Toddler Twins Plus a Newborn with Mark Slipher – Podcast 233

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - February 26, 2021

Toddler Twins Plus a Newborn

Episode 233 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Mark Slipher, father of boy/girl twins. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • Stress tests on Mom to monitor the health of the babies
  • Mom losing weight and suffering from morning sickness the entire time
  • The pregnancy leading to a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks
  • All the attention and energy required from twins
  • Having another child when the twins are still toddlers
  • Finding daycare for twins
  • Potty training twins and the differences between the twins
  • A day in the life of three-year-old twins
  • The importance of a good evening routine
  • and more…

Connect with Mark on Facebook.


Joe 0:00
What’s it like having a newborn when you’re twins are still toddlers? We’ll talk about that and much more on the show today.

Intro 0:07
Welcome to the Dads Guide to Twins podcast, the podcast that’ll help you survive and thrive as a father of twins Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, “The Dads Guide to Twins” Joe Rawlinson.

Joe 0:22
Hey everybody, welcome to the 233rd episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always you can find me on the web at where you’ll find the complete show notes and transcript for this episode and all previous podcast episodes. Today’s show is brought to you by my book, “Dad’s Guide to Twins” you can get a free audiobook of this book which is essential reading if you’re expecting twins over at Today we are continuing our father of twins interview series with fellow father of twins, Mark Slipher. Who has boy/ girl twins. Let’s jump right into the interview. Today like to welcome to the show fellow, father of twins Mark Slipher. Welcome to the show, Mark.

Mark 1:03
Hi, Joe. Thanks for having me.

(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)

Joe 1:05
Mark. Tell us a little bit about your twins right now. How old are they? And what’s the greatest thing about this age?

Mark 1:09
Right now I have a three year old twins boy girl twins Brantley and Reagan. The greatest thing about them right now is just watching them develop their own personalities. And they’re two totally different personalities. You know, my little girl Reagan, she’s very around other people. She’s very shy, Brantley, he’s very outgoing.You know, he’s he makes friends very easily Reagan kind of holds back. But Reagan is more quick to learn new things. Brantley kind of waits to watch his sister try new things. And then he tries it.

Joe 1:49
Let’s rewind the clock back to when you found out that you were having twins. What was your family situation like at that time? And how did you receive the news?

Mark 1:58
We found out we were having twins. We my wife and I had been married for seven years at the time. And we’ve been trying for kids for a while we had did some fertility treatment. And on the second round of the fertility treatment, my wife got pregnant. We went to the doctor just to verify everything, they schedule an ultrasound because she was on the fertility treatment. And we went back like a week later for the ultrasound. And the ultrasound tech. I remember, I could see on the screen and I’m looking at it. I’m like, that looks like two there that it looks like there’s two babies there. And the ultrasound techs like so do you want me to tell you what I’m seeing here? And I’m just like, don’t lie to me. That was my first response. And she’s like, well, I’m seeing two embryos here. So immediately, like my heart started racing, I just kind of got a sense of overwhelming. My wife took a picture of me in that in the room and she loved sharing that photo. So yeah, that was the start of the roller coaster. I have to say that pregnancy, you know, we were nervous the whole time. But everything went smooth. Every doctor visit the doctor, you know, he just praised how well everything was going. He’s like everything’s perfect. Um, towards the end of the pregnancy is when because it was a high risk with twins and everything. So we were doing a lot of stress tests and stress tests with turned to ultrasound. So we were had a lot of late nights there at the hospital. And they were so there’s a lot of anxiety building up towards when they came but my wife was a trooper. She carried them all the way to 38 weeks. And then they had the C section scheduled at 38 weeks. So they almost made it full term.

Joe 4:03
Yeah, 38 weeks is great, especially for twins. So you mentioned a scheduled c section was that the plan all along?

