Episode 108 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
We continue our Father of Twins Interview Series with Scott Alan Turner a dad of boy/girl twins and Financial Rock Star Podcast host.
Listen as we discuss Scott’s twin journey, including:
- How their adoption route turned to IVF and eventually twins
- What they did when their twins were born at 31 weeks
- Surviving the NICU experience
- Catching up on their development once they got home
- Challenges of caring for and feeding two babies
- Balancing working for yourself and having twins
- Benefits of having a nanny
- Weighing the decisions of day care vs. in-home care of children
- Favorite things about 2 and a half year old twins
- Traveling with very young twins
- What to do with leftover embryos after IVF
- How to save money with twins
Reach out to Scott (and sites mentioned in the podcast):
Financial Rock Star Podcast and Blog
Scott on Twitter
National Registry for Adoption
Scott’s 48 ways to save money on twin babies
Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: A Step-by-Step Plan for Baby Sleep Success
Joe: Hi everybody. Welcome to the 108th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you’ll find much more information on having and raising twins along with the show notes and transcript for this episode and all previous podcast episodes. If you stick around to the end of the episode, I’ll let you know how you can get a free copy of my first book, The Dad’s Guide to Twins.
In case you missed the last episode, I shared several common myths about expecting twins and the truth behind those myths that you should know. If you missed that episode, you can check it out at twindadpodcast.com.
Today on the show, I’m continuing our father of twins interview series. I invited on the show Scott Alan Turner, who is a fellow father of twins, who shares his journey from when they found out they were having twins through to now where his twins are 2-1/2 years old. Let’s jump right into that interview with Scott.
Today on the podcast I’d like to welcome the host of the top rated Financial Rockstar podcast and father of twins, Scott Alan Turner. Scott, welcome to the show today.
Scott: Thanks, Joe. I’m glad to be on.
Joe: I look forward to deep-diving into your experience as a father of twins and sharing that with our listeners because there’s something we can all learn from each other’s experiences. If you could take us back in time to your family situation when you found out you were having twins. Can you share with us a little bit about what was going on with your family and some of the emotions and thoughts you had as you found you were having twins?
Scott: Yeah. Absolutely. When my wife and I first got married, we thought, “We are never going to have kids.” We really weren’t interested in being parents at the time and over a period of years, that kind of changed. A lot of our friends had kids and we were thinking maybe. We kind of accomplished everything we wanted to do in life. Done a lot of traveling. Had a lot of fun. Kind of had mindset changed. Getting ready to settle down.
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Originally we were going to adopt. We thought we could have a nice home. There’s an opportunity to adopt some children who might need some love, maybe from another country. Give them a better life. We started doing some research down that path. Then we ended up going the IVF route due to some conditions within our lives. Because of that that’s how we ended up with twins. A lot of people end up with twins that way, going through the IVF process. Chose to implant 2 embryos – I think it was 2 or 3 embryos. We ended up getting 2 for the price of 1 out of that.
That was a blessing to us. We had leftover embryos. We can discuss that a little bit too. It was a surprise. We were very excited. We had some close friends who also have twins. They have a boy and a girl as well. We had gone kind of through that because of that relationship and kind of seeing what they went through. They also have a boy and a girl. We have a boy and a girl. It was an exciting time.
Our kids were born 31 weeks. They were born quite early.
Joe: Yeah, that is early.
Scott: They spent the first 5 weeks of their existence in the NICU which we spent the first 5 weeks of their existence in the NICU as well. Going up there each day, I would usually take the morning shift. Head up there at 7:00am. They were born … They had a lot of issues coming out of the birthing process. They had all kinds of tubes. They couldn’t breathe on their own. They couldn’t eat on their own. They had feeding tubes, breathing tubes. They were in their little capsules, whatever they call them, to keep them warm and all that. We could only hold them at specific times of the day. Eight, noon, four, and eight at night. Then I guess at two o’clock in the morning if we were to show up then but normally not.
