An Antidote for Twinsanity

Remember that old saying you heard, oh, let’s see … once, maybe twice, maybe a hundred times? Sweet whispers caressed your pillow night after night and they all went something like this:

It will get easier.

I think I remember throwing a flower pot or something very heavy at someone after they said something like that during one of my sleep-deprived dreams.

But, I’m not going to write about how all ages and stages are hard – because they are and we know that already.

Instead, I’m going to share the Top Secret Tip to Ridding Yourself of Twinsanity – EVERY DAY. Disclosure: This does not include days when they just wake up cranky and miserable no matter what you do or when they are vomiting or have a fever. Only chocolate can help you those days.

It does, however, include all ages and stages the rest of the time.

Here’s the Top Secret:

Plan.

When you finally pick yourself up off the floor and dust off from that shocker, I want you to think back – and if your twins are 2 you’ll need to think way back – to your best days. I’m willing to bet you would agree that they were filled to the brim with activity, with perfect pace and degrees of difficulty and creativity.

Our best days around here are the ones that are planned out almost by the minute. They are ordinary, stay-at-home kind of days that offer less time to, say, knock over the living room lamp or rip open a brand new bag of Seattle’s Best Coffee and dump it all over the brand new rug.

One second without an activity and the next thing you know they’re crying, I’m saying things I regret and the day is a lost cause.

Since I became a stay-at-home mom when my daughters were 10 months old, I kept them busy just about daily with planned extra curricular activities (ie: art, music, physical activity).

Recently, I realized I stopped planning and started winging it once they turned 2. I guess I thought since they were older they should be able to entertain themselves better than they actually do. But, they still need me to help teach them how to play and be creative. Or, I need it, I suppose.

Sure enough, as soon as I started planning out our days again, life got easier and happier and, well, more sane. It ain’t perfect, but I’m not asking for perfect. And, so I’m being clear: planned activities like this are more for a mom’s peace of mind than for trying to raise brilliant children. Though, it would be nice if the latter sort of tagged along with the original goal.

No matter the age of your twins, you too can have a relatively peaceful, calm day that includes more learning and laughter and less crying and fighting – even on the ordinary days. Here’s the trick, Mama.

Preparation: Spend a half hour at your computer or with your activity books (don’t have any you say, well then get to the library FAST!) and a notebook. Think about the downtime your kiddos have and consider their attention spans. Most activities for young children last only a few minutes so you’ll need quite a few. Three in the morning and three in the afternoon is best if you’re home alone with multiples all day. But, even just one morning and one evening activity is enough to make for a good start and end to the day. You could easily just write down one activity for each day on a calendar if one is enough for your family – a great time management tip I found through Preschool Mama.

Themes/subjects: Pick a theme for the day or even the week and try to stick to that to help you minimize the activities you could venture into. Keep them simple for yourself, too. If your theme this week is hot weather, then consider activities that will use all five senses for that topic. In our early days together, we always had music, art and physical activity. Need more ideas? Check out Toddler Toddler’s site for fast and easy activities.

Everything is A Big Deal Activity: Sometimes, just knowing what will come next is the best antidote to a crazy life with young twins. Knowing that after just 15 minutes you can all easily move on to the next thing — maybe it’s brushing teeth, maybe it’s cleaning with wipes or maybe it’s painting the next great piece of living room art. It’s all a big deal to a young child if you make it a big deal. The point is to show up, pay attention and be ready for the next great big thing.

Which leads me to my last point:

Stay Open, Be flexible: Some of our best moments have come directly from my failed activities. I thought it would go one way and they took it a totally different way but as long as they are happy, I am (usually) happy, too. So long as I know what’s on deck next when a meltdown ensues.

And, let me say, it’s great to be here. I love writing and I love twins so this is a perfect venue for my thoughts and ramblings. Two years ago, I would have posted about keeping a schedule and desperate ways to get my girls to sleep through the night. A year ago, I would have been posting about how I honestly thought they were the best age ever (and, I was right!). Now, well, they are 2.5 and … what was I talking about? Yeah. That’s about my brain these days. So, let me try and be coherent on all topics near and dear to my heart related to twins — in between verbal arguments and physical dramatics. And, oh, I have another blog, too.

8 thoughts on “An Antidote for Twinsanity

  1. Great first post! You’re about a year ahead of me so it’s great to see what’s coming—and have time to plan? Think? Prepare?

    I’d love to see a post on your favorite activity book (nope, have none yet) or favorite child development (behavior) book for kids that age. I’m a big fan of finding a bunch of books and trying to get grounded with the information in them.

    Welcome!

  2. Fantastic suggestions for toddlers! I’ve found our worst days are when we have no plan at all and decide to wing it all day – activities, food, everything is a little better with some plans.

  3. My family/friends with kids think I’m nuts for being so strict with the scheduling, but since they don’t have twins they don’t understand it’s the only thing that keeps me from being nuts!

    Great post :-)

  4. Glad to see you use that tip! I’ve found that scheduling things to do with my son stops me from letting myself wandering about in the hundred other directions your day can take you.

  5. Cool new find for me!!!

    I lived, breathed, and slept by the schedule when my twin boys were infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

    Hey, blog moderator, do you have a spot here for a stay-at-home mom of twin boys, one of which has autism? My twin boys are 7, and going into the 2nd grade next school year. I have a lot of twin-experience. ;-)

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