Stay-at-home father of twins advantages and disadvantages with Rob Kaercher – Podcast 287

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - August 9, 2023

Episode 287 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

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

  • Raising 21-month old identical boys
  • Watching the twins improve their verbal communication
  • Staying on schedule with toddlers
  • Six months in parents room for breastfeeding
  • Transitioning from a DINK lifestyle to having twins
  • IVF journey to twins from one viable embryo
  • Moving while pregnant with twins
  • Twin A’s sac broke at 31 weeks
  • Didn’t know they had TTTS during pregnancy until delivery
  • Twins in the NICU for 3 weeks
  • One twin came home 24 hours before the other
  • Getting up together to feed twins during the night for months changed to taking turns
  • Dad off for two weeks and then worked from home for a month
  • After maternity leave, couldn’t find day care for both boys at same place
  • Dad decided to be a stay at home dad
  • Some challenges of being a stay at home dad
  • Keeping marriage strong while parenting twins
  • Finding a babysitter for twins
  • Making one on one time with twins

Connect with Rob via email [email protected] or on Instagram or Facebook.

Podcast Transcript

This is auto-generated so please forgive any mistakes.

[00:00:00] Should you be a stay-at-home dad of your twins? How do you even decide if it’s you or your partner that stays home? Plus what happens when your twins are born early? We discuss all this and more as we continue our Father of Twins interview series today.

[00:00:12] Welcome to the Dads Guide to Twins podcast, the podcast that’ll help you survive and thrive as a father of twins.

[00:00:19] Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, the Dad’s Guide to Twins, Joe Rawlinson.

[00:00:27] Hey everybody. My name is Joe Rawlinson. I’m the founder of dadsguidetotwins.com where I help you survive and thrive as a father of twins. Welcome to the podcast. As always. You can visit me online at dadsguidetotwins.com.

[00:00:37] Today we’re having another chat with a twin dad that share some of his insights that he’s gained along the way. His twin journey from pregnancy to now having toddler twins. But before we jump into that interview, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my second book for dad’s.

[00:00:52] It’s called Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins. You can get a copy of this book for yourself raisingtwinsbook.com. It will guide you through the first several years of your twins, from birth to crawlers, to toddlers and beyond. You can get your book at Raising Twins book dot. Today I would like to welcome to the show Father of Twins, Rob Kaercher.

[00:01:14] Welcome to the show, Rob.

[00:01:16] Thank you, Joe. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:01:19] My pleasure. Rob, how old are your twins right now and what’s something really exciting about this age?

[00:01:25] So my twins are just days away from being 21 months, and I think the most exciting part of this stage is the very recent development of.

[00:01:39] Just better verbal communication. It’s constantly changing it and increasing week by week, and it has certainly made our lives a little easier while trying to just facilitate what the boys are, you know, trying to ask us what have

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[00:01:52] they been saying or how’s that communication been improving.

[00:01:54] So they’ve slowly been stringing words together.

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[00:01:57] If they see something and we walk by it, they may say, bye. Chuchu, we have a train that runs close to our town, which they love to go and watch when we play at the playground. And as it’s leaving, they’ll say, bye, choo. Or, you know, Dad. Dad, bye mama. It’s been a lot of fun telling us when they won something such as milk or blueberries.

[00:02:19] So it’s, that’s been a lot of fun and it’s just been in the last handful of weeks.

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[00:02:24] Are your boys identical or are they fraternal? They are identical. So have they kind of reached the same milestones at the same.

[00:02:32] It has been staggered for us, and it’s been fun talking to folks about you know, their twins and, and how they meet milestones.

[00:02:39] But for our boys, we have one who twin a and true to twin a form, he is the go-getter. He is the hammer in every problem as a nail, and he will attempt something countless times until he perfects it, whereas his brother twin b is. Analytical and we’ll watch and wait to attempt something we think until he’s been able to study it.

[00:03:01] So he’s normally always been about a week or two weeks behind his brother.

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[00:03:07] So Twin, I figured something out. Twin B observes and then mimics that behavior.

[00:03:12] Correct. And that’s a whole lot of fun to watch. We had a lot of

[00:03:16] that too with our girls. As soon as one would figure it out, the other would kind of study that, and then they were never too far.

[00:03:22] For speaking, crawling, walking,

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[00:03:24] whatever it was. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I’d say it’s almost the, the work smarter not harder philosophy from twin

[00:03:31] B. So what is the typical day in the life of for your 21 month olds? Like as far as daily schedule times of, of feeding naps and sleeping, stuff like that.

