Angela Amman

Chatting about Multiples Illuminated

anthologiesWhen I was pregnant with Dylan, I distinctly remember thinking about how I’d sync his nap schedule with Abbey’s. Her nap schedule basically consisted of working very hard for over an hour to get her to sleep for approximately 30 minutes, but I still clung to the idea of 30 minutes of child-free time a day.

She dropped her nap completely just about a month before he was born.

Children don’t care all that much about their parents’ plans for child-free time and — in my experience — it got even more hit-or-miss when we added our second child to the mix. Some parents, though, add kids to the mix more than one at a time, and I remain a little in awe of parents of multiples. Twins, triplets, or more, welcoming more than one baby into your home at one time can’t be an easy task.

Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice From Parents of Twins, Triplets and More is a compelling collection of stories from writers and parents of multiples, as well as expert advice that is a must-have for all parents and grandparents of multiples. It dives deep into the world of raising multiples with beautiful stories and helpful advice. In it, you will find essays on infertility help and hope; finding out and coping with a multiples pregnancy; stories of labor and delivery; stories from the NICU; breastfeeding best practices for multiples; and surviving the infant and toddler stages.

I asked the editors of Multiples Illuminated a few questions, both about the anthology and about the joys and challenges of parenting multiples.

1. Why did you decide to put together the Multiples Illuminated anthology?

Megan: I have seen many beautiful anthologies published the past few years and have been fortunate to be a part of a few of them as an essayist. One day while I was out shopping with my husband I had an AHA moment: there should  be an anthology for multiple parents from multiple parents and I need to make it happen. When I was pregnant with triplets I scoured the Amazon virtual shelves in search of books to help me through the unique process of carrying, delivering and raising triplets. I only found a few books to help me. I would’ve really appreciated a book like Multiples Illuminated when I was pregnant, and I love that we have it now. Creating this book with Alison has truly been a dream fulfilled.

2. How does Multiples Illuminated differ from other parenting books, particularly other books about raising multiples?

Multiples Illuminated is not a “how-to” book although we do have an advice section for each of the chapters covering infertility and trying to conceive, pregnancy, labor and delivery, NICU and the first years. The advice we give is based on our personal experiences, sharing what worked for us. The stories are honest and although personal to each writer. They are universal in the experiences they share, and lessons they learned. It’s more of a “Come take a peek into real life with multiples” rather than “Here’s how you do it.”

3. What’s one thing about raising multiples that you’ve experienced that you never would have expected?

Alison: How much people LOVE twins! Everywhere we go, the twins get attention – of the good kind. People are genuinely interested in and fascinated by multiples.

Megan: How much I would enjoy watching the close bond my triplets have. It is truly a beautiful relationship. I agree with Alison- people love multiples! It’s pretty fun.

4. What’s one benefit to having two newborns at one time? One drawback?

Alison: Watching them together. Just marveling at the fact that there are TWO. When my twins were little, they always found their way to each other when they were sleeping. Sitting side by side, they’d reach out for each other’s hands. Now that they are toddlers, watching talk to each other and play (and fight!) together, it’s a joy. The drawback of having more than one newborn is that there is only one of you. Spouses and family members are great to fall back on but ultimately, there is only one YOU.

Megan: The benefit is harder to realize when they are newborns – more obvious as they become toddlers and beyond when they can play together. The drawback to having three newborns at once is – do I even need to say it (LOL)? Up for hours in the middle of the night. Feeding three babies. Blasting through 15 diapers a day. Trying to soothe three babies at once. Newborn triplets is a challenge to say the least.

5. What’s one misconception about twins or triplets you haven’t found to be true with your little ones?

We don’t know if there are misconceptions about multiples. If people think having twins, triplets or more to be difficult – it’s true, yes, it is. Every stage is challenging. If people think having multiples must be fun – it’s true. It is fun. It’s amazing. It’s joyful. It’s a blessing. If people think having more than one child at a time to be noisy – YES, YES IT IS.

6. What advice would you give to families just starting their journey of parenting multiples?

Be prepared! Do your research: read (a book like Multiples Illuminated!), connect with other multiples families online (join our Facebook community) and offline. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns regarding your pregnancy, birth plan and the early days.

