Episode 241 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Grant Holloway, father of boy/girl twins. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Raising one-year-old boy/girls twins
- Becoming a twin dad through adoption
- Preparing for twins last minute
- Determining who does what with infants
- Which parent wakes up to care for twins at night
- How to feed twins by yourself
- How to handle both twins at the same time
- When twins start walking
- Day in the life of one-year-old twins
- Introducing the dog to the babies
- and more…
Becoming a twin dad through adoption and surviving that first crazy year with twins today on the podcast.
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, and welcome to the 241st episode of Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can check out all previous podcast episodes and the show notes and transcript for this episode at twindadpodcast.com. Today we are continuing our father of twins interview series with fellow father of boy/girl twins. But before we jump into that episode, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dads of twins. It’s 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. Now let’s jump straight into that interview. today. I would like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins Grant Holloway. Welcome to the show, Grant.
Thanks for having me.
Grant. How old are your twins right now. And what’s something exciting about this age?
I saw they just turned one a couple days ago. And I probably the most exciting thing is really starting to see their personality come out. You know when they’re babies newborn, they’re very clingy, you know, you don’t really get to see their personalities a whole lot. But now they’re one they’re independent. They’re laughing they’re giggling they’re talking to each other. They’re playing with each other. You really get to see who their kind of are becoming. It’s quite fun.
That’s great. I would say if you can survive the first year with twins, you can do absolutely anything. So hats off to you for making it through that big milestone. Do you have boy/girl twins?
We have a boy girl twin.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Well, let’s rewind the clock back to when you found out twins would be joining your family. What was your situation like?
Yeah, so I became a twin bed through adoption. We found out on a Friday. And my wife and I we’re just we were at an aquarium just having a great day. We went out for lunch. And we got a call from our adoption agency that said that we had been matched with a birth mother who were interested who was interested in our profile, and wanted to meet us. And so we met our the birth mother on Sunday, two days later. And the next day, we went to an ultrasound and a doctor’s appointment. So we got to meet our twins for the very first time. Three days after we found out we’re going to be twin parents. And then a week went by and we went to another doctor’s appointment with our birth mother. And the doctors say well, not this week, well, we’re gonna probably wait a bit longer. The babies are healthy. birth mother was healthy. So there was no real concern about the baby, but babies being born. And so we went home. And we were a little disappointed because we thought that that was going to be the day we would become twin parents. But we went home and we got a call. It was a Wednesday. So about 10 days after we found out we were going to be parents. We got a call about five in the morning. And they said our birth mother was going to the hospital the babies were on the way. We are twin parents because of adoption. We had about ten days to prepare for this whirlwind tour of being a parent to two little ones. But it was a really fun week just preparing the house, get everything ready. And just getting ready to be a twin dad, it was an adventure.
That’s fantastic. How long were you waiting until you finally got word that there was an adoption possibility?
Yeah, we were on a list for about a year we were matched with a birth mother in November. And that adoption actually fell through. And so we put back on the list in December. And so a little over a year, we had waited to become parents.
And it sounds like the birth mother was pretty far along when you found out that that you’re going to be twin parents. Do you remember how many weeks along in the pregnancy she was?
Yes, she was 35 weeks pregnant when we found out that we were going to be birth parents. And it moved really fast as the doctors thought that she was going to be delivering very soon. And so this whole thing’s happened really quickly.
So you have about a week to get ready for twins. So you go from I suppose this you and your and your partner to all of a sudden you’re gonna have babies in the house. What do you scramble to get together in that timeframe?
We kind of stocked up that year with some diapers and wipes. But once we’ve had that we’re having twins we had a switch mindset of having double of essentials at least because we were adopting. There’s always the possibility that it might fall through the birth mother might have a change of heart so we didn’t want to get completely carried away with having twins. So once we found out we’re having a boy and a girl twin, we had friends that were our neighbors, and they had, at the time a 10 month old girl. And, and so we call them let them know. And we were able to kind of get some girl clothes, we had some boys clothes, we knew that the babies are probably would be premature, because one of them was measuring about four pounds, four and a half pounds. And so we bought some premmie clothes. I remember that day we found out we went shopping at a consignment store. We found a double stroller. So that was real. That was half off. So that was a great deal. We had a friend that had their child had just outgrown their car seat. So we already had one. So we were able to borrow another one. And we had a car seat, some clothes and diapers, just the bare minimum, just in case the birth mother had changed her mind. But then once we found once we had the children, you know, we obviously started looking at cribs and bassinet and things like that, that were going to be kind of more essential for us to have.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
I love your creativity in sourcing gear and supplies from all over the place. That’s fantastic. All crammed into such a short timeframe.
