Always, Katie: 8 Things You May Not Have Known Twin (or more) Parents Think About


Friday, October 14, 2016

8 Things You May Not Have Known Twin (or more) Parents Think About

This morning we went to get flu shots (the grown-ups, the kids had already gotten theirs at their pediatrician's office), and when I got home, I breezed through what has become a pretty familiar routine, but one that I was nervous about a couple months ago.

I parked in our driveway (our driveway and garage were built weirdly, to the point that our van doesn't have enough room to turn and maneuver into the garage. It has to live outside, poor thing.), opened both automatic side doors, unbuckled Sam, carried him into the garage, snapped him into the waiting stroller. Then I went around to the other side of the van, unbuckled Abbie, grabbed my diaper bag and my purse, pulled my key out of the purse, got my drink from Panera out of the cupholder, shut all the van doors, locked the van, hauled all of that (including Abbie) into the garage, and closed the garage door behind me. I carried her into the playroom, dropping bags and such where they needed to go on my way, and set her down in the nice, secure, child-proof room. Then I went back out and fetched Sam from the garage where he was (thankfully, patiently) waiting in the stroller.

Why the elaborately choreographed kid schlepping? Well, I don't want to leave anybody outside and out of my sight line. We don't use pumpkin seats anymore. And my kids aren't walking yet. 

It's one of those things about having twins that I would never have thought of before I had mine... how to get everyone safely into the van when they can't walk yet. For parents with kids of different ages, if one child has to be carried, usually the others can at least walk to the vehicle with their parents under their own power. :-) I was thinking about this sort of unexpected little challenge in twin parenting the other day, and I reached out to some of my twin parent friends to see if they could help me come up with a few more examples, and I think we came up with a fun and eye-opening list. Some of them haven't come up with my kids yet, so I had my eyes opened a bit, too :-)

  1. How to go from house to car with one parent and no walking kids, without leaving anyone vulnerable.
  2. Whether or not to place twins in separate classes at school is a question that comes up a lot, and of course there's no perfect answer except that you know your kids better than anyone. :-) 
  3. We have to have a strategy for the grocery store, maybe especially when our kids aren't able to walk or ride in a spiffy cart (like the car kind, or the one Target has where they can both be strapped to a bench that doesn't take up valuable cart space). These buggy benches are pretty popular, although they *do* take up space in the cart, and let one kid close enough to mess with food you've picked up. Since my kids have been able to sit unassisted, I've put one in the front of the cart and worn the other in my Tula or my ring sling.
  4. With newborns, a schedule is super important. They need to eat at least every three hours, but when eating takes them a long time (as they're learning), by the time you've fed one right after the other, you almost don't have time to get diaper changes, tummy time, play, snuggles, or - you know - Mom's shower done before it's time to start over. Most of us - nursing or bottle feeding - figure out some way of tandem feeding to save time, but that is a skill not every parent needs to learn for sure :-) 
  5. Comparisons... it's so easy to compare your twins as they're the same age at the same time. With different age kids, you may *know* when the first teethed and *know* that the second one is later, but with twins you're watching one baby hit milestones and watching the other with bated breath to see when they catch up. And as twins grow, they may start comparing themselves in a way they wouldn't probably with a different age sibling. They may think their twin is the smart one, the sporty one, the popular one, and that can be a tough comparison for a kid to swallow. 
  6. A big big BIG one is fostering individuality. I catch myself referring to "the twins" a lot, and need to watch it as they grow up. It's so easy to lump birthdays (How many cakes? One party or two? How many times do you sing Happy Birthday?) or other special occasions (first day of school?) together without acknowledging the importance of the day for EACH child as themselves, rather than for "the twins." Maybe they won't mind, maybe they'll prefer it that way, but maybe they'll want their own celebrations too. Same can apply to extracurriculars or hobbies, etc... maybe they'll want to do all the same things, maybe they won't. One of my twin mom friends said that her boys may not both be *interested* in an activity, but the less-interested twin wants to do it anyway to support his brother. Such a sweet, unique, potentially-challenging bond!
  7. Dressing them. We talked about whether we match our twins or, if not, how do we make sure they're dressed "fairly?" Some of us said that we had let cute items go unworn because we didn't have something equally dressy or cute... or coordinating... for the other twin. 
  8. One of my TRIPLET mom friends said something that scares me half to death... potty training. I asked her if we train them at the same time, or as they show that they're ready, or one after the other (after the other)? Excuse me while I go rock back and forth quietly for a little while :-)
Singleton parent friends, I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into inner workings of a crazed twin mom's brain! Parenting any "assortment" of kids - only children, Irish twins, kids far apart in age, a whole bunch of kids - is going to have it's unique challenges that those who aren't raising a similar family may not realize. I'd love it if you'd share some of the "surprise" considerations of raising your family in the comments! Fellow parents of multiples, can I get an AMEN? What did I leave off the list?

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