My dad always jokes about writing a book entitled “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” Consider this topic the material for chapter 10.
Our twins are a little over three and half years old. And they are identical girls.
For the last two years we have discussed and promised and sworn that we would commit and do the unthinkable… take away their pacifiers. We knew the day had to come, and my husband and I were dreading it. Over Christmas I was laughing with my mate about our new years resolutions and he says this: “I’m done with resolutions but I think C & C should resolve to give up those dang paci’s!” I agree with him and we go on with our holiday lives, terrified but committed about the coming weeks.
So the day arrived and we did the whole Paci fairy, dramatic note (see pic below, the wrapped package is the pacifier ready for a new baby). My older twin was pretty much ready, she totally bought the story… “we’re giving them to the babies!” and my younger twin was skeptical and not too happy. But, in a moment of 3 year old courage, she also handed it over. I cried, she was so brave!
This is where our happy life ends.
Now, readers, seriously… our kids are easy, we loved parenting, we were so happy that we were even in… “yay! let’s have a third kid!” mode. We have our days and moments but they are sweet, compliant, fun kids, I promise!
So, when I tell you that they were ticked off without those little pieces of plastic love, consider it an understatement of the century.
So far the mutiny has looked like this:
- No more naps. They napped for 2 hours a day, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. of their lives. Typically, happy as larks to crawl into their sweet beds…now gone.
- Tantrums all day long. I have never used time-out so much. No joke, I did a time out at 3:45am two nights ago.
- Angry, whiny, sad, crying, rag doll I–will-not-walk tantrums in public.
- Refusal to go to bed with unending stall tactics.
- The reintroduction of the pack and play as a nighttime, time-out containment system. Lets not forget that they are almost 4 years old.
- Variety of hitting, pushing, biting, each other… totally new behaviors.
- Waking up all night long like they are infants.
So here is what I know now. We are all tired. So very tired. Emotionally and physically. My husband was ranting about driving to Target at 10pm last night and buying new paci’s. I suggested he have a drink and simmer down. He obliged.
I have been reflecting on why this has been so hard and whether it was the right choice. I have regret that I let it go on so long. They have real opinions and voices as they have grown and developed. Why did I do that to them? Would it have been easier if they were only 1?
I do know that the pacifier was my friend as a twin parent. I couldn’t always soothe two simultaneously, so the pacifier was my wingman. I used that thing, and it worked. They were attached to it. I am glad that it did its job, but it has been such a battle to force them to find new ways to self soothe. They are clearly still adjusting, and I must remind myself to be patient and teach them how to respond to stress in healthy ways. As a twin mom, in the early days my focus was to keep them happy, fed, clean. Now a new focus is to teach them how to use their emotions. I didn’t realize that my *seemingly harmless* methods had some real longterm consequences. Let this be a life long parenting lesson to me!
I know that we will move from this and look back and laugh and say… “hey babe, remember the time that we got rid of the Paci’s and we both had nervous breakdowns and the kids cried for weeks?!?! Yeah! Hahaha, that was crazy hard!” just like I look back and remember all the other hard things we have endured with the intensity of raising two humans in the same moment. From where I stand now, it’s really hard still. I am still working on incorporating a nap every few days, maintaining bedtime, and encouraging kind sisterly behaviors and staying patient. I and so grateful that I have a great spouse who supports and co-parents with me, friends that listen and say “yeah.. that is terrible!” and a God who gives me new mercies every morning.
Of course, we still have our happy life and I need to remind myself that this is temporary. The next twin adventure is probably just around the corner.
Do you have any parenting choices that you would have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
Lisa is from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She is a mom to three and a half year old identical girls. She is a psychologist (also known as the “feelings doctor” by her kids) and has an independent practice where she works three days a week. Her days are filled with the constant pursuit of balance, while enjoying “the good stuff” of life.