Ask for help and gladly accept offers to help. Having meals stocked in your fridge or laundry done is a great relief. Allowing grandparents, aunts and uncles cuddle time with the babies mean you can take a breather (or a shower). Lean on your partner. Night feeds with multiples is no joke!

Whether you’re the parent of multiples, have a friend with multiples, or simply enjoy reading parenting stories, you won’t want to miss this collection of essays!

Amazon (paperback and Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

iBooks

Kobo

The Science of Parenthood — and holiday shopping advice

I’m thrilled to bring you a little sneak peek of what you’ll find in Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, the hilariously honest book from Norine Dworkin-McDaniel & Jessica Ziegler.

Norine is offering a little insight into what becomes of the holiday-shopping angst we all succumb to — eventually — at this time of year.

Parenting books to make you laugh

The Story Behind Newton’s Third Law of (E)motion
by Norine of Science of Parenthood

This one Christmas a few years back, I really thought I’d nailed it gift-wise, that I’d found the gift to end all gifts. The home run of gift-giving.

My son had just been turned onto Beyblades — those metal-plastic spinning tops with ripcords and an anime TV show on Cartoon Network in which they battle in amphitheaters. There was a constant chorus of “Beyblade! Beyblade! Let ‘em rip!” coming from the TV.

Whatever. I’d been spending bazoodles on Pokemon cards for months when my son declared he was “over” Pokemon and was now “into” Beyblades. Which meant more over-priced plastic crap I’d be begged to buy every time we went to Target. (By the way, if you’re in the market for 1,000 Pokemon cards, DM me. I can totally hook you up.)

But then it was Christmastime, and when I spotted a Beyblade Metal Fury Destroyer Dome on sale at Target, I thought Bingo! I will SO be the hero of Christmas with this. It came with two beyblades to battle inside the plastic dome. Done and done!

Christmas morning, I could barely contain my excitement. I couldn’t wait to see his face light up when he realized he had beyblades of his own. I pictured him, enraptured, spending the rest of the morning, doing battle after battle in the dome.

We always save the REALLY BIG gift for last, and finally, there was just one box left. I handed it to my boy, then watched eagerly as he ripped through the wrapping paper. His eyes widened as he realized there were BEYBLADES! IN THE BOX!!

He turned the box over, and then his face … fell.

“Mom! These aren’t the right beyblades! I wanted …” and he rattled off a slew of names I’d never heard of.

My Christmas joy deflated like a sad balloon. Turns out that smartypants Isaac Newton was right. For every action (buying beyblades with enthusiasm, for instance), there is an equal and opposite reaction (complete and utter disappointment).

From then on, the kiddo got socks. At least that way I’d know he’d be disappointed.

Science of Parenthood

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel is co-author with illustrator Jessica Ziegler of Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, published in November by She Writes Press. Find it on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Follow Science of Parenthood on the blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Is Science of Parenthood coming to your town? Check out our tour schedule. Want Science of Parenthood to come to your town? Message us!

Getting cozy

Detroit Zoo hippoAfter I said goodnight to the kids tonight, I pulled on a pair of black leggings so old they’re starting to look gray. I pull them down over my heels when I wear them, eking out an extra bit of warmth. A hole has worn there, just on one side, so they’re almost like stirrup pants.

I wonder why it’s only happened on one side.

Unexpected stress filled today. Nothing major, but little paper cuts of unexpected hurts that took their toll by evening. I just wanted to be comfortable and cozy and warm, and I slid my sock-covered feet into fuzzy pink slippers that pick up every single piece of link within a two-mile radius.

My thoughts are all over the place tonight, and I opened my photo folder to try to focus the whirlwind of unformed ideas.

I’ll use the first photo I see as a prompt, I thought.

It showed a 4th of July image, filled with a bonfire and other people’s children. I knew I wouldn’t use the photo exactly, because I don’t post other people’s kids here without asking first. I scrolled a little further and found a zoo photo.

I wondered how many of the almost-8,000 photos on my computer show some aspect of our zoo, though I would have to really be procrastinating a project to actually count them.