Right? It worked out really well.
Your twins were born and did they have any complications that required they stay longer in the hospital?
We were really fortunate and we arrived at the hospital bout an hour after the babies were born. The adoption agency had met us at the hospital and we were given a room. And they brought the twins right to us. And we were so there right from the beginning, which was a with us very, very early on where they’re concerned because one of our twins was four pounds ten ounces, that we may be doing some NICU time, which is very common with twins. But are the one that said Well, that was concerning. She had gained all her weight back her oxygen levels are great. She passed her test. So we were out of the hospital in two days.
I guess you just have to pick it up out of necessity, you know how to feed babies and change babies and such? What was kind of the most surprising thing about having twins?
You knew from the beginning that you’re going to have to tag team. I don’t think you can. It’s I mean, I I’ve seen some parents are single that have managed it. But right from the beginning, we were both on call changing feeding. But I think that immediately, we knew that this was going to be a team effort. There’s not going to be one parent and parent over the other We both are going to be have to be involved to raise the twins.
Yes, that is so true. It’s like all hands on deck, because there’s always something that has to be happening. And usually it’s twice as much stuff happening all the time, how were you able to navigate time off of work to take care of the babies, both you and your partner?
We were very fortunate that we have a fairly flexible job. So once we found out that we were matched again, we only had a little over a week to really prepare for this. So immediately, we obviously let our boss know that this was going on. They had known that we were adopting then. So they’re with us in this journey. But it was a very easy conversation to say, you know, we have been chosen, we are matched for this birth mother. And it was we were going to be parents. And so we immediately we kind of planned the next month, the essential things that were gonna be happening with our job. So we got that in place really quickly. And then I was able to take two weeks off of work. And so right from beginning I had some time with with them, my wife was able to take full maternity leave. So she actually had the full six weeks off of work. And then we were back at work for a week and then quarantine happened because of COVID. And so we after that we we tag teamed who was at home and who was at work because we work together. So each kind of took turns out who was who was home with the twins and who was working. And so really right from beginning we were able to just have a lot of intentional one on one time with our twins, which is really really really great. But so yeah, I have a two weeks my wife had about six and then for the first probably five six months of their life we were their primary caregiver.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
So when they would wake up in the middle of night, would both of you wake up or did you guys take turns taking care of them in the night time?
my wife really enjoys a lot of sleep. I function pretty well I’m little sleep I don’t need as much. It’s always kind of been our life before kids. And so we had one one twin seem to wake up more often than the other one did. And so a nighttime I just took the one that woke up woke up more often. Because I was able to function on little sleep. So our girls wake up once or twice a night, usually just once in the one night, really right from pretty early on. But our boy twins, he would wake up every three hours on a dot ready to eat ready to go. Like we call our hangry one because he was really every three hours needed to be fed. And he like he knew, you know, it was time to try to eat. So I was wanting to look up with him throughout the night.
Is that kind of personality difference been consistent, like your son versus your daughter?
Yeah. And there’s that even even now, you know, we’re off of really formula or really solid foods. Some might even still, my son will let you know it is time for food, he’s hungry. He gets very cranky. So good. We just we still are hangry one, our girl is still a really good eater, but she does not get as cranky as our son does was time for food.
I guess that’s a nice thing to kind of balance each other out in that regard.
Very seldom are they both cranky, which I really do appreciate that they have made that work out for us.
That’s one thing you never quite know what you’re gonna get with twins is … are they both gonna be mad all the time, or they just can’t take turns. What were some of the challenges that y’all had over this first year, maybe health wise, or other things getting used to having twins in house?
