Expecting in Wellesley

A Q&A with soon-to-be parents on their expectations of parenting and what life will be like while raising twin girls!

Traveling up the East Coast from New York City, the Q&A series takes a stop in Wellesley, MA to chat with my longtime friend Hachem and his lovely wife, Eileen. Unlike my other parenting Q&As, Eileen and Hachem don’t have children yet – they are expecting parents of twin girls (August due date). They’ve graciously agreed to be interviewed both before their children are born and afterward, so readers can get two perspectives on parenting: one on what it’s like to be expecting parents, and another on the realities of parenting vs. the expectations of parenting.

Eileen, Hachem, and their dog Fitzgerald recently moved to Wellesley after many happy years in Boston. A big, heartfelt thank you to Eileen and Hachem!

Peter: Readers might not know you two as well as I do. How did you meet?

Eileen: I like to say we met across a crowded room.

Hachem: Our eyes locked across the office during a BCG staff meeting. We definitely noticed each other, and started chatting later at an office happy hour.

Eileen: He made me laugh a lot!

Hachem: I asked Eileen for her phone number so she could give me the number of the company that runs water taxis in the Seaport. I thought I was being pretty obvious asking for her number and not the number of the water taxi company, but she didn’t get it!

Eileen: No I did get it! It was really cute! Oh, and it was a Friday the 13th.

Hachem: I asked her out three or four times, and each time she had an excuse not to meet up.

Eileen: I always made up some excuse, like my mom is in town.

Hachem: She was playing hard to get!

Eileen: The second he was indifferent, I called him up!

You recently found out that you’re having twin girls! Walk me through the emotions when you found out you were having twins.

Eileen: First…initial shock. My actual words were, “There’s no f*cking way!” The nurse who identified them responded, “Yes f*cking way: here’s one and here’s the other!” And then we just laughed and kept looking at each other saying “Oh my god!” – I was in disbelief for a little bit!

Who was more excited/shocked you were having twins: yourselves or your parents?

Eileen: My parents, and we have it on video – it’s cute! My whole family was in shock.

Hachem: Her parents were shocked!

Eileen: Happy shocked!

Did either of you secretly want a specific gender?

Eileen: I felt all along they were two girls…I just had a feeling!

Hachem: Initially I was very much hoping for boy-girl because then we could say we have one of each and we’re done! But that was a selfish perspective. For them, it would be nicer if they’re the same gender because they’re more likely to bond and be closer. So I’m grateful they’re two girls.

You have the coolest and most good-natured dog ever! How do you think Fitz will adapt to the twins?

Eileen: We wonder this a lot because he’s very emotionally demanding of us. I think it’s going to be an interesting adjustment, but he’ll be fine. My guess is if he gets annoyed with them crying, he’ll move to a different part of the house.

Hachem: I think he’s going to love these two girls and be so protective of them!

Have you thought about child care yet? Will both of you be working, or will one of you opt to become a stay-at-home parent?

Eileen: My goal is not to remain a stay-at-home parent. However, there have been some introspective moments recently realizing that two children are more demanding than one. So, I’m setting my sights on 6 months – that’s when I will start transitioning back to work.

We did hire a night nanny. Four nights a week she’s going to come at 10pm and leave at 6am, and help with feeding, getting them on a schedule, and sleep training. She’s done 60 sets of twins and has been a night nanny for 20 years – she’s going to be a big help!

You recently bought a house during one of the craziest housing markets ever! What was that experience like?

Eileen: I haven’t had many overly emotional moments during this pregnancy, yet I’ve had the biggest emotional meltdown directly correlated to the stress of searching for a f*cking house during this market. Literally one day I broke down in tears and said, “I can’t go to another open house!”

Hachem: It was the day we put in the offer to the house we now currently own. I asked Eileen, “What do you think?” And she said, “If I have to go through this again I will f*cking die.” So I said, “I guess we’re making an offer!”

Eileen: I just couldn’t go to any more open houses!

What do you think the Wellesley neighborhood will be like for parents and children? And what will you miss about downtown Boston?

Eileen: We’re going to miss Boston so much! My heart is breaking a little because we really loved where we lived. And our relationship developed in our apartment – that was our first apartment together. Our friend Nat even married us in the kitchen of our apartment the night before our actual wedding (the day before our wedding was a Friday the 13th – the same as the first day we met!).

Wellesley is a really nice suburb of Boston, and we are giving our girls a very wonderful town to grow up in. The community seems awesome, and our neighborhood has a strong sense of togetherness. At Christmastime they even have sleigh rides for kids, and I’m all about the idyllic childhood! I’m also hoping to get a part-time job at Wellesley College.

There are hundreds of decisions parents need to make in the first year of their little one’s life. Have you firmly decided on any of the following?

