Moving, Changing Jobs, and NICU Twins with Patrick Edgett – Podcast 304

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - May 23, 2024

Episode 304 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes

Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Patrick Edgett, father of twin girls. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:

  • raising a four children including having 3 under 3
  • managing terribles twos and opinionated toddlers
  • challenges of getting twins to sleep
  • climbing out of cribs and how to fix that
  • moving two weeks after birth of twins
  • switching jobs right after twins’ birth
  • about a month in the NICU for both twins
  • when one twin came home a week and a half before the other
  • having another child after twins
  • potty training twins
  • one twin had an eye problem that took awhile to figure out
  • phasing out nap time
  • twins going to preschool
  • taking time to spend with kids individually
  • and more…

Connect with Patrick on Instagram.

Podcast Transcript

This is transcript auto-generated so please forgive any mistakes.

Host: Today we continue our father of twins interview series with a twin dad from Southern California. We talk about overcoming the terrible twos with twins, making big life changes after the twins are born as far as moving houses and switching jobs, and how to advocate for yourself with your twins doctor when you think something is wrong with one of your children. We talk about that and much more today on the show. Welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast, the podcast that’ll 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.

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Joe Rawlinson: Hey everybody, this is Joe Rawlinson. Welcome to the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. I’m glad that you’re here with me today. As always, you can find me on the web at Today we’re chatting with a fellow twin dad about his adventures in twin parenting. Before we jump into that chat, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my two books that I’ve written for dads of twins. First is Dad’s Guide to Twins and the second is Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins. These books will get you through the pregnancy, through the newborn phase, up in the toddlers and beyond. You can save 20% if you get both of these books on my website directly. You go to Once again, that’s Plus if you’re in the US, I’ll ship those books to you for free. So save 20% plus free shipping. Man, what a great deal. Today, I would like to welcome to the show, Father of Twins, Patrick Edgett. Welcome to the show, Patrick.

Patrick: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)

Joe: Patrick, how old are your twins right now and what’s something exciting about this age?

Patrick: They are four, sandwiched in between a two-year-old and a seven-year-old. The thing that’s most exciting for me is they’re really at a fun age of interacting right now. So for us, the two and a half to three and a half years are a version of the terrible twos. And so they’re kind of past that and it’s getting a little bit more fun and a little less headache at the moment.

Joe: So let’s talk about those terrible twos. It’s true, it’s kind of a misnomer that they’re called terrible twos ’cause they usually stretch into the threes. So what were some of the challenges you had with that age range?

Patrick: Yeah, they become very opinionated very quickly. And I definitely agree that it’s more of the terrible two and a halfs. I think a big part of it centers around sleep. Sleep has always been a thing that’s been really important to my wife and I about not only us getting our sleep, but having both the twins and the other ones on a pretty good schedule and that seems to just break overnight when they hit two and a half. All of a sudden they can climb out of their crib, which was a fun one. You’re sitting there watching TV at night and all of a sudden there’s a little human next to you that’s not supposed to be there. So that combined with other versions of them having their own opinions is really kind of how it showed itself.

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Joe: Did they both learn to climb out of the cribs at the same time?

Patrick: Just one. There’s Twin A. That’s Stella for us. She would found a way, she would pull her mattress up and she would like Fred Flintstone moving her entire crib all the way to the door. We actually have video footage of it because it was too funny. And she would start blocking the door with her crib, which was pretty insane. They were on laminate flooring. And it got so bad to the point where I had to take a 45-pound plate weight and put it under her crib so she couldn’t move it anymore. But she was and still is the onry one when it comes to sleep.

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Joe: Do you have two girls or one of each? or what do you have?

Patrick: Yeah, two girls. I call it the gaggle of children. All four of them are girls. I wear the hashtag GirlDad Proudly.

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Joe: What did you notice differently? You mentioned the terrible twos and the sleeping troubles. How was that different from your first daughter, your oldest singleton?

Patrick: Our knowledge that it was coming. With our oldest daughter, I think the big thing that she would do, would start to cry when it was bedtime and being upset around bedtime. And then at one point, we realized we can just leave the room, tell her we’re not coming back, and then she would stop. It went from us trying to sleep with her or get her to sleep for 30 minutes to just walking out of the room and that seemed to solve it. So we just knew that going into it with the twins, which really helped. But we also knew that it was a bit of a roller coaster. you’ll fix it for a couple of weeks and then something will change and they’ll fall off the wagon. And so you got to just go through it again and do what you’re saying you’re going to do. So something like the threat of taking away a toy that they sleep with or whatever that is, if you’re going to threaten it, you have to follow through. Otherwise, they’re just too smart. They’re two rational beings to put up with anything else.