Yeah, I mean, it is definitely an adjustment having two in the house. I believe I talked to the other twin dads about this before. But there’s something about that six month mark that just kind of switches from there sleeping more throughout the night, you’re getting more sleep, so it gets easier. But that first six months is is really challenging. And because they’re both waking up a little naive, they’re both needing feeding, they both really need your constant attention. But that’s six months when they’re starting to crawl and walk and play. It’s that your attention is not as needed, you’re still present. But that six month mark is really, if you can make it six months, I think you’ll be you’ll be set. So does take a little bit of change, you know, your undivided attention is really given over to them. And compared to a singleton, you know, you’ve both had to be present. I remember the first six months I’m on my days that I’d be watching the twins by myself. It was always challenging. How do you figure out how do I feed both of the babies at same time? Or how do I get them both changed or out the door for a walk. It’s always it is challenging, just that shift that has to happen to make it work, because get two little ones. But as far as you know, as far as health challenges, the only health challenges we’ve had was my son, and just having just some kidney issues. Those were kind of discovered before he was even born, we knew that we were going to have just some work done. And so when he was born, you know, we had he had a surgery to just correct an issue that was going on. And so we have monthly visits with a doctor just to kind of make sure he’s doing well. And fortunately, I mean, he’s been progressing, which has been great. But you know, every but throughout every doctor’s appointment, they’re gaining the right weight. They are a developing well. So we haven’t had too many health concerns outside of the one thing for my son.
You mentioned discovering how to feed the twins by yourself, what are some of your tricks to make that successful?
My wife and I, we were walking in the park one day with our twins. And we ran into another couple that had twins and they had said hey, we have this twin chair for feedings our kids. Our kids have outgrown it and do you want it? And we said Sure why not. So they the next day we met up again, with this couple, they gave us this chair. So you know, it’s really easy for them to prop them in this in this twin chair and have the feedings. Sometimes we would have rolled burp cloths so that we could prop the bottle. So they could eat without having both hands at the same time. That was really big. And but yeah, being able to prop the bottles, because you’re already tired after a while. So having that was really great.
Whenever you can get some gear that helps, you know, support the babies or support your arms or whatever it may be. It’s such a huge win.
Right? Your arms just get tired after a while but you really do.
It’s true because you’re just kind of holding them out there indefinitely.
You never know how long they’re going to take it feeding if they’re gonna take it slow or fast you never know.
So tell us about when you’re taking care of the twins by yourself and they’re both kind of fussy and cranky. What do you do? Who do you take care of first?
You know, I mean, obviously check out the essentials. Are they dirty, the diaper change? Are they just hungry? I guess fortunately, they’re very seldom both cranky at the same time. So we kind of lucked out on that one. But you They’re both cranky, a lot of times, they just want to be held. I definitely noticed with my son, that he really likes that physical connection. So oftentimes he just wants to be on your lap. But my daughter likes to lean up against me too. So sometimes just having both them on my lap. We also found I, you know, on YouTube, there’s an, we found a an aquarium video. It’s nothing more than just fish with some calming music. I found out one day when they’re both really cranky, and I couldn’t figure out what to do. And so I found this calming video. And that has worked wonders. We’ve used this video for quite long car rides, or just when they’re just being really cranky, and they need something to call this, like the fish. The music’s really calming. And it has worked wonders for us,
Are they walking at this point or are they still crawling around?
My son is walking full time, my daughter, she has proven to be someone who likes to do things at our own pace, and you just can’t force it on her. And so she’ll she’ll do, you know, three or four steps. But after those couple steps, she’ll sit down, just crawl. She’s not completely convinced that walking is a great thing, but my son is full force walking, and he loves walking over to people or things and grabbing them. So kind of one of each.
Was that pattern the same? Maybe it was when they started crawling, did your son start crawling first?
Hey, my son rolled over first my son crawled first. He’s always going to be the first one to do those things.
That was always fun for me to watch with my girls to see who would do what first? And then how long it would take for her sister to figure out how to do that same thing. What’s the most frequent question people ask you about your twins?
