Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!

This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.

How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is the Audience Participation Portion of the Blog

Here we go, people. It's time for all of you "lurkers" (as you like to call yourselves) out there to get in the game. I know there are a lot of readers out there (10,244 hits so far) but not a lot of comments. Well, here's your chance to help me out with comments, suggestions, advice, etc. The babies are due April 11th and will probably arrive end of March because twins usually come early. Let the preparations begin!

1. The question I've been thinking about for a while is: What do children with two dads call their dads? Dad and daddy? Daddy 1 and Daddy 2? Daddy Michael and Daddy Derek? Brainy dad and brawny dad? (Derek and I decided on our second date he was the brains and I was the brawn because he beat me at a trivia game at Dave and Buster's and I beat him at skeeball and a snowboarding arcade game.)

2. Derek and I are looking to connect with parents of twins to learn more about what twins need. My big question is about the stroller. Anyone know good strollers for twins? Should we get the side by side kind or the front and back kind? Or should we just buy a large, loyal dog and strap the babies to the dog? Maybe a St. Bernard? What's the maximum weight a St. Bernard can carry? Is it worth investing in a miniature pony instead?

3. Should we buy stock in Pepridge Farm or General Mills? Will we go through more Goldfish crackers or Cheerios? Will it make a difference if we have boys or girls since boys use Cheerios as a target during potty training?

4. I have a long last name. How frustrated will a child get if he or she has a 16 letter hyphenated last name vs. a 10 letter last name?

5. Derek and I will most likely become regulars at Babies 'R Us very soon. What should we definitely get? What was a waste of your money? Do you know of a good brand of car seats? What about those beds that grow with your baby? How many binkies do we need? And why on earth does no one use the word pacifier anymore? And is it a binky or a binkie? Inquiring minds want to know.

6. Derek keeps talking about matching outfits for the twins. I say no. Pick a side. Take a stand. This is like toilet paper rolls going over vs. under, Team Jennifer vs. Team Angelina or Team Edward vs. whatever that vampire guy's name is. ( Edward the vampire? I don't know and I don't care. I don't have a teenage daughter.)

7. Now that the twins can hear, Derek got us a lullabelly and our amazing surrogate said she would use it. While Derek and I have our own favorite childhood stories we want to read, we'd love to know your favorite stories too. What books should we read to the twins? Goodnight Moon? The Hungry Caterpillar? Samuel L. Jackson's Go the F**k to Sleep?

8. Lastly, but still an extremely important question, what can I do for my surrogate after the babies are born? I know every surrogate is different and has a unique relationship with her IPs so it's hard to know for sure what to do. Does anyone have any ideas? How do you thank someone for doing this? Any advice from IPs or surrogates? My surrogate and I both had said, at the start of this process, that we hope to be in touch and be friends. That is what is happening. We care for each other but we don't go out for lunch and call each other every week. I do hope to stay in touch with her after the babies are born and I think she would like to stay in touch with me. I've read surrogate blogs and the women are thrilled to see their IPs' dreams come true, but some have had a little bit of mixed emotions seeing their journey end. If you could tell your IPs anything, what would you want them to know?

I know my questions were silly and funny, but I really am looking for advice.


  1. My daughter calls her Father "Dad" and my son calls him Poppy.

  2. #1. I saw on A Baby Story two Moms and one was Mommy, the other was Mama so maybe Daddy and Dad? Papa would work unless that is what grandfathers will be called..

    #2 I would say the long stroller vs wide one.. For doorways and isles and such only, I have no current knowledge on this. When my boys were little (newborn and 2) I had the cadillac double stroller and it was big and heavy.. I think they have come a long way since 1995 though, lol!

    #3 Your babies will decide this.. It may be either or BOTH. One might like gold fish the other cheerios, LOL!

