Episode 237 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Steve Wisniewski, father of three-year-old identical twin boys. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Twins having their own language
- Having a toddler when the twins are born
- How his teenager helped with the twins
- Graduating from cribs to full-size beds
- How the older child interacts with the twins
- Having grandparents help with kids a few times a week
- Finding the right daycare for infant twins
- Getting kids out in nature and camping
- and more…
Finding out that you’re having twins when you still have an infant in the home. That are much more on the podcast today.
Welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast, the podcast that will help you survive and thrive as a father of twins Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, “Dad’s Guide to Twins”, Joe Rawlinson.
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the 237th episode of the Dads Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com. Where you will find the complete transcript for this episode, and you can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we are continuing our father of twins interview series, a fellow father of identical twin boys. But before we jump into that story, I want to let you know that you can get a free audiobook version of my first book, Dad’s Guide to Twins by going to freetwinbook.com. Once again, that’s freetwinbook.com. Let’s jump straight into that interview. Today, I would like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins, Steve Wisniewski, welcome to the show, Steve.
Hey, Joe. Thanks for having me.
Steve, how old are your twins right now? And what is the most exciting thing about this age?
Right now they’re almost three and a half. And they, for me, the best part now is just watching them every day. And learning from them and learning what they’re learning. And just to see him communicate with each other. It just still to this day amazes me that that they say that they have their own language. And I see that every day. I think they have their own language.
Do you have boys or girls or one of each?
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
I have identical boys.
So tell us about this unique language that they have? What does that look like or sound like?
They sit there. And sometimes they have the tablets and they’ll play their games on it. And they’ll sit there play together, they’ll use the one tablet. And then I’ll just sit back and listen from time to time. And they where just talking to each other. And I don’t know if they’re using words they don’t use English language words, are they using their own words, but they communicate with each other and nobody know what each other’s they’re staying to each other and they agree on it, or they’ll start fighting with each other.
That’s interesting. I noticed something similar with our girls where they could understand each other. And if one of me or my wife had trouble understanding them, maybe one of them would act as a translator for her sister.
Exactly that. And then if I say if I guess what they’re saying. And it’s wrong, though, that they will say no. And so I will have to go through the whole charades or however they do it and try it till I figure out what they’re saying. Me Out me or my wife.
Let’s rewind back to when you found out that you were having twins. What was your family situation like at that time?
We had just got through with a newborn, we had a nine month old at the time. So it was and I have a at the time was 15 year old daughter from a previous marriage. So we had, you know, still with the baby stage. And it took us a while to get to get pregnant with him. And so to find out that she was pregnant again was quite, you know, but Oh, geez, that happened fast. So we were still adapting to, you know, having pretty much newborn in the house when we found out that, that we were having another child that time, let alone two.
Having been a dad before. How was that able to help you prepare for the twins?
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I mean, I don’t know if anyone’s ever ready to know that they’re having twins, but we were still in the routine, you know, the diapers, you know, the bottles, the stuff like that. So it was, you know, we didn’t know what to expect. But we knew what we were kind of expecting, you know, like I said we didn’t know right away that we were having twins until probably a month or so later. So, but we were you know, we kind of knew what to expect because we were still in those stages.
Yeah, no rest for the weary has you add two new infants to the mix there. Well, how did the pregnancy progress with the twins? Were there any complications?
Actually, no, I was at a fairly smooth pregnancy. You know, we were seeing the regular ob and then we were going to see a specialist to make sure that they were measuring the same size. You know, there were no abnormalities with one or the other. So it was it was actually fairly smooth. So all went well.
That’s great. That’s not always the case with twin pregnancies. That’s awesome. So when your twin boys were born, your other child was nine months old. And then you had a teenage daughter? How was your older daughter able to help with the infant twins or participate?
Oh, she was excited, obviously. So yeah, I actually when the twins were born, our oldest son was already probably a year and a half, we had found out when he was at nine months. So he was a year and a half. But my daughter was very excited to be another, to be a big sissy again. And super excited to have twin brothers. You know, that’s not something everybody can say. But she had already, like I said before, she was already part of the process with our oldest son, you know, to the date from the day he was born in the hospital, helping the nurses, you know, take his footprints and do the check the well checks and so she’s always been a big part of their lives and a big help.
That’s great to have extra pair of hands. And she’s obviously had some practice already with your other son, by the time the twins arrived. But regardless, I mean, having a one and a half year old and newborn twins not that’s a lot to handle all at once. Because as you mentioned, your your one and a half year old, still taking naps, and still probably in diapers, and then all of a sudden infants come into the mix. How were you able to juggle the needs of all of these very young children at the same time?
The twins were different than our firstborn, the firstborn, who was just he never wanted to sleep nap for 15-20 minutes at a time. But the twins were actually a little bit easier. Because if one would go, Well, I should say easier, but one would go down for a nap or whatever. The other ones stay awake. And then the other one go down the other one to get up. So the constant rotation. But yeah, there were definitely challenges and all of it for my wife, and I just there was never any downtime, really I mean not even for 15 minutes. So we’re always, you know, changing the diapers or one feeding the other one feeding our oldest son. So there’s never was never really a break. So it’s always a constant. Go go go go go.
