birthday rollercoaster

On July 24, 2011, my diary reads: Der schlimmste und beste Tag (The worst and best day) – ever.

One year later, on another rainy July morning, this manic spectrum of memories and emotions is still with me, but I’ve come to accept that the story of Q&L’s arrival [in short: days of excruciating pain from a twin-related kidney blockage, topped with 48 hours of induced labor in a desperate attempt to avoid a c-section (both boys had recently turned and were positioned perfectly…), only to finally give in, then think we were through it all but end up in a second emergency surgery two hours later, again in full consciousness – while R was left alone with his newborn sons, growing unsure if he would see me again – losing more than half of my blood, getting hooked up for transfusions and iron injections, and consequently not being able to hold/nurse/take care of my babies for the first couple of days] is part of our story. Which is otherwise a good one. Q&L stole my heart the moment their slimy little cheeks touched mine – and, most importantly, turned out to be the happiest, healthiest and toughest little guys I’ve ever met.

Twin year 1, with all its challenges, always referred to as ‘the hardest,’ was generally a blast. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure how we made it through the first three months with R in Chicago and me in Berlin, even though I had the strongest imaginable partner-in-crime in my Mom who dedicated her summer to us, made sure I got some sleep during the boys’ crazy 3-hour-feeding intervals, and helped me become the Mama I wanted to be.

In comparison, months 4-8 seemed like a walk in the park – all four of us together, with amazing family support on this side of the pond, discovering our new city and making new friends with two chipper babies who ate and slept well – this phase immediately made us want another set. Which kind of paused in month 9 when Q&L got serious about moving – nonstop, always, immer, that is. Exhausting as hell, but: Watching them explore the world with all senses and without any reservations, seeing them develop, learn, imitate and interact, is the single best thing in my life.

Twin year 2 will bring even more mobility, language(s?), a working Mama, 2L Papa, at least one Berlin trip and uncountable firsts. I officially can’t wait.

Happy first birthday, mini men. I couldn’t love you more.
And happy first birthday, R. I told you I was the luckiest.

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good flight, and good luck

As the August travel craze is approaching, a quick note on traveling the air with mini globetrotters in their first year.
Here’s what worked for us:

1) Sky Cribs

They live in the front wall of the back compartment and are a true life-saver: Baby Bassinets. Some airlines won’t let you reserve them in advance (really, BA?) but most of them do. And, they’re free. Tricky part: The seat next to you will be kept open until the very last second but if the flight is solidly booked, someone might sit next to you – and therefore, kind of under your baby. Still – planes are perfect sound machines, and the fancy little beds with pillows, sheets and blankets actually seem to be quite comfy…

Q&L, snoozing away over the Atlantic.

Random fact that came in handy for us: SAS has the highest weight allowance of all the airlines going to Europe.

2) Airplane Ears
Babies can’t adjust the air pressure by swallowing so they need a boob or bottle during take off and landing to keep their ears from hurting. It works beautifully.

3) Hands-free Babes
If you can, don’t burden yourself with a stroller or car seat in the airport. Especially if you have to switch planes, a baby carrier is the way to go. Easy transfer (and entertainment!) on the plane and, most importantly, two free hands for luggage, passport control and the like.

Smooth Travels, everyone!