Episode 238 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Scott Johnson, father of two sets of twins (22-year-old boys and 5-year-old girls). Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Having two sets of twins from two marriages
- Differences in the two twin pregnancies
- Raising identical vs fraternal twins
- How having one set of twins helped with the second set
- Getting the right gear for twins
- Becoming a stay-at-home dad
- When the older twins chose the same college, same degree, and the same type of job
- Dealing with competition between twins
- When twins are super similar vs totally different
- Potty training boys vs girls
- Coparenting twins after divorce
- and more…
Connect with Scott via email here.
Imagine having one set of twins then getting married again later and having a second set of twins. That’s part of the story we’ll talk about 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, the “Dad’s Guide to Twins”, Joe Rawlinson.
Hey everybody. This is Joe Rawlinson and welcome to the 238th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast. You can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you’ll find a transcript for this episode, and you can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we are continuing our father of twins interview series with a father of two sets of twins. 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”. You can learn more about this book at raisingtwinsbook.com. Now let’s jump right into the interview. Today I’d like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins Scott Johnson. Welcome to the show, Scott. So Scott, you don’t have just one set of twins. You got two sets of twins. So what’s what’s the age gap? And ages of those twins right now?
The oldest twins are 22. And the youngest twins will be five next month.
So that’s that’s kind of an atypical spread for ages for kids. So how did you how did you end up with with twins on on both ends of the spectrum.
They’re from two different marriages, the first marriage, we were teenagers and just came naturally. And the second marriage, she was having issues ovulating. And they ran a camera in there and it pushed two eggs out and twins again.
So your first set of twins: are they boys or girls?
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
The first set of boys?
And are they identical?
How about the second set?
They are girls, and they are not identical.
Okay, so back when you find out that you’re having twins to start with 22 plus years ago, what was your first thought when you heard that you were gonna have twins?
A lot of shock. Like I said I was a teenager. And we have the doctor was questioning why she was getting so big so fast. And did a sonogram and it was me her and her mother in the room. And he said, oh, there are two babies in there. And we didn’t say anything for the rest of the time until we left. And we were shocked and surprised and happy.
So how did that compare to your reaction the second time around when you found out that you’d be a dad of twins again?
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Wherever we found out that we were pregnant. Everyone asked, you know what we were hoping for a boy or girl. And I kept saying twins. And when we went in for the sonogram. The lady said there are two babies in there. I laughed so hard. I immediately wondered how the oldest set of twins would think about it. I called them I called them and they were excited as well.
So they would have been in their mid teens. Is that about right when you’re when your girls were born?
Yeah, they were seniors in high school I do believe
How are your older boys able to be involved with the preparations for the for the girls?
Did what they could being teenagers. They were busy with school and sports. They tried to help set everything up, they could watch them little toys that they could share and play with normal sibling stuff.
Let’s maybe look at some of the commonalities similarities between these two twin experiences and some of the differences when you look at the pregnancy the first time around and second time around how are those the same or different?
Well, the first pregnancy you know it was all new to us. He ended up going into labor 36 weeks in second pregnancy she went full term.
So first time around everything was brand new, probably a little bit overwhelming. How did the first set of twins prepare you for having another set?
(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….)
Just knowing you know how to handle them with feedings and getting them on schedules and sleep schedules and having the right equipment to deal with them. But it was definitely nice to go through it once to then again do it the second time you kind of knew what to expect a little bit
You had experience with twins but your your second wife, this was brand new for her as well. Right?
Did you have any other kids besides the twins
with the first wife, we had another son and the second wife she had a child coming into it.
You mentioned equipment having gear and stuff was very helpful with twins. What do you remember being most helpful there?
Diapers for one for the first twins we had the little vibrating bouncy seats we call them for feeding and the second time we went with the vibrating swings was nice and helpful. We did the formula route both times. So no one to have extra formula and different variations just in case you know normal kids stuff if they didn’t react well to one of them.
There’s lots of gear that we can get. That’s helpful and there’s some gear that we can never end up using. We thought it was a good idea when we got it or when it was gifted to us but is there anything that comes to mind that you think Well, that was kind of useless? I didn’t actually need that after all.
