View Cart | Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join PAMP
Articles and Musings
Blog Home All Blogs

Best of the Forum: What to Do About Hitting?

Posted By Communications Manager, Friday, March 25, 2016

I would love advice from those who have been there: my 2.25 year old nephew has recently (last 2 weeks) begun hitting (hard) his mother and occasionally babysitter at unexpected times (during a hug, getting him out of his crib, as well as while playing). My brother and sister-in-law have responded with consequences in the moment (taking away his toy) and by stating consistently “hands are not for hitting.” They have also read the book “Hands are not for Hitting” to him. They feel they are reacting unemotionally and consistently.

My nephew does not seem particularly emotional or upset when hitting. He hit his baby sister (9 months) on one occasion. Any advice on what to do? Have others experienced this, and how long did it last?

Other factors are: new baby (but 9 months old), and about 6 months ago began to say only wanted to be with daddy or show preference for daddy. His parents are also upset by this and taking it a bit personally.

Thanks in advance for advice that I can pass along to them!




Hi, this is very common behavior for a two year old. Even if the parents are not currently reacting emotionally to the behavior, I’m guessing at least initially they did which is possibly why it’s continuing. He’s doing it because he’s getting some interesting reaction. (Hey that’s cool! I hit and then they get upset!) Consequences don’t tend to work with very young children, such as taking toys away. They can’t logically understand it because they aren’t developmentally able to. I would suggest moving him away from the person he has hit without saying anything and redirecting his attention to something else. When he’s a little older, if it happens again, you can talk to him about it. We experience this with both our kids and the less you react the better. Ignoring and redirecting works best because they aren’t angry, they are just experimenting. Hope this helps!


Agreed kids go through phases and hitting (or biting) is a pretty common one. And it is so frustrating that there isn’t much that can be done. I like the idea of just moving away. Kids want to interact with you and in a calm way making space between the caregiver and the kid sends a clear message. On preferring one parent over the other – also a very typical phase! It can flip flop at any time. My kids are often all about me and I know that was really hard for my husband. Now when they go into daddy phases I try to enjoy the “break.” But it’s a moving target!


Hand in Hand, a parents resource based in Palo Alto; with easy, clear and practical information in short articles, they provide well founded advise and suggestions for parents facing this and more other issues with their kids.


I agree with the other folks who posted. It’s partly a phase and also can be due to other factors like new baby and parents reacting in ways that don’t work. When a child hits you should stay calm, but I wouldn’t say to react without emotion. On the contrary. Help the child understand that hitting hurts. When my kids hit me at that age I might make a sad face and gently say to them. Ouch! That hurts. Please be gentle with mommy. You want to avoid saying things like no hitting, because the brain just hears the word hitting which reinforces the hitting. I probably said please be gentle for 6mos before the phase wore off. You can also do things like hold his hand as he starts to hit you and then gently use it to stroke your arm and say gentle please. Always reinforce gentle, always stay calm and then redirect. Don’t spend more than 10 seconds on the behavior max and stay positive. This approach works for everything actually. Things I’ve said to my children today (instead of) …..Please close the door gently (Don’t slam the door)Please close the door (Don’t leave the door open)Please keep your feet on the ground (don’t jump in the house)Please pick up your toys (Don’t leave your toys out)Can you wash your feet before you go into the living room? (Don’t walk with dirty feet onto the carpet)
Keep the ball quiet please

Hold the ball please

Gentle with your sister please

Use your words please

And on and on and on forever…



We had that phase and I always tried to follow the “2 yeses for every no” doctrine. Kids have the NEED to hit and to bite and to push and to climb. They are exploring their body’s capabilities and the world around them. So you need to give them something that’s ok to hit or to bite or to push or to climb. So you say, “We don’t hit people, but we can hit this pillow, or we can hit the couch cushion” (2 yeses for 1 no.) We had a designated hitting pillow that she would eventually ask for when she felt the need to hit. If she bit me, I would say “Do you need something to bite? And I would get a teether out of the freezer, or offer her a bagel. “We don’t bite people but we can bite teethers or food. For pushing we said “We don’t push people but here’s a stroller to push, or a truck to push.” I even know people who had an indoor climbing structure so they could provide an alternative to climbing on the couch or up the bookcases. These activities are not necessarily aggression but are often a natural behavior at this age.