    #4 They will hate it no matter what in the beginning, because little kids don't like to write long things, LOL! My oldest son has a long name, my youngest FOUR letters.. The oldest did not appreciate one bit he had more letters to write than his brother and told me on many occasions..

    #5 Paci is an alternative to binky.. I think it's for the kids sake the word is shortened or easier to say.. And you will need a million of them if your babies take them! Don't get a bunch right away though, because some babies don't even like them or you have to find a brand they do like because they get spoiled to the hospital ones.. You will need MUCH LESS than you think and WANT more than you think.. You will get tons of stuff from your baby shower as well, so think about that too..

    #6 I say YES on matching outfits for safety reasons. I did this to mine (two years apart in age) it came in very handy when we went to fairs and carnivals, etc. If someone got loose (inevitably always my youngest) I would ask people if they saw the little boy that had THIS EXACT OUTFIT ON and it always was yep he's over there! and also it's easy to spot your kid in a crowd if his/her sibling has same outfit on.. But that's just me. My boys hated it though if that matters..

    #7 Goodnight Moon is a must, so is Hungry Caterpillar. Guess How Much I Love you and the list goes on. TONS of great ones..

    #8, Siiiigh... I will be asking you this question, I can't wait for this part.. You guys will be fine, you are going to be amazing parents!! xoxo Tonya

  3. I don't have much advice when it comes to materials you will need but more mentality. As a twin, I have to say that their "other-half" complex will be one of the greatest battles if not the greatest. Even as boy/girl twins, we often leveraged from each others' strengths...which perhaps didn't allow us to grow those strengths in ourselves. As a side note, I'm not even sure it’s possible to develop full independence before they’re adults. Hell, it took 4 years of the Marine Corps (him) and College (me) to get us to really grow separately…and we still checked in on each other almost every night. I feel it’s a good idea to show distinction or their uniqueness, not that they are 2 halves of one person. Meaning, their own names that do not rhyme, separate style of clothing, 2 separate birthday celebrations, separate b-day cakes (or a cake and a cookie as it was in my family), separate bedrooms, separate classes in school or even the option to celebrate with a big party and a low key movie for those Extravert/Introvert paired twins. Don’t force them to act as 1 kid, they’re already prone to those tendencies. I know a lot of this is advice for the future but it stems from that perspective that these are 2 separate people who will need to be fostered in their growth and development in 2 separate ways at 2 separate times. As twins, they will automatically be geared towards that interdependence on each other, its important they are challenged in the opposite direction. I’ve known twins, especially those of the same sex, to cling to each other which slows down their social development. As far as equality goes, I’m not sure how to lead into this concept or even why it’s important but ‘fairness’ is crucial. I wonder if it’s because favoritism is so apparent in 2 kids of the same age in similar situations or if it’s just apparent in all families. Brian and I were always torturing my parents about favoritism…mostly because it didn’t exist in our family. It was imperative that balance was maintained and equality was showed to us both. We even got the same number of sick days regardless of actual ailments. This made us feel like we were supported unconditionally and we felt less of a need to lash out at the other-our lifelong ally. Regardless if that’s a twin thing or a sibling thing, it made life easier and the love of our family stronger. Having all that said, be prepared for one hell of a ride! Having twins can be easier at times (you knock out all the rough stages at one times versus waiting for the younger kid to grow into it) and harder at times (they go through the hard stages at the same time…eek). They feed off each other in positive and negative ways (I know mom said you’re grounded and not suppose to drive but you can drive my car, Iw won’t say anything), incite each other (my aqua net from ballet class makes a more projectile flame than gasoline) and communicate is strange ways (arguing is the most effective form of communication). The irony, they make a great team because they will work so well together…even when they want to kill each other. They will be the lifelong ally of the other. When sh*t hit the fan, Brian was there without me having to ask. It’ll be weird, fun, scary, hilarious and ridiculous. I love being a twin but I feel like we are 2 people now and we wouldn’t have gotten here without that anal “separate and equal” obsession from my parents. Good luck! As a side note, my father is now bald and my mother’s hair is white. Hehe! Twin Power! *Hugs to you 4*
    ~ashley & (by association) brian~

  4. 1. All I hear at my house is “MOMMA!!” even though daddy’s sitting there playing a computer game. So, whatever you do, don’t let them call you, “Momma!” :) Daddy and Dad sound like a great idea!

