Episode 101 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
In this episode of the podcast, we continue the Father of Twins Interview Series with Tom Treanor. He is a father of twins and an advanced certified professional childproofer.
Listen as we discuss:
- Having twins as an older dad
- Emotional roller coaster of IVF and discovering twins
- Initial feelings about finding out it was twins
- How the pregnancy looks when you’ve had miscarriages before
- Overcoming challenges of preparing the family for twins
- Behavior issues of older children when twins arrive
- Why one son had to spend time in the NICU
- When moms get all the credit
- Running a business and handling twins
- Dad’s role when the twins are exclusively breast fed.
- When to start baby proofing for twins
- What you should have in the crib with your twins
- Why lead is so dangerous to children
- The most overlooked safety risk for your children in the home
- Hidden risks of toys your kids have
- Things to check to make sure your babies’ cribs are safe
- How older children bypass your twin childproofing and endanger younger twin siblings
Get in Touch with Tom
Joe: Tom, welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast.
Tom: Thanks, Joe. Thanks for having me on.
Joe: It’s a pleasure. Before we get started, can you give us a quick snapshot of you and your family? And then, we’ll jump back in to the details of your twin journey.
Tom: Sure, sure. My wife and I…married now for seven years. I should probably know that exact year number, but I think we’re either at seven or just past it. And we have our first son, Cole, who is six. And then, we were blessed with twins about fourteen months ago. And they’re all boys, my six-year-old and my two twins are all boys. We live in New York, specifically, on Long Island. I’m a professional child-proofer, by trade. I’m an advanced certified professional child-proofer. And we also have a dog, just to add in to the mix.
Joe: It should make for fun times, as your boys get older.
Tom: It’s busy, it’s busy. My wife is a school teacher in New York City, D.O.E. So, we both work full-time. I own my own business and my wife…says full-time, but she’s off in the summers.
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Discovery and Twin Pregnancy
Joe: So, when you got the news that you were having twins…can you take us back to that time and describe some of your emotions or things you were thinking about when you received that news?
Tom: I knew you were going to ask me this and there is a bit of a backstory to it…that we didn’t conceive naturally. And when we were trying to conceive, we sought the help of a fertility specialist. And we had a failure on the first try. And then, my wife had said, “Please, let’s do two. Let’s implant two.” Because this was a last shot, for insurance reasons. And I said, “Please don’t.” I said, “I can’t do this.” On a side note, I just turned 50 last year. So, I’m probably one of the older twin dads. It definitely wasn’t in my vision to have one more, let alone two more.
And she said, “No, please, please. It’s not going to happen. We’re not going to have twins, don’t worry. I just want to make sure we have another sibling for our already…” I think he was four, at the time. So, I said, “Okay.” And sure enough, it turned out. My wife is funny. She was on top of her fertility, with the access she has online and support groups for fertility. All the other moms that she speaks with online, she was a member of quite a few groups and she kept a diary of her body temperature when she woke up in the morning, midday, at night. She would take frequent urine test strips. She knew she was pregnant before we even went in for the first sonogram.
And she pointed it out to me. She said, “Here’s the strip and here’s my body temperature in the morning. And I spiked over here.” So, when we walked in to the doctor…she told the doctor, she said, “I’m pregnant.” And he said, “Well, let’s go and see for sure and we’ll do the test for you.” And she said, “No, I know.” And she pulled out her book and the doctor took a step back at how organized she was and how much information she could provide. So, sure enough, when we were in there we saw two heartbeats. It was a big surprise…big. It wasn’t in my plan, as I said. I still doubted it and…wow. It was numb, I was numb. Because my wife and I spent some time discussing or arguing about even having a second child.
There were all the conversations about money, and “I don’t have time for this. I’m going to have to get out of my office, we’re going to have to put the baby in there.” Now, it’s “woah”, times two. So, it was a numb. I didn’t wish for something to happen or the pregnancy to be aborted, but it still didn’t seem real to me. My wife had had four miscarriages, prior. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to think that maybe one wasn’t going to make it. And I hate to say “wishful thinking”, but I just couldn’t picture myself with three kids. Financially, and the space. I said, “I don’t know how we’re going to do this.”
But we went in to it and her belly grew and she’s a great mom. She lights up when she’s pregnant, as she did with our first child. She really did come in to her own. My wife was a woman who just her whole life wanted to be pregnant and wanted to have as many kids as possible. So, this was a Godsend for her, because she got her three kids that she always wanted.
Joe: Well, I understand those concerns. I had the very similar ones…finances and space and logistics of how was I going to handle two instead of one. So, yeah, numb is a good word that you use to describe the emotions after finding out the news.
Tom: Not real, unbelievable and “this can’t be happening to me”. But I’m sure, as with you and every other father of twins out there, says, “Okay. Let’s do what we need to do now. It’s done. How do we get this? How do we make this work? How does this family survive this?” Because now we have our first son and when we first started talking about having a second child, I said, “Look, let’s just do this one really well. Let’s just do the first child really well and give him everything we’ve got.” And of course, I was met with the, “Well, we don’t want to spoil him, he’s going to grow up spoiled. He’s going to be an only child.” Well, we nipped that in the bud. He’s not spoiled anymore and far from an only child.
