“It gets so much easier!”
This is the mantra that parents of older multiples repeat to the newbies, again and again. I must have heard this 100,000,000 times – and I clung desperately to each iteration.
“Easier” definitely doesn’t mean “easy.” Twin toddlers is not easy, by any means. When my kids started walking (at 9 and 10 months), I kept hearing how things were going to get tough now! Um, not so. Call me crazy, but I’ll take two consistently-napping, self-feeding, independently-moving, happily curious one-year-olds over a couple of infants, precious though they may be, any day of the week. Here’s how it got easier for me:
1. Feeding. They feed themselves. It makes a HUGE mess – and I don’t even care. I can interact with them, eat, and prepare the next meal while they dive into eating like a contact sport. I even get to keep my clothes on! :o) I never worry that they are getting enough. Between a variety of solids, breastfeeding, and bottles of formula, I feel comfortable knowing they are offered plenty. If they don’t eat it, the next meal is only a couple hours away. I never could get on a nursing schedule – demand feeding just worked better for us. Now, solid meals set a nice, predictable rhythm to the day. Oh yeah, and other people can feed them!
2. Self-efficacy. Hauling my lovely children around the house was much harder on my body and on their patience than herding
cats wee walkers. It’s actually kind of fun to see what they discover on the way from room to room. After a meal, I pop them over the baby gate into a safe space and off they go. They scoot up the stairs on their own and they love it! Their independence makes us all happier. When we are out, I make sure we’re in an enclosed, safe area (like a toddler-friendly playground) and I usually go with another twin mom so we can tag-team. And honestly? When it’s just me, they tend to stick close. When they get that speedy wanderlust, we pack it up and move on.
3. SLEEP. My little guys don’t sleep through the night yet – but they’re only up once or twice at this point, for about 5 minutes, and rarely at the same time. I can deal with one baby for 5 minutes at 2am. At nap time and bed time, they finish a bottle, push it away, and eagerly snuggle into their cribs with their lovies. I get to hear sweet little chatterings as they drift off to sleep for predictable periods of time, instead of waiting with bated breath for the dreaded wail that meant nap time was over after a mere 30 minutes.
4. They play together. They chase each other, play with trucks side by side, push each other in a wagon, and, most recently, get into their circus play tent and roll around in it like a hamster ball. They laugh so much. When R pulls down a book and opens it, M is instantly by his side, ready to hear a story. When M finds a new way to bang two toys together, R rushes over to join the band. Not only is it heart-warming to witness, mom and dad are not constantly in demand to entertain the tiny masses. When they play with other kids, they have a leg up – they are used to sharing, negotiating trades, and reading subtle social cues.
5. They are more patient. We have certain routines – wash hands after lunch, then get water, for example – and they are used to waiting for brother to have his turn. Not that they are always happy about it, but we typically don’t get giant meltdowns anymore. What an amazing life skill!
6. Sadia said it best: we know them now. M is crying? Start singing “Baby Beluga.” R is quiet? Get in there before he makes it to the top of the bookshelf.
What does “easier” mean for you?