    2. I don’t have twins but tried to use the side-by-side umbrella stroller with two little ones and it sucked donkey balls. So, I’m gonna vote for the front/back kind. :) Honestly, I didn’t use the stroller much when going out, but again, I didn’t have twins. Strap one on to your chest and stroller for the other?

    3. Pepperidge farm…except they won’t eat them. They’ll shove them between the couch cushions and into the deepest crevices of the van you will ultimately succumb to buying.

    4. Ask Zach Galifianakis and George Stephanopoulos. They’re both famous. Maybe that will give your kids a leg-up?

    5. We made do with less than we though. Diaper Genie wasn’t used like we thought it would be. Neither was the baby tub. LOVED the net feeder (both for fruits and teething) and those travel bags for dirty diapers. Kind of like the bags for doggy doo-doo. :) When you get to convertible car seats, the Cosco Scenera 5-point one got the same safety ratings as the Britax and it’s only like $40. We got the convertible crib and used it with all 3 and made it into beds. They even slept in it. ;) Babydreams is right. Slow your roll on the paci-buying until you figure out if your kids like them. Then, if you find out, buy 100 of them. They get shoved into couch cushions too. My advice? Take them away by the first year or suffer the consequences. Okay, I’m kidding, sort of. I have had a ton of friends regret letting their kids keep them that long though.

    6. As someone who is going to the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn (part 4 of the Twilight series), my opinion may be moot. I say, dress them up differently but coordinate b/c that always looks nice. ;)

    7. Oh the Places You’ll Go.

    8. Keep your promises. :) If you said you’d stay in touch, try to. We don’t need much…a picture, a text, email, now and then. We know you’re busy but it’s nice to hear how happy you are. My IPs have been AMAZING and it’s meant the world to me. Really, seeing pictures of you with your babies is such a great gift. Remember, we miss you too. We spend 9 mths getting to know you. :) Anything else on top of that is gravy. I will say, I had a spa day and that was amazing…I never expected that from my IPs but I treasured that time and it was their way of thanking me. It was incredible! I've had friends that never heard a word from their IPs after and that hurts the most. :(

  5. Here's my advice for the stroller... Think about how you will use it the most. For shopping? Jogging/Hiking? In and out of the car a lot? Then start looking into the strollers that specialize in that area. Now, I had NO idea what kind I wanted... so I went with the Tandem (Front & Back) Snap & Go by Baby Trend. It's AWESOME! It's less than a $100 and it's just a frame... you snap the Infant Carrier into it and you're off! I loved it because it was very light and easy to get in and out of the car. It was great for shopping because it has a HUGE basket underneath and it has two cup-holders and compartment for keys near the handle for you. After the boys grew out of it I used a side-by-side that was passed down to me. Personally, I didn't like it because it was too hard to get through doors at doctors offices or even at Jewel! I kept bumping into everything! Plus, the boys would steal stuff from each other (since they were within grabbing distance)... toys, bottles, snacks. It was a nightmare! I eventually bought another tandem stroller by Baby Trend. Highly recommend their strollers.

    Car seats... Supposedly Britax is the best brand. However, it's really expensive. Checkout the safety ratings of the car seats. (I actually bought the Cosco brand seats for boys when they grew out of their infant carriers. They LOVE them and the seats have a 5 star rating.) When you're at the store, pick up the car seat and try walking with it... some of them are more awkward to carry than others.

    Make sure you register for a good bouncer seat. You need two. Also, they make these new bouncers that are a bit higher and I wish I had them when they boys were born... you could it right next to the bed at night if they're being fussy about being in the crib.