  • Do you have names picked out already?
    • Eileen: Yes.
    • Hachem: Annie and Brooke.
  • Will you breastfeed, pump, or use formula?
    • Eileen: I’m going to attempt to breastfeed, but it’s honestly going to be a hybrid of breastfeeding and formula. There are two of them – I’m realistic!
  • Will you use swaddles?
    • Eileen and Hachem: Yes.
  • Will you use cloth diapers or regular diapers?
    • Eileen and Hachem: Regular diapers.
    • Hachem: I’m not a hippie, ok!
  • Pacifiers: yes or no?
    • Hachem: Yes.
    • Eileen: Yea, I’m ok with pacifiers.
  • Will you co-sleep with the twins or go straight to bassinets/cribs?
    • Eileen: Bassinets, right by our bedside.
    • Hachem: Yea, a bedside bassinet.
  • Will you sleep-train the twins?
    • Hachem: Yes.
    • Eileen: Absolutely!
  • Will you use pre-made baby food or make your own?
    • Eileen: I want to make our own.
    • Hachem: Either way is fine. Whatever is more cost-efficient.
    • Eileen: I answered already!
  • Will you encourage self-weaning or dictate the switch to solid foods?
    • Eileen: I will dictate it.
    • Hachem: What does self-weaning mean?
  • Do you have a pediatrician picked out?
    • Hachem: No, but we’re working on it.
    • Eileen: We think so.
    • Hachem: They said no to an in-person discussion/meeting, and I’m not ok with that.
    • Eileen: Doctor’s offices are weird right now because of COVID – I’m not holding it against them the way he is.
    • Hachem: I want to meet them!
  • Will you post pictures of your children to social media?
    • Hachem: No. No. Noooo! Our children are our own. We will share pictures with our friends and family, but we are not posting them on Instagram or Facebook. There are a lot of perverts out there!
    • Eileen: Who uses Facebook anymore?
    • Hachem: I don’t care. No. No!

Describe your expectations of parenting in 3 words.

Eileen: Love, encouragement, and discovery.

I will be the most encouraging parent ever – that’s one thing I know I will bring to the table. They will feel like I’m their biggest f’n cheerleader, always. And I will also encourage them to step out of their comfort zone.

Hachem: It’s a breeze!

Eileen: No, he does not believe that!

You two are known for traveling the world and leading very active lifestyles. Will your twins adjust to your lifestyle, or will you adjust to their lifestyle?

Eileen: We want them to live our life with us. We’re ready to travel with them – we know it will be an adjustment, but it’s our adjustment to make. We want to take them on all our adventures with us!

Hachem: They will travel. Because my family is in Morocco, they will naturally be international. That is incredibly important. We want them to be used to travel!

The due date is one month away. How much baby stuff have you already accumulated?

Eileen: Not a lot at all, although I just ordered our cribs today! Actually, Hachem’s mother bought these baby girls a ton of posh baby clothes.

Hachem: Petit Bateau (the little boat).

How similar or different will your parenting style be from that of your parents?

Eileen: Oh gosh! My dad was a huge cheerleader – so supportive. He was my soccer coach and so involved. He helped me with equality – anything a boy can do a girl can do, and better. I will try to imitate that because he was always in my corner!

I feel like Hachem will be similar to his parents in stressing the importance of academics. Most of the academic stress they feel will come from their father! Less from their mother, I’m a little bit more of a free spirit when it comes to conventional learning.

When the time comes, what are you looking forward to teaching your twins?

Eileen: How to treat people with respect and fairness and love. That’s something I have done in my life and have realized how much you get back – people repay you with kindness. That’s something I want them to take away!

Hachem: I want them to know that nothing matters more than the family you have, the friends and connections you make, and to cherish those relationships.

Right now, what’s your biggest pet peeve about parents with young children?

Eileen: That they completely lose who they are and what they love to do. Their children become all-consuming and they literally don’t leave their house. I don’t want that to happen to us!

Expecting parents are often given advice. What do you think is the most useful advice you’ve been told?

Eileen: It goes by really fast so don’t try to rush it or wish the hard times away because you’ll look back on them with nostalgic glasses. Savor the moments. Even though the infant months are tough because you’re basically just keeping them alive and you haven’t connected with them – even those moments – make sure you take it all in, because it goes by very quickly.

Hachem: My wife taught me that nothing in life is permanent, except children. The decision to make children is irreversible. That’s the best advice I’ve been given!

What’s the Number 1 thing on your bucket list?

Eileen: I want to go to Egypt and see the pyramids! A lot of my bucket list is travel-related…there are so many places I haven’t seen that I want to see. I want my twins to see the world, and also see the places that were really important to us.

Hachem: I want the twins to come to Morocco and meet my family.

Thank you, Eileen and Hachem!

Share your thoughts with Eileen and Hachem by leaving a reply in the comments below!

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