Tags:  child behavior 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Overwhelmed as a Mom of Multiples

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My babies were three days old when my husband offered to get take-out from one of our favorite restaurants. I said, “Yes,” just as I would have before the girls were born. But as soon as he left, I realized this was my first time alone with my twins. In the small, silent room, I whispered to them, “Okay girls. It’s just you and me. Be good for mommy.”

Everything was quiet for a while, until one started crying. I picked her up and rocked slowly side to side. Just when she calmed, the other started crying. That got the first one crying again, this time louder and more distressed. I had one baby crying in my arms and the other crying in a bassinet, and I didn’t know what to do.

Was it five minutes? Ten? It seemed like eternity. I tried putting them on the bed next to each other and leaning over to hug them both at once. They hated it. Unable to choose one over the other, I found myself choosing neither. I felt absolutely overwhelmed.

Finally, an early Beatles song came to mind, and I sang it softly to them. “Tell me why-y-y-y you cry…” When I saw how my singing quieted them, suddenly the tears started pouring out of myeyes, but I didn’t dare stop singing: “Is there anything that I can do? ‘Cause I really can’t stand it, I’m so in love with you.”

“Hello!” My husband returned with the take-out. My face was red hot, my eyes half blind from crying, my nose uselessly stuffed, my throat caught. I was a mess. And I was still singing – badly. But my babies weren’t crying anymore.

That’s when I knew – I mean really felt – that I was their mom. I could hardly believe that I had ever felt so alone and helpless before, even for a moment. Their dad took one baby, and I took the other; we fed them, we changed them, we tucked them back to sleep. And after it all, the food was still warm.

The day-to-day challenge of multiples is simply this: there are multiple of them, but there’s often only one of you. Sometimes your babies need more of you than you have to give. You love them equally and you don’t like having to choose one to take care of first while another waits and cries for you. You will envy the single moms of single babies who complain that they must hold their baby all the time. You wish you could hold your babies all the time – the best you can do  is take care of them one at a time.

Every time you get on an airplane, the flight attendants remind you that you must put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help another. As a general principle, this applies to everything, and parenting is no exception. You, as a parent, have an obligation to take care of yourself, not just because your well-being is important in and of itself (which it is), but also so that you can be in any shape to care for your children.

The first few months with multiples can feel like a non-stop crisis, but you’ll get through it by taking time for yourself once in a while, by being as rested and as centered as you can be. If you have friends or family members who will give you breaks, take advantage of their help. Finding a newborn support group is also a great way to connect with other parents, hear from experts, and share ideas for coping with the stress of parenting newborn multiples. But even if your friends don’t know how to change a diaper (mine don’t), your relatives live thousands of miles away (mine do), and your local support groups aren’t a good fit (mine weren’t), don’t worry: take it day by day and get as much rest as you can. Eventually things settle into a routine.

My babies are almost a year old now, and they still can’t tell me why they’re crying, but I’m better at figuring it out, better at doing something about it, and better at managing the moments when I feel overwhelmed. And their mommy’s version of “Tell Me Why” is still one of their favorite songs.

 

This is the third installment of a 3-part series on multiples. 

Amy Letter is the mom of twin girls Sagan and Tesla, and a writer, artist and professor of English at Drake University. She is a frequent blogger for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Tags:  expecting  multiples 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Five Questions for the Development Manager

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jacqui Marchessini is the Development Manager for PAMP. In this role, she is responsible for securing sponsorship and locking down advertisers. She says, “I manage and cultivate existing relationships with sponsors to secure and expand recurring revenue streams.”

On a day-to-day basis, Jacqui answers questions about PAMP’s sponsorship offerings to interested potential new clients. She works with sponsors to ensure creation of a sponsor/advertiser package that works within their marketing budget and needs.

Acting as a PAMP ambassador, Jacqui also works closely with the board of directors in their community outreach role. “I like the flexibility and the opportunity to meet local small business owners interested in reaching out to our membership of families and parents,” she says

About her latest accomplishments, Jacqui excitedly exclaims, “We were able to secure eight key sponsors for Family Day!”