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
And it’s strange now, because he’s in school, in first grade. And we’re having the discipline problems, but we make it work. We just strap in. Strap in. It’s a ride, right?
Joe: That’s right. That’s right, it is a ride. Quite the roller coaster ride. So, was the pregnancy uneventful or were there any complications that you all had during the pregnancy?
Tom: No, it was uneventful. As I said, my wife is a women who just revels in motherhood and just loves being pregnant. Just everything about it. She gets into, as she did with our first son, she gets into that nesting phase where she likes to organize things and clean things and cook. And she’s very pleasant to be around when she’s pregnant. If I could afford it, I’d keep her pregnant all the time.
Joe: So, how far along were the babies when the boys were born?
Tom: My wife carried 37 weeks. 6 lbs. 1 oz. and 7 lbs 2 oz. She delivered two monster babies, as far as twins go. They were very impressive weights. Daniel and Jesse are the twins. Jesse, who was the smaller one at 6 lbs 1 oz., he spent about four days in the NICU. Daniel never had to go in. His body temperature dropped and I guess the regulations in the hospital where she delivered…I guess if the baby’s temperature drops for more than an hour or two hours they put them in the NICU. And once he goes into the NICU, they don’t let them out until he’s completely stable and everybody’s stable and everybody’s happy and the bills are paid, I guess.
They said if his temperature goes back to normal after four or five hours or six hours, we’ll let him back out and it did. But then they said, “We’re going to hold him for another 24 hours, because that’s the hospital policy.” And then, after that we were checking out. We were getting ready to check out and go home. And my wife had just had some bad anxiety in the hospital, I guess, partly because one of them, Jesse, was in the NICU and Daniel was in the room with her. And we really just wanted to get home, at that point. And from what I hear about some other twin pregnancies, we were very lucky. But my wife is a bit high-strung. They gave Jesse some formula in the hospital and I think we gave him a small, four to six oz. bottle when we got home.
But after that, she breastfed exclusively for five months. And she still nurses Daniel in the morning. We have a freezer full of breast milk, also.
Joe: That’s great, I’m glad that worked out. Sometimes that just doesn’t work with the babies.
(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)
Tom: She’s everybody’s hero on Facebook. What’s funny is as a twin dad and somebody who’s in the industry where I’m around a lot of moms all day long and we get to talking. And I say, “Well, my wife is breastfeeding.” And they go, “She’s breastfeeding twins?” “Yeah.” “Oh, my God. She’s amazing and you’re so lucky.” And I want to go, “Well, what about me? What about the dads? How come it’s just the moms that are amazing?” And I get the whole childbirth thing and breastfeeding thing is not easy. But there is somebody paying for all this, really working his butt off out here. Picking up the slack everywhere else, while she’s got these kids attached to her chest. Yeah, she’s amazing, but…
Joe: Yeah, but dads do play a very important role, like you’re mentioning. We do fill in the gap, we do take care of things on the home-front. But also, are big providers.
Tom: With almost no recognition. Nobody ever thinks to say, “Wow, what a great dad. You must have it rough with twins.” But the moms are like, “Oh, you’re amazing. You’re a supermom, you’re wonderful.” Uh-huh. And “beautiful”, too. Don’t forget beautiful.
Joe: So, how did you juggle your business and newborns at the same time?
Tom: Well, luckily, my wife is a teacher. So, being a tenured teacher in New York, she was allowed to keep her position and take a significant amount of time off. How did I juggle? I guess, the first couple of months we really did rely on her. Since she was breastfeeding exclusively, it wasn’t as simple as…I guess I could have gotten up with a bottle. But then, she would’ve had to pump anyway. They slept in our room for the first four or five months. But she would get up with them in the middle of the night, multiple times a night and breastfeed them. So, I was able to get enough sleep.
And as far as handling my business, it’s probably suffering a little bit more now. I guess when I come home now, it’s more of a “hands-on”. When they’re first born and they’re not even rolling over, they’re in the swing or they’re in the chair. And you could rock them and do some work. But now, it’s more of a “keep them busy” stage. And to change the toys, play with them. And not that you don’t want to, of course I want to. They’re becoming more enjoyable as they become people. And the smiles and the hugs and the personalities that are developing, you want to be with them. Not everybody gets a callback anymore.
Childproofing Your Home
Joe: Speaking of your business, let’s change gears a little bit and talk about what you do professionally…some of the tips you may have for our listeners around twin childproofing. At what age should we have all of our preparations, our child-proofing preps in place?
Joe: Well, Tom, as we wrap up today on the podcast, if the listeners want to get a hold of you or learn more about your business or baby-proofing, what would be the best place to get a hold of you?
Tom: The name of the company is All Star Baby Safety. You can find us on the web. Toll-free is 877-N-O-T-S-O-R-R-Y. Facebook, we’re The Baby Safety Club. We’re members of the International Association for Child Safety. We don’t service outside of New York City, Connecticut and Long Island. So, if you’re looking for a professional child-proofer, that’s a great place to start. It’s an organization of professional child-proofers. Go to iafcs.org and look for a local child-proofer in your neighborhood. Please, put pool fences around your pool. It’s more dangerous than having a loaded gun in your house.
Joe: Thank you, Tom. I’ll link up to all of those references in the show notes for the podcast. Thanks for being with us today, Tom.
Tom: Thanks, very much, Joe.
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