Scott: I would do the 8:00am feeding and hang around the hospital for a few hours then do the noon feeding. Then my wife and in-laws would come up in the evening and visit them as well. It was challenging those first five weeks. They are super healthy now. They came out of it strong. They’re beasts.
Joe: That’s great. Were they both kind of equal in their issues or did one of them have more severe challenges than the other?
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
Scott: They were pretty much equal. They were born, one of them was 4 pounds, 3 ounces and one was just around 4. They both dropped a little weight in the first few days. They’re pretty much the same. They couldn’t breathe on their own. Once they started taking out all the different tubes, you’d occasionally had to go flick them because they would forget to breathe. That only happened once, thankfully, after we brought them home. That was their big concern. After bringing them home, the doctors said, “You know sometimes they are just going to stop breathing and you just got to shake them.” Their brains don’t … They haven’t developed that concept yet, “Oh, I need to keep on breathing.” Which happened quite a bit in the NICU but they have alarms that go off. Thankfully it only happened once at home. It’s kind of scary.
Joe: Breathing is an important thing to do, right?
Scott: Yeah. Yes.
Joe: With your twins coming so early, at 31 weeks, tell us about that experience. Did it catch you guys off-guard? Was there some foreshadowing that it was going to be an early delivery?
Scott: It is with twins. As you probably know, a lot of people have twins early so 31. We were hoping to get to 32. The doctor and all the specialists say, “You kind of want to get to 32 because everything is developed and come along as well as you can expect it to. Anything beyond that is kind of a bonus.” So we were shooting for 32, I believe is the magic number. We get to 31 so we almost made it.
They came out, again they had some challenges but we were prepared for that. It was a big surprise that they came that early. It was kind of nerve-racking at first but the doctors calmed us down. At least … Some kids come even earlier than that and then they have really severe problems when you are born at 2 or 3 pounds. When we were going to the specialist after they were born, someone that deals with preemie babies, we would go in there with ours and then we would see these other kids and that they were really, just really tiny. They come out and they have a lot of catching up to do. A lot of mental catching up to do. Which a lot of them do by age 2. It’s just that much harder the earlier that you come out. Ours had caught up to about other kids at about the 18 month mark.
Joe: When you brought them home, what surprised you the most about caring for twins?
Scott: Because there are two, you can’t feed them both at the same time. Or when you’re changing one and the other one is screaming, it’s like, “Sorry, I know you’re unhappy and you something you want done but I’m working on this other one here.” There’s nothing I can do if the other parent is not around or you don’t have any other help around.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
I think that was the biggest challenge for each of us. If you’re there by yourself and there’s a screaming child over there and you’re doing something with the other one, I’m helpless. I can’t work on two at the same time. I’ve got to take care of this one. I’ll put you down and then I’ll go get this other one and take care of you. Change your diaper or feed you or whatever. After a while you can learn to sit on the floor and cross your legs Indian-style and put a bottle in each hand and feed two at the same time but you definitely can’t change two diapers at the same time.
Joe: That’s right. They learn very early that you have to take turns and to share, especially the attention of a parent. It sounded like you all were bottle feeding the babies. Is that what worked for you?
Scott: We were on formula from day one. I highly recommend the Costco formula if you go that route. It’s the cheapest out there that you can get. Some people have different challenges with different formulas because the kids have allergic reactions but Costco formula worked for us so we stuck with that from day one. That worked. Kids are … They’re off the charts when we go into the doctors office now when they’re looking at the height and weight. The height and the weight, they can measure that but your kids are in the 150th percentile. We’re very lucky in that regard that they came out so well. They were big eaters from day one too so that certainly helped.
Joe: When the twins were born, were you working for yourself at that time? How did you juggle your business with taking care of your babies?
Scott: It was definitely challenging. My wife and I worked together on our own business so we worked from home which was, I guess you can say, was both a blessing and a curse. When we’d go up to the hospital, I could work there during those hours when I wasn’t interacting with the kids. My wife, she really didn’t get any maternity leave because she was part of the company. She got a couple of weeks break and then it was back to the grind.