No, I think with the first step, you know, we learn as we went and I don’t think we’ve really got anything that we didn’t use and the second time I know as we were shopping for things you know we discussed oh this would be nice and then I being in the expert that I am said no I don’t think we’ll need that you know turned out that we didn’t really have anything wasteful.
Experience is a good teacher so I’m glad the second time around a little more efficient process. So how were you able to prepare your second wife because you had gone through this experience before so what are some things that you were able to help her understand about what was coming with twins?
Knowing about schedules knowing that one of us was not going to get sleep I ended up being the stay at home dad with a second set of twins because I had more knowledge you know just understanding that sometimes you need help when there are two of them.
There’s so much to do with twins and you had other kids in the house as well that one of the parents it’s in the best move just to stay home to take care of everybody how did you come to that decision because it’s not just a who’s going to take care of the kid’s decision and it’s also like a financial decision and juggling work and such so how do you decide which parent was the best fit for that role?
She has the better job financially able for me to stay home so that made it really easy to then just have a knowledge of how to deal with two children at once.
And how long did that last did you end up putting them into daycare or wait till they were school age?
yeah they went into daycare the newest set of twins went in a daycare around a year so the first set of twins their mother stayed home with them the entire time they with her and her mother you know they took care of everything and they never needed to go to daycare or anything
so your your boys that are that are older what do they do after high school did they head off to college or trade school or work what was the plan there?
they’ve both been very close their whole life I think they were like 10 by the time they moved out each other’s bedroom they both went to the same college they both went for chemical engineering they both just graduated this past year and they both got jobs in West Virginia like they’re 40 minutes away from each other
wow that’s that’s pretty amazing. do they plan everything to be the same or did just one of them take the lead and the brother’s like hey that sounds pretty good I’m gonna do that too?
Kurt is the oldest and he usually took the lead on everything for a while and Kyle would sit back and watch and learn and eventually it seemed like Kyle took over he would just pick up what Kurt was doing and then he tried to do better, constant competition we had entered into the same things they’ve always had the same friends they love being with each other told them it was okay to do different things and they’re like no this is what we want to do said whatever makes you happy
Were they roommates in college?
So the first time they really got separated was after they graduated and got jobs?
yeah I asked them if they were going to be okay with that and they said you know we’re not that far away from each other no matter where they go you know they know they can call each other facetime whatever i think they were a little bit anxious about maybe separating but I think they’re okay with it
you mentioned they were kind of competitive with each other how did that manifest itself as they were growing up?
it was never like they were always best friends I mean they fought small amounts but they were always really good friends and just football they played football they would always go for a similar position and they would just try to outdo each other the same with school if one of them were getting better grades and the other the other one would be you know concerned that he had to work a little bit harder but as they kept going they work together as a team and if one needed help the other one help
that’s great so some competition led them to better themselves and get better that’s pretty awesome. Do you see similar characteristics with your younger set, with your girls?
no not at all they are totally different personalities. Bacara is more outgoing and Bianca sits back and watches Bacara was walking first crawling first talking first Bianca just sits and watches so I kind of see that similarity where one sits back and watches the other one they haven’t been competitive yet but I’m assuming that’s gonna come
so at five are they in preschool or kindergarten right now?
and do you have them together or separate in that?
they’re together right now as they progress through the daycare Bacara was ahead in certain things so she might have spent like a day or two out in to the bigger class and that’s when Bianca would turn her like start doing things knowing that she needed to be with her sister
okay so with with a pair of boys and a pair of girls let’s talk about potty training and that was a long time ago for the boys but which was easier? Potty training twin boys or twin girls?
the boys I potty trained them in one evening. The girls it took a little bit longer time. The same with the one ahead of the other one Bacara took to it much quicker than Bianca you know once all the other ones go into the party the other one was going to do that too
so you said you trained your boys in one evening so that sounds like a magical feat any tricks of the trade there to pass along to other dads?