Yeah, understandably, did you have enough room in your house to accommodate the influx of kids? Or did you have to upgrade anything there?
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
We did have enough room. At that time, now we’re finding out that we do not have enough room because we could keep them the twins in the same room, the cribs, you know, together, and then they just recently graduated to full size beds, eventually, we would like to have them in their own rooms bedroom, I think they enjoy sharing a room, even when we do upgrade, I still believe they’re gonna sleep in the same room regardless of whether they have their own rooms or not.
Right, tell us about that transition from cribs to beds.
Well, they went from the cribs and toddler beds, but and then they were always getting out, we had to figure out a way to basically, as what we end up doing is putting our toddler beds together where they would just have one big area to lay down. And they would eventually learn how to find their own way out after that. But then we just recently probably in the last two to three weeks, were able to get their big boy beds and they love them. They still, you know struggled to sleep in them by themselves. But for the most part, they’re doing pretty good with them. They just think it’s something cool, they can jump across from one bed to the other right now,
When your twins are born, your one and a half year old probably didn’t really know what was happening. I know that he’s a little bit older, how is that relationship evolved over time?
They get along very well. For the most part, he is very protective, even if the twins are having their differences. And one will have an advantage over the other one, he’ll step in to make sure the one who has a disadvantage will be taken care of. So he’s very protective. Very good Big Brother. But there are times where he will look at me or my wife or not. He’ll say to us, mom or dad what’s wrong with those two, but overall, he’s a good Big Brother.
That’s fun. It’s funny how he is the mediator or the judge in the arguments. Our middle child, one of our singleton’s kind of fills that same role of mediating the other siblings. That’s interesting. I don’t know if that’s just a second child thing or a middle child thing or what but it’s fun to observe. So tell us about kind of balancing work and family were you able to get time off When your boys were born?
Yeah, especially with the twins, I, I’m in a position where I, I am the manager, so I was able to have extra time off with the twins. And it was very beneficial just to get acclimated to the whole new world that we’re stepping into, as we know, we didn’t know what we were getting into. And we have a great support system with grandparents that you know, are able to come and sit, you know, and babysat a couple of days a week for us. And then we felt it was very important to get them into daycare and get them around other kids and, and let them have that experience as well. So we balanced the schedule, pretty good. My wife does the majority of the hauling, you know, to daycare and, you know, pick up and drop offs. And this because I get up early and I need to be at work earlier, she has the luxury of being able to go in later and take care of the main duties of, of the drop offs and stuff like that. So, but we balanced the schedule out pretty good. If I’m needed, then it’s you know, it’s, we’re, I’m well aware of what day what time where I need to be, I need to pick them up. If I need to drop them off, or she needs to go early for a meeting, especially these times where she’s in the healthcare field where we needed to make some adjustments.
How are you able to find a daycare that best fit the needs of your family,
We searched around, there are a lot of good ones where we live, we went to three or four by recommendations of friends or family that they have had their children go there, but we just look for the ones that we thought best fit our schedules. Because they don’t go every day they are home two days out of the week with grandma. And then the other three days, they’re there so that it was able to work out pretty good. But we did our homework and I just found what best fit what we were looking for.
Were all three of your boys at the same daycare, or just the twins?
Yes, they’re in different rooms, as part of the public school system, the older boy right now. He is in preschool. And then the twins are now in. I believe they’re in the tyke room. So it starts out at newborn toddler tyke, preschool. So I think at some point this year, they will all be in the same room for the first time.
And what age were able to get the boys into day care?
They were three months old at the time, by the time he went to daycare,
So based on your experience so far, what milestones or when has it gotten a little bit easier, as a parent?
To be honest with you, I think it gets easier every day. The more they communicate, the more they learn. I think the turning point for me is when they were able to start understanding and talking and we’re able to communicate with each other where our you know, may have been a struggle to try to figure out what they were saying and what they wanted. But you know, at once we started, you know, learning I guess learning their language and it became easier the daycare they go to they do a really good job. Pretty much like school, they learn their alphabet they learn all the basic stuff to help them along so you know the big jump was from for me was from toddler room to the tyke room where they’re you know, the alphabets the shapes the basic, you know, when it started developing our language
Communication is so important otherwise everybody’s kind of frustrated the kids are frustrated because you don’t understand them and you’re frustrated because you can’t understand them. And so once they can start to communicate even at a basic level it’s a big breakthrough. So when we when you have kids you have to buy a bunch of stuff a bunch of gear equipment clothing cetera. what’s so two questions here what is a piece of equipment that you purchased that was like a lifesaver with your twins and what is something that you got that ended up not being a big deal you never really used it?