We had a nanny who lived with us. That was part of what helped us out a lot. During the day, we’re all home together since we work from home and the nanny would be upstairs with the kids taking care of them and they might be screaming or something and we’re trying to work downstairs at our office. My wife, as I mentioned, got a couple of weeks off. It was kind of hard on her just taking that brief break and then going straight back to work.
On the plus side of it, we get to see our kids all day long. Take a break, go upstairs, see what’s going on, holding them, rocking them. The nanny is not here all the time, if you got somebody helping you. In the afternoon, we can go up there and hang out. We kind of tweaked our schedule to make it good enough for us based on the situation. Certainly it wasn’t perfect. It was hard to work when you got crying babies around. Sometimes one of us might have to leave the house. I would go to the library periodically to try to work there on my laptop. It worked out.
Joe: How long did you have the nanny for?
Scott: We had her for 6 months. At that point, we had decided … I was kind of against daycare from the get-go. I really didn’t … Prior to having kids I’d always thought, “I don’t want somebody else raising my kids. I’m going to keep them home. I’m going to homeschool them.” This has all now changed. At the time, I thought we can have a nanny. It’s comparable. It’s pretty much the same cost having a nanny versus sending twins to daycare. That wasn’t really a factor in our decision. We thought we’d have them home, we could look after them, we could interact with them.
After about 6 months, we were starting to realize the quality of care that you could get at a daycare. Nanny had a couple of weeks off for vacation or she had a death in the family. We were like we will stick the kids in daycare for a couple of weeks to give us a break so that we could work. It was amazing all the different stuff and the activities they would do with them. Even at such a young age, 6 months, they would help them with whatever they learned at that time.
We got the kids back after a couple of weeks and we were like, “Wow. Daycare is really nice. They had some great teachers there.” We’ve got one right in our neighborhood so it’s down the street. “Great teachers. It’s a great environment. They do awesome activities with the kids. This is not looking so bad.” We had a mindset change. Decided we’re going to let the nanny go. We’ll put the kids in daycare three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. We’ll have them at home Tuesdays and Thursdays so that we can love on them, hang out with them, and do fun things.
We’ve kind of kept that up since that time. They’re coming up on 2-1/2 years old right now. The daycare, again, they just do stuff that I would not think of, activities, all kinds of interactions. Plus, they get that social interaction that they don’t necessarily get at home. Being around other children, being around other adults, learning proper behavior and respect and sharing. All those different things. Things that I never thought about when I had that attitude of, “I don’t want anybody else raising my kids.”
The whole homeschool thing has changed now too as I think about the quality of schools we have in our neighborhood and the opportunities and the knowledge they can get from real teachers. I’m like now I don’t want to homeschool my kids anymore. I went to a public school. My wife went to a public school. We turned out all right. We think our kids can turn out just fine in our local school as well. More power to those teachers to handle those two.
Joe: That’s great. That’s quite a transformation as you seen what works for your kids and for your family and adapting to those changes. I think it’s a sound example of ways parents need to do. We need to see what’s working and tweak and try new things because what we thought was going to work might not be the best long-term solution for our family. Now that your kids are about 2-1/2, what’s your favorite thing about this age?
Scott: They’re certainly putting words more together to form sentences. They can say what they want most of the time. Sometimes they’re still crying and we have to say, “All right. You can stop crying. You’ve got to use your words. Tell Mommy or Daddy what you want.” It’s that interaction of, “I want to go upstairs,” or “I want to go outside and play,” “Let’s go play with the blocks.” They can say what they want to do. They’re very interactive. They’re very loving. That’s my favorite part saying, “Give Daddy a hug,” and they understand that and want to do that. They still like it. I don’t know what age they stop like doing that. I know teenagers don’t do that.