    I know it seems silly, but register for a couple baby carriers also. I still use mine and the boys are 18 months. You can put one kid in the carrier and carry the other one into a store until you can get a cart. Then you have one in the cart and one in the carrier and you don't need your stroller! LOL (Of course this doesn't work til they're about 9 months old...) Also, if you have one baby that just needs to be close to you all the time, you can wear them in the carrier and still do stuff around the house. You feel silly, but it works.

    I didn't have a strong opinion about if the boys clothes should match or not. I would say they match 50% of the time. And most of the time it's because people gave us matching outfits. When I buy clothes for them I try to do outfits that coordinate with each other. Also, when the boys were very young I tried to make sure that Jonathon's stuff was always green and David's stuff was blue. This was helpful with bottles and binky's (or paci's... Honestly, I still call them pacifers) It was nice because everyone knew the color system so no one ever wondered which bottle belonged to which kid.

    And lastly, long before your kids will be eating cheerios and goldfish, they will eat Puffs. They're awesome little snacks (made by Gerber and other baby food companies) that pretty much dissolve in their mouths. They help the babies learn coordination and it's a great food to start eating even before they have teeth.

    Check out this website: They have great stuff just for multiples AND you can register on their website. (BONUS!)

    If you would like someone to come with you when you register, let me know! I just went with my cousin and helped her... it's fun and the boys always enjoy an outing to Babies R Us.

    Hope you're doing well.

  6. Hey guys,

    Lot's of stuff going on with this one...

    1. Some friends of mine have 2 children (not twins) and the kids call one daddy and the other dad. I really just think whatever you guys are comfortable with...

    2. I have no idea about strollers, but I would suggest the front and back kind; as you might have trouble getting into restaurants and shops with a side-by-side. Those things are just too wide for most doors.

    3. I see a lot of parents giving their children puff cereal. I, unfortunately, have no idea who makes it. All I can say is that it comes in a tube.

    4. Such is life. ;)

    5.Not much help here. Sorry ;(

    6.I would say different outfits. If it's been posted before, I apologize, but do you know if they're identical or not? Most parents that I know dress them differently to help tell them apart. lol.

    7. How about the School House Rock Live series? lol

    8.That's a big one. I never thought of something like that happening. It makes sense, though. I'm not much help here either. ;(


  7. You should join a multiples group - they are everywhere! - in your neighborhood. It allows you to inherit both gear and advice from parents who have been there done that. Every lesbian couple I know does Mommy and Mama so I suspect Daddy and Papa can work in its place. Essentials - carriers like Ergo or Bjorn, swings, and I have a friend who swears by the City Select (?) double stroller.

  8. Finally figured how to do this from a regular computer instead of my phone!

    1. Your twins will learn to sign before they actually talk, so maybe start with that. They'll be communicating via sign at an early age, so maybe the sign for Dad with an M for you and a D for Derek on the forehead where the Dad sign is.

    2. I didnt have twins, but I have 2 sets of twins in my family. Plus many kids close in age. The long strollers always worked out better. One thing my kids REALLY liked were those wind up swings. They would fall asleep right away when they were fussy, as opposed to getting them in the car and driving around the block a couple of times.

    3. Most kids like both Cheerios and Goldfish. But everybody's right, they end up in the couch cushions no matter what.

    4. Would it be too weird to have one child with your last name and the other with Derek's? Or maybe have them both with a middle name Stiles and use your last name. You dont talk about first names, and I know its not my business, but if you are having at least one girl, I think the name Grace is fabulously elegant. How presumptious of me to weigh in on this?! Smile. I just think its a beautiful name. No matter what, at some point growing up, your children are going to have a love/hate relationship with their names.

    5. Get the swing! For beds, no matter what you do, I've heard stories where twins have difficulty sleeping in separate beds or separate rooms. Even with parents trying to separate them into 2 toddler beds,or place them in separate rooms in the morning the twins always end up together. So be prepared for that.