Joe: That’s right. We all have lawyers as our toddlers, right? Because they keep track of everything you say and they hold it against you and they’ll catch you. That’s for sure.

Patrick: They really do. Their memories are incredible in kind of an annoying way. It’s adorable half the time and annoying the other half.

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Joe: So when you found out that you would be having your twins, you had just the one daughter already. She was probably like three-ish?

Patrick: Yeah, she was about two when we found out, yeah.

Joe: What was your reaction for you and your wife when you got that news?

Patrick: Yeah, we were in the ultrasound room, and so you know, take the morning off work, head down there, and it’s kind of taking longer than expected, since you know, not the first rodeo. And so then you go from like joy to like getting a little bit worried, ’cause in this half hour appointment, it’s now an hour appointment, doctor walks in and goes, “Hey, I’ve got some good news.” And we’re like, “We already know she’s pregnant.” Like that’s why we’re here, what good news. She’s like, you’re having twins. And I just audibly, just went, oh. It’s just quite loud. Sat down in my seat and I don’t think I talked for the next hour, ’cause it was just complete shock. Like it didn’t, it never crossed our minds that this was even a possibility.

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Joe: I was similarly a shell shocked. Are your girls identical twins?

Patrick: They’re not. Well, although, well, we assume they’re not. We’ve not done like the testing or anything, but they look different, they act different and they were in separate sacks.

Joe: How did the pregnancy go? Were there any complications for babies or for mom?

Patrick: No complications necessarily, but my wife had a pretty rough first pregnancy. And so having twins, it was, everything was just kind of on edge, we’ll say. So by the end of it, I think she was doing like, going in for monitoring like twice a week. So it was just like endless days spent either at the doctor’s office or at the hospital for monitoring and quite a few days where she’d call and be like, “I don’t know what’s going on. Let’s go in and get stuff checked out.” So never fully a complication or anything, but not smooth sailing by any means. And they came about four weeks early, five weeks early.

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Joe: Was the time of their arrival kind of a surprise or was the writing on the wall there?

Patrick: A little bit of both. Yeah. So we knew that they were going to be early, just didn’t know how early. And so I remember going to work that day. And it was one of her scheduled days to do a going for her monitor. And they’re like, “All right, we’re not letting you go home. You should call your husband in time to get down here. I think we’re going to deliver you today.” So I can remember packing up my stuff and not going back to that office. Because it was also at a crazy time where we bought a house, we had twins, we moved 100 miles away, and I quit my job all within a matter of six weeks. I don’t recommend that. We did off a bit more than we could chew.

Joe: That’s a lot of upheaval right after the twins were born. Were they home already and healthy when you were making these big transitions? Or do they have any time in the hospital after birth?

Patrick: No, they were in the NICU for about a month when A was there, I guess about three weeks, and then like four and a half to five weeks for twin B. And so that was both really stressful, because here you are having to go in and out of the hospital every single day. But there was some of it that was like we gave the my wife gave birth down at Scripps Hospital down in San Diego and they’ve just got like an amazing team. And so there was some of it where we were so exhausted the fact that you know this expert paid team is taking care of your kids while you can kind of catch up on a little bit of sleep. That part was like a hidden blessing. But you know, I think it took a probably bigger toll on and my wife going down because she was also pumping and breastfeeding that whole time. Instead of going to and from multiple times a day, spending eight hours a day or whatever it was down at the hospital, that was taxing for sure.

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Joe: Did your girls have specific complications or they just needed some time to grow and be self-sufficient?

Patrick: Growing. I forget what the number is now because I’m so far removed from it. It’s like 34 weeks or 32 weeks, like if you’re before that, it’s like auto NICU admission. And so they were like three days before that cutoff. So they had to automatically go in there. And then once they were in there, there were certain tests that they had to pass and it just took them a while to do that, specifically twin B with some sleep stuff. Like she would kind of like stop breathing while she was sleeping. And so that was the other thing where we’re like, I would much rather have her monitored if she’s not breathing fully than for her to be at home. So again, it was this odd blessing to have them there.

Joe: Was the breathing issue resolved totally before you brought her home or did you have to do something with her once she was home?