Jacqui lives in Mountain View and is a proud mom to an amazing seven-year-old daughter.

  1. What is the last non-kid movie you saw? Pitch Perfect 2.
  1. Are you a Bay Area native or transplant? Native.
  1. What’s at the top of your to-do list? Return calls.
  1. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? Cookie Monster.
  1. Why are you a PAMP volunteer/staff? I like working with local small business to help them enhance their marketing strategy and get their product or services in front of a targeted market.

Each month we train the spotlight on someone who works behind the scenes for PAMP. Interested in joining the ranks? Browse our open volunteer positions and apply today!  

Tags:  spotlight 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Connect with Your Kids – Don’t Control Them

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What parent doesn’t know how it feels to lose control with our kids? When a child flings him/herself down on the floor in the middle of the grocery store, hits or bites a sibling or school mate, makes poor choices about their friends, schoolwork or health, talks back or rolls their eyes at anything we say, it can feel almost impossible to control our reactions.

Who ever told us we had control over our kids in the first place?

Think about it. When we’re coming from our egos, we have a personal stake in our kids’ behavior and how it reflects ON US. But the reality is that they are their own people — with their own ideas, their own independent needs — and the only people who can control them is themselves.

When we look at basic brain science of the limbic system where emotions are centered and the prefrontal cortex where reasoning and logic are centered, we start to understand why our kids’ behaviors can get so big. And how little they have to do with us.

What neuroscience teaches us is that a much more effective and relationship-building way to respond to our kids in their most challenging moments of big behaviors is to CONNECT with them rather than to try to control them or their behavior.

So instead of thinking during a huge tantrum, “How can I get this to stop? What can I say? How I can dole out consequences to get him to stop?”, we can turn it around. Connection helps us change direction by encouraging us to ask, “How can I connect with her right now?  How will her emotional needs be met if I get down, make eye contact, use a soft tone of voice and physical touch to let her know I’m here?”

Only then can we start to shift the way it feels in our bodies to connect rather than control. We can breathe, feel less tightness and less anger in ourselves as we connect compassionately and without expectation with our child.

Why is this hard to do for most of us? Simply, we weren’t parented this way. Many of us were parented in ways that often included yelling, punishing and shaming. Those old experiences from our past get triggered during a heated moment with our kids. The first step is to be aware of that happening. The second step is to have someone to talk to about it and to release those old hurts. The third step is to learn and practice new skills to connect. And voila! We’ve used connection to change direction! It benefits us as well as our kids.

This basic principle of relationship building with our kids actually applies to all relationships. Whenever someone is “acting up,” big feelings are at the root. Our spouse, a child in our classroom, a friend or a family member. Try connecting rather than controlling in response and see what happens. Asking someone how they feel or what they need can go a long way to understanding what’s actually happening, and can help us respond effectively to behaviors that challenge us to let go of control.

Adapted from The Connected Family.

Kiran Gaind owns The Connected Family, a boutique coaching practice for modern parents based in Palo Alto. She works with parents who are overwhelmed by their responsibilities and exhausted by the demands of parenting to feel overjoyed by their lives and being parents again.

Tags:  health  parenting 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Membership Tips — Parents’ Night Out

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It’s been an exhausting week with the kids. You and your partner just found a new babysitter from a fellow PAMP member and you are ready for a night out. Now we’d like to tell you a little bit more about the type of events we offer. This month, it’s Parents’ Night Out!

PAMP organizes Parents’ Night Out (PNO) for our members once a month. These adults-only events are a great way to get to know other PAMP members without having to take a time-out to retrieve a dropped pacifier, wipe a runny nose or open yet another package of cheddar bunnies. Imagine a few hours of stimulating, adult conversation over a glass of wine or taking in a show at a local theater with friends. Past PNO’s have included wine-tastings, yoga classes, a theater outing and even a glass-blowing class. You are welcome to attend solo or with your significant other!

Do you have a great idea for a new Parents’ Night Out? Email pno@pampclub.org and one of our PNO host’s will take it into consideration for a future event. We are always looking for fun suggestions from our members. PNO’s take place on a weekend or during the evening to facilitate attendance for all of our members.

