Based on the title of this post, you may think I am going to write about the importance of having some quality Mom time to recharge ones batteries and help us to face our daily challenges. While I could not be more pro “Mom time”, my title actually refers to alone time that your twins get with each parent and the reasons we have decided to set up some one on one play dates during the weekends.
For the first year of my boys’ lives, I vacillated between treating them as a team and treating them as individuals. The literature I read about ‘how to survive the first year with twins’ told me to put the twins on the same schedule as early as possible. I did not adhere to this in the early days (though looking back, I probably should have!). Instead, I let the boys feed in succession and not in tandem and let them sleep and wake as they wanted. This worked for me in the beginning so I just went with it, but around 4 months, they seemed to naturally demonstrate a more predicable nap and night-time sleep schedule. Once this pattern emerged, it was easy to sync them up and I have kept them [mostly] on the same schedule every since.
Now safely across the one-year mark with many milestones behind us (e.g. rolling, walking, talking) it is easy to see how different these little people are and how they have already- and will continue to- develop at different rates. For example, one of my boys is very strong and tough and he likes to muscle his way through obstacles. He is also a huge ham and likes to talk to all the strangers we see. My other boy is much more analytical and he attacks most problems logically by looking at the scenario from all angles. He is outgoing, but tends to say hi and bye just a fraction of a second too late; once people have walked away, resulting in his brother getting more attention. After a couple of weeks of seeing this and noticing difference at home (one guy likes to sing and dance while the other is likes to read and climb on things, etc.) it occurred to me that it is time for my husband and I to start spending alone time with each boy to allow them to express their personalities’ and maybe test out some new skills they have been working on. This may seem like a no brainer, but until this point, it never really occurred to me to split the boys up and spend time with just one son instead of both of them. I have taken both kids on every errand I have ever run. During the day, we move as a pack from one room to the other, playing and padding our way around the house. I feel very confident that I am able to balance the attention I give to each boy but I now I am acutely aware that they may benefit from some undivided attention. Perhaps this will help them to master some new skills or to allow them to fool around as only an only child can.
Since weekend time is precious (filled with errands to run, family time to be had, and parks to be played at) my husband and I set a loose plan of trying to alternate weekends of alone time with each boy. For example, I will play with A and he will play with B for 30 minutes or an hour on one weekend and then the next weekend we will switch. I am excited to try this and see if I notice any difference in my interaction with the boys when I am alone with them versus when the twins are together. I am also kind of excited to think of some fun activities to do on our special “dates”.
I have no doubt that my boys love having a brother. They have played and interacted from day one and I know they will always feel the specialness of having a built in playmate and best friend. On the other hand, I am excited to give them some time to explore their parents and their world, uninterrupted by their sibling’s needs or distracted by the other’s skills. This may reveal some new aspects of their personalities that have yet to be discovered.
Have you implemented alone time with your twins? What made you start and how do you do it?
Mother of one year old twin boys, Carrie is excited to share some of her experiences, opinions, knowledge and laughs after having survived her first year of twindom. By writing for HDYDI, Carrie hopes to share her early mistakes and gain insight from other moms about the challenges that lie ahead.