    6. I personally dont like matching outfits. Kills individuality. But I know plenty of twin parents who prefer that. Actually, not to freak you out, but if you have two boys or two girls, I've talked to parents who freak out at the thought of mixing up their children, especially when they're babies and identical. Separate outfits will help with that, but also, different diaper brands-Huggies for one child, Pampers for the other, or name bracelets on each child. Booties and hats dont work cause they often come off.

    7. Goodnight Moon and Hungry Caterpillar are great. Also, any book that has tactile pictures for the child to feel. Get sign language videotapes. I hear enough deaf parents whose kids LOVE them. The talking electronic books with various sounds too.

    8. I think the Spa day idea is a really great way to "pamper" your surrogate.


  9. The only one I can really weigh in on is #1, Tony is going to Papa and I am going to be Daddy. I love your enthusiasm!

  10. I'd just like to know how you parents of twins have time or energy to coordinate their clothes. They're just going to spit up on them anyway. If they both at least have pants on in public, you're aces in my book.

  11. I'm not sure you really want my comments, but here goes!

    1. Leaning towards the Daddy Michael and Daddy Derek. Better than good daddy, bad daddy (good cop, bad cop).

    2. For a stroller, I would recommend the front and back. Having had 2 kids close together, I liked the compactness of that kind. Unless you have sick tendencies and want to take out people as you walk down the sidewalk.

    3. Go for the cheerios!

    4. The kid gets used to it. May be in therapy later in life from having to spend enormous amounts of kindergarten trying to fit the name on one of those little lines.

    5. Really can't answer that question..

    6. Matching outfits???? Why not just dress the four of you alike. Make sure that the therapy continues long into their adult years....

    7. "I'll Love you Forever"

    8. For a gift, I was thinking about a spa day. She has taken care of your little ones for 9 months, give her a day to take care of herself after the beautiful little ones are born.

  12. Jim Grote here - I kinda lazily glanced through the comments, but the one about not having rhyming/similar names struck me as a good suggestion. Also, play 12-year-old and see what sorts of mean nicknames you can come up with their names to see if you want to risk that. Also, just in case they end up in an industry where using three initials is common (particularly lawfirms), make sure they don't end up with "ASS" or "DUM" or something like that. In terms of the names for the two of you, "Dad" and "Daddy" sound too similar to me (imagine one or the other of them screaming it from the other side of the house). And likewise, "Daddy" is a diminutive and "Dad" isn't and might color their thinking of you as they "learn" what a diminutive means (cute/little/lesser). I'd advocate for Papa and Dad or two other similarly different-sounding names. Good luck!

  13. Britax is great for car seats. They are super safe and have cute cover patterns, it's the only brand I will buy. The best purchase I made for my twins was a pair of Fisher-Price baby papasan swings, we got soooo much use out of those. Also, you'll probably only need one crib at first since they will probably want to sleep next to each other. I had a side by side, it was a Maclaren and it was very light and narrow so it fit through doors without problem and was easy to fold up and carry around.

  14. Just an FYI, not sure if you want your last names up on the internets. ;)

  15. We just found out recently we are having twins ourselves.. Congrats to you!! I'm glad you asked these questions, it's been a great help to me reading all of the responses! :)

  16. Hey Michael!

    How do you feel about Abba for you and Daddy for Derek? Dad and daddy might end up sounding the same at first (or signing the same as making distinctions with letters won't happen for awhile for the babes!)