Scott: I’m reminding myself this is not going to last forever. Someday they’re going to be swearing out you instead. It’s those little things. Going to the park and having fun. Taking them out. It’s really … I enjoy it a lot. I look back on the pictures. We have a lot of pictures up on the wall of the kids. Just thinking that, “Wow. It’s only been 2-1/2 years and they’ve just grown so much and they’re so different.” I’m just reminded to treasure the moments now as much as I possibly can because I miss the six months or a year ago when they had different personalities. They were able to do different things. They were so much smaller. They’re now … It just blows me away looking at older pictures even though they’re only coming up on 2-1/2.
Joe: They changed so much in those early months and those early years. It’s just amazing to look back even a few weeks to see what’s different.
Scott: That’s one thing that always stuck out with me. We went to the hospital for a child … What do they call them? Baby seminar before the kids come out. The nurse was up there and she drew this circle on the board. She’s like, “This is a piece of pie.” I said, “All right.” Then she drew this really tiny sliver on it, the size of a pencil. She says this, “This is the pie of life and your kids are going to be small for this duration on this pie.” This really tiny slice. That stuck with me ever since. When I’m getting upset with the kids or they’re being disagreeable or having a bad day. I remember that pie of life and remember this is just … They’re only going to be that small, that tiny for that really little sliver for the entire duration. We’re allowed to take advantage of that and enjoy it while we can. Even in the bad times.
Joe: Sometimes the bad times make for great stories later.
Scott: Yes, they do.
Joe: I know you guys have traveled as a family. When was the first time you all went as a family together with the twins on vacation? How old were they?
Scott: Our first vacation was just after they had turned one. We go to Thanksgiving … I’m sorry, we go to Mexico for every Thanksgiving. My wife doesn’t like to cook the big meal for six or eight hours and then have it devoured in thirty minutes. Years ago we decided we’re going to go to Mexico for Thanksgiving. We’ll go to the all-inclusive resort and let someone else cook. We’ll just enjoy ourselves. The kids were born in October so the following Thanksgiving we headed out to I think it was Cancun. We brought our in-laws along with us and we had a couple of rooms down there that were adjoining. Had this real big family suite. It was totally awesome.
All the gear you got to bring. It’s just crazy. I had to contact you before that. I said, “I need some advice because I’m traveling with the twins.” I read your blog and read all the tips you had. That definitely helped me out. Thanks for that. Getting the car seats in because Mexico, different laws down there. They don’t have all the seat belt laws and any of that stuff. There were a lot of suitcases so you have to prepare for that as well. All the tipping of the bellboys to haul your gear around whereas if my wife and I are just traveling, it’s just a backpack on your back.
Joe: What have you found that’s helped the most recently in traveling with your kids?
Scott: On our last flight, we went to Mexico again this past fall. A few months ago. It was preparing all the things you need to keep them entertained for a couple of hours in the airplane. At this age, they’re just kind of scatter-brained, for lack of a better term. They can focus in on one thing for five minutes and then it’s on to something else.
Even videos is a shock to me. Our kids don’t watch a whole lot of TV. Maybe 30 minutes a day. They just can’t focus on it. In an airplane, it’s like, “Hey, let’s watch a video.” “All right. I’ll watch it for 5 minutes and then I want to go do something else.” It’s hard on an airplane because you can’t just run around. We try to get a middle seat and then they’re over towards the window so they’re kind of blocked in.
Having a lot of toys, having snacks is good. I think you mentioned on your blog, Dums-Dums, lollipops, something for them to suck on when the flight is taking off and landing so their ears are okay. A backpack full of 10, 15 different activities that they can do. One after the other after the other after the other to kind of keep them entertained on the flight. Then also, prior to taking off, we’re running them up and down the airport in the waiting area so hopefully they’ll take a nap on the plane. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.
Joe: It’s worth a try to try and wear them out. Earlier you mentioned when you did the IVF that you had some leftover embryos. Do you want to tell us what happened with those afterwards?