Patrick: Resolved before she came home. Yeah. So part of her test was she had to go like 48 hours without one of those episodes. And so that was also a little bit of a stressful time because it was like, you know, she’d get 24 hours into that and then it happened again. So, you know, you go in thinking you’re going to take her home that day. It’s like, oh no, we got to reset that clock and like wait on a couple of days. And so having twins, but only bringing one of them home for a while, like that was odd.

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Joe: What was the time gap difference?

Patrick: About a week and a half. I mean, that is strange. You have the babies, but then you don’t get to take them home for like a like a month and then all of a sudden you only get to bring one home.

Joe: What was your older daughter’s reaction to all this?

Patrick: She was still really young when mostly just like happy. Like we were, we were checking out some videos last night of like, what, yeah, what did she do? Um, and she’s just like happy. There’s a baby around and like trying to give him a binky and you know, air quote, be helpful, helpful. Um, but yeah, otherwise she wasn’t really like aware enough yet to have like a, any kind of an emotional reaction or anything like that to it.

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Joe: How has the relationship evolved as they’ve all gotten older together?

Patrick: It’s pretty amazing. They do a really cool job of taking turns playing with each other. One of them will just want some alone time and be off by themselves and the other two will pair up or something like that. Or now that we have our fourth, she gets thrown into the mix. She’s only two. And so usually they’ll pair off. But it’s a really good little unit and the oldest one is definitely the ringleader and gets upset when the twins want to go do their own thing and don’t want to let her participate, which is kind of a funny thing to watch their own little group dynamics.

Joe: So then on the other side, what was the transition like going from having three and then having your fourth daughter after the twins?

Patrick: That was equally as wild because it was the least predicted, as equal as surprising as having a third was, as having the fourth. One of my favorite quotes, I don’t know if you’ve seen the Jim Gaffigan special where he does a joke on what it’s like to have four or five kids. He’s like, “It’s like you’re swimming in a pool drowning and someone hands you a kid.” That’s kind of what having the fourth was like. It was less altering in our day to day, but just like, here we are, the twins are about to be potty trained and kind of through that baby phase and we just got to start it all over. So that part was really hard.

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Joe: And I think I saw on your bio, you had at 1.4 kids, three and under.

Patrick: That’s right. Yes. So you’re one of the few people that understand. I had three, three and under and that was wild. So I can’t even imagine doing the fourth.

Joe: Yeah, like there’s just a different level of attentiveness that you have to have when they’re that young. And that is its own level of stress and anxiety to kind of deliver that.

Patrick: It is, ’cause they’re all kind of going through a very similar phase, a very high needs phase at the same time and that evolves, you know, like they’re all learning how to use the potty at the same time, they’re all in diapers at the same time. It’s just, it’s a lot to manage. So I can understand that situation. Our math is that we’ll go through about 25,000 diapers by the time we’re done with the fourth one.

Joe: What was it like potty training the twins? You said that you were going through that process when you found out about your fourth.

Patrick: My wife did all the heavy lifting there. I will say just the logistics of, to your point, both of them doing it at the same time. There’s time when only one toilet’s available. So I’ve got a picture of one of my, well, I should say the aftermath of one of the twins using my office chair as her toilet. That was fun, walking into that. And like, what is the smell? The bathroom was occupied. So she went to the next closest chair. Some of the joys of parenting.

Joe: Yeah, we found that we had to kind of train them on the logistics of using the toilet just one at a time. And then the reinforcing of that behavior ultimately led to success. I mean, that took a while after that, but we found one of our girls was more willing to do it than the other one. Did you see discrepancies like that between the two of yours?

Patrick: They were pretty equal. And we used those like portable toilets a lot. So they got pretty used to it from that. But yeah, they’ve been pretty equal on most things developmentally. They definitely had, they lean towards some different things emotionally and skill-wise. But in terms of hitting the markers at the same time, they pretty much have been on track with each other.

Joe: What have been some of those differences you’ve noticed?

Patrick: One of them is much more athletic than the other one, which is pretty wild to see at as early as three years old. She can hop on a scooter or a bike or whatever and just handle it. Wear a poor Twin A, not so much. And there’s a bit of irony there because Twin B still has some eye problems. One of her eyes didn’t develop all the way in terms of its movement. And it took us almost two years to figure that out because she was always much more angry. And it took us, when we moved, we went from a one story to a two story and all of a sudden she fell down the stairs a couple of times. We were like, “Well, what is happening?” And it turns out when you can’t see, sometimes you miss the stairs. Um, and so that, that’s been something really interesting to see where she was much more emotionally up and down. Um, it’s like leveled out now that she can see it’s so simple, but, uh, what was the problem?

