Episode 239 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Darrell Mosley, father of five boys including two sets of twins. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Raising five boys including 9 year old and 18-month-old twins plus a 14-year-old
- Dealing with 18-month-old mobile toddlers
- Both sets of twins were born at 30 weeks
- Some time in NICU and challenges of getting twins ready to come home
- Getting kids to different sports at the same time all season long
- Tracking food and medicine via spreadsheets
- Keeping infants on a feeding schedule for 24 hours
- Getting a third set of hands to help with newborns
- Routine for keeping the electric breast pump parts clean for Mom
- Taking time off of work due to bed rest and NICU
- When his wife lost her job due to too much time off after the first set of twins
- Surviving financially on one income
- Finding space for all the kids in the house
- Getting kids involved with chores
- and more…
When you have a second set of twins, you do things a little bit differently the next time based on what you learned the first time around make that doubly so when you have all boys. Today we’re talking with a twin dad and what he’s learned along the way of his twin journey.
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. Welcome to the 239th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. You can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you can find the complete show notes and transcript for this episode. And you can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we continue our father of twins interview series, with the father of five boys, including two sets of fraternal twins. Before we jump into that chat. I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com where you’ll find dozens of T-shirts designed specifically for families of twins. There are designs uniquely made for fathers of twins, mothers of twins, the grandparents of twins, and the twins themselves. You can browse the entire collection over a twintshirtcompany.com now let’s jump right into that chat. Today. I’d like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins, Darrell Mosley. Welcome to the show, Darrell. Darrell, how old are your twins right now. And what’s the most exciting thing about this age?
My first set of twins are 9 a second set of twins are 18 months. The most exciting part. For the for the nine-year-olds they are in third grade. They go to school every day. Learn new stuff at school. The 18-month-old twins, they are now both mobile and move through the house at will and it is tough to stay in front of they they always find a new way to bypass the child safety locks on drawers and cabinets and climb chairs. We have found one of them sitting on top of the dining room table. It’s always something going on.
Now, what’s the mix of twins – do you have boys, girls, some of each?
I have all boys. My oldest boy’s a singleton. The rest of them are fraternal boys.
Your Singleton came first?
Yes, sir. God bless us with that one because he’s our guinea pig baby. And we kind of learn the way of a boy for about five years. And then we got two more. They sent one home at a time. They were born at 30 weeks, they spent time in the NICU. So baby a got sent home first. And then two weeks later, his brother joined us. So we had a little time to get acclimated to having a baby in the house again. Last time the 18-month-old twins. They were also born at 30 weeks with the steroids shot that the wife was given in anticipation of it happening. And again, their lungs were better. They didn’t spend nearly as much time and the NICU. And they both got sent home together during the middle of baseball season for the other three kids.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
So your older three are all involved in baseball, right when the newborns are coming home?
The oldest one place travel ball. So we have practice Mondays and Wednesday nights games on Saturdays and Sundays. The first set of twins play with the city’s league with games and practices on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. So we are at a baseball field everyday but Friday, unless it’s raining from March through October.
That’s intense. Are the twins on the same team?
Yes, actually, it was July 27, when the second set was born. For whatever reason, baby a from the first group decided he wanted to play football in the fall. So we had the oldest kid playing baseball on the weekends. One playing football Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. And he went all over the county that we lived in. And then the other one played baseball, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
So that just makes my head spin just thinking about all the different places you need to be with the different kids
A lot of help from my wife’s mother, my mother. And you know, the wife is going back and forth to the hospital or practice or games. And my mother or her mother would pick up whoever got leftover.
So now you’ve had three, basically, three rounds of infants come through the house. What are some of the differences and similarities between each of these experiences with the singleton and then each of the sets of twins?