PNO is a PAMP subsidized event, meaning that PAMP negotiates a group discount for attendees and then pays half of the cost of the event. For example, April’s PNO was a wine-tasting held at Savvy Cellar. Normally, the group rate would be $40/person, but for PAMP attendees, the cost was only $20.

So book that babysitter, look for “PNO” on the PAMP event calendar and join us for our next amazing PNO. This month it’s stand-up paddleboarding!

Tags:  member tips 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Create Special Memories at PAMP’s Family Day

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Family Day is one of PAMP’s largest events of the year. And every year, PAMP adds new and exciting aspects to keep it fresh and appealing. This year, PAMP has invited new entertainers including Andy Z, a delightfully engaging musician that will get the entire crowd moving. Other things to do at the event include Family Zumba, a bouncy house, pony rides and a petting zoo. And don’t forget about the storytime and photo opportunities with the Snow Queen!

PAMP is also encouraging members to pay-it-forward by participating in the Diaper Drive benefiting HAMO. If you have extra diapers that you’d like to pass on (even open packs!), please bring them. But do not buy diapers just to donate them! Remember that monetary donations go a long way with HAMO. Either bring cash or check to Family Day or donate today.

“I have been to four Family Day events now and each year they get better and better!” exclaims Chanden Moya, PAMP member and former Board President. “What I enjoy the most about this event is that it is a great opportunity for us to get out with our families and be able to meet so many other families that have more than just the fact that they are parents in common with us… they are members of PAMP!”

Creating special memories at Family Day is what keeps members coming back. Chanden explains, “In 2013, my youngest son, at that time who was only one, was so excited to go to the bubble area that he tripped and fell straight into the bubble bin! I thought he was going to cry but he was just so excited that he just sat there with the big bubble wand and tried to make bubbles from what was still left in the bin.”

Chanden continued, “In 2014, my eldest son, who was 4 then, had such a hard time trying to decide if he should stay at the “Lego” table or at the “Sticker” table. He eventually chose the Sticker table because they had an empty chair in the shade for him.”

“Family Day is where my own family meets my PAMP family. We enjoy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones!,” says Maya Herstein, Co-President of PAMP. “The kids have a blast playing games and snacking on foods while I talk to other parents in our community. This year I will also be greeting our members at the board table. Please come and introduce yourself!”

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend Family Day and create your own lasting memories.

Tags:  activities  family 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Camping — At Home?

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Camping in the Bay Area with a young family can be challenging. Campsites get booked out months or even a year in advance, buying gear quickly adds up, and if you don’t go regularly, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the logistics of carting your whole family into the outdoors.

Or you might be like us–we have campsites already reserved for our annual camping trip with friends this summer, but are bracing for cancellations. Like last year, the ongoing California drought has forced numerous campsite closures at local parks all around the Bay Area.

But whatever your situation, a great way to try out camping without the hassles is to camp at home! With a little creativity and some help from the kids, your backyard or even your living room could make a terrific spot to set up camp.

The Essentials:
Tents come at all price levels–the more expensive tents are generally more lightweight and made of better materials. But you can purchase a good, inexpensive tent for car camping at Target, Walmart or Costco (Coleman is a good brand). You can also rent camping gear by the day (everything from camping stoves to tents, sleeping bags and mats) from stores like REI and Redwood Trading Post.

If you plan on camping indoors, a simple tent made by stringing up a clothesline and a dark bedsheet works great!

Sleeping bags and mats are fairly inexpensive and easy to pick up at the store. But if you’re camping at home, some cozy comforters off your bed are even better. The most important thing about sleeping on the floor, indoors or outdoors, is cushioning. Even a carpeted living room gets uncomfortable and cold without some cushioning between you and the floor. You can use yoga mats, the kids’ gym mats or layer a few fleece blankets or beach towels (the thicker the better).

Make meals fun by taking your family out of your typical family routine. Eat outside, picnic style. Or turn off the lights, light up a lantern or candles and eat indoors. You can find recipes for great camping meals online. Try chili dogs, stews, mac ‘n cheese or creative dinners (which also makes a fun activity to put together). And for dessert, try skillet s’mores!