Scott: Sure. We have a family that is a friend of ours. She has difficulty getting pregnant. What she ended up doing is adopting embryos from another couple. We ended up starting a business with her since she had the knowledge about how the processes that goes on in adopting embryos. We ended up creating a website called The National Registry for Adoption, NRFA.org, where we match up people who have extra embryos, like my wife and I did, and people who want to adopt embryos so they can go through the birthing process. Typically they have a medical condition where they can’t generate their own embryos for whatever reasons but they’re able to give birth, go through that process.
The embryos that we had, we ended up putting them up on the website. We found a couple that we were willing to adopt them to. They live a state away and they were [inaudible 00:18:13] birthing process and now they have twins. They have twin boys. They’re about, coming up on one year old. Pretty exciting that we could take something that … Our family was complete. We weren’t going to have anymore kids but we have these extra embryos.
Depending on your viewpoint, some people think that’s life or it’s not life. With a frozen embryo you have choices of you can flush it down the toilet, you can donate to science, or you can donate to a family who might go through that process of willing to give birth to that child or children. That’s what we did. We were very happy that we made that choice. We were able to help out another family have babies on their own so it’s pretty exciting.
Joe: That is pretty cool. Giving an opportunity to other folks that otherwise might not have had that opportunity to have children of their own. Scott, right now you have a pretty cool project going on with the Financial Rockstar podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Scott: Sure. I’m want I call a former money moron. I came out of college and didn’t have a lot of money smarts. Had student loans, got into some credit card debt, bought a new car when I shouldn’t have. For a period of years, went through the paycheck to paycheck cycle not knowing about money. I started getting an education on it from a guy on the radio. His name was Clark Howard. That was about 15 years ago.
I made that change in my life. Turned my life around learning more about money. What happens was, a couple of years ago, I sold off one of my businesses and I had the opportunity to kind of do whatever I wanted for the rest of my life. I decided I want to take this knowledge that I accumulated about personal finance, everything that I learned over a period of years, and I want to help other people out in their lives so they don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did in my life. I stated a blog at ScottAlanTurner.com.
I’ve got a podcast that I produce three shows a week just answering people’s questions. People send in questions of all sorts about personal finance topics. Age 17 to 77 or some range of the ages that I’ve received questions from. It’s really fulfilling to me. I’ve had a lot of success in my business life but I’ve never really done anything super significant to have profound impact on somebody else’s life. I feel this is my thing to do now. To be able to take everything that I learned, package it up, help people out. Having a great time doing it. Getting a lot of positive feedback. A lot of good messages. I feel like I’m contributing and giving back from the knowledge that I’ve gotten over the years.
Joe: That’s wonderful. Wonderful way to pay it forward. I know one of the big concerns from people who are expecting twins are financial concerns. What are some of the biggest financial mistakes that you see new parents making that we could avoid?
Scott: What we did in our lives, my wife takes a lot of credit for this, is we saved a lot of money by buying used stuff. I think a lot of people go out and they start looking at the giant shopping list or they’re registering for the stuff at the baby stores. Carters are everywhere and looking for all this new stuff. Which is fine if other people are buying it for you. I mean that’s great.
Joe: That’s right.
Scott: When it comes time to spend your own money, take a step back and realize, “All right. Your kids don’t need 50 toys.” We bought our kids just one toy each for Christmas. Then the in-laws and grandparents buy some other ones around those. Just realizing they don’t need the best clothes. Our kids were actually the worst dressed kids for the first 2 years of their lives. It wasn’t until a few months ago that my wife finally broke down and said, “All right. Our kids are going to look nice.”
We got all of our clothes prior to that at Wal-Mart, where we still get a lot of our clothes. Just a little bit there but most of them were second-hand. There are these traveling shows, I want to call them. They travel around the country. They’re like consignment stores but they set up temporarily in a space. They’re there for 4 or 5 days. They just got all kinds of clothes at a fraction, maybe 10%, of what you’d buy it for in the store. They’re nice stores too. Baby Gap and all these other kinds of different stores or name brands. We did a lot of that. We’d show up there and just buy $100, $200 worth of clothes which would last a really long time which is great if you have twins because you have to buy twice as much. They’ve got used toys there as well.