[00:03:40] Certainly so that the schedule has become more dynamic in the last probably six months. You know, at the beginning, like everyone with a newborn. Same for twins, very regimented. And now as we approach two years, you know, we really I have found success with ensuring that there is a, a wake up a snack time, lunchtime, nap time.

[00:04:04] Snack time and dinner. So it’s really the meals and the nap that really try to stay regimented with. And then everything else throughout the day can be more dynamic. We may stay inside one morning. We may go on a trip somewhere go to the zoo, go to the local aquarium. But always try to ensure that we’re eating at the same time and that we’re back home.

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[00:04:25] So naps are available at the same time

[00:04:27] each day. Now, do they share

[00:04:29] a, a bedroom? They do share a bedroom and they’ve, they’ve shared one well really since birth. But after we moved them out of our room, we moved ’em into the nursery and they’ve we’ve had a lot of success with that. Since getting home, how long were they in your room with you?

[00:04:45] We had them in our room in a double bassinet for about six months. I would say five to six. My wife was breastfeeding and it just made it that much easier. So

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[00:04:58] let’s let’s rewind back to when you found out that you were gonna be having twins. What was your family situation like at that time and what was your reaction?

[00:05:06] So as my wife and I like to say, we were living the DINK life dream, the dual income, no kids. We lived in the downtown area in a small, renovated craftsman and had freedom of movement every day. You know, we could go out to eat when we wanted. We could walk our dogs, we could go see friends around town.

[00:05:27] And then we started on the journey to you know, start a family and we ended up choosing to go f the fertility treatment route and utilized I V F. And as we were going through that journey we eventually got down to. A portion where we found out how many embryos we had, how many viable embryos, and we had one.

[00:05:53] And so we said, all right, if this is how it’s gonna work, we’re going to, you know, be very happy with one successful transfer and, and one child, it’ll, that’ll be great. We can live downtown still. . And then, you know, we had the implant and they said, Hey, in six weeks, come on back, we’ll do an ultrasound.

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[00:06:11] And so we go in there and with the, this expectation of we’re gonna have one, you know, healthy hopefully six week embryo. And immediately on the screen it looked like two little jelly beans looking right at each other. And the room went silent. It was great. My wife, myself, the nurse and the tech, everyone was just quiet for a few.

[00:06:35] And then we looked at each other, my wife and I, and said, well, I guess we’re doing too. And so that just kind of got the ball rolling on a lot of different things such as, oh wow, I don’t think our house is large enough. I don’t think our car is large enough. We’re gonna need help. So we ended up moving a little outside the city, closer to family, into a larger house, and it just happened very.

[00:06:56] That’s

[00:06:57] right. The news of twins definitely shakes up everything for sure.

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[00:07:01] Oh yeah. . And you don’t, in our journey, I guess we never thought we would be the ones with twins. You always see other folks with twins or you meet twins, be it children or adults see ’em on tv and you think, wow, that’s That’s different, but you never think you are going to be the one taking that journey.

[00:07:18] But now 20 month, one months later, we’re so happy we, we

[00:07:21] are. So you had to, you had to move, get a new, getting a new place. Like where in the pregnancy did that happen? Was that kind of right away or did it stretch through the whole pregnancy? ,

[00:07:31] it was not as early as we would’ve liked. So this was this would’ve been late.

[00:07:38] Late summer, early fall, which isn’t the typical, you know time of the year to find a large inventory of homes. So we just kind of put our nose to the grindstone, started checking all the different outlets for you know, available homes in the area that we, we wanted, and we found something that was perfect.

[00:07:56] It was walkability to the downtown area of the suburb close to family. Close to friends. And so we were able to close and move in, and by that time we were, it was close to spring, the boys were born in June, so we knew we were cutting it close for all the, you know, pun intended, heavy lifting that had to occur as you move into a new home.

[00:08:20] Which really fell on myself and family and friends due to my, my wife. Just, just getting further and further along in the pregnancy. We got the nursery set up, all the renovation work done. I would say a month maybe before the boys decided to show up.

[00:08:39] Went down to the wire for sure.

[00:08:41] Truly, truly did.

[00:08:43] how was the pregnancy for your wife? Were there any complications with that?

[00:08:47] Yes. But I would say early on these being our first children, my wife didn’t know any better. And although she was showing sooner than a singleton pregnancy I think she would tell you that it didn’t become difficult where she was truly uncomfortable until we were approaching the.