Since our twins adopted, our twins are black, and we’re white. So we do get the question of are they yours? quite often. And so we remind them yeah, they’re ours. So we get asked that a lot, we get to ask Are they? Are they both boys are both girls, we have one of each, we get asked that one quite a bit. And then we also get asked quite often how you do it. You know, people have this perception of twins. And there are some truths to it. But we do get asked quite a bit, you know, how do you do it? How do you manage having two of them? So those are quite often the frequent questions we get.
What’s your typical day in the life of right now as far as the schedule goes with them waking up and eating and things like that?
So right now, my wife and I, we take turns the morning who gets up with the twins now they’re now that they’re a year, it doesn’t necessarily take both of us in the morning. So we do take turns, who gets up first in the morning. And so usually, once they’re up in there, they’re usually about 10-15 minutes apart from each other as far as waking up goes. And so we just kind of wait till they’re both we can both can see them moving a little bit and calling us so go in, it will pick them up. And then we go downstairs to as we have a playroom basically. And will immediately will just change your diaper and get a bottle and we’re in that transition phase of moving away from a bottle of moving from formula to regular milk in so mixed to bottle first in the morning. And then we kind of let them just play for the next half hour 45 minutes. Just kind of get them woken up and happy. And then we’ll go sit down in a highchair or have breakfast together. Which is I always enjoy breakfast time. I think my my son seems to really enjoy the food so he he’s very loud and vocal when it’s when it’s a meal time. So it’s it’s very humorous to me, just watching them interact and eat. My daughter likes to steal my my son’s food even though they both have food on the same on a tray. Their other highchair shows reach over, he’s not paying attention and grab his food. But I think it’s hilarious as well. So we have breakfast, and then we just kind of play around until usually 8:30 when the other my wife or myself will come down and that person will come down with just a change of clothes. And so we try to change their clothes, we do their hair. And then we usually out the door by 845 or so. Our daycare is about seven minutes away from our house, so it’s fairly close to us. So we get the daycare and then we usually pick them up from daycare around four o’clock or so. And then once we’re at home, again, it’s usually it’s playing time till dinnertime, and then we eat together at dinner time and then usually about 530 or so. We try to FaceTime a relative, whether it’s a grandparent or an uncle, or friend, you know, COVID. So it’s been really hard and we haven’t been able to, for them to even meet their, their cousin, or some family members. And then once we do that, we usually about six 630. We’ll get into the bathtime getting pajamas, get a bottle, read a book, and then we put them down for bed. Usually by 6:30-7:00, they’re in their beds. And we’re thankful. Because right now they are going to bed very easily. I know that’s going to change in the next few months, as you know, the twos approach. So I know it’ll change but we’re enjoying the peace and quiet that we have right now. Once we put them to bed.
Yeah, sounds like a great daily routine. Are they talking to me saying anything right now?
Um, they will say mama dad, which is really great. It’s always it’s it is a joy hearing your name for the very first time. So that’s always really good. They, my daughter likes to babble a lot. I mean, she will look you dead, right dead within your face. And she’ll talk to you, you have no idea what she’s saying. But she loves talking. So you know, you listen and interact with her. And it’s great. And they are starting to make you know, some animal noises. They especially like making a you know, the dog bark, which is hilarious. And they’re starting to get “bye”, and yes and no. Which is great. And my daughter likes to just say, oh, a lot, which is great. When when our son gets in a little bit of trouble. She usually will say, oh, like she, like she knows that he got in trouble. That’s great.
So do you have a dog in the house?
Yeah, we do have a dog. Yep.
How? How did your dog receive two babies coming to the family?
Oh, and that was, I was I will admit, I was really worried about that. And, again, I read a lot about how to introduce a dog to a baby. It’s just a concern of mine. Our dog has always been really gentle and kind to our friends’ kids. But you know, you never never know. So I had done a lot of research, how to make that interaction happen. And so the first few days, our dog was not in the house. He was at a friend’s house. But we had, you know, started wearing some lotion, some things that the people dog experts tell you to do. So the dog gets used to the center of the baby. And our dog has just really handled the twins really well. when they were first born, when we would do tummy time with the twins, he would go right there on the mat with them and just lay next to them, which was really cute. Watching that interaction. And now our dog will bring a rope over to them for them to grab. And so he likes to try to get used to playing with them, which has been really great. Our dog has been really, really helpful. It’s been a really good interaction. I will say our dog has chosen one twin over the other. So when our daughter would cry in a crib, and he would constantly would come into a room let us know, and walk to the daughter’s room or crib to make sure that she was okay. So those definitely that was his person that he watched over it was really great.
