; there are too many other, more carefully written books about twins out there. Even those which are also collections of advice are more explicit about the source of and reasoning behind that advice. This one's going back to the library soon.

Twinometer: 3/10.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Twin Discount

When we went crib shopping a couple of weeks ago, we were pleased to discover we got a 10% "twin discount" at several stores.  Of course, that still means we are spending 180% what parents of a singleton would spend, but hey, they only get one baby out of the deal.

While perusing the Multiples...and More blog, I saw a link to a shoe site called Preschoolians that offers a 40% discount to twins.  Wow!   I'll have to remember that for when they, you know, need shoes.

Useful information at'll try not to make a habit of it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: Juggling Twins

Juggling Twins: The Best Tips, Tricks, and Strategies from Pregnancy to the Toddler Years
Christina and I are book people, so naturally we've been looking for books about twins.  The first one we looked at was Juggling Twins, by Meghan Regan-Loomis.

This book was a good starting place for us.  It's not too serious, so it didn't overwhelm us with lists of things we were going to have to do.  It did, however, give us an idea of some of the things we are going to be up against.   The author definitely has her own perspective, which is both good and bad.

Her perspective makes the book more entertaining than one written generically.  For example, she believes in significant weight gain during pregnancy.  She's also against co-bedding, and in favor of using "play yards" (apparently the term "play pen" has been lost to political correctness).  While I may not agree with all of her points of view, it's more interesting to read than wishy-washy advice.

On the other hand, since she has an older child, much of the advice is given from that perspective.  We were panicked by the amount of help she said we'd need in the first month.  Towards the end of that chapter, we read the part that started, "The amount and type of help you need is determined in part by whether or not you have an older child or children."  Although we realize the first month will be tough, the specific prescriptions she gave grew out of her own experiences.  (We're still looking forward to your visit, Mom.)

Now that I look at this book after a month or two, I see more good stuff in it (which baby goods are must haves and which are superfluous).  Still, I value it the most for the sense of perspective.  As such, it might be a good one to borrow from the library, if possible. 

I think the part that sticks with me from the book is the following (for reasons I don't understand, it's presented as part of a poem):
The next time we are shopping for tomatoes
And yet another cart-pushing poet succumbs
To the irrepressible need to proclaim "Double Trouble"
Reading that was the moment where I realized, "Oh, no, people will be coming up to me to say stupid things in a grocery store.  I've structured much of my life around not having to talk to strangers."  In that moment, my twin panic grew by leaps and bounds.

Twinometer: 6/10

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Twin Panic in the Control Tower

Is it wrong that when I found out that the kids who directed air traffic at JFK were twins that I suddenly found the story adorable rather than disturbing?