Don’t forget to plan some fun camping inspired activities. These can be as simple as checking out a stack of camping related books from the library to read with a flashlight or putting together an outdoor scavenger hunt. Take a moment to gaze at the stars and point out the constellations to your kids.

Just remember that the best part about camping is spending quality time with your kids and focus on doing something different from your day-to-day routine. Camping is a great excuse to put away the cell phones and tablets, turn off the TV and focus on each other.

There are more ideas online to help spark your imagination. Here are some resources to check out below:

More Ideas
http://www.parenting.com/article/14-ideas-for-camping-out-in-your-backyard
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/smauros-skillet-smores.html
http://www.howipinchapenny.com/2013/05/backyard-camping-with-kids/

Camping Books
Maisy Goes Camping: A Maisy First Experience Book by Lucy Cousins
Curious George Goes Camping by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey
S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books) by Helen Foster James and Lita Judge
The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham

Bonnie Tam is the mom of two little ones, constantly juggling that crucial balance between work and play. A passionate lover of the outdoors, she is always looking for creative ways to inspire the same in her children. She currently works part-time at a start-up while looking to reenter the energy industry.

Tags:  activities 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

DIY Estate Planning: Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Having a new baby ranks right up there with the world’s most disruptive personal transitions. There’s just nothing like major new responsibilities, sleeplessness, arguing with your spouse, placating your other children (and pets) and dealing with caring for someone 24 hours a day who can’t even hold up her head.

On top of that, there’s planning for that new person’s future.

Any parent of young children needs three basic estate planning documents: a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive.

Here’s why: A Will allows you to nominate guardians to care for your children to age eighteen in case you die before they reach adulthood. A Will also allows you to put a management plan in place so that the money you leave your children can be managed for them until they are old enough to manage it for themselves.

A Durable Power of Attorney appoints someone to act as your Agent in case you are incapacitated, so that someone can pay your bills, take care of your property and pay for your care. Finally, an Advance Health Care Directive appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you can’t do so, and allows you to state your wishes for end of life care.

If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. These three basic estate planning documents are definitely ones that you can do yourself, using forms that are available on the internet. While it’s true that an estate planning attorney can help you to prepare them, the self-help versions are legally valid, accomplish the basics and are way better than doing nothing at all.

Making Your Will
Your Will doesn’t have to be fancy to accomplish two main goals: appointing guardians and managing your children’s money to a reasonable age. If you don’t have a Will and you die, a judge is going to appoint a custodial guardian to care for your children to age eighteen and a property guardian to manage their money to the same age. There are two things wrong with this picture: 1) the judge doesn’t know your family (and your sister-in-law, for example) as well as you do, so not nominating guardians means giving a stranger the power to make a decision that you are best equipped to make; and 2) most eighteen-year-old kids are just not mature enough to manage significant money, and any judicially appointed guardian’s role has to end at eighteen when your child (believe it or not) becomes a legal adult.

To make a simple Will, you have to decide four things:

1) Who to nominate as a guardian. It is best to pick at least two people, so if your first choice can’t do it, you have a back-up.

2) Who to name as an Executor. The executor is the person who will administer your estate. The executor will pay final taxes, outstanding debts, collect and value your property, and distribute it as directed by the Will.

3) Who to name as a Trustee. If you are going to leave your children money in trust to a certain age, the Trustee is the person who is going to manage and distribute their money to them until they reach that age. It can be the same person as your executor, or someone else.

4) When your children should inherit their money outright. Since your children are young, you can’t know how well they’ll manage money yet, so just use yourselves as an example: how old were you when you could manage money responsibly? For some, twenty-five is a good age; for others, it’s thirty-five.

Once you’ve got those four things figured out, you can put together a simple Will, sign it in front of two witnesses who don’t inherit anything, and you’re done. Do not notarize a Will. Store it somewhere safe. Tell your executor where to find it.

Here are two online resources that you can use:
1) The California State Bar offers a free statutory Will. This is a quite basic, fill-in-the-blank form, but it does cover the essential things and is legally valid. This Will allows you to name a custodian to manage your children’s money to age 25. Download the statutory Will at the State Bar’s website.