With the singleton, that was our first baby. We didn’t know anything about babies. You know, just taking the doctor’s advice on what time to feed and how much to feed and the wife was recovering from a C section. So I was having to manage, you know, when she got you know, certain medications and how much food the baby got and what time to give it to them. I actually I’m an accountant by degree, I made an Excel spreadsheet, put, put the medicines across the columns and the times down the rows. And I would have to go in and check. You know, when I gave everybody food or medicine first round of twins, they were in the NICU for a while. They got put on a schedule there. They ate at 8, 11, two and 5. am and pm. Whether they wanted or not, because if you let them get off schedule, you will never sleep. The second set of twins, cause we had already had some born at 30 weeks went to the NICU. Some things you never forget the sounds of the beeps and buzzers and feeding schedules. So we knew when they got sent home 8, 11, two and 5 (am and pm). When they get off schedule, you will never sleep. And we have also figured out and this will be helpful information for anybody that fixing in to have twins, we brought my mother-in-law in the second time. Cause if my wife feeds em both at eight o’clock, my mother-in-law feeds on both at 11. Then I could feed em at two, and then my wife comes back for five and the mother-in-law eight, I don’t come back until 11 o’clock. So I could actually sleep three in the afternoon until about 1030 at night seven and a half solid hours of sleep. With a newborn, that’s usually unheard of.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
That’s great. Yeah, it is unheard of to get that much sleep. Having a third set of hands is huge.
We made it to the two day checkup, my wife had her hair and makeup done. We made it on time, we had done this many times before. And at least I was able to get you know, the wife was breastfeeding. So she didn’t get to sleep for the whole year just about. But I was able to get about seven hours solid sleep most of the way through. Get a third hand as long as you stand more in there.
I would agree with that. We had similar setup where my mother-in-law or my brother in law’s sister in law came down, took turns staying with us. And that helped create that nice schedule like you’re describing where someone’s able to get a little bit more sleep.
And if it’s just for the weekend. Every little bit helps.
That’s right, every little bit helps. Yeah, some people think that can’t convince someone to come stay with them for a long time. But even just one or two nights can help recoup that missing sleep that you need.
You mentioned that your wife breastfed the twins. Were there any challenges with that or just worked pretty well with each of the boys?
worked pretty good. She had an electric pump. And then I can fill in on the dad side, you know not, I don’t produce the milk myself. But we had multiple sets of parts so that whenever I went back to work, I could go ahead and wash up enough so that she could pump through the night and have clean parts each time. And then right before I left to go to work, I could wash all the parts that would get her through the day, until I got home from work without being home. After going back to work, you know, the best I could do was keep enough parts clean. That she didn’t have to do dishes on top of taking care of babies and breastfeeding and changing diapers and all of that.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
That’s brilliant. Did you have anything else that you’re able to do like kind of to get the house ready before you went off to work?
Keep the diaper stacker full, wipes handy. You know empty the trash when it’d need to go out load the dishwasher. You know after dinner at night, unload it before I head out, you’ll try to minimize the workload around the house. It’s a lot taking care of two babies at one time. And anything that I can do to smooth that load while I’m gone. Makes it easier when I get home in the evening.
How much time did you have off of work after the boys were born?
Because they were in the NICU for such a long time. I took the full 12 weeks available under Family Medical Leave Act
And was your wife working at the time and as well?
She was. She went on bed rest in October for the set that was born in December. They were born early. And her 12 weeks of job protected leave ran out. They called her one Friday and told her that her time was up. And that if she was not at work on Monday. Don’t bother coming Tuesday either. She wouldn’t have a job.
So how did that play out?
We went and got the first baby that Friday from the NICU and she didn’t have a job. So for two years, I took on some additional work assignments that allowed me to make additional income. This was back in 2007 when the mortgage rates bottomed out between my additional pay we also refinanced the house. We left everything, just as it was in terms of the amount we owed, and the length of time remaining on the house. We merely paid to lower the interest rate, you know, effectively what happened when we refinanced with my extra pay. And what we saved on the mortgage, it replaced what she would have brought home after paying daycare. So it was a net change of zero. When it was all said and done, she stayed home for about two years, then when the terrible twos hit twice. She asked me if, if I was certain that it was a net zero, whether she worked or didn’t work. And I told her that I was. And she said, that’s the case. She’s going back to work and pay for daycare, because two two year olds would was too much. And it’s easier to work.
Well good for her and good for you guys for being so creative in how you’re able to rework your finances to make that happen to manage the job loss of your wife.
