Solving Tough Twin Parenting Challenges with Eric Langenderfer – Podcast 247

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - August 24, 2021

Episode 247 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

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

  • Raising identical 9-month-old twin boys
  • Getting a DNA test to prove they were identical
  • Childproofing for crawling twins
  • Creating a child safe room
  • Finding the perfect stroller for side by side
  • Putting the twins into daycare at 6 weeks
  • 6 months of bed rest with restrictions and how they adapted
  • Why feedings were time-consuming
  • Keeping track of baby feedings and changes
  • Dealing with teething symptoms
  • When kids get sent home from daycare
  • and more…

Connect with Eric on Instagram

Transcript

This is auto-generated so please forgive any mistakes.

Joe 0:00
You may encounter some crazy problems during twin pregnancy and with very young active twins. But it doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. You can be very creative in how you solve these problems, to help your wife to help your kids to get the house ready, etc. We talk about a lot of creative solutions with a dad of twins today on the show.

Intro 0:20
Welcome to the dads 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 dads guide to twins Joe Rawlinson.

Joe 0:36
Hi there, and welcome to the 247th 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’ll find the complete transcript and Show Notes for this episode, and you can listen to all previous podcast episodes. Today we continue our father of twins interview series with a father of identical twin boys. But before we jump into that, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dads. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins”. You can pick up your book at raisingtwinsbook.com Now let’s jump straight into that twin dad chat. Today, I would like to welcome to the show, father of twins, Eric Langenderfer. Welcome to the show, Eric.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Eric 1:18
Thanks for having me.

Joe 1:20
Eric, how old are your twins right now? And what’s something exciting about this age?

Eric 1:25
They are nine months. And the exciting part is that they’re crawling around getting into everything. They’re really expressive and using their hands a lot. So I think that’s kind of the nicest part compared to say, right when they’re first born with it, they don’t really have many expressions, and they’re not obviously moving and crawling at that stage.

(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)

Joe 1:47
Do you have two boys? Two girls, one of each?

Eric 1:49
Oh, yeah, twin boys, identical. Zeke and jack, they thought that they were not identical because they each had their own yolk sac or whatever it is. And someone actually for the longest time they said they weren’t identical. And then we got and a DNA test and I came back like 2 million to one or some crazy amount that they’re identical.

Joe 2:12
How old were they when you got the DNA test?

Eric 2:15
Maybe like three months, four months, something like that. Because we I mean, I could just I just couldn’t tell them apart. And Rachel had trouble. The daycare couldn’t tell them apart. So we were just thinking we’d get it tested.

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Joe 2:26
How did the test worked? Is it with like a mouth swab or a blood draw? Or what?

Eric 2:30
Yeah, it was like a mouth like a beautiful sample, like a little swab on the epithelial cells of their, their mouth, you just do a little swab inside the inside of their mouth and send it off in the mail.

Joe 2:43
You mentioned that your boys are crawling now, how long ago did that start?

Eric 2:47
Probably Zeke started first. And he’s probably been calling for maybe a month, maybe six weeks or so? I don’t know. I don’t know for sure. And then jack was a little bit later.

(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)

Joe 2:59
So about the eight month marker so

Eric 3:02
yeah, yeah, I think they’re a little bit don’t like quote unquote, you know, behind the the milestones. But they’re, they’re doing fine.

Joe 3:10
So how have your childproofing efforts gone so far?

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Eric 3:15
Oh, well, we just turned kind of our whole house into child land. We have the plugs we’ve got they don’t get into too much really. But on some drawers and stuff. We like bungee cords just from like Harbor Freight. That’s pretty much it. But in terms of like, making the kit making it kid friendly, and like fun for them and everything we actually opted to go with, like we moved our kitchen, our dining room, kitchen table, whatever, just ended the foyer way. And then in that whole area, we have down like grappling mats from like jujitsu or wrestling. And they’re like two inch thick foam there from Amazon. And they’re awesome. Because I just you know, like, they’re pretty comfortable. You can like lay on them and been great because the boys are just constantly on them and crawling around and you know, learn how to get up and falling over and stuff. So highly recommend those. And they just get delivered right to your door on Amazon. And they’re also I mean, we thought about doing like the puzzle piece kind that you can get. But these are like so much easier to just pick up on kind of one foldable piece. So we have that all set up. And that’s the main thing. Just to have everything, you know, to do bouncers to little juvie spoon Walker’s to just to have everything just your whole house is full of twin stuff, basically.

Joe 4:37
Is there any other gear that you got that you’re really glad that you have on hand to help with the twins?