    Strollers-definitely like the idea of the double snap n go with the car seats. This gives you guys time to see how you use the stroller so you know what you are looking for when it's time to spend the big bucks. That being said, the Phil and Ted's is great for a front to back and I've heard people like the uppa baby vista with doubles attachment. For side by side A LOT of people here like the city mini double and it is much lighter than the mountain buggy without being as useless as the maclaren side by side.

    definitely want to have places to put babes down-bouncy chair, swing (the portable one is much smaller and easier to move about the house), etc. check out local parenting listserves for a lot of this stuff. i know a lot of it you will want brand new but some of the big ticket items you actually use for such a short time. you can get them used in really good shape and much cheaper.

    whatever you do with stocking up, start small and then send someone to purchase more of whatever works. neither of my kids ever took a pacifier though there were times i wished they would! one of them loved the doorway jumper, one couldn't stand it. don't let the great wall of pacifiers at the store freak you out!

    when your friends and family offer to help, say yes! see if they can set up a schedule to bring you meals post babies arrival. when they offer to run to the store for you, say yes (and tell them which pacifiers to pick up!) i know our inclinations are often to say it's fine, we don't need anything. but it's not and you do and that's why your friends are there.

    i will write you separately with book titles. need to go down to the kids' rooms and make a list!

    i am so happy and excited for you guys. can't wait to hear more reports.

  17. Thanks for the advice about the last names, TXSurromom. Here's Mera's great comment minus the last names....

    mera has left a new comment on your post "This Is the Audience Participation Portion of the ...":

    i've been waiting all day to comment on this!

    1. i like 2 different kinds of names. or like on "the L word" daddy m and daddy d? i don't like the numbers though. that could potentially show ranking and how do you decide that?

    2. miniature pony! or the stroller that christine suggested...whatever

    3. boys use cheerios as a target during potty training? also, my twin friends shouldn't be eating those foods anyways, they have hydrogenated oils.

    4. hyphenated last names are all the rage! It is my vote. seriously.

    5. i know it's exciting to shop for babies, but people are gonna give you a shit ton of stuff that you will probably think is ugly. just wait til then and exchange it all for cloth diapers.

    6. no matching outfits. my sister and i hated our matching outfits and we weren't even twins. if they are identical you could help people differentiate by having a color that they always wear. i used to teach these 2 little girl twins at dance class and one always had a purple leotard and the other's was always black. (SO CUTE!)

    7. i think you got all the necessities. maybe also: "where the wild things are," and if you have any girls, "eloise."

    8. keep in touch forever. and spa day.

    i sound like the biggest hippie ever. and i am.

    Posted by mera to Michael's Surrogate Experience at November 16, 2011 11:37 PM

  18. I love the idea of a St. Bernard. My sister's due any day with twins (boy and girl). While I always thought the City Mini double (side by side) seemed like the one to get, everyone she polled with twisn recommended the City Select tandem double. They may be specifically because they live in NYC and it's easier for getting around the city, but maybe some of the same criteria apply in Chicago? I agree with Jody though that the double snap n go with car seats is the way to go for the first few (plus) months. She also has great points about needing as many places to put the babies down as possible and that you can get used stuff in great condition. I actually have a list a friend made me of what you need at first that I modified with my thoughts for my sister which I'll send you - although it may take a little while because I am seriously absent minded these days. Other point for now is that Amazon Mom (called that, but that's pretty sexist) will be your best friend ever. I never go to Babies R Us. Moms, dads, any kind of caregiver can sign up and it gives you a year of free two day shipping on any item that Amazon ships directly, which with a baby or babies is often faster than you can get to the store. Great prices and extra discounts on diapers. Don't sign up until closer to when they're due so your year will last longer - and then Derek can get his year when yours runs out. That's all for now. So happy for you guys! - Maitreya

  19. Here's a great post by a great friend minus the last names.

    BJorgen has left a new comment on your post "This Is the Audience Participation Portion of the ...":

    1. I think the kids will help you out with this, but I imagine one of you will be Dada and the other Papa to begin with, since - listening to Nicole's son learn to talk - those are the first things he's calling his Dad... I don't know. I think you'll figure it out as you go, but I think you both deserve to be called some version of Dad/Father since there are very few people in the world who can rightfully call you that. :-)

    2. The double wide strollers are obnoxious! They take up too much space. Get the kind where one kid sits in front of the other, and just take turns putting one in front of the other.