[00:09:07] 25th week or so, and then from 25 to 31 weeks things were, were fine. And then we noticed she was leaking fluid and we, we tried to tell the doctors, Hey, you know, something is going on and, and they told us, well, it’s probably just, you know, the body going through the changes it does when you know someone’s pregnant and then thir at 32 weeks, you know, water broke.

[00:09:38] Twin a’s Amniotic sack broke and, you know, just like the movies, I mean, it was just nonstop and we knew we had to get to the hospital. So we drove to the hospital. Probably the fastest I’ve driven through this area since moving here. It was early in the morning. We get there and you know, they confirm, yeah, a twin eighth sac is broken.

[00:09:58] So, you know, they were 30, they were 31 weeks. They said, we really want to try to keep both boys in there for another week. You know, we’ll keep you here at the hospital just to ensure we can you know, observe what’s needed, mitigate infections and such. And then at 32 weeks they said, you know, these contractions started and that.

[00:10:21] You know, we might as well do this on our time as opposed to the boys’ time just so we can make sure this delivery goes well. So we had a scheduled C-section and luckily that procedure went very well. The boys were delivered safely and after that things were good. What we didn’t know though, Joe, was that between the boys, we did have twin to twin transfusion.

[00:10:44] Between, let’s see, B was taking nutrients from a, so when twin A was delivered first it was extremely pale. . And then when twin B was delivered about a minute later he was almost purple. And, and so after speaking with the, the doctors afterwards, we were, everyone was very happy that we, we had made the, the decision to deliver at 33 weeks.

[00:11:09] As opposed to, you know, trying to wait longer.

[00:11:12] So there was no sign of that before delivery at all.

[00:11:16] There was not. Yeah, surprisingly. Which it, it surprised everyone, the specialists the my wife’s doctor. It was, it came as quite a shock.

[00:11:25] So what were the implications of that after birth with your boys?

[00:11:30] Luckily, the, there were none. We simply had to monitor them to ensure that they were leveling out as necessary. And so that included a NICU stay. Luckily they immediately started to eat, they started to gain weight and the bilirubin levels in twin B slowly began to go down. So it was really the best case scenario given the circumstances that still we we’re very thankful, you know, went our way.

[00:11:59] How long were they in the nicu? So they were in the nicu. About three weeks. One of that being in the main portion of the ni. and then the last two weeks being in the feed and grow portion as they called it. Which luckily they were able to stay together the entire time and just had a, a w wonderful experience given the, the high risk pregnancy the hospital and their staff were amazing.

[00:12:26] And so at three weeks when we could confirm everyone was growing as they should, they were eating. Everyone was leveling out. We were twin A was discharged 24 hours before twin B. So bringing this tiny four pound. Seven ounce baby home was quite the experience. And man, my, my wife and I just thought it was so hard that first night and, and then the next day we got the call to come in and his brother at four pounds, three ounces was able to come home and then reality hit that evening when we had both boys home.

[00:13:01] and you know, the excitement of the delivery was kind of over the excitement of being in the hospital and around all these folks who knew what they’re doing. Now you’re kind of on your own and and certainly with two infants to care for, that was a shock to the system.

[00:13:17] Absolutely. Especially after having the hospital take such good care of your babies and then you, and then all of a sudden one day, okay, it’s your turn.

[00:13:24] Mom and dad, how was the adjustment to life at home? Your boys, what was working or what, what are some of the things that you struggled with?

[00:13:33] So something we determined very quickly for us was, you know, and, and I had heard on, on your show, and we had heard from luckily a couple friends who had experienced twins.

[00:13:44] It was an all hands on deck experience. It was not mom simply leaving in the middle of the night or getting up out of bed to feed one. and and put ’em back down. It, it took my wife and I as a team for months getting up together to, to feed them all the necessary changes and, and such. And, and that took a real toll on us as the parents, that the boys were fine, you know, doing what young infants do.

[00:14:13] But then we, we realized this was probably not a sustainable process for us personally. And. We began to go in shifts. We’d heard some parents switch nights out. We tried that. It, it wasn’t best for us, but we would start, say, Hey, first feeding mom’s gonna take it second feeding. I was gonna go just so we could get some semblance of rest every night because it was truly a go, go, go for 24 hours for weeks and weeks.

[00:14:46] And that’s how we. The, the best way to get some rest, which, you know, you kind of forget to do.