My wife did a great job decorating the nursery with a lot of used stuff. We bought two used cribs. She made her own curtains because my mother-in-law has a sewing machine. Obviously making curtains is not for everybody but it’s really not that hard. We had a lot of friends make knick-knacks and pillows and things to put up on the wall. There was a lot of handmade stuff, a lot of used stuff. Craig’s List is awesome. We got the cribs off there. Our car seats is such a great story. We got our first set of car seats off of Craig’s List. I think they were $400 or $500, originally new. My wife negotiated them down to $200. We used them for a year. She sold them back on Craig’s List for about $180 so we basically rented our first set of car seats for $20.
Joe: Very nice.
Scott: Which is amazing. Strollers, same thing. You can get all that stuff secondhand. Facebook groups are another great place to look. Every city, no matter how big or small, have a Facebook community group where people are buying and selling stuff. Garage sales. We used to call them tag sales up in the north where I’m from. Garage sales, if you go early, if you see kids clothing. You go there, you can buy some good deals on those as well. You do have to go early. In our neighborhood, we’ve gone to some of the garage sales and you’re showing up at 8:00. I’ve seen people jump out of cars and they’re walking out with armloads of baby clothes. They’ll just go there and say, “I want it all,” and pick it up and go. You got to be early to hit those up.
What else? Diapers. Formula, we talked about that. Costco are great deals for those. Wipes especially. One thing else which is new this year, saved us a ton of money, is we, I should say my wife, she started potty-training our son at 18 months. Most people wait to age 2-1/2 or 3. She started at 18 months. It does take a little longer when you are starting that young. It took her 5 or 6 weeks. He still has an occasional accident but from 18 months on, those are diapers that we don’t have to buy. He still wears one during naptime and when he goes to bed but that’s 2 diapers a day are better than a dozen for another year or 18 months. That’s a significant savings.
Then my daughter, she potty-trained her a few months ago. It only took a couple of weeks. She’s doing great as well. Huge savings if you just move up the date of when you start potty training. You just have to commit. Know it’s going to be messy. Being messy for 2, 3, 4, 5 weeks is better than paying hundreds or a thousand dollars more for diapers over a period of a year. That’s a significant savings.
Joe: Those are great tips. I agree with the buying things used or gently used. Kids go through things so quickly that you can get them almost new basically. The places that you mentioned are great sources of those at a fraction of the cost. I think you have a good article on your blog as well that I’ll link to in the show notes about money saving tips for parents of twins. If listeners want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to reach out?
If I could mention the best book for new parents if they’re expecting. I don’t know if you had this mentioned on the show before. Twelve Hours By Twelve Weeks, which was a book we were given or my wife may have researched it. It’s the process for getting your newborns sleeping through the night by twelve weeks old. We didn’t stumble on it until after eight weeks but after we went through the process, they were sleeping through the night. Which is great because what do all parents want? They want to sleep.
Joe: Yes they do. That’s a great recommendation. Getting twins to sleep through the night is one of the big things we struggle with as parents. I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. Twelve Hours Sleep By Twelve Weeks Old. Thank you for the recommendation. Well, Scott, thanks for being on the show today. I really appreciate your time.
Scott: Thanks, Joe. I enjoyed it and thanks for having me on.
Joe: I hope you enjoyed that interview with Scott. Some very tangible and tactical advice of how to travel with your twins and things that worked for them as far as taking care of their twins in those early months. If you want to check out any of the sites that Scott mentioned, those will be in the show notes at twindadpodcast.com.
As a thank you for listening today to the podcast, as promised, I’d love to share with you a free audio book version of my Dad’s Guide to Twins book which is perfect for those expecting twins. You can get that at freetwinbook.com. Once again, that’s freetwinbook.com. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.
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