When the phone call came in that, hey, if you’re not at work on Monday, don’t bother coming Tuesday that cut our income in half. And we you know, we we just added two more mouths to feed, that phone call happened nine years ago. I’m still a little salty about it somehow, some way we have been provided for and it’s worked out so far. And we got surprised about a year and a half ago. The wife wasn’t feeling well. She, she went to the dollar store and got a pregnancy test. She came back and it said she was pregnant again. So we went to the doctor. The first time we went to the doctor, they did the sonogram. And because with the first twin pregnancy, you know, you see a lot of sonograms, it’s not like the single baby, so I’m not a sonographer. But I thought I saw the little second black hole over there. And I asked the sonographer, Is that another one over there? She was reluctant to answer and said that she saw a spot that concerned her that she had to get pictures for the doctor and she would she would get back over there in just a minute. As she left the room, I never saw her again, until I ran into her at a baseball game one afternoon. They didn’t she didn’t even tell my wife. We went upstairs. And a doctor said that he saw the pictures saw an area that concerned him. But then at this point, my wife’s 39 years old, and there’s nothing we can do about her age. So we’re not going to come back and see me next week. And let’s figure out a game plan. And I told my wife all week long. That’s not how that first visit went last time. You know that doctor was the man with the plan. You come in every two weeks, you go to this specialist. You know, this is how it works. And then that day he was like, Yeah, you’re 39 there’s nothing we can do about that. Come back next week, we’ll figure something out. And I told her I said the way the sonogram girl just walked out of the room and never said a word. And then the doctor was kind of cagey and evasive. I’m sure I saw another spot. And the next week we went back they told her she was having twins again. I was right. I did see that other spot.
Did she believe you originally or she wanted to see with their own eyes?
not originally. But like I said, if they say come back in a week, so this was on Monday, and I guess it was around Thursday night. I said How long has he been a doctor? She said oh like 20 or 25 years? How many sonograms Do you think he’s seen? She said 10s of 1000s? I said do you think he didn’t know what he was looking at? When he saw that spot that concerned him? She said oh my god, we’re gonna have twins again. I said, I’ve been telling you this all week. You just haven’t been trying to hear me. And when we went in Monday, it took them no time to find two heartbeats. Send us upstairs to the doctor. And he’s like, Alright, girl, you’re having twins again. She’s like, Yeah, I know that now. But my husband says you knew that last week just wouldn’t tell me. He just looked at me a smile shook his head. So we’ll see in two weeks.
There’s several years difference between your nine year olds in your second set. So did you have leftover gear did you have to start from scratch buying what you needed?
Start from scratch. When when the nine year olds every time we got done with something, you know, we’re not having any more babies send it on down the line. We had nothing.
What’s some gear that you maybe got the second time around that you knew for sure was going to be very helpful and maybe some stuff that you’re like, we’re not going to get that because we’re never going to use it?
The diaper genie is a good sales pitch that they’re hard to find the bags for. They’re a pain in the butt to twirl those bags every time you change a diaper. They are worthless. We’ve got a stainless steel can that the top slides on, throw a diaper in slides, slide it back shut, just uses regular garbage bags. So we knew we didn’t want a diaper Genie. What we found that did not exist nine years ago that I’m aware of was the mamaRoo. They put one of the babies in it at the hospital, it really stopped. If the wife wasn’t there, he would he would get upset and go to holler and the nurses would try to just holding them rocking as best they could you know when they could. But the nurses put him in a mamaRoo. And it kept him pretty chilled. So when we got home, we got one. And it turns out we we did need two. Some things you can get by with one of them let them alternate use. We did end up with two mamaRoos. And they’re worth it.
Yeah, once you find something that works helps those babies relax. It’s like gold.
Those owlets for preemie babies that have spent a lot of time in the NICU making sure that their oxygen saturation, pulse and all is always in the range where it needs to be. The owlets provided a lot of peace of mind.
Do they have it where you can just have the one app tracking both babies?
Yes, she had one app. And there there’s a baby a and baby b. We did have to make sure to label which sock went with which monitor cause if they ever get mixed up you never know who’s beeping at you.