Eric 4:43
Oh, yeah, we’re we haven’t gone anywhere really. Like we haven’t really. It’s dependent, you know, with everything being locked down and like closed down quite a bit. We haven’t gone quite as many places but we still really like the backpacks and the stroller. We have the Osprey poco packs. And we have the what is it the donkey the Bugaboo donkey because we looked at twin milk, the double strollers and a lot of double strollers, it seems like I have a ton of research on stuff. A lot of them that I found got different weight limits. So you might have one seat that goes up to 50 pounds, the other one only goes up to like 30. And if we would have done that, we’d have been like, dang, we gotta change strollers with one of them gets 30 pounds. So this one was actually like they both had the same weight limit of like 50 pounds. And as a side by side.

Joe 5:32
That’s cool. Yeah, the bugaboos like a premium stroller. So how’s your experience been with that so far?

Eric 5:37
Oh, it’s been awesome. We, I spent a lot of time like looking at all this stuff and comparing and we were originally going to go with one of those like inline ones, but like the weight thing, and yeah, we got, you know, we had, we were very fortunate to get it as a gift. And so it’s in our garage, and we go for walks least a couple times a week, several times a week. Yeah, and it can like collapse into a single stroller. Also, something like yesterday or two days ago, I carried one of my back and we put in a push one in the stroller. So it’s pretty, it’s pretty cool. I think that we got a good deal. I got a good deal on it too. Because it was like the older the older model and the new model was coming out soon.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

Joe 6:19
Yeah, strollers are kind of like cars, you know, via last year’s model. It’s usually cheaper. Which is whenever whenever you’re trying to save a few dollars with twins always comes in handy.

Eric 6:29
The biggest thing for us is daycare. I mean, it’s this little all about the money of course, but the daycare. It’s really just one two punch you know very fast because you got you got to in daycare instantly.

Joe 6:40
How old were they when you put them into daycare?

Eric 6:44
Six weeks, maybeit was they were pretty young. My wife Rachel actually had to be out on bed rest for how many months, six months, something like that. So all of her PTO and everything like was used up so she didn’t have any time like didn’t like the bare bare bare very bare minimum of time before she had to go back to work. So that’s kind of why we had to put them in daycare so quickly.

Twin Gender Predictor Calculator

Joe 7:10
And how did you find a daycare that you felt would be a good fit for your family?

Eric 7:15
Um, well actually, we just kind of looked at what was nearby and what was close to our commutes, and whatnot with work. So that’s what we’ve gone with right now. We always cut it just around here. It’s like a really kind of dense population area. Like it’s everybody wants to move here and live here. And so you really have to kind of pick probably right when you get pregnant. So we did that really, really early on. And most of the wait lists are six months to a year. So that’s that’s kind of what we did.

Joe 7:45
Did you know you’re having twins when you got on the waitlist? Or was it just you were having a baby? We knew we were having twins.

Eric 7:52
I think it was like the smae first or second visit. And they did the ultrasound and then ultrasound tech was like Do you see what I see? And I didn’t see it. But Rachel saw it. And I just and they said oh twins and then we went out to get like a blood test or something and the phlebotomist was over there and she said, Oh, we just had someone who thought she was having twins. And then it was she was like, you know, seven months along. And actually it was triple it’s like Don’t tell me that like we just five seconds ago found out it was gonna be twins. So it was just it was just funny. But yeah, we knew pretty early on and that was why also like Rachel had to be on bedrest is because like so much going on in there you know? Yeah,

Joe 8:35
bed rest is common with twin pregnancy. The six months like you described is a long time. So what necessitated that and was she at home or in the hospital or combination of the two?

Eric 8:46
She went to the hospital a couple times throughout that there was a couple times we were just like concerned but she had symptoms and different things going on. Slowly over a couple of those like visits and we’ve been to the ER I think once or twice. We’re working with Maternal Fetal Medicine and so like, they kind of like ease this into the topic, but they took her on put her on bedrest permanently,

Joe 9:10
as we mentioned that through kind of a kink in the works as far as her paid time off and maternity leave, how did you juggle her needing to be on bed rest? and you still working you taking care of her all that?