Joe: Was it with, with, with, this wasn’t fully formed in Euro or do you know what happened?

Patrick: Yeah, I, I believe so. Um, it’s the, Like the muscle doesn’t track properly. So like if she’s looking to the right and she needs to move her eyes to the left, like the one eye is just like a little slower coming over and that leads to some blurriness. And she’s also just has terrible vision from like a farsightedness. Like whatever the scale is, I think it’s like bad eyesight like a negative 4.5 or something like that. And she’s like a negative 6.5. So she’s got an hour where an eye patch every day for four hours a day. And that’s has slowly brought it some more strength into that eye. Um, but it’s just, yeah, one of those things where it’s like, Oh yeah, you got to pay attention to them each as individuals because even though they came out at the same time, like they very much different humans and have different things that they got to worry about.

Joe: I mean, one advantage of having twins is that you can compare them like, well, this one is doing this thing and this other one is doing a little something different. But because we have, you know, these young children and our hands are full with even just taking care of everybody, sometimes it takes a while to notice when there’s something amiss.

Patrick: Oh, for sure. And, you know, especially with healthcare, you very much have to be your own advocate on it too. So, you know, like the doctors never noticed anything or brought anything up in it. And we had to be like, Hey, you know, we’re noticing some different behaviors and stuff like that. Like, can we get, you know, can we go see a specialist to get this checked out. And it took a little bit of pushing to kind of get what we were looking for. And the doctor mentioned, oh yeah, if we would have waited somewhere between like six months to a year, the eye would have fully developed incorrectly to where it’s like nearly impossible to fix. So that’s also kind of a weird thing that, you know, no one warned us to check their eyes in a certain way to make sure that they develop properly. they make an excellent point there about advocating for your kids, ’cause I mean, you go to the doctor, it’s kind of like a assembly line. I mean, you just go in there, you wait forever, you finally get to see the doctor. A doctor’s in and out in a few minutes, and then you have to kind of force the issue if you have concerns, that’s for sure. Especially with like Vision or with our girls, they had some speech problems, and we didn’t really catch on to that until they were more school age. In hindsight, we’re like, oh, okay, that makes sense now, but you’re right, you have to pay attention for stuff that you didn’t even know you had to pay attention for. That’s for sure.

Joe: Yeah, yeah. They are four now. Are they past the nap phase? Or are they still taking naps?

Patrick: They are 90% past the nap phase. I’ll say one of them definitely needs more sleep than the other one. Could be definitely needs more sleep. We will probably, probably not every week, but maybe every other week, we try to grab like a weekend day and let them catch up on it, get like one nap in per week, something like that. And some of that’s just like, again, monitoring it. Like has, has our schedule been crazy this last week? Yes or no. And if we stayed out a couple of late nights, like we can kind of see it. And so we’ll, you know, have them take a nap on Saturday or Sunday, something like that. But for the most part, they’re, they’re done with it.

Joe: So as your wife, does she stay home with the kids or do you have other arrangements for childcare?

Patrick: She has up until this point. She’s been, yeah, since our oldest was about six months, she’s been staying home, but part of my job change when the twins were born was I became a licensed realtor because I was working on a CPA firm prior to that. And when we found out it was twins, Because there’s the, I don’t remember, two months where you know you’re pregnant and then two months later, I’ll have done it’s two kids instead of one. During that time, we realized, oh, going through attack season again is not going to be doable with infant twins. That’s when I went down this new path, but part of that path has led to some big peaks and valleys and in particular this last six months, last month in particular was the worst month for real estate across the nation in the last 30 years. So we’re actually in process of her lining up employment starting next month, help with these four times in cashflow. Yeah, sometimes you have to get creative to figure it out, to make the ends meet. That’s for sure.

Joe: The twins are still too young to go to any kind of preschool or anything like that, right?

Patrick: They actually go to a state-sponsored preschool, which has been, I’ll say, mostly good. They were born six months before COVID hit. And so during their most developmental time, in terms of getting to know other people and stuff, they were locked inside for a year and a half. And so we have definitely seen them struggle in some of those social situations, where there’s big groups and stuff like that. And it’s gotten better over this last year. So we really, going back to advocating, we pushed heavily to try to get into the school because we knew that they needed a little bit more attention in a group setting. And so that’s been really good. They go for like, I don’t know, three or four hours a day, like a half day. But yeah

Joe: What differences have you seen now that they’ve been in the or social environment?