    3. Cheerios are healthier. I'm voting for General Mills.

    4. I think you should combine your last names. [Like Bradgelina or Bennifer]

    5. I dunno but I'll babysit while you go shopping.

    6. Same outfit, different colors.

    7. You need to sing to those kids, MH!! You love musicals. Choose from those songs. And play them some good, melodic classical music music -- like Bach or Handel. We need to start developing their sense of pitch NOW!!

    8. Of course, I don't have a good answer for the last question, but I think open and clear communication with her letting her know that your happy to invite her over every once in a while or just send her Holiday cards -- whatever she's most comfortable with. You're good at being honest and aware of people's feelings, so I know you'll handle it well whatever happens.

    LOVE YOU!!

    Posted by BJorgen to Michael's Surrogate Experience at November 18, 2011 9:18

  20. I'm not a parent so can't really comment on any of the things, except the clothes. If they are identical twins dress them the same but with one small exception: On the front of child A's shirt write "Control" and on the front of child B's shirt write "Treatment." The scientific community will be forever in your debt.


  21. Most of these tips are from my mom, because she had 5 kids (no twins) and has been running a day care from her home for 30 years. So she has a bit of experience :) (and you know me I learn best from observation!)

    Daddy M_____ and Daddy D____

    Side by side strollers, many front to back are created for an older child and a younger child. Also when they are younger you want as easy access to them as possible. Side by side will give you that access.

    Go with Gold fish. When you get to potty training, what you do is, drain the water from the toilet, paint a bulls-eye on the toilet and turn back on the water

    Binkie is a brand name (tru-biz) but hold off on that, it is easier to get rid or ween off a binkie then it is a thumb. Also random fact, if you put them down with a bottle it is better to have water then juice, crazy enough baby's can have bottle rot to their teeth.

    Get a port-a-crib. They are a pain to set up and break down but they will become your best friend and the best thing to travel with!

    DO not get a changing table. You end up using the floor, the bed, and the couch so much more. Also with a changing table their is a easier chance of a fall. Which we do not want! NO changing table.

    For my sisters and I we went from a crib to twin size beds with railings, and then removed the railings.

    No matching outfits. we want to identify them as individuals and let them find their own personalities (when they start picking clothes and dressing themselves)

    For books, try Jan Brett, Betrix Potter.

    Toys: Fisher-Price is a great, long term investment, some of the toys my moms daycare plays with were mine 30 years ago!

    For some Chicago advice check out Be By Baby
    It is off the Paulina Brown line stop and is a bit on the pricier end, but they have some fun products, and might also have info about groups or other stuff. Plus the two women who own it are vegan or vegetarians so they can also give you pointers their too!

  22. What an awesome post!! As a surrogate I felt compelled to respond to that last one. I've delivered two beautiful little girls for two families and had two VERY different post partum experiences. The first one was much "better" for me personally and really what I needed, the 2nd experience left me hurting for awhile - though not "bad" I didn't hear from my IPs at all except for a couple brief exchanges, no pictures, no updates. That was hard for me. My first IPs gave me a necklace and a handwritten note in the hospital before we all said goodbyes - that was awesome. I treasured both the gift and the note tremendously. They also sent frequent e-mail updates with LOTS of pictures attached for at least the first 6 months and then updates slowed down. I was invited to visit when Fiona was about 9 months old and that was amazing!! I felt so blessed! Just being allowed to have a "sneak peek" into your lives after the babies are with you is a HUGE gift. It's what we as the surrogates aim for and dream of for you the ENTIRE time we are matched/cycling/pregnant - it's WHY we go through everything, to see you as parents, so just getting to hear little updates, see photos and have glimpses into your life as a family absolutely means the world! :)