That moment when we found out it was twins

A closeup shot of the feet of twin girl babies. Shot in the studio on a sheepskin rug.

You know that laugh? The laugh you get in situations that aren’t funny.  It’s a hysterical sort of inappropriate laugh when you’re nervous?  The laugh you just can’t control?  That’s what happened during my 18-week ultrasound when we found out I was growing twins!

We were already blessed with a beautiful boy who would be just under two years old when my next would arrive.  Coming from a larger family, I wanted kids and I wanted them to be good friends.  I thought the best way to do this would be to have them close in age.  It never crossed my mind that we would have a set of twins.

I was having regular appointments with my doctor.  I was gaining more weight, more than I had with my first pregnancy.  I was feeling good, big but good!  My husband raced from a meeting to join me for the ultrasound.  It was a very good thing he made it!  The technician was taking plenty of time quietly looking around.  I was watching the screen closely.  I am fascinated with being able to see the baby.  Suddenly, I noticed two heads!  I thought I was going to faint! The technician quickly left to find another technician to assist her.  They arrived back to my side to share that we were having twins and proceeded to measure each baby.  This is where the uncontrollable laughter set in.  My husband and I laughed so hard we cried.  The two of us were out of control.  I’m pretty sure it was total panic on both of our parts.  Let’s just say we were gob-smacked!

The girls arrived safely.  We went from a family of three to a family of five with three in diapers!  It was hilarious at times and exhausting at others.  While we’d not planned for twins, the time flew by and we’d do it all over again if given the chance!

If I could go back in time, this is what I would tell myself:

  • Toddler boy posing with his newborn identical twin sistersAccept help (and food)! Let your mother-in-law fold your granny panties. Who cares! People want to help, so take them up on their offers.
  • Be kind to yourself. You are being the best parent you can be. Just love those babies!  And a break for mom or dad is a great thing.
  • Don’t get ahead of yourself. When will they sleep through the night?  What about solids?  How will I potty train them all?  Are they getting enough rest?  Will I have enough time to read books to them each day?  Should the twins stay together in classes in school?  Guess what?  Cross these bridges when you get to them.
  • You will leave the house again! The first time you go out you may feel overwhelmed.  What will I do if both babies start crying or my two year old has a temper tantrum?  It is much easier than you think.  For me, it always seemed to work out fine!  This always surprised me, but it’s true.
  • Enjoy all of your children’s gifts! One child will sleep better than the other and one child will jump higher than the other.
  • Take time to enjoy! The saying “Enjoy every minute, because they grow up so fast!” is truer than you can ever imagine. With my eldest heading off to high school in September, it truly makes me reflect and be thankful that I take time to enjoy each of my kids!

Enjoy your journey as a parent. Embrace what is before you… and feel free to laugh when you want to cry!

Are you pregnant with twins or more? Check out our prenatal classes just for you.

If you are looking for support or to share your experience, we’d love to hear from you:

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this blogger:

Tara Johnston, RN: I am thrilled to be helping families in the Halton community by supporting parents with children across the ages. I have a broad background in public health, and with a set of twins of my own, I am passionate about supporting families with multiples! I am enjoying my own parenting journey with my 3 awesome school-age children!

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A lifetime of benefits for kids in the kitchen

I didn’t appreciate being in the kitchen until I was married.  I’m the baby, the third of three girls and was often tasked with well… let’s call them “less complex” jobs.  Honestly, my mom had more willing and capable help when it came to working in the kitchen. Truthfully, I was a bit impatient and guilty of snacking on carefully measured ingredients like the chocolate chips!

Once I got married, it struck me that knowing how to cook more than grilled cheese might be helpful. When my first baby arrived, a dose of domestic panic hit me and in a blurry eyed state I signed up for a cooking course!  Although I didn’t graduate as a professional chef, I gained some needed confidence in the kitchen.

When my oldest was 3 he was keen to be in the kitchen with me. He proudly sported a tiny white apron, ready to stir, pour, measure and splash in our soap filled sink. It was so much fun and a great way to connect. Today at 14, he still loves cooking (hooray) and will treat us to a family meal or breakfast in bed.  My youngest was and is still more interested in sports.  He is not in the kitchen as much, but helps out by cracking an egg or two and happily samples any creations.

9 amazing benefits of cooking with your kids:  

Health Canada (2017),  EatRight Ontario (2016)

  1. Cooking is an important life skill.
  2. Picky eaters are more likely to try food they help make.
  3. Cooking is a great way to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
  4. Literacy: Reading recipes can help develop your child’s reading skills.
  5. Math skills: Measuring ingredients can help improve math skills.
  6. Science: What will happen when you boil an egg or make bread?
  7. Social studies: What food is grown in Canada and around the world?
  8. Food skills: How do you stir, chop, knead, pour and scoop?
  9. Social skills: How can we work together, take turns and share utensils?