Are you twins in the same room together?
At nap time they’re in separate rooms, we have a pack-n-play set up in the guest room. Because you never sometimes one will sleep for an hour and a half and one will see for 45 minutes, sometimes asleep for two hours, you never really know. So we do nap time separate. But then at night time they’re together in the same room.
We had to do that same trick for a while because they would just they would want to keep playing or interrupt each other. So separating them for naptime was a huge discovery for us as well.
You know, and it goes day by day, you never really know how they’re going to nap if they’re tired. And so just having them in separate room, their own space, and that time it really helps them get the sleep that they need.
So as you look back over this first year with twins, how have you been able to keep your marriage strong with your wife through the ups and downs of parenting?
I think we both at times have needed just encouragement. Yeah, recognizing that we are both pulling our weight, there are some things that I will do just make sure they get done. I like the dishes. We’ve gotten into the routine of there’s like a what we’re going to what each each one of us will do. But also even sometimes when we don’t see it making sure that we have thank each other or recognize that we are we’re the other partner persons doing tasks. I think has been a really great to see this too. affirm, and to say like, I thank you for making dinner. Even though I wasn’t at the home, I didn’t see it and to say thank you, recognizing what the other partner is contributing and doing, I think makes each both of us feel valid validated in parenting, and being part of this family. So I think that’s been a really big thing. Also, recognizing, I think our own limits there, you know, there are some times when it’s been a hard night, and there’s, there’s teething, there’s growth spurts, there’s just times when just one of the twins is a will not sleep for whatever reason. And, and so just offering grace, you’ll say, even though it’s not my morning, get up, I’m gonna get up so you can sleep because I know that you’re up all night with one of the twins. So that’s been really helpful. I think just taking time for each other too. I think about two weeks ago. We know we had somebody, we had our babysitter, watch our twins for us overnight, we got a hotel room, and just had a great date, date day where we got dinner together, we had a hotel, it was nice to sleep in. We had breakfast together before we went back to our home, we didn’t really go anywhere, we were only probably five minutes away from our house. But just getting away for a night and just reconnecting that has been really great. The other thing is, I think just learning what how each other receives love and gives love. It’s also just really big. I know my wife really enjoys gifts. And so you know, periodically buying a gift on Amazon or flowers or something. Or her favorite she might my wife really loves stickers about the holiday things, you know, stickers, heart stickers, Christmas tree. So when that I’ve gone shopping and find a couple, bring them home, just to say that I love you. And I appreciate all that you’re doing. And I’m just to affirm that she’s so a great parent. So those are some of the things we’ve done just to keep connected and to make our marriage function for the first year of parenthood.
That’s great. I hope any dads listening will be like, Okay, I’m taking notes, because those are some good ideas of some practical things they can do. So thank you for sharing those. Grant. As we wrap up today, if listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?
And you know, Facebook is always a great way I am. I am a part of lots of different dads of multiple groups. And and also, you know, I am happy to receive messages or comments, I have found that having that connection via Facebook groups. So Dad’s of Multiples has been really helpful, great community. Lots of great advice, lots of great resources, and it helps remind you that you’re not alone. Other dads have done this. It’s been really great. So I think that’s the best way right now.
Fantastic. Well, Grant, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.
Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed that chat with Grant, about his journey as a twin dad and surviving that first crazy year. If you would like to share your story like Grant did today on the show, I would love to hear from you. You can email me [email protected], or you can reach out to me on social media. I am @twindadjoe on Instagram and Twitter. Or you can find me on facebook.com/dadsguidetotwins. Again, 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 is the perfect guidebook to help you through those first couple years of raising your twins. You can learn more about this book and get your own copy at raisingtwinsbook.com. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.
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