2) Nolo offers two inexpensive ways to create Wills that are more comprehensive than the State Bar’s basic one. First, for $34.99 you can create an Online Will that you can print out and will allow you to nominate guardians and executors, set up a trust for your children and forgive any debts that people owe you. Second, for $49.99 you can purchase Quicken WillMaker Plus 2015, which will allow you to create and print out a Will as well as Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives.

There are other online options out there, but these two are the ones that I recommend. The State Bar is entirely trustworthy and so are the editors at Nolo, all of whom are attorneys.

Both the Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive appoint an Agent to act for you if you become incapacitated. They are both important parts of every estate plan, since all of us may become sick or hurt over time.

Your Durable Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney applies to your property—your Agent can write checks on your account, hire people to take care of your house, withdraw money from your retirement accounts to pay for your care and file your tax returns. Younger persons may want a Durable Powers of Attorney that only becomes effective when the person is incapable of managing their own affairs. This is called a “Springing” Durable Power of Attorney because it “springs” into effect when you need it, but not before. Usually, two doctors must sign letters stating under penalty of perjury that you are incapable of managing your own affairs before your Agent can act.

The alternative is to sign a document that is effective upon signing – this can be appropriate for people who are traveling, who want to minimize the hassle of making the document effective or who are old or sick now and need immediate help managing their property.

Your Advance Health Care Directive
An Advance Health Care Directive names Agents to make health care decisions for you and lets you state your end of life wishes.

You may have already signed an Advance Directive, since that’s part of every hospital’s pre-admittance paperwork. If you are a member of Kaiser, or other large health care organizations, you may already have signed one with your doctor.

If you don’t have one yet, here are two excellent online options:
1) The California Office of the Attorney General makes a fill-in-the-blank Power of Attorney available for free.

2) If you want more advice and information about what to do, the California Medical Association sells an Advance Directive kit online for $6 that provides much helpful information.

Feel Good, Not Guilty!
Too many people waste their energy feeling guilty about not having an estate plan when they could be using that energy to go ahead and get the basics done. Trust me, if you need an estate plan (because you have kids, a spouse, a job, and some assets) you have the skills needed to get this done.

Liza Hanks is an estate planning attorney at Finch Montgomery Wright LLP and author of the free e-book The Family’s Guide to Wills and Estate Planning. She writes two blogs:The Palo Alto Estate Planning Blog, and Ask Liza: Nolo’s Estate Planning Blog.

Tags:  finances 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Whys of Multiples

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Multiples attract attention, there’s no getting around it. People approach you in public, sometimes just to look at your babies and say “Aw,” sometimes to tell you about twins they know, sometimes to tell you they are a twin! Once a woman came up to me and, touching my amazing double stroller, said, “I wish they had these when I had my twins 60 years ago!”

But sometimes people stop you and ask you a million personal questions, and it’s hard to decide how much you should say. Usually the first question is, “Do twins run in your family?”

If you poke around your family tree, you’ll probably find some twins — about 97 percent of all births are singletons, but twins make up the majority of that other 3 percent. Fraternal twins — twins who are no more similar than any pair of siblings — can sometimes run on the mother’s side of a family if women in that family tend to release more than one egg per ovulation cycle. If you’re having babies later in life, you’re also more likely to release more than one egg and therefore more likely to have fraternal twins.

But identical twins — twins who share the exact same DNA — and multiples running on the father’s side are apparently the result of chance and coincidence, and can happen to anyone. The truth is that multiples run in the human family: women of African descent are more likely to have twins, and women of European descent are more likely to have triplets or more, but anyone planning on having a child should be aware that you could always get a little more than you bargained for.

And of course, if you use any “ART” — assisted reproductive technology — you’re more likely to have multiples too. That certainly affected my pregnancy: My ovaries didn’t release two eggs in a cycle; they released 20! I underwent fertility treatment, and a course of injectable drugs put my reproductive system on overdrive. Of those 20 eggs, 16 were mature enough to inject a sperm into, 8 fertilized, and 4 were still growing five days later. Two of those four were placed in my uterus, and both of them implanted. As a result of this miracle of modern science, two happy, healthy little girls are now the beautiful center of my life.