Patrick: A big part of it is not relying on my wife and I, it’s like the only people that they’ll listen to. Twin B in particular, we’ll get a little stubborn at times when it comes to listening to other folks. She’s very opinionated. Some say that she gets that from me, which I have been told that that’s payback for my youth. Yeah, they’ve just gotten overall better at dealing with other people.

Joe: Yeah, that’s tough when they’re there, you know, we’re all locked in for a while, but when they’re in that formative phase of developing and learning how to interact with other people, and all they see is mom and dad and big sister, and that’s it, right? It’s interesting to see the different toll that takes on, you know, very young kids versus us as adults, or even our older children.

Patrick: Yeah, for sure. I mean, even something as simple as like going to that first Christmas party, whenever we stop being locked down, I guess that would have been like 21. If you’re two years old and you’ve just been locked inside for a year and a half, and all of a sudden there’s this group of like 20 to 30 adults that the adults know who they are because they’re the only twins in the family and they’re kids, but the twins have no idea who these other people are. And they’re like, “Hey, come hug me. Come kiss me. Come be with me.” And they’re like, “I don’t know you stranger.” That took a minute for them to get over for sure.

Joe: When you look at parenting your kids right now, whether it’s your singletons or your twins, what’s something that’s working right now as far as a parenting success?

Patrick: Yeah, the biggest thing for us that we really have to remind ourselves of weekly is taking time to spend with them individually. And I would say this is even more particular to the twins because it doesn’t happen naturally. They’ve been a pair, forever in noise. Sunday as an example, I took Twin B out to the driving range with me and at four years old, she’s not hitting a ball really, but it’s time that she gets to spend with dad, just the two of us for 30 minutes to an hour. We just try to make sure that that happens. with at least one of them every week. If we can rotate through, I mean that might be as simple as going to the store. It might be just taking one of them on a drive or letting them pick to go out to ice cream or whatever the thing is. But yeah, I think that intentionality has been really important to us.

Joe: Yeah, that’s a very important thing is to build that individual relationship ’cause it’s kind of, it’s too easy to just group them as the kids, you know, let’s go, you know, like you’re herding cats around, but it’s, they’re each individual people and they have their own little fun personalities and it’s great to get to know and bond with them on a one-on-one basis, even if it’s doing something routine, like going to the grocery store. How have you been able to keep your relationship strong with your wife through the kind of ups and downs of twins and the challenges you had there and raising a really young family?

Patrick: Well, the first six months the twins were born, I can’t speak to that at all because I don’t remember it. It’s a black hole in my memory. Since that point, it’s really come down to us. Well, I’ll call it simple, but it’s really difficult, which is communication. It’s so easy for us to get stuck in the routine or stuck worrying about the specifics of taking care of the kids, whether that’s their schedule, what they’re eating, or what’s coming up in future. For us to take time out to check in with each other has been really important. We do that a couple of ways. One of the ways is kind of quarterly, we try to make sure that we’re getting away from our house at least once a quarter. That might be just a day date. It might be hopefully an overnight. The kids are old enough and the grandparents are willing to take them overnight, which that took a while. Every year, we do a year in review where we try to get out in nature for the day, take a really long walk and talk about what worked this last year, what gave us positive energy, what took away from that. And then we try to shape the new year around that reflection. And so we did that to kick off this year and we’re kind of excited about kind of rejiggering some things as we go forward.

Joe: I love that. Those are some great ideas for any couple that needs to work on their relationship and keep it strong. So I appreciate you sharing that. That’s working for you. Patrick, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?

Patrick: Yeah, best way to be on Instagram at Patrick Edgett, E-D-G-E-T-T. I’m a realtor in California, so happy to help out anyone with anything as it relates to buying or selling real estate throughout the state. And always happy to chat with fellow parents because this is a wild journey. And I don’t know about you, but for us, our parents did not warn us for how hard it is. And so you’re getting that reminder from other people like yeah, we’re all going through this together. It is very difficult and It gets better. I think that reminder is important.

Joe: That is that is important reminder, but you’re right We do get through it. We figure it out and we keep on showing him. So Patrick Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. We really appreciate it.

Patrick: Awesome. Thanks a lot.

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