So both of your sets of twins had to spend some time in the NICU. Was there any doubt that they’re going to be making at home or what are they growers and feeders?
with, with the first set, it was 30 weeks, they were a little over three pounds each baby b at a very rough start. We didn’t know you know, anything was going on at week 30 they gave my wife a steroid shot to try to you know, get their lungs better developed before they had to induce you know, the next morning that I think they gave him about 24 hours after that steroid shot. And then and then they took ’em. Baby b on that first set had a very rough start. They were pretty much just eating and growing at that point. And then one day, we went to the NICU to check on him. And he was not on the oxygen, the nurses thought the respiratory therapist took it out, the respiratory therapist or a doctor had ordered him off his oxygen. As it turns out, he simply pulled the oxygen out of his nose. He was doing fine. So the doctors and nurses and respiratory therapist all agreed that as long as his oxygen numbers stayed where they needed to be, they could leave him off the oxygen. For that day forward. He was breathing on his own. They waited a few days he was eating his entire bottle every time without passing out, you know, stayed breathing the whole time. So after a week of that, they sent him home too. Second go around. They went ahead and gave my wife a steroid shot and we 29 just in case, they had to take it week 30 again, and she was doing really good. We honestly figured we’d get 34 weeks out of her. That week 30 came. Preeclampsia or high pregnancy induced hypertension, it all started showing up our regular doctor was out of the country. So his partner came in and wasted no time. There was actually less than a minute between the two babies when he called the time for baby a he went right back in and before he called again, the nurse told he said Hang on, and she pointed out the clock and as soon as the minute flipped, he snatched the other one so that they would be born in separate minutes.
pretty fast. That’s like a NASCAR pit crew.
It’s about 45 seconds between baby a and baby B. They had to wait on the clock to flip to the next minute to keep them from being born at the same time.
You go through the whole pregnancy seeing one doctor and expecting that doctor on game night and then you show up and you get somebody else but it sounds like things still went pretty smoothly for the delivery.
You going in and out of the doctor’s office every two weeks, you bump into the other doctors in the practice. My wife also worked at that hospital where they routinely deliver babies. She’s known him and seen him for the last nine years. So um, he wasn’t an entirely new face.
So let’s talk about some of the other milestones that your kids have hit that have made life a little bit easier now that you’ve gone through a singleton and a nine year old and now your 18 month olds are coming up on those. What are some things that some milestones they hit that made life a lot easier for you as a dad
Has I started with 18 month olds yet?
Oh, no, no. I could just remember back my oldest one was potty training. And of course I’ve got all boys which I get all the trips to the bathrooms in public because they don’t want to go to a girl’s bathroom. We went to Jacksonville, Florida. We live just outside Jackson, Mississippi. We traveled at night down there while he was sleeping. But when we got ready to come home, he figured out real quick like what the rest areas were. And I think I sanitized every rest area toilet from Jacksonville, Florida back to Jackson, Mississippi, it’s nice when they can just stand up and pee all by themselves.
That’s so true. We took a road trip when our girls or twin girls were potty training age. And it was it was brutal.
That here’s the little things. It’s nice not to have to sanitize a toilet every time you walk in some where.
Are your boys sharing bedrooms?
They do they share we have three bedroom house in a subdivision when it was just the three oldest boy had his own room. And then the the nine year olds, you know when they when they were born, they had their own room, you know, they shared room, they went to bunk beds, they liked it for the most part as they’ve gotten older and they are very different. One has long blonde hair and doesn’t care if the sun doesn’t come up so long as we have honey buns and peanut butter in the pantry. His brother keeps a military style cut. He’s very type A personality, he is going to be on time with all of his homework completed a day ahead. They don’t like being in the same room because most of the time.
but they’re roommates so they have to be in the room at some of the time
they at least sleep in the same room. But other than that, you know they they they play out in the yard whether it’s baseball, football, Nerf guns, they’re always playing course we eat dinner together but they just really don’t like having this sleep near the other. And to an extent it’s been like that since they were born. My baby a was always very independent guy just learned by hands-on doing you know trial and error. Baby b, you tell him That’s the rule. You never have to worry about it again. It that’s the rule and he just does what he’s supposed to do. No problems. He always liked to be held at all times until he got ready to go to bed. At 8:30 he will just get up walk in his room, get in his bed. You will not hear from him again until six o’clock in the morning. The independent brother to never like anybody to stop him from doing whatever he felt like it around 8:30 would come walk into you with a blanket and want you to hold him for about 15 minutes so he can fall asleep and then you go drop him in his bed.
That’s interesting difference between daytime behavior and when it’s time for bed. That’s great.