[00:14:52] Yeah. You don’t know. You don’t know how important sleep is until you’re not getting it on a regular basis. And newborn twins, infant twins, make sure that you don’t get enough sleep. So that was, that was really wise of you to start taking turns and working something out.

[00:15:05] This time, were you, were you off work or had you all, y’all gone back to work? What was that situation?

[00:15:10] So for my wife, she was still off work. She works for a, a great company. Their maternity leave policy is excellent, and she even had the ability to take some extra time off. So she was kind of right in the middle of it at that point, or honestly the beginning.

[00:15:25] So she did not have to worry too much about work given her profession. She was still somewhat involved, but at a very minimal level. Me. On the other hand, I worked in the sales, the construction industry in an outside sales capacity. And that industry is not known for its fraternity leave.

[00:15:45] However, I worked for a great company who pretty much told me, Rob, you know, take care of your family and do what you need to do and, you know, tend to work as you can. So I would say the first two weeks after the boys were born computer was shut, phone was off. And I had a lot of great support from the folks in my office to help me.

[00:16:06] And then after two weeks I began to go back working from home for the most part. And I’d say I, I probably did that for the next month or so. And then for me it was returning back. So how long was your wife? My wife was off for a total of eight months. So six was the, the primary maternity leave and then the additional two she took on her own.

[00:16:33] So when the eight months was up was it, it was time to put the kids in daycare or, or what, what did you decide to do with the boys at that point?

[00:16:39] So this is an interesting story. While my wife was on leave, she was elevated at her job and it was kind of a, a change of roles and responsibilities, far more demanding.

[00:16:51] And we knew that ti that clock was ticking and

[00:16:55] we

[00:16:55] could not find childcare for two infants at the same daycare in the city. And we were on waiting. for three in the process of getting on a fourth. And at that time in 2001 they were still having issues with employees coming back after the pandemic.

[00:17:15] Some had left to go home and be with family. They didn’t have the same capacity as they once had, and they some said, yes, we can take one. We can’t ca take two. and her parents luckily stepped in and helped us for what was supposed to be three months which we thought was great. And ended up being a little longer.

[00:17:36] First it, it had been one, then it turned to two, and they said, okay, we can, we can do three. And I think they went almost four months before we had a serious conversation about what we were going to do. And ultimately that was. Me taking a step back from my job in sales where I could hit a pause button and be home with the boys to be the full-time caregiver.

[00:18:00] So even after your in-laws watching the boys for four months, there was still no daycare availability.

[00:18:07] There was not, not at the, the same daycare facility, which is wild. And, and since then we have. That we had found daycares where they could take both boys, but I had already been involved in this role for a number of months and it just seemed like it was best for our family.

[00:18:25] The reduction in stress between two working parents trying to get multiple children to daycare from daycare. For two working professionals was something we, we didn’t want to test the waters on. Given how well me being at home with our boys and that freed my wife up to be more successful at her job.

[00:18:47] For us as a team, it, it worked well.

[00:18:50] That’s great that, that worked out. I know lots of twin parents like you, like in our situation too, it was, it was a great benefit to have one of the parents home with, with the kiddos when they were really young. Alpha comes down to the expensive daycare. People are like, I’m not gonna pay that much just to work full-time.

[00:19:04] So it’s a very interesting situation that you had where you’re like, well, we couldn’t put ’em in daycare if we wanted to. So, how did the, how did this discussion go between you and your wife? Like how do you decide which of, of the partners is going to stay home with the kids and which is going to work?

[00:19:16] There are a magnitude of different things we’re looking at to determine that, but it ultimately came down to. Even as an outside sales professional with a lot of freedom of movement working from home, being able to leave the office when needed, I could hit pause in that sort of profession. I spoke to my employer and said, you know, my intent is not to stay home forever.

[00:19:41] It’s the first few years just be. with the boys before they go to to school and, and then return. My wife as an attorney, didn’t have the option to hit Paul’s certainly after hitting a milestone where she really had to be present. And there’s still the ability to grow in a lot of companies.

[00:20:02] Unless you want to move into management. Outside sales is kind of, you can do that for 20 years. So it just made more sense at the time. Hey Rob, hit Paul’s, and it, it worked out well, but the conversation went a little something like we’ve never talked about this. How would you feel Rob, about staying home with the boys?