Mark 4:08
That was the plan. They kind of scheduled that all along. They didn’t think she would make it that long. They honestly thought 35 weeks at most. But yeah, we were going to do stress test every other night. And the doctors like if we can make the 38 weeks. That’s great. And then we’ll just go ahead and do the C section. But yeah, they were they were great. My wife was great. She did. She did awesome. I’m still in awe of everything. You know, she went through. It wasn’t a typical pregnancy. She actually lost weight during the pregnancy. She had morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy. So it wasn’t any like any crazy cravings or anything she had. It was just her being nauseous the entire time. Pretty much.

(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)

Joe 4:53
Yeah, that’s pretty rough. So for those who are not familiar with these with stress tests, can you describe what that entailed?

Mark 4:59
Yes. The stress test, they put these monitors over her belly. And they’re trying to monitor the heart rate for each baby. But the problem we are running into is, both monitors will pick up the heart rate of the same baby, they had a hard time differentiating the heart rates of which baby was which. So I think we only had two stress tests where they said everything was good, most of the time that the doctor wouldn’t sign off on it. So they would schedule an ultrasound. And they’d send in an ultrasound tech to come in and check on them.

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Joe 5:44
Yeah, that’s frequently a challenge trying to identify the heartbeat. So you mentioned the scheduled c section. Tell us about some highlights of the delivery for you as a Dad.

Mark 5:54
again, it’s still kind of a blur. I do remember, our Reagan or girl was the first one out, she came out fine, everything was good. My son came out, he wasn’t breathing right away. They got him breathing. But he spent about the first seven hours in NICU trying to get his oxygen levels up. So that was kind of stressful, I was kind of confused, going back and forth between checking on her checking on him, my wife was in post-op and then she was back in her room. And, you know, I was just kind of torn going between the three of them. Eventually, they, you know, let my daughter go into the room with my wife, I was going between the NICU and my wife’s room with her and the daughter. And about later Later that afternoon, everything was fine. And they brought our son in and you know, never looked back haven’t had any problems, or anything like that ever since.

(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)

Joe 6:51
A little rocky start. But then things settle down pretty quickly. So that means mom and the babies were able to go home within a few days after the C section.

Mark 6:59
Yeah, I think we spent three nights in the hospital. The first night was kind of scary, because she gave her some Benadryl for the swelling and kind of just knocked her out. So I was up. And by myself with these two babies, and I was kind of trying to take care of both my son slept great through the night, our little girl she was up a few times during the night. But yeah, that was definitely it was an eye opening experience of what was the outcome.

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Joe 7:29
You’re able to take the kids home from the hospital. And then of course, all the responsibility falls to you as parents what surprised you the most once you brought the twins home? About life with twins was like?

Mark 7:39
The amount of attention I think because we always joke that we have another baby right now he’s just turned 10 months old. And we keep saying you know, if we had him first we would be spoiled, you know, then having a twin second. I think the amount of attention and the amount of energy it drained from both of us late nights, very late nights, my son had a hard time taking to the bottle.

The first few weeks, we had to kind of fight them with that. But yeah, it was just kind of all a blur. Trying to make sure they were fed on time had the diapers changed and tried to get them to sleep.

Joe 8:18
Was it just you and your wife or did you have grandparents or anybody else helping?

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Mark 8:22
Yeah, my parents live nearby, they came they would come and help us out and they still help us out the twins, the twins are actually at my parents tonight having a sleepover so you know that’s always a blessing. They tried to do that, you know, once or twice a month, the just let the kids come up and spend the night and give my wife and I kind of a night of rest.

Joe 8:47
So when the grandparents would come over what would you have to do to help with the twins?

Mark 8:51
They weren’t asleep you know my mom was great with you know, feeding them because they were both formula fed. So they would help with you know, feeding and changing and stuff like that and just loving on them and making them comfortable. And giving us a chance to you know, do things around the house whether it was trying to get some laundry done or get the dishes washed or something like that or even just take a shower.

Joe 9:17
Just the small things right if you get an extra pair of hands.It’s it opens up the whole world of possibilities.

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Mark 9:23
Exactly, exactly.

Joe 9:24
Um, how were you able to juggle time off of work are you and your spouse if you’re both working when the twins were born?

Mark 9:30
Yeah, we were both working she was able to take three months maternity leave off. I was only able to take about two weeks off and then I was back at work. I was working early mornings so I’d be in work by 5am be out of there somewhere between two or three in the afternoon. When my wife went back to work, my parents watch the kids for from the about the age of three months to Six months, they would watch the kids during the day. And then we found a daycare. We had a friend that was kind of opening a daycare in her house and they went there for that summer. We’ve got them into daycare they’re at now, which is from another friend that runs their daycare out of their house. But I mean, everything’s been working out really well.

Joe 10:26
Let’s talk about potty training. How did you go about potty training?

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Mark 10:29
Still going about potty training my daughter, Megan, she’s, I would say 95% potty trained she. We started shortly after their second birthday. And she it again, with boy, girl, twins. It’s amazing to see the advent of the advancement of boys and the advancement of girls. I’ve always been told, you know, girls advance faster than boys in this area and boys pasture in that area. And definitely, with potty training, my daughter took to it right away. She’s pretty much out of pull ups right now. Except for at bedtime. She wears one to bed. My son. He’s just kind of got the mentality that he doesn’t want to do it. He kind of just likes wearing the pull up. And so we’re trying to work with him on that. And that’s, that’s the fight with him right now. But yeah, Reagan picked it up right away. And she tells me every day when I get home from work, that he no accidents, no accident, she tells me she didn’t have any accidents, So.

Joe 11:24
We have identical girls, but even between the two of them. One was a lot more interested in potty training before her sister. So yeah, they take time, they’ll come around to it eventually. When we were in the thick of it, I always had to remind myself, okay, they’re not going to be college-age and still in pull-ups. It’s gonna happen eventually so we can make it through this.

Mark 11:41
And I told myself that I was like, Hey, he’s not gonna be in pull ups. By the time he goes to high school, you’ll be fine.

Joe 11:46
All right, you mentioned you have a third child, a 10 month old.

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Mark 11:49
Tell us about the timing and decision of we didn’t even think about trying, or anything. It just kind of happened. Like I said before, he kind of spoiled us. Like if we would have had him first you would have spoiled us before the twins and he’s been a breeze. Everything’s gone. really smooth with him. He’s a formula fed baby, too. He took to the bottle right away. He’s growing a lot, I think a lot faster than the twins did. I don’t know if it was a lot of sleepless nights with the twins. But it seems like everything’s just kind of gone really fast with them. You know, he’s moving around a lot. He’s almost walking, he’ll probably start walking within the next week or so. He sleeps a lot better than the twins did when they were his age. Pretty much you show him a bed, his crib or whatever. And he’s asleep.

Joe 12:35
That’s your reward for for making it through the first couple of years are twins.

Mark 12:38
Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Joe 12:39
How did your twins react to having a new baby in the house?

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Mark 12:44
Reagan, she loved them. At first. She was kind of, you know, kind of smothering with them. We had to kind of keep her away from him. Brantley was more like he would come around, he’d smile at them and everything. You can talk to him, and then he just go about doing what he was doing. And they’re still kind of the same way. Reagan likes taking care of them. She likes picking out clothes for him and playing with him. We kind of have to hold her back because she can kind of get a little too overwhelming for him. But yeah, they did. They took very well to him.

Joe 13:24
When our twins were born, we had two of the boys and they were both under three. So similar age to, to your twins when you added a third. And they’re so they were so young that they didn’t really fully understand what was going to happen when mom was pregnant. And then we had very different reactions. One was wanted to be smothering kind of like you’re describing. And his brother would was just kind of standoffish in the beginning. So So what have we, if you look back and think about all the advice that you received about twins, what was the best piece of advice that you received?

Mark 13:57
The best piece of advice would be to sleep when they sleep and kind of made the mistake like okay, they’re asleep, I’m gonna go try to take care of this real quick or go do this. And then you go do that. And by the time you’re done with it, they’re awake. And then you had to work on getting them back to sleep or, you know, just entertaining them. And so yeah, definitely sleep when they sleep, buying two have things whether it’s, you know, like small toys, different things like that, because they will fight over the same toy. Constantly will, one will claim it as theirs and then it’ll just be a fight. So my wife and I’ve learned to just get two of them and the other one doesn’t take interest to it then it’ll just be there for whenever they do. We bought my son for his birthday last year. Just a little toolbox with little plastic tools and everything in it. And when my daughter saw it, she wanted it and that was a fight for about a week and then my wife looked on Amazon found one that was pink and purple, and turquoise, all of her favorite colors, and we ordered it and when it got there, then there was no more fighting over the tools. So definitely, you know, you can get to have to have everything, take all the hand me downs you can get we were blessed, we got a lot of old clothes from friends whose kids have grown out of them. And I think for the for the twins for the first year and a half, that’s all they wore was hand me downs from a friend of ours.

Joe 15:34
Yeah, the hand-me downs is great, because kids go through clothes so quickly that ages are growing that you can pretty easily get your hands on stuff that’s pretty gently used and put it to good use and then pass it on to somebody else. What is a piece of baby gear that you and your twins could not have lived without?

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Mark 15:51
Oh, I would have to say for them. It was their pacifiers. They were both very attached to that and it was a hard thing to break. I would also say that we had some friends that they bought us a big double stroller for them. And it’s I mean it’s a really nice stroller, but it’s very big and bulky. And I mean to this day, I think we probably used it five times. What we had when they were first born, the best thing was a car seat carrier, a dual car seat carrier. And I mean it folded up very nice fit in the back of the car. And you know we’d go grocery shopping. And you know one of us would push the kids around the other one had the shopping cart and still have plenty of room for the groceries in the back of the car.

Joe 16:39
It sounds like us we really liked our snap and go strollers like it just like frame they can put the car seats in what’s one baby product or baby gear that you got before the twins arrived, but then you never really used?

Mark 16:52
We had a bumbo seat. And they never really used it very much we got we actually got two of them. And I think my daughter used it a couple times. And then a baby carrier that you kind of carry the baby on your chest. It just never really worked out. They weren’t really happy with it or uncomfortable. So they just kind of, you know, rode in the stroller or wherever we went.

Joe 17:19
Was it a single baby carrier or a double?

Mark 17:21
Yeah, it was a single. I kind of tried to carry both of them on a carrier.

Joe 17:26
Yeah, they make models where you can wear both babies, some of them where you’re both twins on your chest and others have one on your chest and one on your back. You’re right like it depends on if your twins really dig their thing or not. And then once they start to grow, then it gets to be a lot of weight that you’re hauling around. carring both of them.

Your twins are now three. So what’s the typical day in the life look like as far as sleep schedules and things? if there still doing naps. What’s that look like?

Mark 17:54
Well at daycare, they are still doing naps. We’re trying to get the naps shorter earlier in the day. We’re still having a little bit of an issue at bedtime. They don’t like to necessarily go to sleep right away. But yeah, typically in the morning, we get up about 5:30 to 6 o’clock. Most of the time, I have to wake both of them up. Sometimes my daughter wakes up she’s definitely a morning person. Pretty much as soon as she wakes up, she’s ready to get going. She gets herself dressed. You know, she’ll pick out what outfit she wants and we just have to get her clothes for get her a fresh pair of underwear. She’ll get herself dressed, get her she’ll want to brush her teeth. My son, he’s more of a night owl. He’s not a morning person. So it’s kind of a struggle getting him going in the morning. But on a good morning we’re out the door. Little after seven o’clock.

You know my wife’s been working from home since the whole pandemic thing started. She just recently started going back to the office a couple days a week so on the day she works from home, she’ll take the kids to daycare. And I go to work on the day she has to go in the office I’ll take them into or I’ll take them to daycare but on a good day we’re out the door by 7:15 drop them off a daycare and on my work by 7:30 and then daycare at the end of the day pick them up from daycare trying to get dinner in them. baths is still with Reagan she does great with the bath Brantly it’s hit and miss sometimes he fights us going into the bath but yeah after baths then it’s pretty much bedtime trying to get them to sleep and look forward to doing it another day.

Joe 19:42
Are you bathing them at the same time or just one after the other?

Mark 19:45
We kind of try to do both if they if they want to go both at the same time. We won’t fight them on it. We’ll let them both in. But most of the time it’s you know one than the other because Reagan doesn’t mind going in the bath she gets in does her thing gets out but Brently It’s kind of one we have to really fight to get in the bath, he does not like taking a bath for some reason,

Joe 20:05
in a stage where all four of our kids would be in the bath at the same time, they just thought that was so much fun. So they had to be heavily supervised, but at least we all knew where they were want to get in time. So when you look at your parenting twins right now, what’s something that’s working really well,

Mark 20:18
Dinner time, because dinnertime, I think sitting down at the table with them all at once that kind of gets them focused on what we’re doing. And they just kind of, especially now, Brentley, talking more and everything, they just kind of interact more with us. And it kind of sets them forward through the night to get in, getting through the night to what we’re going to do bath time, bedtime, stuff like that.

I would also say we’re still working on it, but trying to get them to clean up their toys. You know, we we kind of got a system now worked out where we have their toys divided in different bins. And, you know, they’re playing with these toys, and they want to go get something else, like they want to get the box with the Legos. They can’t get the Legos out until they put the other toys away. So they will pick up their toys. And then once everything’s picked up, then Okay, now we can get on get on to the next one. And that has helped us a lot because then our house isn’t covered in toys all over the place. And at the end of the day, it’s a nightmare trying to clean everything up. And they kind of get to learn about cleaning up following the rules, stuff like that.

Joe 21:37
That sounds like a good Yeah, good evening routine makes everybody happy. So if you could give a piece of advice or something that’s worked for you to keep your relationship with your wife strong throughout this whole twin journey, parenting journey. What would that be?

Mark 21:52
To listen, be supportive. With the twins, it was a big thing my wife struggled with not being able to breastfeed.

At the time, I was kind of just, you know, I, you know, ashamed to say but yeah, I was kind of like, well, we got to do whatever we have to do to keep the kids fed and happy. And it kind of took a toll on her because it was more of an emotional thing. But yeah, definitely. Looking back, be supportive.

Listen, even if it’s something that doesn’t, you know, make sense to you, you don’t fully understand what she’s going through. Just to, you know, listen, because she’s going through, she has a lot of hormones, going through a lot of stuff emotionally, definitely listening. If you have, like, we have my parents who can watch the kids, every now and then that gives us some time, just some alone time or, you know, even on the weekends, you know, my parents will call them like, Hey, we can watch the kids for a few hours. If you guys want to go get something to eat, or go do something or do something simple as go to Costco. And you know, just spend some time together. So just try to get whatever you can. Whatever little moments you can together.

Joe 23:22
That’s great advice. Absolutely. Moms, because there’s so much with the pregnancy, getting the twins growing the twins, right? And then often have a really rough delivery, maybe major surgery, like like you’re describing with a C section. As a dad, you’re right, listen to him on the saying, and be ready to adapt, change gears to do something else. If something’s not working.

Mark 23:42
It’s an emotional rollercoaster I could come home from work and she would just be upset, especially at the beginning when she was still trying the breastfeeding thing and it wasn’t working and you know, just trying to get your brain mentally there where they’re at, to kind of help cope even if you don’t fully understand just be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on and help them get through it.

Joe 24:11
Mark, as we wrap up today. If listeners want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to get in touch?

Mark 24:15
I’m on Facebook. You can or you can email me it’s [email protected].

Joe 24:26
Excellent. And we’ll link up to that in the show notes for the episode today. Mark, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We really appreciate it.

Mark 24:33
All right. appreciate it. Thank you.

Joe 24:34
I hope you enjoyed that chat with Mark about his journey as a twin dad. If you would like to share your story like Mark today on the show. please reach out to me You can email me [email protected]. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter @twindadjoe. And I would love to hear from you. Since you’re listening to a podcast. I know you like audio. You can get a free audiobook version of my first book, “Dad’s Guide to Twins” by visiting This is the perfect book you need to help you get ready for your twins’ arrival. Once again that’s thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.

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Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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