But he always had to hold somebody’s baby b all day until he got ready to go to bed. Baby a, don’t touch him until he’s ready to go to bed.
How’s that played out with your other set of twins as well?
I see a lot of similarities. My baby a is very independent kind of likes to go and do likes his holding here and there. Baby B is wide open all day long till it’s bedtime and you have to hold him a lot longer. My baby a soon as you take him out of the tub, put his pajamas on. He starts yawning on the changing table. All you have to do is passing from the changing table to his bed he has done for the night. Baby b needs about 30 more minutes of holding and rocking before he’s ready to go down
Is younger set still in cribs?
They’re in baby beds. Yeah, getting close to time to move to a toddler bed. But right now they’re still in their baby beds.
Do they wake each other up or want to play with each other. Are they able to sleep through each other’s shenanigans?
Oh no, they’re hard sleep when they go down for the night. You don’t hear from them again till the next morning when it’s time to get up for breakfast. What we learned with the first one you moved into my house, so you kind of have to play by my rules. And we treated it like that. So we’re you know, we had a schedule to keep in places to go. He came with us. You know, if you had to vacuum the floors, you vacuum the floors because if you’re quiet and you tiptoe around the baby’s schedule, you’ll have to be quiet but the baby’s whole life. So we just get we will watch TV we vacuum floors. We come and go they just have to get on our schedule. so far. It’s worked. Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, washing machines, barking dog, nothing really bothers them.
You make an excellent point there if you can’t be quiet forever so you might as well move on with your life and let them adjust to the regular ambient noise.
Now the oldest one, I asked him one time I was getting ready to vacuum I said Do I need to wait to vacuum the floor? Is it going to bother you with your nap? He laughed and he said you know I’m not going to hear it. He laid on his bed and never heard it.
That’s great. How have you been able to involve the children with chores around the house.
The oldest boy is 14, he just knows when you come home from school go ahead and unload the dishwasher so that when we cook dinner, you know we can put dishes in as we go to try to have the kitchen as clean as possible. By the time We get done eating dinner, he is very helpful. He can do dishes, he does his own laundry. If you can work an iPad, you can work a washing machine. The nine year olds, one is actually very good at folding towels. We take advantage of the strengths where they have them, he handles, washing the towels that they have in their bathroom, to wash them, drown them, fold them, put them up, he actually likes to vacuum and mop the floors. So um, we take advantage of that. He’s not gonna complain about it, he likes it. So he can do it, baby b there for the oldest group, he’s pretty good at keeping things organized. So we let him organize the bedroom to keep it nice and clean, make the bed, whatever they’re good at, we let them go with that.
Yeah, build on their strengths and what they enjoy doing and then can expand the responsibilities along the way. That’s fantastic. So Darrell as we wrap up today, if if imagine your best friend comes to you, and it says that he’s going to be having twins, what would be one piece of advice that you would give to him?
keep them on a schedule, because I’m telling you, if one is 30 minutes to an hour off of the other one, then keep it in mind you only have that three hour window between feedings. So between the start of feedings. So they’re going to eat, you’re going to change the diaper, then they’re going to sleep for roughly two hours. If they get off that schedule, then where you have a two hour window to either sleep or do laundry or cook dinner or take care of the other kids. You’re going to reduce the size of that window. Every time you let them get off schedule. And for your own sanity, they have to stay on schedule.
Absolutely. We lived and died by the schedule too. That’s great advice.
Even today, with my older kids. We catch the bus at 6:30. We get home from school at 3:30. We eat dinner at six o’clock we start taking baths when we get done with dinner. Like you know how the day is going to go every day. It makes it a whole lot easier for everybody to know what’s going on when it’s going to happen. So that it’s not so much chaos. When you’re trying to keep five kids going to baseball or football or schoolwork. You got to have the schedule.
Well Darrell, thank you so much for sharing your story with us tonight. We really appreciate it.
Glad to be here.
Hope you enjoy that conversation with Darrell about his journey as a dad through five boys and two sets of twins. If you would like to share your story like Darrell did today on the podcast I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me [email protected] or you can reach me on Instagram or Twitter @twindadjoe. Today’s show is brought to you by twintshirtcompany.com where you’ll find the perfect gift for your favorite father twins, mother of twins and the twins themselves. Check out all the shirts there at twintshirtcompany.com thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.
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