I’d come home from work and I was tree trimmer at the time that was outside and the cold and the weather got home and we were out of diapers so I looked at em and said okay we’re gonna do this thing we’re gonna try to go to the potty and I’m gonna ask you every five minutes if you have to go to the potty the first five minutes they said no we don’t have to five minutes later they had both gone into the diaper pretty much that evening they were done they hadn’t had any accidents or anything after that I don’t know how, it was the greatest thing ever.
we found with our kids that in about a day we got them to understand the mechanics of going to the bathroom and and starting to realize when they would need to go but it definitely took longer for them to always get that right and kudos to you that’s awesome just one evening
yeah i was i was hoping that would happen with the girls but it was a one time thing
so what are some things that maybe you’ve done differently the second time around with twins than you did the first time?
less doctor visits for one because you kind of understand you know had kids for a long time but also when one kid is sick you just take them both in because they’re probably going to end up with the same thing instead of making multiple trips
yeah I agree with you on the when one twin gets sick the other one almost always get sick too because they’re always with each other it’s inevitable for sure. Have you seen so you mentioned that they’re together right now in preschool is that the plan going forward to keep them together?
I would hope so iIknow my son’s they kept them in the same class until they went to middle school and they were a little worried about that but they were fine they saw each other in the halls . I would hope they would do that with the girls I know even though the girls have the same friends they also have different friends and every time i see a picture that the daycare sends they’re sitting at different tables so they’ve already you know decided to sit away from each other so I don’t think it would hurt them as much but it would be nice for them to stay together for a little while to help each other out with confidence or you know getting along with people
Yeah, we’ve had our girls together and separate and sometimes it’s really good for them when they’re apart because like you mentioned they can form new friendships and can learn to be a little more independent from each other so let’s talk about co-parenting what how do you determine what a good routine is good interactions are to make that work?
I ‘m divorced twice we’re co parenting anytime you have to go through that but you have to think of the kids going what’s going to help them out the most keeping the same routine at both homes is the biggest issue anytime you know a kid has to go through that they might act a little bit so you have to try to keep the same basic rules and do the same things same schedules.
Is the time kind of split half and half between the two of you?
yeah we dropped them off daycare different days pick them up different days I’m sure once they start school because I actually moved a couple towns over now we were just having a conversation this morning about we’re gonna have to talk about you know what’s going to happen when school starts and how to figure that one out
how many kids are left in the house right now?
well I have a 14 year old and he’s here on weekends and we have a 13 year old daughter plus five year old twins,
do your teenagers volunteer to babysit? Or is that off the table?
Not so much babysit. They might help out every now and then. But teenagers being teenagers, most of the time they get annoyed with little kids when the little kids could be annoying sometimes.
I’ve got two teenagers and my twins are almost teenagers, they are 12 and a half. And they get annoyed at lots of things. So I think that’s just I think that’s just the age. So Scott, if you found out if you found out that maybe your best friend is having twins, what kind of advice would you give to that friend?
Well, first off the pregnancy, you’re gonna, you know, she’s gonna be really uncomfortable. She’s gonna get really big, because there’s two babies in there. As far as my first set of twins, they were 36 weeks when they were born, they were right around four pounds. We were told they would be in the hospital for a few weeks. They were only in there, in the NICU for a couple of days, I think three days and we were home. The second set of twins, they went full term. Left in, you know, a couple days when mom was ready to go. So you can’t really be too worried about that. Of course you might have different circumstances. But definitely, definitely buy diapers, lots and lots of diapers, catch up on some sleep because you’re going to miss some sleep for a couple weeks until you figure out what the feeding schedule and the sleeping schedule. That’s the biggest part.
You never know how important sleep is until you don’t get it in the right amounts. And it’s interrupted all night long as that can be quite brutal. So Scott, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to reach out and get in touch, what’s the best way to get in contact?
By email: [email protected]
Excellent. And we’ll link up to that in the show notes for this episode. Scott, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.
All right, thank you.
I hope you enjoy that chat with Scott about his adventure as a twin dad times two some of the things that he learned and did a little bit different the second time around. If you’d like to share your story on the podcast like Scott did today, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me via email [email protected] or I’m on Instagram or Twitter. You can message me @twindadjoe. Today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dads called Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins. You can learn more about that book and pick up a copy for yourself at raisingtwinsbook.com thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
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