Abbey and Dylan are curled up in the belly of a stone hippo. The hippo sits outside the entrance, and they always ask to play on it. I try to say yes, because they never play for long, but I don’t always. Patience and grace are easier to offer when I’m not in a hurry or bone tired from too much walking or cranky because I said no to ice cream and still got grief about not buying a stuffed animal on a stick, though I know those are the times grace is most needed.

They love the hippo, and they like to hear about how the hippo didn’t always live there. Once upon a time, when Ryan and I were young, it lived in a shopping mall not too far from the zoo. I don’t know the story about which location had it first or why it changed hands, but they like to hear me tell the incomplete story anyway.

I miss summer already, the way the light washes away imperfections, though maybe that’s just time. Today’s temperature climbed into the seventies, heaven for November in Michigan, but dampness seeped into my cotton socks as I crunched through the leaves to the mailbox. The warmth won’t stay.

The coldness will come, and all I can do is pull on something cozy and draw the curtains against darkness that comes too early. Winter warmth comes from inside, like the smile from the belly of a hippo, and it promises to get us through the coldness together.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Books!

Books don’t spring forth, complete, from a void. Their origins seed from our experiences, the stories of the people touching our lives, places and triumphs and hurts that twist themselves into words on pages. Those words, those pages are polished and rearranged and packaged together into packages that place a little bit of ourselves into the hands of others.

This month, three books I adore are making their way into your hands, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. A novel, a guide, and an anthology: the books vary in genre and purpose, but each will touch you and make you glad to be a reader.

(I’ll be delving into each of these titles more thoroughly in the upcoming weeks, but for now, explore their descriptions, order them, read them, and come back and let me know what you think of each of them.)

Happy April books, my friends…

Cameron D Garriepy books
Damselfly Inn by Cameron D. Garriepy

Publication date, April 13. Preorder now!

The picturesque college town of Thornton, Vermont is the perfect place to open an inn. Or so Nan Grady thinks until a late summer storm drops a tree branch through her roof and local contractor Joss Fuller into her path.

Romance has been the last thing on her career-oriented mind, but Nan can’t deny the attraction between them. Nor can she deny the history between Joss and her most important guest: a sophisticated Manhattan academic.

And then there is the mysterious vandal targeting her home and livelihood.

As summer fades to autumn and Joss becomes a fixture around the Damselfly Inn, Nan navigates the joys and complications of life in her new home town. But when the vandalism becomes increasingly upsetting, threatening Nan and her guests, as well as her budding relationship with Joss, Nan questions her place in the town, at the inn, and in Joss’s heart.

 

Galit Breen book
Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Now available!

Kindness Wins covers ten habits to directly teach kids how to be kind online. Each section is written in Breen’s trademark parent-to-parent-over-coffee style and concludes with resources for further reading, discussion starters, and bulleted takeaways. She ends the book with two Kindness Wins contracts―one to share with peers and one to share with kids. Just like we needed to teach our children how to walk, swim, and throw a ball, we need to teach them how to maneuver kindly online.

This book will help you do just that.

Listen To Your Mother Book

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now edited by Ann Imig

Now available!

Irreverent, thought-provoking, hilarious, and edgy: a collection of personal stories celebrating motherhood, featuring #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner, and many other notable writers.

Listen to Your Mother is a fantastic awakening of why our mothers are important, taking readers on a journey through motherhood in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor. Based on the sensational national performance movement, Listen to Your Mother showcases the experiences of ordinary people of all racial, gender, and age backgrounds, from every corner of the country. This collection of essays celebrates and validates what it means to be a mother today, with honesty and candor that is arrestingly stimulating and refreshing. The stories are raw, honest, poignant, and sometimes raunchy, ranging from adoption, assimilation to emptying nests; first-time motherhood, foster-parenting, to infertility; single-parenting, LGBTQ parenting, to special-needs parenting; step-mothering; never mothering, to surrogacy; and mothering through illness to mothering through unsolicited advice. Honest, funny, and heart-wrenching, these personal stories are the collective voice of mothers among us. Whether you are one, have one, or know one, Listen to Your Mother is an emotional whirlwind that is guaranteed to entertain, amuse, and enlighten.

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