Eric 9:22
Oh, yeah, the pregnancy was I mean in terms of sort of complexity and just general challenges I would say the pregnancy was harder than actually having twins in my in from my from my view, at least, I mean, the twins are awesome so it’s that so there’s always that’s like the nice part of it, but on bedrest like Rachel really she wasn’t allowed to walk very far. She was only supposed to go up and down the stairs with like stairs in our house. Go up to the bedroom was supposed to go to up and down. I’m like once a day, maybe twice a day at most. So yeah, she was just kind of homebound. We were like, you know, in like pandemic lockdown before there was a lockdown. You know, it was it was, you know, we’ve been in Rachel’s living in the house full time all the time since like november of 2019. And then yeah, it just was kind of tough. And then like later in the pregnancy to like she really had trouble getting getting out of the couch or like out of bed or standing up. So that was kind of when all the like crazy, home gym equipment stuff was going on. And I already had a home gym, I already had like home gym stuff happening. And so we actually had like a pull up bar kind of mobile pull up bar that I set up in our living room so that she could pull herself up its height adjustable pull herself up. And then we attached like a rope to that so she could like pull herself up and we got went to Tractor Supply and got others grabber, one of those grabber things you see like for picking up trash or whatnot. So she could pick stuff up off the floor, because she couldn’t bend down on get stuff off the floor. But I made what I called the Rachel mobiel 1200. It was a pallet with a lazy boy, and four, pneumatic wheels, casters. And so I screw the Lazy Boy onto this pallet, and then I’m attached the wheels onto it that way I could roller, you know, roll Rachel out onto the driveway on sunny days, and she could get outside, I tried to walk with her with it like with, you know, push it in stuff. And it was just a little too hilly in our neighborhood. But that was really nice, because you could actually get outside them and like, you know, get some sunshine stuff because I go, you know, Parker on the driveway, and she just sit out there for a while and then roll her back inside. So that was probably the funniest thing that we did.

Joe 11:49
Well, kudos to you. That’s very creative problem solving. To help take care of of your wife. Because six months is a long time to be holed up in the house. So

Eric 11:59
yeah, yeah, it really it was a while and then it was also drying, like me, probably a lot of people recently who, recently who had pregnancies during, like, March of last year and everything unknown and everybody, seeing if we can even be with your kids in the hospital and stuff. We were really lucky. We didn’t have to deal with anything like with people having COVID or anything, but we just Rachel was at home already. Like she was pretty much at home, which was kind of a blessing. Because it really decreased like her risk of getting it at that time. It wasn’t so there wasn’t much known about what you know, what would happen with the babies and all that. So it was kind of a blessing. But like you said it was it was tough with employment, because like I said, we both were originally both working full time, and then Rachel had to be out. And so it used up all of Rachel’s PTO and stuff. So ended up just having to go back to work pretty quickly and then had no PTO until just now. So for the entire year of 2020. She had no days off, essentially,

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Joe 13:04
tell us about the birth experience. Did that go as planned? Or was it a surprise? timing?

Eric 13:10
It went as planned because of everything going on. It was a C section. So we just kind of knew the day and time we showed up and brought you know, all of our supplies and everything. And yeah, we went I brought a coke, but they didn’t let her have it. Oh, she had the gestational diabetes too. So she she really didn’t wasn’t able to have cokes which she loves Coca Cola for much the pregnancy. But uh, yeah, it was pretty great. I mean, just went to the hospital and you don’t sleep much at all, at least we didn’t. Because boys are up all the time. And we were feeding them like through it a little eyedropper. You know, it’s like it was just the feedings in the beginning were very time consuming especially in the hospital, but then when we came home Rachel’s mom versus mom’s flew in from out of out of state and stayed at our house for a couple of weeks before without overlap. So we because it was concerned about like, air travel and you know, the virus and everything. So she did quarantine before and then and we were not to bring anyone else to the hospital just me. And so then we came back and then Rachel’s mom and I and Rachel kind of took shifts while I was off work for a couple weeks. And so we did like the night shifts and we had a whole calendar and schedule and everything. So at least some of us could get sleep like for like a little block of time, like six hours or something. But it worked out pretty well.

Joe 14:47
And we did something similar with we had like my mother in law came down or my sister in law and we took we would take turns so at least some adult could get some sleep every night which was really helpful. You mentioned the feedings were a little complicated in the hospital. How did that go? When you got the babies home?

Eric 15:06
They say that the feedings are every What was it like every hour and a half or two hours, something like that. It’s pretty frequent. And you think, Oh, you know, I’ll just do it. But like, they take a significant amount of time each time, 20 minutes or 30 minutes, plus, you know, worrying warming stuff up and cleaning stuff and putting them down for nap and diaper changes. So like, you’re pretty much going full time the entire time, at least with twins, maybe it’s the same way with with one but like, it’s pretty much nonstop. So it’s not like you really have like, Oh, it’s two hours, like all you know, every two hours for 24 hours, I’ll just sleep during like, the one hour between every two hours is like no, like pretty much there’s stuff going on that entire time, which was kind of an eye opening thing for me. And then also at the hospital. They want you to chart everything. And I’m just me personally, I’m not the biggest like, I’m going to write everything down on paper. I’ve done a lot of my work history has been sort of in like healthcare IT and so I’m like, man, I’d love to do this digitally. So when we got home, I just put together like a little online sort of quick little database thing. And we would just each log it in from our phones that we didn’t have to be like keeping a log and you know, like timestamps that and everything. So we did that for a while when we were really like into how much we were feeding them and how often and all that

Joe 16:29
sounds pretty handy too. So you’re making you’re making cool chairs for your wife and websites and apps. You can track everything. That’s pretty slick. Did your boys are they in the same room? Have they been that way? The whole time?