[00:20:23] And we had joked around about it, but we had never seriously entertained the idea. , but it was a very natural, absolutely. If this is what’s best for our family, yes. There’s no, no questions. So but I’ve loved every minute of it. I cannot imagine not having the boys around with me now. Every day they become my best friends.

[00:20:45] They, they come with me everywhere. Be a grocery shopping, running errand. However, we did move into a parent’s morning out at a local church, which gives me affords me the ability two mornings a week to have some time to myself. Because the stay-at-home dad job is a, a monster unto itself and with twins that I think that could be a podcast

[00:21:09] there’s always something happening. You know, even if one twin twin is, is calmly playing in the corner, the other twin is off freaking havoc somewhere. And you always have to be on your toes as a, as a parent. Well, that’s wonderful that you’re able to find a, an arrangement that worked for you and for your wife and for your kiddos.

[00:21:24] Being a stay at home parent is not easy. I mean, being a, a parent of twins is, is not easy. For sure. You, you described that you really enjoyed that role as a stay-at-home dad. What have been some of. Let’s say some of the, the challenges that you didn’t expect, like when you decided, Hey, I’m gonna be a stay at home dad, what were some of the things that were like, oh, I didn’t really think that was gonna be an issue.

[00:21:43] That is now a very easy question. I’ve been doing it I can’t believe for almost a year now. And you know, I, I found myself, I was in sales for a little over six and a half, almost seven years, and. In that profession, you have to be an extrovert. I thrived on the energy of others and when I became a stay-at-home dad, I never, I was only focused on the boys, but then I found out, oh wait, I’m spending the majority of my day with two small humans that can’t efficiently communicate verbally.

[00:22:19] And I have no one to talk to. And I found myself simply having conversations with them for my sanity. And but when I, we go on walks or I take ’em to a, the zoo or the aquarium or go to the playground You immediately can see the other stay-at-home parents who are also extroverted, and you’re immediately just excited to talk to an adult.

[00:22:42] Or in the evenings when my wife returns home from work and she is more of an introvert and kind of needs time to recharge. I mean, the moment she comes through the door, I’m not looking for help with the boys, I’m looking for a conversation. So that was probably the largest hurdle to overcome. Neither my wife or I thought of when I made the decision to to stay at home with the boys.

[00:23:07] Yeah, those, those are interactions that you don’t know that’s gonna be the situation until you’re in it. You, you can anticipate, okay, I’m gonna have to get ’em down for naps by myself. I’m gonna have to feed ’em by myself. You can kind of think through those scenarios, but these other ones, you’re like, oh yeah, I hadn’t considered that before.

[00:23:21] Yeah. And truly at least for me, the hardest part about this role. But the, the pros outweigh that what I think is the one con by so many. It’s, it was easy to find you know, a way to, to overcome that, adapt. And luckily, you know, I have a lot of friends and family in the area. And now as we walk through our town like I said, we’re, we’re lucky enough to have walkability to the downtown area.

[00:23:45] Everybody knows the twins now. And so we’re, I’m able to talk to quite a few people and now the boys at 21 months, you know, picking up words and and meanings slowly are beginning to talk to me and so that’s become a lot of fun.

[00:24:02] What’s, what’s something that you’ve been able to do to keep your relationship with your wife strong through this whole journey from pregnancy to adapting into life as with you at home and, and she working?

[00:24:12] That ties into probably what I think was the best piece of advice we, as a couple ever received. And it didn’t have anything to do with the, It had everything to do with us as the parents. And I think it works for parents of singletons and, you know, clearly parents of multiples and that is make sure you make time for each other.

[00:24:36] You know, you started this journey and you’re gonna finish this journey. You know, hopefully the boys are gonna grow up self-reliant. They’re gonna move. And you’re still going to have your partner. And so my wife and I clearly not in the first handful of months because that was a shock to the system, but once we stabilized, we really tried to make time for a date night.

[00:24:58] And just ensuring that we’re both also thinking about each other. And not just the twins, which is so easy to do. I think that has been the single best behavior that has helped us get through this together is we’ll, we’ll take a date night, even if it’s an hour, just go out and focus on us. We know the twins are fine.

[00:25:19] And the first handful of times we did it, it was really hard to move the conversation away from something that happened during the day or, oh geez, what’s the next milestone? and now we’re able to go out and we talk about hobbies or things we enjoy to do together as a couple. And that’s just been invaluable for, for both my wife and I.

[00:25:39] That’s great.

[00:25:40] How do you find a babysitter? For twins. So,

[00:25:42] The first babysitter we found actually worked at our church’s local nursery and, and came very highly recommended to us. And funny enough, she is also a twin and she’s a teacher there for their parents’ morning out. It was someone we, we were familiar with and, you know, the first time we utilized a babysitter outside of the family.

[00:26:06] because still you know, at 21 months the family is all too happy to come and hang out and spend time with the boys. But on short notice, it’s nice to have a, a small list of folks that we can call and actually hire as babysitters. And now we also in our, our neighborhood have a few teenagers that do babysitting for the local neighbors.

[00:26:26] And that’s been helpful too. So for us finding a a real babysitter was luckily not that difficult. And after doing it the first time and you, you kind of jump into that pond or pool and you realize, oh, it’s not scary to leave my. With someone else. Certainly someone that you’ve developed a relationship with.

[00:26:43] Now it’s one of our favorite ways to sneak away when we can.

[00:26:47] That’s right. The hardest time is the first time. Right. Like, are they gonna be okay without us? And the answer is yes. They’ll be, they’ll be fine. Like, why didn’t we do this earlier? We could have done this, you know, last month could have started day night, sooner.

[00:26:59] That would be a another piece of advice. I think any parent, not just parent of multiples, but, you know, go ahead and, and utilize that babysitter. They’re, they’re trained you know, find, find one that’s experienced and trained and you know, they’re gonna take care of those kids. You know, just as well as you can.

[00:27:15] certainly for an hour or two. Yeah.

[00:27:17] When we first started having babysitters, we were so kind of scared that we would put our kids down to sleep at night. Then have the babysitter come over, just be in the house in case something happens. And we’ll be back, you know, in a little bit. So, you know, whatever baby steps work to get outta the house is

[00:27:32] great.

[00:27:33] Exactly. We, we did the same, and now we’re at the point where, you know, the babysitter will come over and as she’s walking through the door, it’s almost like we’re walking out. I’m like . They’re the snacks. They’re the drinks. We fed ’em. Good luck, . So it’s funny how quickly that can change

[00:27:49] and once you find someone that’s good and the kids are comfortable with that individual it becomes really easy going forward cuz it’s not like baby sitter shuffle.

[00:27:57] It’s, you know, the same or similar people every time. And that makes it a lot easier once they get in the habit of that.

[00:28:03] Yeah, I think finding someone who, who worked at a nursery and school that they went to, we were just so lucky that they, the boys were familiar with that individual and that was a, you know, one step of the process that we, you know, luckily did not have to deal with.

[00:28:17] So that was very nice.

[00:28:19] Yeah, we’d have the same kind of resources we had. We had people we knew at church that would come to babysit. And we had some teenagers who lived on our street that we just used over and over again until they went off to college. And then we were like, oh, okay, who’s gonna babysit now for us?

[00:28:31] You said you’ve got twin, identical twin boys. So have there been any kind of challenges because you have got identical children?

[00:28:37] Yes. And it’s probably for all the same reasons that, that every other. Parent has with identical or even children, siblings that look alike. When we brought them home from the hospital, luckily as the Billy Ruben levels were leveling out, we could tell, you know, twin B, you know, he has a tan.

[00:28:57] Twin A is, is pale. It was easy then that began to change and we started painting their toenails to ensure that we could tell them apart, you know, wouldn’t try to feed the same child twice. And now as they continue to grow and develop, We’ve actually had a conversation about this very recently.

[00:29:16] We think they’re becoming more alike in looks you know, their, their eyes, their, their nose, their mouth. Luckily they continue to hold their faces differently, the way they express their emotions. But even some of that is beginning to blend, and that might be a product of just spending so much time with the same individual.

[00:29:39] much like many family members or even spouses begin to do. So, it’s, the difficulty has simply been ensuring you’re talking to the right child if they’re on separate sides of the room. Cuz they can’t tell me who they are just yet, they’ll, they’ll look if you call their name. So you know that, okay.

[00:29:57] Yeah, that’s the right, let me look. Yeah, that’s you. It just takes a moment, but. It, it can still be challenging. We still switch them all the time, and I feel like some folks think it, it’s a twin gimmick and maybe only other parents of twins, and certainly identical can understand. It’s not, we’re not trying to make anything more difficult than it already is.

[00:30:20] We’re looking for the most streamlined, efficient route possible. So mixing the kids up is not wonderful. . Yeah,

[00:30:26] our girls are identical too. I think like, like your boys when they were born, there was a physical differences in coloring and and size, but that kind of evened out. Eventually we would just dress ’em in different colors of clothing for a long time.

[00:30:42] But even now, my girls are teenagers and I’ll just glance across the room and see like a profile or something and I, I’ll sometimes I’ll still have to do a double take. I’ll be like, I know who you are. It’s like, cuz they’re, they’re still so, so similar. So they struggle with that at school and they have a, they have a part-time job.

[00:30:58] They do. And, and that people still can’t tell ’em apart. So, ,

[00:31:03] we a funny story about our journey at home, or I guess birth was You know, a lot of people look at their, their new infant as it’s born and they’re like, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Which is true, but I had mentioned that twins sack had burst.

[00:31:18] So he had been pushed up against the wall and when he was delivered, he had bruises on the side of his face. And I remember thinking, oh, wow. That poor baby looks like he’s gone a couple rounds with a, a boxer, and then twin B comes. and like, wait, we know these are identical. There’s no question about that, but that’s a far better looking baby than, than this one.

[00:31:44] And so besides the, the bilirubin levels evening out and their, their skin tone twin, a space slowly began to heal, you know, from the bruises. And that’s when it also became just that much more difficult. But then fast forward 18, 19, 20 months, they will still come home from school with a name tag on the back where they can’t get it, or someone has tied a piece of yarn to a belt loop.

[00:32:09] We try not to dress them the same. It is a lot of fun to do that from time to time. You know, I, I guess that’s a perk of having identical twins. But for everyone else’s sake and, and really our own, we try to make sure. You know, Robbie had that red painted toenail and his brother twin b Timmy had the blue.

[00:32:28] So maybe a red shirt on on one and a blue shirt on the other. Or if one has a, a yellow shirt on, then we’ll make sure, hey, you’re, you’re wearing red cuz that’s your color. Or vice versa with the blue. So it, it has been a lot of fun. It is a challenge, but it’s really.

[00:32:46] One, one pro of identicals is that, you know, they can eventually just share their clothes, right?

[00:32:49] They’ll decide, they’ll get to a point where they have a total preference on what they’re wearing, and they’ll just, they’ll just go with that. Regardless of our, our carefully esteemed colors as parents, they’ll be like, no, no, I’m not gonna wear that anymore. I wanna wear something else. Or I wanna wear my siblings clothes.

[00:33:04] And usually they could do that just fine, cuz they’re, you know, same size, same, same height, stuff like that.

[00:33:10] We, we cannot wait until the boys want to dress themselves if for nothing else, to just kind of remove one more task in the morning. So that, that’s gonna be great. But, you know, in the city we live in, there are honestly a lot of multiples.

[00:33:24] And so there are all these networks for, Hey, you know, my, my twins just grew out. These outfits in the last month and a half. I feel like I bought ’em a month ago, and they’ve, they’re already too small. So we’re able to utilize that because, you know, and certainly in the first two years they grow so quickly.

[00:33:42] We say, Hey, we’ll, we’ll take those off your hands. And you can see how some parents do buy multiple sets of the same clothing, some don’t. So it’s kind of just luck of the draw. And when you have two t-shirts or two pants that. I have found in the laundry process, naturally you just stack them together.

[00:34:00] So when you go into the drawer or closet to find something, you, if you have multiples, they’re right next to each other and it’s just too easy to pull both of them down and say okay, you’re wearing this. So try not to do that on school days. The, the teachers still don’t like that .

[00:34:17] Yeah, I am glad you mentioned that.

[00:34:18] The local resources that you don’t have to buy everything new from the store. There’s plenty of consignment situations or, or multiple scripts where you can get stuff for free or discounted, heavily discounted. That’s, that’s

[00:34:29] a great resource. Absolutely. And we found that that translated into, I mean, yeah, not just clothing, but toys and equipment and then you, you go through the journey of, well, what do I really need?

[00:34:40] Two of what can I survive with? Just one of and that’s probably family dependent, but certainly while listening to this show as my wife was pregnant and after the boys were born, that was such a huge help. because you begin to see the similarities between yours and someone else’s situation and you’re like, oh, wow.

[00:35:01] Almost all of that father’s advice was, I mean, that was perfect for us. So that, that has been where we are now with with toys and, and other, you know, pieces of equipment. One

[00:35:12] thing, one thing I love as your kids get older and they can actually speak, you know, full sentences and stuff, is, is the nuance of, of their speech, of how they describe themselves.