Getting kids into the kitchen offers a lifetime of perks and encourages a healthy relationship with food and family.  Our friends at EatRight Ontario share some great ways kids can be involved at every age and stage.

Tips to make it terrific:

Start with something easy like play dough or muffins.

  • Decide together on the recipe, the buy in is key!
  • Consider your child’s age, skill level and interest.
  • Timing, allow for lots of extra time.
  • Consider your mindset, are you feeling patient?
  • Keep it light, fun and safe.


Good luck, enjoy and remember it’s not about the end product but the journey along the way.  Happy stirring, pouring, mixing, splashing and of course making memories.

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000

Posted in Parenting, preschoolers, reading, School-aged Children, Teens | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

3 “weird but true” things about newborns

You drove 30 km/hr home from the hospital and discovered a new world of crazy drivers…

You survived night 2 and 3 with a fussy newborn and seriously engorged breasts

You’ve spent countless hours staring at your sweet baby in awe of the perfection…

You’ve been awake around the clock caring for your baby…


You wouldn’t change a thing.

But now this crazy schedule has become your new norm and the questions are piling up.  No IKEA instructions with this little gem.  Ahhh, what to do?  Really, it’s going to be OK, take a deep breath we’ve got you covered!  Seriously, write down those middle of the night questions and get a hold of us here at HaltonParents (call, e-mail, or join us on twitter or facebook). Continue reading

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“Mama needs a drink!” Is it time to rethink our drinking?

The Rethink Your Drinking campaign has me thinking. Thinking about standard drink sizes, the long and short term health effects of alcohol use and when zero alcohol is the limit. It also has me thinking about my kids.

When I reflect on alcohol use and parenting; I like to think I have it covered. I’ve had the talk; no drinking and driving, no drinking until legal age, I have a “call us, no questions asked” policy. Check, check, check.

But wait, there is so much more to consider.

happy cute brunette girl with a cup full of wine by matias delcarmine

My husband arrived home from a weekend across the border with candy for the kids and a bottle of rye for me. A bottle big enough to carry me and 20 friends through until his next year’s weekend away. I jokingly hugged it; which is what I generally do when I am given a gift (okay I will also rub it on my cheek, but I’m sure I didn’t do that this time).  Now, fast forward one month. We are at a shopping mall and there is a giant billboard with said bottle clearly displayed… cue my 5 year old (hollering from several feet away) “Hey, Mommy, look! It’s your favourite present!” Gulp. Floor. Swallow. Me. Up. NOW.

How many times have I joked with little ones nearby “Mama needs a drink”? How about the cooler for a day at a backyard picnic; filled to the brim with juice boxes nestled in next to “mommy’s cider” and ‘daddy’s beer”? Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, Pregnancy, Preschool, Safety, stress, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s time to stop the Yes/No questions

For the rest of the day, listen to yourself when you talk to your kids. I did this recently and was struck by how many times I asked my kids a Yes/No question, when instead I meant to be giving instruction. No wonder I was hearing so many No’s!

Parents are late trying to get out the door while mother pulls little girl's hand to hurry up“Okay kids, how about we all tidy the room up?”

“Can you please get ready to go?”

And the best phrase is when I tack on that innocent “okay”.

“After dinner, it’s time for a bath, okay?”  We ask okay, because in our minds we are seeking validation. It’s a “did you understand me?” But believe me, kids are hearing a Yes/No question. Continue reading

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8 tips to help support a friend with infertility

Disappointed woman finding out pregnancy testI went through infertility before I became a mother. Infertility is often a profound rollercoaster of hope, grief, loneliness and helplessness that overwhelms many who are struggling to have children.

If you know a friend or family member struggling – chances are you do as 1 in 6 couples in Canada face infertility – you might be wondering how you can show your support. I have come up with 8 tips that I found especially helpful during this difficult time: Continue reading

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Our kids make great teachers

My tween and teens are a lot more tech-savvy than I am. They are naturally adept with today’s technology and have a skill for trouble shooting. I frequently find myself asking to draw on their expertise when I am learning a new social media app or gadget. Asking them to teach me how to do something sometimes gets me an impatient chuckle and accompanying eye roll – “Oh, Mom” – but it also allows us to trade places as they take on the role of the more experienced  mentor and I do my best to role model how to be an open minded learner by accepting feedback and taking it all in.

A great strategy for learning something is teaching it to someone else. One good way to help your teen with their school work is to ask them to teach you. It can be a positive part of their homework habits. The age old saying “while we teach, we learn” holds very true. Sharing their knowledge can also help your teen to build their own enjoyment and interest in a particular topic and help them retain information. I have learned trigonometry and WWII just by asking my 16-year old to fill me in on what she’s doing in class. So we both benefit. Continue reading

Posted in learning, Mental Health, Parenting, play, School-aged Children, stress, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment