Raising Five Month Old Twins with Jeff Hillenmayer – Podcast 234

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - February 23, 2021

Raising Five Month Old Twins with Jeff Hillenmayer

Episode 234 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Jeff Hillenmayer, father of identical boys. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • Getting twins to sleep longer at night
  • Things they tried to get them to sleep better
  • How to tell identical twins apart
  • Day in the life of 5-month-old twins
  • How their 8-year-old daughter has reacted to infant twins
  • Baby monitor set up for twin nursery
  • Adjusting formula to meet the twins’ needs
  • Moving from a swaddle to sleepsacks
  • Making sure wife and daughter get enough attention
  • and more…

Connect with Jeff via email.

Transcript

Joe 0:00
In the trenches with five-month-old twin boys, today on the podcast.

Intro 0:05
Welcome to the Dads Guide 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 0:19
Hey everybody, and welcome to the 234th 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 can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today, we are continuing our father twins interview series with a fellow dad who’s got five-month-old twin boys. But before we jump into that, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dads. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.” This book is perfect to get you through the first couple years of with your twins. and beyond. You can learn more about that book at raisingtwinsbook.com. Now let’s jump right into the interview. Today, I would like to welcome to the show fellow, father of twins, Jeff Hillenmayer, welcome to the show, Jeff.

Jeff 1:04
Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

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Joe 1:07
Jeff, how old are your twins right now? And what’s the most exciting thing about this age?

Jeff 1:11
Yeah, so they’re, they’ve just turned five months. And probably the, I guess the most exciting thing is that they’ve, for us, thankfully, they’ve started to extend their night times a little bit more. So right now we’re only getting up once during the night, which has been is much easier for us to manage the rest of our lives with getting a little bit of sleep.

Joe 1:35
So did that just happen magically? Or did you do anything intentionally to help get them in that sleep routine?

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Jeff 1:39
Yeah, we’ve tried probably everything I mean, it’s you know, with sleep training, different feeding times, you literally try we’ve literally tried everything from the amount of light that gets in the room to the noise and the sound machine to what they sleep into what they sleep on. We’ve tried everything. So they hated the bassinets. And that’s when we first started when we, you know when they were firstborn. So we moved into this like a twin z pillow is what they called it, it was just a pillow that they could both sleep in propped up a little bit. So graduated from that to sleep and flat on their backs and move them right into the cribs. Right? At that point, probably in about three and a half months. We’ve literally tried everything, but we’ve just had to kind of be attentive and then see what has been working and what hasn’t been working and then be consistent and not try to change things every night and every day.

Joe 2:36
Yeah, consistency is the key because you don’t know if something’s working or not until you give it a try for a little bit your twins will let you know pretty soon if that’s gonna work or not.

Jeff 2:45
They’re okay with being changed. So putting them on the changing table and the little changing mat they, they lay on it, they laid on a calm. And even one night we were like let’s try put them in that to sleep it just because it seemed like they were in a better mental state when they were laying in that thing. So we brought those upstairs and tried to put them in that. And that’s again, that’s one of the things that we laugh about that we tried to do for a night that didn’t work didn’t change the situation.

Joe 3:12
Do you have two boys two girls are one of each?

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Jeff 3:14
Now we have two boys, we have two identical boys.

Joe 3:17
And what are the insider tricks you use to tell them apart?

Jeff 3:20
We put on bracelets on their ankles. We’ve gone with different socks when we’ve put socks on them. They are there’s there’s the only thing that’s literally different about them physically, is the one boy has a freckle on his knee. Obviously, when they’re dressed that that’s not very helpful. So they’re the same weight, same height, same size, same head size. So you know it’s all about, it’s all about doing something a little bit different with them either in the way that we dress them. They’re starting to get a little bit of hair. So we’re combing Austin’s hair to the left, and we’re combing Cole’s hair to the right. So help us determine just by looking at them. who’s who.

Joe 4:02
That’s smart. We have identical girls, I don’t think they were exactly the same as you’re describing your boys. One of them was a little bit bigger than the other, but to strangers, they look the same. And so we had to do color-coded clothing to help the grandparents and friends know who was who.

(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)

Jeff 4:19
Yeah, we’ve when we put like when we went like Cole or one son you know if we have cars on a shirt, you know, Cole always gets the things with the cars or Austin always gets the things with the airplanes or whatever it might be. Just to kind of help draw the correlation even for the grandparents.

Joe 4:35
What’s the typical schedule like during the day for you as far as wakeup sleeps, naps, things like that.

Jeff 4:40
We’re in a pretty good routine and from everything that we read. I think that that’s what is ultimately helping the boys boys get up about 7:15-7:30 that’s when we bring them out of their room. You know they’re up we we also have an eight year old. That was part of my wife’s my wife’s first marriage. So get her get her out the door and get the boys fed at eight and they’re up until about nine again. And that’s when they go down for their first nap and they sleep for sleep for about an hour. And that’s kind of the cycle that we follow it, they, they eat at [ISSUE] 812 for an eight, with, you know, probably about an hour, hour and a half nap somewhere in between there, you know, everything that we’ve read, says gives lists out that eat play sleep, so that they don’t draw the association with, you know, eating and then sleeping, and then you have a bad habit to break at night. So, we follow that routine daily, even at night, you know, we feed them, we read to them, we kind of sit there and play with them in a calm manner. 30 minutes later, scoop them up and put them asleep. That’s really what seems to be working for us is keeping that keep that routine. And at least you know, while my wife has been home and I think it’s a blessing to be able to to be working from home because I work in the travel industry. So I travel a lot. But obviously, during the pandemic and everything that’s been going on, I haven’t traveled at all. So you have an extra set of hands to be able to, to help keep the schedule and keep everything on track as has been really important.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Joe 6:19
So who does what when you wake up in the middle of the night?

Jeff 6:21
when we wake up, my wife goes in, picks him up changes him I started making the bottles and the the one that’s the one that’s fussing the most is the one that that I get just out of the out of the the speed of the routine. So oddly enough, that was kind of the routine that we’ve fallen into ever since day one. You know, ever since we were feeding every two hours, it was her getting up changing them and up getting the bottles and just kind of get into it. We’re in the unfortunate routine, though, of the boys having to be you know, held or rocked to sleep. So we’ve just started trying to break them of that let them fall asleep on their own. You know, they’re I think they’re just about old enough now. And then. So we’ve been doing that for the past week or two, and had mixed results. But there’s so many different things that they tell you to try not to do or try to do. But really, I mean, at least I found that these first few months is just about surviving, you know about just getting through the day and you know, trying to trying to keep your sanity about yourself.

Joe 7:21
You know, the first year in total was kind of a blur. And so if you can, if you can make it through that, just put your head down and then you’ll be fine. What was your eight-year-old’s reaction to having twins introduced in the family?

Jeff 7:32
She was ecstatic. She’s an only kid only child. So, you know, when she found out She was so happy not only to have siblings, but to have two siblings. And it’s, you don’t have they’ve been around for a little bit. She’s you know, she said though, so I wish I wish I had a twin. I wish that I had something like a brother or sister that was exactly my age. But she’s been handling it great. And she’s looking forward to, to them getting a little bit older. So so we can start playing, playing some tricks on people.

Joe 8:05
Has she been like a helper? How hands on is as your daughter been with the twins?

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Jeff 8:10
She is amazing when we asked her to help keep one of them or both of them occupied. You know, if we got something going on or something we need to do we can just say, hey, Macy, you know, can you go? Can you keep your brother occupied for the next half hour. And she’s great about it. You know, she’s a, she’ll feed him every now and then when if we need if we needed if I have something going on for work and I can’t I can’t help out or my wife has something going on now for work. She’s She’s been great with helping out on the days and times that she’s home and available. But don’t ask her to. Don’t ask her to change a diaper. That, uh, that part freaks her out.

Joe 8:52
Yeah, that privilege belongs to the parents, right?

Jeff 8:54
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great privilege to have.

Joe 8:59
Well, let’s rewind the clock back to when you found out you’re having twins. You obviously already had a daughter. So what was that news like to to find out that you’d be having two?

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Jeff 9:07
I’m not the youngest. I’m 40 years old. 41 years old. me my wife got married. We met five years ago, and we are married about two and a half years ago. So you know, we did want to have another child and we were trying to have another child. And that that day that we found out is still one of the one you know a good story that we like to tell because we found out that we were pregnant, just the traditional way from the home test kits. But we went into the doctor’s because we thought there might have been a problem. So thankfully there wasn’t a problem. When we went in we got the ultrasound the lady said to us, So the twins run in your family? And that was the first thing first inkling of twins that I had heard that either I was heard. And the answer was a brief No. And then she showed us both heartbeats. And I don’t know why this is My reaction, but I just laughed, Laughed hysterically. Probably for a good two minutes. You know, and I didn’t really know what to do, I didn’t, I didn’t expect that I didn’t, I didn’t even consider that as being a possibility.

Me and my wife didn’t exchange any words, while we were, in getting the ultrasound, we walked outside and I, we sat down in the truck and complete silence. And, again, I just started laughing. I that was the only thing that that was the way that my brain was processing it. You know, obviously, once a once it kind of got over that part. You know, we are both ecstatic. And, and, and really excited for this thing, because with our eight year old, you know, she’s being an only child, we’ve seen the impacts of, of not having a sibling around and being an only child, you know, wanting someone to play with, she wasn’t born to be an only child. So that was one of the things that excited us about the twins is that you know, we knew that okay, at the beginning, it was going to be hard. But once we got out of that, they were always going to have a friend, you know, they were always gonna have someone to play with, we could always say why don’t you just go outside and go play? And, and there would be someone to do because we can’t do that with our eight year old right now.

So, you know, we’ve kind of acknowledged that part of what these twins are going to mean to us.

Joe
Did you have to upgrade, maybe house or cars or anything to accommodate a larger family?

Jeff
We had just bought a house in April of that year. And then we found out about the pregnancy in January. So thankfully, you know that we didn’t have to do anything with the house. But from a car perspective, it’s definitely something that we have to do to to accommodate all five of us now as well as all of the stuff that comes along with having to transport to kids.

Joe 11:58
Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff with infants.

Jeff 12:01
Yeah, even when we bring them to the grandparents house, you know, it’s the chairs for him to sit in and the little rocker thing and the little play mat and it’s just you know, before you know it, you got the whole trunk of the car filled up with, with stuff to keep them occupied for the day!

Joe 12:17
Did your wife or the babies have any health issues during the pregnancy?

Jeff
After we found out that we were having twins, and they were the mono dye twins, they couldn’t see the membrane between the two of them. So they thought that they were in the same sack. And then our doctor told us that there was a chance that they were conjoined, which obviously made us both freak out. So that was, that was a pretty, pretty terrifying moment. Then she wanted us to send us she wanted to send us in for this high tech ultrasound. When we wanted to go get the ultrasound. She was like, yeah, you know, we’ll I’ll send you a prescription for like two weeks from now. To get that ultrasound I was like two weeks? Absolutely not. There’s no way I’m waiting two weeks to find out. If we’re having conjoined twins or not so once we got the ultrasound though the doctor there was like, I don’t know what that doctor was talking about. But that there’s a, that they are not conjoined, they both have their own sack, that’s, you know, everything is fine there. So, other than that, you know, they were born, they’re born five weeks early. And they were born at five and five and a half pounds. So didn’t have to spend any time in the NICU or, or anything like that, thankfully. And you know, just a few days in the hospital, we were good to go.

Joe
Thats great for listeners, the mono di twins, the monochorionic dynamic, that’s where they have they share a placenta, but like you said they’re in different sacks, that those are kind of twins that we had as well. And it’s not uncommon to go in for ultrasounds and like you say the doctor can’t quite tell yet if they have their own sacks and if they’re sharing a sack and of course if they’re sharing a sack that could lead to some more complications. So you may have to go back a couple times for a couple scans so that’s cleared up which can lead lead to a little bit of anxiety but there’s good treatments either way if you do end up with with the twins sharing a sack so so it sounds like delivery was smooth. Did you all have a natural birth or C section?

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Jeff 14:10
Nope, it was a C section. Obviously giving birth during these times. You know was interesting in its own experience, you know, we weren’t allowed to leave the room weren’t allowed to have visitors just you know, just like everybody else who’s who’s given birth now. I almost missed the actual removal of the babies during the C section they had got into the surgery and forgot to get me so I was standing in the room dressed in all the scrubs and everything waiting for them to come get me and didn’t have didn’t see anybody. I was out in the hallway and just hoping to like looking for a nurse and finally one came out and they were like come on let’s go what’s happening now a quick sprint down the hallway and was able to make it in right as they were about to take the boys out. So almost missed it. Thankfully, it didn’t. That almost happened to me too.

Joe 15:01
You’re just you’re left by yourself in a hallway. In my case, it was, the lights were kind of low. There’s nobody around. And I’m like, What is going on here?

Jeff 15:09
Yeah, for me, you know, I’ve grown up playing sports my whole life. And the amount of anxiety and the amount of adrenaline that was kind of pumping through me at this time felt very similar to, you know, but before a game or, or before match or something, you know, back in some of my younger days, but that there was nobody there, you know, there was nobody to talk to, nobody to see nobody, you know, there was just pacing around the room, just kind of wait, and just anxious and full of all this energy.

Joe 15:41
So you rushed into the delivery room, what was your experience as a dad, when the twins were born?

Jeff 15:46
It was a smaller room, and there was a whole bunch of people in there. And, you know, we were in masks, and, you know, so I just kind of sat up with my, with my wife, you know, as they were, as they were doing the procedure, and, you know, everybody who was in there was fantastic. You know, kind of talking us through everything as we were going, when they pulled the first boy out. You know, we’re talking us through and, you know, the nurse was like, What? I see it a butt, I see a butt, you know, we don’t know what that means. We’re like, a butt what, what do you mean? And she’s like, Oh, no, it’s fine. And, you know, she pulled the boy out. And, you know, within, within seconds, we heard him start to cry. So, you know, and they after, after they got the one out, I was able to go over and see him as they pulled the second one out. This call the second baby didn’t cry right away needed a little bit oxygen, you know, needed a little bit of work from the nurses. But, you know, within, within a minute or two he was off and screaming his head off and you know, welcoming, welcoming us all to his presence, then I got to see a little bit more of the surgery stuff than I had planned on it.

You know, turned around and got to see everything that was was happening with my wife behind me. So quickly, need to quickly look away from that because I didn’t want that to be the situation where I all of a sudden opened my eyes and I was laying on the floor staring at the lights myself.

Yeah, it was you know, it was quick and it was it took about 30 minutes from the time that I got in there to the time that you know me and the boys wheeled back over to our rooms you know, and then my wife came in sure was brought in shortly thereafter so it was way easier this whole that whole part of it the whole giving birth and you know everything then then then then I thought it would be I don’t know why I thought something different but it went so smoothly because the boys I think, you know, everything was the boys were healthy. My wife handled everything well. You know, the doctors were great. So it was all a smooth process. You know, until we all got into the room together.

Joe 17:59
Yeah, that’s great. A lot of it is just anticipation of what’s going to happen waiting, waiting, waiting and all of a sudden, boom, here they are.

Jeff 18:05
Yeah, yeah. Because you know, we were my wife went to go get a checkup and I was at walking the dogs and my wife called and she was crying and she was like they want to go now and she had just unpacked the like our bags for you know the backs of the hospital she just had unpacked everything because she felt like she didn’t have enough so none of the bags were packed so you know she called me up freaking out about it was time to go and you know that the bags and you know, every cuz obviously we couldn’t leave we couldn’t couldn’t come back and forth. You know, everything from the bags to the car seats, you know, need to go with us. You know, at five weeks early, we shouldn’t have been that caught off guard but we were so it was kind of left up to me to run around the house frantically trying to figure out what needs to go and what didn’t need to go and try to keep my wife calm and try to stay calm myself.

So, you know, to your point about the waiting and the anxiety. I mean, it was from that moment, it was just anxiousness. until we are back in the room and the nurses were joking and talking about how cute they were and all that and then kind of you kind of settled into the fact of Alright, we’re good. We’re good.

Joe 19:23
Well, tell us about bringing the twins home what was kind of the hardest adjustment there? What surprised you the most about having twins?

Jeff 19:29
I didn’t think I realized how much how just flat out how hard it was going to be you know, and how I was going to have to be involved in everything. You know, I had taken I taken a week and a half off of work. And that was nowhere near enough at least I felt you know, every feeding every changing every nap like you know it was just non stop and I wasn’t prepared for that I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work that was happening, you know, the first, I’d say the first two weeks, you know, everything’s new, it’s fun and exciting. And it you know, it just that time went by fast and felt relatively easy.

But everything after that was, it was really, really hard. You know, and, and getting up for every feeding and you know, not being able to switch off nights or switch off feedings, like, you know, like, like singleton pregnancies do. You know, it was just, it was just a lot. And then that combined with the fact of well, with COVID, what do we do? You know, who’s allowed over? Who can come see the babies? who can help? You know, what, just, all those kind of things where that part led to a lot of anxiety as well. You know, it’s, how dangerous is this for the boys? How dangerous is this for us?

You know, all these questions were so new when they were born in, in, in August, and no one really, everyone knew it was really bad. But no one really knew what needed to be done other than stay home and don’t see anybody, he kind of got home, and there was a feeling of anxiety and being a little bit alone. And, and being kind of on your own. That, you know, that we had to talk through how to figure out exactly like, what, what we should do, because every doctor we asked gave us a different answer. Every nurse we asked gave us a different answer. And it and it all felt almost opinion based. So you know, we weren’t getting really medical advice from the doctors and it was just because they didn’t really know. So, you know, that part was really tough on us. But the silly things that come with having a newborn, the acid reflux and you know, trying to figure out what we must change formulas five times, just to try to find one that was easy on them, where should they sleep, what you like, all that stuff is just as much preparation we put into it, you got home and you realize that you weren’t prepared, you just had to figure it out.

Joe 22:13
Yeah get as much stuff ready as you possibly can. And then you just have to roll with it and make adjustments along the way. Because you don’t know like you say the formula is a great example. You don’t know what formula is gonna sit well with them. Which ones not? Or even, you know, which diapers are going to hold in the blowouts better than other diapers. So it’s like it’s trial. It’s trial and error often.

Jeff 22:32
Yeah, yeah. And even like, you know, dumb things like that, like the toys or the, you know, like, What’s something that could, that could keep their attention for a minute or two? You know, and that’s, like, you know, even now at five months, you know, that’s what we’re constantly doing is, okay, here’s the play mat. Okay, here’s the chair. Okay, here’s the, here’s this stuff, you know, it’s just kind of, Alright, good. He likes that he’s gonna play with that for for for five minutes.

Joe 22:56
Is there a piece of baby gear that you guys are so glad that you got that you can’t live without,

Jeff 23:01
They’re definitely too young for it. But it’s like a chair cart thing, you know, that like that are that are their sister can push them around in, we have to kind of Prop them up into the little bit. But just the any, anything with lights, and, and sound will catch their attention. I mean, that’s, that’s the way it is with anything you can put, you can put YouTube on a TV and look for you know, the child development or child stimulation shows. You put that on and they’ll just stare at it. You know, it’s like that thing. You know, okay, you shouldn’t have them be looking at the TV Well, okay, I’ll have them look at it for 20 minutes if it gives me a minute to, to go brush my teeth and comb my hair.

Joe 23:49
Right. There are trade offs. That’s right.

Jeff 23:51
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Joe 23:54
Do you have any kind of baby monitoring set up in the nursery?

Jeff 23:58
Yeah, we do. We have them set up where, you know, each, it’s not actually a monitor for twins. It’s two different cameras focused in on each one of their cribs. And it goes to the same little monitor that we keep so and it’s great it keeps the temperature in a room which you know, shows you what temperature is it has the really good night vision you can. So when you stumble in there at night, it’s pitch black and you can’t see where the pacifier is in the bed that we use no those monitors can help you but you know, because at that temperature thing too, you know, that’s like, trying to keep are they warm enough? Are they too warm? Are they too cold? It’s one of the things that you find yourself messing with all the time to try to get into sleep a little bit better.

Joe 24:46
Are your boys still swaddling or how do you use you sleep sacks will work for y’all.

Jeff 24:52
They are not swaddling anymore. At about two months, they really started fighting us on the swaddle. You know, the real like, like grunting and like, really, it seemed like just trying to get out of it. So we moved to something called the I think it’s called the arms up swaddle or something like that. Which is, which is the weirdest thing, it’s something that you, you literally put their arms up. So you put their hands up by their head, and you stick their arms in these little like wings, almost, you know, they look like flippers or fins when you zip this thing up. But it allowed them to get their arms up and sleeve that way.

And moving from the swaddle to that was like the first great step in the sleep improvement, they started sleeping so much better in that thing. They started getting a little too big for that. And we moved them to the Merlin, we call it a snowsuit because that’s it looks like a ralphie in a Christmas story. The big Merlyn suit and, and that’s what they sleep in now. And we try to take them out of it. And because they’re starting to roll and starting to, you know, starting to want to roll, when we took them out of it, it actually, the sleep digressed a lot because they were getting frustrated, because then it seemed like they wanted to roll and they wanted to move, but they couldn’t get all the way over. So when we put them back in the suits, it actually kind of stopped them from doing that. And we because we went through a span where we were waking up every hour again, it was like complete regression of the sleep. Put them back in those suits. And now they’re, you know, they both actually slept from at 8:30pm to 6am. The other night, which was obviously amazing.

Joe 26:43
Sometimes with sleep, it’s a combination of the right clothing, gear, schedule, routine, all that stuff works together to work the magic and get him in a good sleep habit.

Jeff 26:53
We probably bought 10 different sleep sacks, just different things to try. And, you know, we tried a few other ones that just you know, then didn’t seem to really work so well. But you try one and you leave it on you give it through two or three nights. And then once you find one that works, you just ride it.

Joe 27:12
That’s right, isn’t it? You know, a month or two, they’ll change up things again, and it’s all part of the fun.

Jeff 27:18
Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. It changes. And that’s what you know, one of the things is, is everything changes so fast. You know, what, what could be working one week or not working one week, all of a sudden, the next week does, you know their sleep patterns can change, their wake patterns can change their nap patterns can change, everything changes so quickly. And I’ve found that with the twins, at least it changes together. And that’s a, you know, advice that someone gave, when we were right, before we had the boys was, you know, try to keep on the same schedule, try to keep them napping together, try to you know, try to keep meeting together. Because that’s the only way that that you can have some sort of normalcy and not live 24 hours a day, taking care of a baby. And then that’s, you know, from a nap from sleeping from feeding. We do it all together doing it the same time. And it’s like I said, it’s being not everybody has that luxury because, you know, I’ve been home, my wife has been home, we’ve been able to do it together. And not everybody has that luxury. But it’s definitely something that’s been helpful.

Joe 28:27
That’s right. I mean, you have to play with the cards that you’re dealt, and just do the best you can with whoever’s available. So how have you been able to maintain and strengthen your relationship with your wife through this first these first five months with twins?

Jeff 28:39
For us, I feel like it’s, it’s, it’s absolutely brought us closer. I mean, there’s been nights with tears and, you know, middle of the night laughter You know, like it, it’s just been just doing it together and ride the ups and downs together. And being able to be there for one another to talk each other down, you know, and those times where you’re just like, I can’t do this, I can’t, I can’t handle this. And, you know, with whether it’s me or my wife doing it, have any other person be able to step up and say I got it, you know, go-go in the other room, Go, Go take a shower, I got this, it, you know, it’s all short term, you know, you can live through an hour of taking care to babies to go give your significant others some time to go take a hot shower and, and go sit in the quiet for a few minutes.

You know, but it’s it. For us. For us. It’s brought us together even more than we were before. But, you know, it’s the being it’s the knowing that okay, However long is going to be the first six months first year. You know, there’s your you’re going to be making sacrifice as a parent, you’re going to be making sacrifices in general. But you got to make the sacrifices for your significant other and for your children because, you know, that’s the only way that that that we find that we can keep each other safe. I went and played golf the other day she asked her mother to come over. And let me get out of the house for five hours I played golf and had lunch with a few of my friends. And just that break for me kind of let let my system reset but and that in the talking about it and just you know, talking it out, when things get hard and then you feel frustrated or you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. You know, being able to talk about it with one another and you know, being the support system is really what’s helped us.

Joe 30:34
How about with your eight year old? How have you been able to make sure she still gets enough attention or time with the twins being so needy?

Jeff 30:43
Yeah, that’s probably been the most difficult thing. Now, you know, where we’re five months in, so yeah, the first few months, okay, everything’s new, everything that you know, they’re little babies. But now Okay, for her for five months, and things are starting to get a little bit old. And with the pandemic, and things not being open, and us not being able to go places or, or do things, it’s definitely been one of the challenges with us. And, you know, we, we actually started putting the boys to sleep earlier, so that we could have an hour to read with her or do an activity with her at night. to kind of give some specific her time when the boys nap or when they’re down or when they’re, when they’re happier, just woke up, you know, my wife might go take an hour and go do something with her, or I might take an hour and go do something with her.

We’ve had to try our best to set aside some time specifically to focus on her. Well, that’s my, my parents are my wife’s parents that take them for a few hours so that we can go do something specifically with her. But it’s not enough and, and we noticed that she’s starting to feel it. Especially being an only child, being an only child for eight years. You know, yeah, there, she could tell she’s starting to miss her, miss her parents and miss the attention that we’ve always been able to give her.

Joe 32:13
We had the same challenge. We had two other boys when our twins were born and juggling the demands the immediate demands of the newborns and infants with the taking care of at that time, we had two toddlers. So keeping all that in balance, you know, that does take does take a little bit of effort, but as the twins got more self-sufficient as they start sleeping better at night, it does free up some of your mental and physical energy to make sure everybody’s getting the attention that they need.

Jeff 32:42
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That you know, we keep joking around like the sleeping and the improve sleep on the boys is allowing us to be better parents overall, you know, better parents to to our eight year old and better parents to the boys, you know, because it improves your patience improve, you know, your just your stamina for the day. You know, when they’re both asleep here, you no longer just wanting to like, lay in silence. You know, you can devote some of that time now to the other one, you know, to our daughter.

Joe 33:14
That’s right. Well, Jeff, as we wrap up today, if listeners would like to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to reach out?

Jeff 33:19
They can reach out via email. My email is [email protected] And I’d be happy to happy to respond.

Joe 33:38
Perfect. Well, Jeff, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.

Jeff 33:43
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Joe 33:45
I hope you enjoyed that chat with Jeff about his journey as a twin dad, and surviving those first crazy months with infant twins. If you missed anything in the show, or wanted to connect with Jeff, I’ve linked up to everything we discussed today over in the show notes of this episode at twindadpodcast.com. If you would like to share your story, like Jeff did today, please reach out to me and let me know you can email me [email protected] Or you can message me on instagram or twitter @twindadjoe and I would love to hear from you. Today’s show was brought to you by my second book for dads of twins called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins”. This is the must-read guide for all fathers of twins to help you survive those first several years with your beautiful babies. You can learn more about this book at raisingtwinsbook.com thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.

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Raising Five Month Old Twins with Jeff Hillenmayer - Podcast 234

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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