[00:35:20] We were just talking about clothing right here, and they don’t say, I grew out of it, or it doesn’t fit me anymore. They say, it doesn’t fit us anymore. They say, we, we grew out of it. It’s like plural describing their, their. I thought that was always, that was always fascinating to me. The, the nuance of, of us versus I or, or we versus me.

[00:35:40] Truly a, a twin thing, which is, is is fun to watch as a parent.

[00:35:44] Oh, yeah. You can already tell you know, I get to see these twins every day and, and they’re a team. They, they have been together since birth. Now at times, if I have the ability on a weekend, I might ask my wife, Hey, you want to try that singleton life out for, you know, a couple of hours.

[00:36:00] How about I take one of the boys and we go run some errands and you keep one of the boys. And they’re always fine. But they’re just as happy to see one another when, when we get back. But that has been a, I think a twin parent hack is when you get to the, the point where you can split up. , and I have to be careful who I mention this around because you know, for a parents of a singleton, that is your heart, right?

[00:36:27] That’s difficult. It is. That’s all you’ve ever known. For us two is very hard, but for someone else, three is hard. However, when we only have that one child It is, you know, arguably and objectively it’s easier. So it we think it’s good one for us, but two for the, the boy to, you know, they’re able to go out and be an individual, which as we’ve heard from some grown twins, is just as important.

[00:36:52] And, you know, make sure you, you treat them like the individual person that they are cuz it is so easy to get carried away with this little team that you. .

[00:37:01] Yeah, that’s solid advice. Foster their individuality. Foster that one-on-one time between, you know, each of the parents with each of the kids, whatever amount of kids you have.

[00:37:09] When you have one less than that, it’s easier. So yeah, if you’ve got the twins, you only have one. It’s like, why is, why is life so easy? Oh, I only have to take care of one. If you got, if you got like five kids and you, and you only a four round, it’s like, Hey, this is super easy. What’s the big deal? It’s all relative to,

[00:37:24] to your experience.

[00:37:26] It is it 100%. And now that the boys are older we’ve been able to watch other twins be born into our community, which has been so fun. Very recently there were there’s a couple that had twins a little over a month ago, and the first time we saw these parents walking two infants we got so excited and tried to, you know, start a conversation.

[00:37:52] And they just weren’t there. They were still going through that zombie phase. And then the next time we met them, they were like, oh, wait, you have twins? And we, we struck up a conversation and my wife and I told ’em, you know, this isn’t a joke. We honestly have a hard time remembering the nuances of the first six months.

[00:38:10] Some people say one month, you know, three. For us, it was six that was just the pedal to the metal time period. And then we have another set of friends who

[00:38:21] had, multiples already you know, four and two year old. And then just had twins a few months ago and hearing their journey and their experiences having had a singleton, then multiples, but then having twins.

[00:38:35] It’s, it’s always nice to learn, oh wait, this is a, a difficult task. You know, it’s not just you. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last to go through this, and you will get through it. So we, we always love running into other twin parents.

[00:38:48] It’s fun to, to compare notes with other twin parents cuz you’re right, you’re not alone.

[00:38:51] It is hard no matter who you are, where you are and it’s good to know that it does get better over time once you get through that first year. For sure. So Rob, as we wrap up today, if listeners wanna connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?

[00:39:05] Yeah, absolutely. I am on Facebook and it’s Rob Kaercher.

[00:39:12] K a e r c h e r. You know, easy, easy one. I’m the one with the twins in the, in the profile picture and also on Instagram. Same username. And really those are the two social media outlets I use the most.

[00:39:38] I’ll link up to those in the show notes for listeners if they wanna check those out. Rob, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.

[00:39:44] Joe, thank you so much for having me on the show and doing what you do. It, it makes the journey for us new twin dads that much easier.

[00:39:52] So thank you. You’re.

[00:39:55] I hope you enjoy that chat with Rob about his adventures as a father of twins, as a stay-home dad of twins, some of the things that he’s learned along the way of his journey. Again, if you wanna connect with Rob, I’ll link up to his contact information in the show notes for this episode.

[00:40:08] You can find all the past podcast episodes as well as this one at twindadpodcast.com. If you would like to share your story like Rob did today, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me. Email [email protected] or on Instagram or Twitter @twindadjoe, and I would love to hear from you.

[00:40:26] Today’s show is brought to you by my book, Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins. You can get a copy of this book for yourself at raisingtwinsbook.com. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

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