• Tue, Nov 20 2012

Twinning: It’s A Play Yard, Not A Baby Jail

play yardHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

The day my daughter Allie started crawling was one of mixed emotions. I was excited at first, got out the video camera, and called my husband to tell him the good news. While I was talking to him, Allie crawled over to the monitor wire, tugged it and it knocked her on the head as it toppled to the floor. I hung up on my husband amid Allie’s shrieks, and made sure she was okay.

I had underestimated how fast she could crawl, and how easily she could endanger herself. I had read that to baby-proof your house once your babies are mobile, you should crawl around yourself and eliminate any potential dangers. I would have said the nursery was the safest room in the house, but as I looked around while cradling Allie I noticed wires, extension cords, electrical outlets, and a bookshelf not anchored to the wall. If the nursery was such a veritable death pit, what was the rest of the house like? I felt a rising panic as I watched Allie’s twin roll back and forth between their two cribs, because I’d soon have two babies crawling around the house. I needed help, and I needed it fast.

I called my friend who was the president of our local Moms of Multiples group and explained my situation. She had an immediate solution to offer: “You need a play yard,” she told me confidently. She explained that you could buy a cheap version that looks like a grey gating pen and will no doubt have people judging you like they judge mothers who put their kids on leashes. The more expensive type of play yard looked like a place for kids to play instead of being imprisoned, but it all depended on what was important to you.

A quick internet search showed me the contestants. The grey gates wouldn’t work for us–my aunt had the same thing, but it was for her dog to play in outside in the summer. The other play yard, which was called a “Lights and Sounds Play Zone” was exactly what I was looking for. It was a kid-friendly, primary-colored plastic monstrosity, but to me it looked like Heaven. It had a little two-way door that could be locked, and a toy panel decked out with a telephone, lights, and bead rollers. It didn’t take me long to decide between the two, as I could already hear the disparaging comments some of my female relatives would make about the grey baby prison. I was sold on the Play Zone.

I was going to buy one for our TV room and some extra panels to make it bigger, but the possibilities of having two Play Zones was worlds better. 26 glorious feet of safe play space! After taking a few measurements, I decided to buy two Play Zones and put them in our living room. The beautiful coffee table that matched our Ethan Allen sofa was wrapped up and placed in the attic. Our Persian rug was completely covered by a yellow foam alphabet mat. There’s no getting around the fact that it was an eyesore for adults, but home decor took a backseat to a safe and fun space for toddlers.

While I was doing all this measuring and ordering, my twins were on the move. Nick was doing a commando crawl and Allie was pulling up on everything. They sucked on everything they could find, emptied every bookshelf they could reach, and squeezed themselves into any dangerous space they could. The only peace I got during this time was when they were strapped into something or sleeping.

The day our Play Zones arrived was a great day for our family. Once it was assembled, I put a big selection of toys, dolls and books inside and my twins had a blast. They could crawl around, suck on everything, and I had nothing to worry about. Every night after they were asleep, I’d tidy the space up, take out some toys and add different ones, so each morning they were excited to get inside. The Play Zones worked great with our morning routine, letting the kids play while I was able to eat breakfast in the next room, sitting down for the first time in months. I could also put one or both in there quickly without having to fuss with seat belts or set-up. Sure it looked awful, but it made our house livable for all four of us–something no fancy coffee table or Persian rug could ever do.

(Photo: Amazon)

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  • Winwin

    I bought the same play zone for my son! It was a life saver for a few weeks, but unfortunately my son got tired of it quickly. I was still able to re-purpose it though. I used it as a guard rail around the TV area so he couldn’t get to the TV and the wires surrounding it. It worked great that way for months! He would pull himself up and stare at all the things on the other side, or hold on to the ‘wall’ and dance when we play music :)

  • Guest

    Sounds perfect! I don’t have twins but can recall that time when a baby starts moving and no longer stays where you put them if you nip into the next room or whatever!

  • Mrs.

    Just bought two North States Portable Play yards (State prisons?) with 4 extenders (making a cushy Federal prison?). Then I read the poor reviews. Eh! I hope that when they arrive next week, they will be great and there will be no “hinge breakage”.
    It was a choice between a $1,300.00 chain link fence or $190.00 for just about the same square footage of “fencing”. We have 16 month old boy/girl twins; we went with $190.00! Man, I hope these play-yards work!
    I’ve been a twin mom for a year and a half; after having singles two and three years apart from one another. Singles are not really like twins and there is nothing wrong with us putting our child(ren) in safe places so that we can do the things we need to do…like cook meals for our families.