Eric 16:40
Yep, they’ve been in the same room. We’ve got two separate cribs in there right by each other. So it really kind of turned out that we did so we could fit them in the field of view of the baby monitor like the video monitor. We just put them kind of close.

Joe 16:57
and your boys How do they interact when they’re in their in their cribs, when is supposed to be sleepy time is one like more active disturbing. The other are they totally cool with each other’s noises?

Eric 17:07
for the past like a week, they haven’t been sleeping that well. And they cry for a while, like maybe like 5-10 minutes before they go to bed. And then jack has been waking up at night. Probably we get up. It’s like what, eight o’clock now he’ll probably up again in like another hour and a half, two hours and just start screaming and then that’ll wake Zeke up potentially. that’s been happening several times at night. And I think it’s the nine month sleep regression. Because what Rachel tells me is like, they’re learning new skills, and they’re learning like new motor patterns and things and that makes it so like, when they’re sleeping. They’re like kind of practicing those things. And so it makes it tougher for them to like keep a full night’s sleep.

Joe 17:46
Oh, yeah, sleep progression or regression in generals is is the thing. And so that could catch you off guard as a parent because you feel like you’re making progress. And then all of a sudden, they like take a step back and you’re like, what, what is going on? You know, like you mentioned they’re waking up at all times are things go a little crazy. And, but eventually they’ll just you know, revert back to what they were doing before. It’s just like a step back for a while then they’ll take their two steps forward again, and away you go. So they had some teeth poppin already have you dealt with teething?

Eric 18:15
Yeah, they’ve got like two or three teeth on the bottom. We didn’t even really realize that they were teething. But there they are like one day we just looked in their mouth and they were so there must have been teething. And yeah, they’re probably still eating. Now sometimes they chew on their pacifier is like in the back of their mouth a little bit. We haven’t noticed too much. When they’re really fussy. We’ll give them a little Tylenol. But other than that, that’s that’s about it.

Joe 18:40
That’s great because do you think can be kind of a bear. So if it’s a if it’s pretty subtle, then that’s that’s awesome. What is the typical schedule like for a day in the life of of your nine month olds, swords wakeups and feedings and things like that.

Eric 18:55
Wake up like quarter to six, put the bottles in the warmer, get ready for work and everything and then the boys will get up a little bit later like 615 or so. Downstairs on the mats in the bobby bottles. Rachel will make eggs using like eggs every day for breakfast eggs and sometimes waffles to for Rachel to eat before she heads out the door. I’ll put the rest of the bottles that they need for daycare, I’ll make it if they need to mix any more up with we Similac if we don’t have enough breast milk, and then put those in the cooler, put the boys you know get them ready to go for daycare, put their little shoes on and everything. Put them in the car seat. And then we have a dog who kind of likes to try to escape. So I usually take the boys in their car seats close to the front door. Then I put them outside on the front porch and lock the door and then I get them in the car and then we drive to daycare. I’m dropping off at daycare. And, and I’ve been working from home for pretty much since like all this started since like March. So I just had to come back home, I run a couple errands or something on the phone, if it’s on the way back and then can come back home. And then Rachel pick them up from daycare, well, then our daycare and so they have their bottles, and they’ve all that stuff go on there. And then Rachel picks them up from daycare, and we feed them dinner at home, put them down around seven o’clock at night, usually. So let’s get him dinner and bottles. There’s all by timing and everything like that. But that’s pretty much the day.

Joe 20:35
So Eric, imagine your best friend finds out that he’s having twins. And instead of giving him the joke about triplets that you got earlier, what advice would you give to him to help him get ready?