So when a woman comes up to me in a shopping mall and says, “Twins! How precious! Do twins run in your family?” I have to make some decisions about how much I want to tell. She might accept a simple yes or no and ask no more questions. Or she might interrogate me — Are they boys or girls? Identical or fraternal? What are their names? Were they born early? How much did they weigh at birth? What’s their birthday? — until I am forced to run away. Sometimes people will actually come up to me and say, “Twins! How precious! You must have done IVF!”

In my case, that is true, but I know women whose multiples were the result of chance who get very annoyed when people assume they used fertility treatments. Even to me (and I am writing publicly about my experience!), the question seems too personal when it’s coming from a passing stranger.

But people who ask these questions do not mean any harm. They are delighted by the cuteness-overload of multiple babies. They aren’t thinking about how their questions sound or considering that you get asked these questions all the time. And people can’t help it: they have a question, and they hope that you, the parent, can provide an explanation for why you had multiple babies instead of just one, like most people do.

Perhaps, then, the best answer to the question is to tell these curious if slightly awkward strangers the truth: multiples happen. They happen for lots of reasons and they happen for no reason at all. Once they are here they are a lot of work and a tremendous blessing. Moms of multiples may need help with the workload, but it’s actually pretty easy to find the joy in (or the love for!) all our babies.

How you deal with the attention is a personal choice. Some parents of multiples enjoy it, but some would prefer to be left alone. But if you’re having multiples, you should expect these questions and have a plan to handle them, because your babies are so amazing, they’re going to stop traffic.

Amy Letter is the mom of twin girls Sagan and Tesla, and a writer, artist and professor of English at Drake University. She is a frequent blogger for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Tags:  expecting  multiples 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Five Questions for the Volunteer Manager

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Helping to keep people happy may seem a daunting task for some, but Elizabeth Fashing welcomes the challenge with open arms. As Membership Manager for PAMP, Elizabeth says, “I am responsible for for keeping our members happy!” She responds to member questions, invites and recruits new members, runs member reports for the Board and performs any other task that concerns membership satisfaction.

“I’ve been out of the work force since my son arrived, so I appreciate that this is a position where I can re-hone my administrative skills, get more involved in the PAMP community and also set my own schedule around taking care of my son.”

Elizabeth also manages PAMP volunteers and coordinates outreach to members to recruit them for volunteer opportunities. Additionally, she manages some of the administrative turnover for the Board when new officers begin their roles.

“I just recently joined the PAMP staff, so my goals are to find ways to streamline as much of the membership process as possible, work with other PAMP staff and the board to expand our membership and heighten awareness of PAMP in the community,” Elizabeth says. “I also help our members find ways to connect to each other.”

Checking email for member and community inquiries, looking at any upcoming events to see if volunteers are needed and troubleshooting technical issues members may have with their accounts are some usual day-to-day tasks for the Membership Manager.

Elizabeth and her husband relocated to the West coast from North Carolina. They have lived in the Bay area for almost a year and have a two-year-old son. She became a PAMP member shortly after moving to the area. Her husband is a software engineer, and besides working with PAMP, she instructs baby and me fitness classes.

1. What is the last non-kid movie you saw? I think the last one we watched was X-Men 2: Days of Future Past.

2. Are you a Bay Area native or transplant? We are originally from the East Coast; we spent a little over a year in San Diego before moving to the Bay area in Summer 2014.

3. What’s at the top of your to-do list? I’d like to get some summer vacations planned!

4. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character? We don’t watch Sesame Street, but my son does like Dinosaur Train. King Cryolophosaurus is my favorite.

5. Why are you a PAMP volunteer (or staff)? Initially, I joined PAMP to meet others in the community since we were new to the area. When I saw that the Membership Manager position was open, I thought it would be a great opportunity to dip my toes back into the workforce and also become more involved with PAMP.

Each month we train the spotlight on someone who works behind the scenes for PAMP. Interested in joining the ranks? Browse our open volunteer positions and apply today!  


Tags:  spotlight 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 20 of 22
 |<   <<   <  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22