Last weekend we decided to go apple picking. This was an ambitious plan. The orchards were 45 minutes away, so the entire expedition had to take place between lunch and afternoon naps. We ran the risk of a triple meltdown of our 3-year-old and her 14-month-old twin brothers. We knew, too, that the orchards would be crowded. We went anyway. It was a successful (if exhausting) adventure, and it served to highlight these lessons on taking your twins out in public.
1. You will be the center of attention. This is something most parents of multiples know already. Taking them out in public draws a lot of attention, especially when they’re babies. Be ready to answer the classic three questions: Are they twins? How old are they? Are they identical or fraternal? Amusingly, a large segment of the populace doesn’t quite understand the last one. On the wagon ride out to the orchard, someone asked, “Are they paternal?” No, they’re a *bit* young for that. Prepare for lots of conversations with strangers. Going out with twins is rather like being a celebrity. The attention’s fun at first, but sometimes you’d like to be left alone.
2. Get help from friends and family. We invited my parents to come apple-picking with us. Looking back, I’m not sure how we would have made this trip without their help. It took all four of to manage our quick-footed 3-year-old, keep the twins entertained, pick apples, and haul around the box of fruit. My parents have this uncanny knack for turning up in clutch moments when we could really use help, and we’re better off for it. Reflecting on that reminds me that, when we announced we were expecting twins, the offers of help and support from friends & family poured in. The amount of actual help that showed up was far less. You have to ask for it, and you shouldn’t hesitate to do so.
3. Bring your own base camp. The night before our trip, we debated on whether we should bring a wagon for the twins or push them in their double stroller. A wagon seems better suited anytime there’s off-roading to do, be it on grass, gravel, sand, or other uneven surfaces. Plus, the boys tend to remain better entertained and engaged in a wagon than a stroller. It’s also harder to drop things from a wagon, though not impossible. Our apple picking trip, however, had two important complications: it promised to be a sunny afternoon, and the orchards are accessible only by hayride. For these two reasons, we went instead with our heavy-duty double umbrella stroller. It had a canopy and also folded up to a more compact size. The wagon, for all its strengths, would probably have been too big for the hayride. All of these are things to consider when you’re choosing the best form of “twin transport”.
4. Preparation is key. Anytime we take the twins out, we prepare like we’re going into battle. This was no exception. We applied baby sunscreen at home while everyone was getting dressed. No sunburns for that beautiful baby skin!. They’ll thank us someday. We packed a cooler with milk (twins), Capri Suns (daughter), and diet soda (us). We had snacks and backup snacks and backup-backup snacks. Camera and camcorder. Hats and sunglasses for everyone. And just in case we changed our minds about the stroller, we brought the wagon too. Gotta love having a minivan! It seems like a lot for a 3-hour trip, but we ended up using just about everything.
5. Take all the memories, leave only footprints (or in our case, an actual shoe). Two things I know about having multiples: it makes every adventure more memorable, and there’s a lot more baby gear to leave behind. I’d love to tell you that we took hundreds of pictures and hours of video to chronicle every moment of apple-picking. Not even close! But we came home with several good photos and eight pounds of apples. Of course, no great adventure comes without a cost. Somewhere between the orchard, the produce store, and the custard shop, one of our twins lost a shoe. We searched in the crowded store for it, we asked at customer service, all to no avail. Amusingly, customer service had a different boy’s shoe (a blue Croc) for the wrong foot. So at least we weren’t alone in leaving behind a trail of possessions.
Go forth and take your twins into the world! They’ll bring delight wherever you go.
About the Author
Dan Koboldt is a father of three little ones. In his rare free time, he writes on the Best of Twins blog about having, raising, and enjoying life with multiples.