Eric 20:48
just start thinking about like things in terms of processes. And this is something I kind of comes easy to me because I’ve been in like operations and like, kind of process improvement sort of stuff for a while. But if you’re not in that, especially just thinking about, like, everything has to scale, everything has to be able to be done, like twice. So you might as well make it work well, I think, you know, like, if, if you’re gonna do something, you might as well be able to be able to, like, learn from it, and repeat it, because you’re gonna get so much practice with it, like diapers, or just setting up like, where you’re doing things like in your house, it really pays to just take a second to think about some of those things or to think, Hey, I’m going to be bending over, you know, so many times to do this, just even to put them in the car seat or something like that. Is this something that I could build, like, I’d have a little table here. So I wouldn’t have to be, you know, bending over all the time for this or height, the changing table or just just things like that, because you’re going to be just doing it so much is my only my only like real thought and takeaway. And also don’t sleep on daycare, because daycare costs like, definitely add up pretty quickly.

Joe 22:06
So daycare, we’ve talked about daycare a couple times and expensive daycare. So how do you go about the decision of, of paying for daycare versus, you know, both parents working, or maybe you want parents to stay home was some of the discussion you had around that?

Eric 22:20
that’s probably the us trying to be optimizing everything and getting everything working? Well, that’s probably still our one kind of, like Achilles heel is daycare because it is just in the current environment, it’s very tough to drop your kids off and like not know what’s gonna happen, and there’s all these temperature checks, and it’s just, there’s just a ton of extra hoops right now. So we’ve debated, you know, having someone, like come home and do it, do you know, like, sort of, like, in home care, or, then you got to kind of have to, like, have a space for that. And there’s just a lot of kind of ups upfront work that goes into figuring that out and finding someone who fits well with your family. So we haven’t gone down that path, but we thought about it. But we go to just like a commercial daycare now. And I mean, it’s been good, but it’s it’s probably one of our biggest stressors, I would say not just from like a financial sense, but more that we never know, if the kids are gonna be sent home. And, and they’re just like, for a while they’re just constantly sent home, I think that they were in daycare, like, a couple days, one month, because no one will have a rash. And that’s a symptom of COVID. Like, it’s like a potential symptom of COVID. So you got to be at home. And then one will have, you know, like a something else some some little symptom of something, and like they’re gonna get sick, because our daycare, like they’re just gonna get normal, not COVID, but just other random things, because they’re, they’re young kids. And so it’s just like, you’re constantly getting these messages from daycare, where it’s like, you gotta be here in an hour. And I’m like, I always wonder, like, what are they going to do in an hour, like, you know, I mean, we live like, about 40 minutes, almost away, 30 minutes plus, with traffic, sometimes 40, away from daycare. And it’s like, DEF CON one, like when the message comes in, because it’s just barely gonna make it in an hour. And then you might as well just get them both out, because you’re not gonna run back to daycare, to go pick up the other one in two hours or whatnot. And then you got to go to the doctor to get a doctor’s note. So they can return to daycare after the symptoms have resolved. So it’s just the whole mess of things. And there’s been times also where we’ve had them out of daycare and had to have them out of daycare for, you know, a rash or something. And, like, Rachel didn’t have any PTO. So it’s like, if Rachel if I can’t stay home with them. Rachel just has to take, you know, be like, I can’t I have to take care of the kids and then she doesn’t get paid. And so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do that sometimes. So for a while, for like a week or two that we had a family friend. Come over Very lucky. And we just paid her what we normally pay daycare in addition to what we’re paying daycare. So yeah, I mean those days like, one of us probably doesn’t even make any money but at least you know we still in good graces with your job and whatnot and so

Joe 25:15
so since you’re you’re the one working from home are you the one that gets those calls and has to go pick them up?

Eric 25:21
Well yeah, but there’s also, you know, some need to be on some of these calls and stuff. It’s not like I can always just because just 100% drop things. So there’s been times where it’s like, I just like I have some important meetings and I’m running, running different things from home. So every time I’ll talk about it, and she has to go she had to go get them a couple times are gonna take off work. And so it’s, it’s really kind of a shared thing. But there’s been times where I’ve been able to, like watch them for, you know, around meetings and stuff for like a week or two straight and so that’s been definitely nice.

Joe 25:56
Eric as we wrap up today, if listeners would like to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?

Eric 26:02
[email protected]

Joe 26:11
Eric, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.

Eric 26:15
Thanks for having me on Joe.

Joe 26:16
I hope you enjoy the conversation with Eric about his adventures as a twin father, some of the creative problem solving and creations that he made to make his wife’s life easier during pregnancy to help make the kids happy and safe at home. A lot of good ideas in this podcast. Hope you enjoyed those. If you would like to share your twin story like Eric dick today, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me via email [email protected] or reach out on Instagram or Twitter @twindadjoe or 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”. You can pick up your book at raisingtwinsbook.com it’s the perfect book to guide you through the first several years of your twin adventure.

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