My twins are two-and-a-half years old. I’m figuring out how to parent them as I go along, and am by no means any sort of expert on the care and raising of twins, but I thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve learned so far.
1. Once you have twins, you will be sweaty almost all of the time. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is.
Two diaper changes in a row? Sweaty.
Finding shoes and cramming four burrito-shaped feet into those shoes? Sweaty.
Getting (God forbid) the entire family out the door for some activity/function/gathering at which you’d rather not look like you’ve been doing yard work in a diet Coke commercial? Yeah. Huge sweaty mess.
2. Everyone thinks lil’ twins are adorable, and that’s fine. You’ll feel proud of yourself for having produced such attractive offspring in a matched set. However. Every random stranger who is a twin, has twins, went to school with twins, saw twins on a train one time, or just really loved The Parent Trap will come up to talk to you and/or your kids.
I’m fine with making friends with other twin moms. That’s awesome.
I’m not fine with the creepy, claw-handed set scaring the bejeezus out of my kids who are just
picking their noses minding their own business as they ride around in a shopping cart.
Don’t they see that I’m sweaty and frazzled and would really like to be left alone to pick out towels? Oh wait, no. Of course they don’t. They don’t even see that my children, who are wearing pink sandals and have bows in their hair, are girls. Because they say weird stuff like, “Oh, are they twins?! One boy and one girl? How cute!”
Just say yes and move on. Don’t make eye contact. That’s what works best for me.
3. It will take you so much longer to get up or down stairs than you think. Like, imagine the slowest thing you’ve ever done, and then add five years. Then imagine you’re also holding two sippy cups, some laundry, and a loose assortment of books and stuffed animals while trying to make sure two Weebles don’t fall and break their heads. It’s like that.
4. Breastfeeding twins is challenging. I’m sure it’s not for everyone. You will feel so incredibly used and might look at cows in a whole new light. But, if you can produce enough milk to feed two growing babies, you will burn so. many. calories. It’s a glorious, ice cream guzzling time.
5. Your heart will explode when they start interacting with each other. When one of them discovers the ability to make the other one laugh, you too will think it’s the funniest thing that ever happened.
6. Twins keep each other company. I’m not sure I can adequately explain how wonderful this is. If I only had one toddler at home with me all day, I might go crazy from the constant need for my attention. My twins invent games together, talk and sing together, read together, and eat snacks together. They also make bigger messes and get into more trouble when they combine forces, and they get into a fair amount of fights these days too, but all things considered, the togetherness is pretty awesome.
7. You might find that you forget that your children are twins. Or forget that twins are kind of a special, unique thing. It’s hard to explain, but you just get so used to having both of them around all the time, and you know their distinct personalities so well that you just think of them as your two individual children. You forget that sometimes other people can’t tell them apart, or that they’re a little bit of a curiosity when you take them out in public dressed alike.
8. It was not easy when our third child was born, but I think having twins first did make a couple of things easier. First of all, they’ve always had to share Mommy and Daddy’s attention with a sibling, so they didn’t struggle with that at all. Also, obviously, feeding and changing and caring for two infants takes a lot more time and effort than doing it for just one, so for me, having just one baby felt like kind of a breeze after twins. I know, I know, all of you out there in the middle of colicky newborn hell don’t want to hear it, but really – just one baby is so much easier than two.
9. When they start asserting their independence and learning to do things on their own, you will be forced to stand around wasting time when you’re DYING to go to bed or watch TV or whatever because your twins will each insist on doing something themselves.
It is so painful.
It mostly happens with bedtime stuff. For example, the brushing of teeth. They both want to turn on the light in the bathroom, so one kid does it. The next kid screeches that she needs to do it, so she switches it off, goes back out of the bathroom so she can enter it in the darkness and then switches the damn light on again. Then they both want to open the drawer to get the toothpaste out, so you have to let one open the drawer, touch a bunch of stuff and root around for no reason, finally pull the kid toothpaste out, take a thousand hours to open it and squeeze toothpaste onto her brush, and then close the toothpaste and put it back in the drawer so you can watch your life creep slowly by as the other one does the exact same thing.
10. You will find yourself getting frustrated by how long everything takes, and think to yourself that you’d be done getting them dressed/serving them breakfast/buckling them into their car seats so much sooner if you only had one, but just as often, you will look at them and think, “How did I get this lucky?” One healthy, beautiful child is a miraculous gift, but two? At the same time?
I know that I am so very, very fortunate to have my twins and they are worth all of the extra effort it takes to get stuff done. I may not be thinking exactly along those lines when we’re running late and no one is listening to me, but I know it’s true. I really do.