I mean obviously the double stroller is always a big thing. And that’s always huge. And we bought we upgraded vehicles because at the time my wife was driving a Traverse which was almost impossible for even me to have to get him in there. I usually take the one open the hatch to get it through and swing him in the back way. By you know the bottles were a huge thing because we were only having we only had to had the one at the time. You know the one son and so we have to double up on bottles but you know, definitely a vehicle that we ended up going from a Traverse to a Ford Transit van which was kind of a letdown for my wife. But now she seems, actually, when we talk about letting her get in or wanting her to get a new vehicle. She said, I like the room. It’s easy to get in and out. And if there was one thing to do without so many different things that we have not used that we’ve had from even our firstborn being son like that. We’ve used the Baby Bjorn. Once. There’s just a lot that we have not used.
Your comments without the van remind me when we had to go from a more regular car to a minivan I swore I would never get a minivan but it worked out OK, you know, there is more space, it’s easier to get in and out of the sliding doors. So having kids definitely opened my eyes there as far as the utility of vehicles.
Yeah, this is a 10 seater. And we know we could take a bench seat out where the twins will sit towards the back and we have that room for all the gear you know, whatever they want to take now it’s not gear anymore. It’s just whatever they want to haul in the van at any given time and our older son sets up towards the front and they have their DVD TVs playing and everyone seems to be happy for the most part.
That’s great. Do your kids have a dedicated seat in the vehicles that they always go to?
Yes, twins have their seats in the back towards the back of the van and then our oldest son has the one at the front although there are some fights sometimes that one of the twins wants to sit up in the front that was just be a matter of moving some seats around to make that happen but for the most part they have assigned seating and if I if I don’t recognize one or because I still to this day cannot sometimes pick out who’s who. And I grabbed the one and he’s not in a seat I put him in the wrong seat he’ll tell me no not my seat.
We had I mean when our kids were much smaller about you know the age of your kids and younger like the carseat was always kind of mounted in the car so they had like permanently assigned seats but then as I got older and went to like booster seats and stuff, and they wanted to move around more often and now they definitely want to take turns moving about but they always seem to like leave a mess behind them like they leave a mess for their sibling to sit in later. So it’s a trade off.
That is a fact there’s always something left over and one of the cupholders in the in their car seats, whether it’s theirs or someone else’s but there is always a stack in here usually stale but there’s always something left in one of the cupholders.
So when you look at the ups and downs of parenting right now what is something that is working and working well for you and your kids?
I think it is life in general to be honest with you. I mean we have a good balance of work and home. You know when we’re when we’re home on the weekends we always are engaging them. wanting to do things with them even with the way the world is now with COVID you know, up here in Michigan, you know we have our snow so you know we get a fresh coating of snow we’ll take them on sled and run them out to the grandparents house. I think there’s that there’s a good balance right now. You know with everything going on. Like I said this we just try to keep them busy. Especially in the summertime. When it’s beautiful out here you know they’re outside from from sunup to sundown. And you know, we just always try to keep them busy, keep them engaged.
Have you been able to do any traveling? I mean maybe before COVID or now with the whole crew?
We’re campers so we have a camper and it only this past year. It only took one camp trip away from us which was our Memorial Day weekend camp trip but we made up through it, for it throughout the throughout the rest of the summer where we were able to hit you know 5, 6, 7 times out camping which is normally what we try to do at the campgrounds they have their restrictions just like anywhere else mashed inside you know the campgrounds store and any public area but it didn’t really slow us down as far as is any of that is concerned
Do your kids enjoy camping equally or are some just kind of dragged to along for the ride?
Now they all enjoy it even tonight coming home. Someone had a fire going in their fireplace in their house and one of the one of the boys said Oh campfire, he could smell it in the air. But there are typical boys Up, up and out and dirty from the minute they hit the ground. So they all love being out there and either going, you know going swimming or going for a walk on for a bike ride around the campground, camp fires to smores. to the whole experience of camping.
That’s great. Yeah. We’ve noticed too, that our kids are happier when they get outside and enjoy nature. It’s been great to really get them out and explore the beauties of our world. So Steve, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to reach out to you, what’s the best way to get in touch?
I have an email. It is [email protected] Also, I’m on Facebook at Steve Wisniewski. You’ll recognize the picture of the twins in the family out there. So I’m always willing to share experiences and give any advice I can because it is a new world.
Steve, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We really appreciate it.
Thanks, Joe. I appreciate it. I really appreciate you inviting me out.
I hope you enjoy that chat with Steve about his adventures as a twin Father, if you want to connect with Steve I linked it to his contact information at twindadpodcast.com and the Show Notes for this episode. You can also listen to all previous podcast episodes there on the website. If you would like to share your story like Steve did today. I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me via email [email protected] I’m also on Instagram and Twitter @twindadjoe. And I would love to hear from you. Again. Today’s show is brought to you by my first book for dads. It’s called Dad’s Guide to Twins and you can get a free audiobook version of my book at freetwinbook.com. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.
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