Toddler Thursday: Are Twins Easier?

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I wrote this post when my twin daughters, J and M, were 19 months old.

In some ways, having twins is easier than raising an only child.

  • When one twin develops an obsession with an article of clothing, they can easily wear it every day, since you already have two from all their matchy-matchy baby gifts.
  • When you say “naptime”, they hear “time to play with Sissy without Mama around to bother us” and run to the nursery.
  • You realize that most of the cool new things they’re learning are not a typical phase in child development at all, but an embodiment of their individuality. You don’t worry about averages or typical ages to reach developmental milestones, because kids are just all different. Even identical twins. Or perhaps their being monozygotic makes the differences that much more noticeable.
  • You can say, “Sissy picked up the toys she was playing with, so clearly you’re old enough to put yours away.” This does not in fact cause them to pick up their toys, but you feel no guilt in being thoroughly disgruntled.
  • Strangers’ constant comments about how precious they are almost inspire them to keep bows in their hair. Almost.
  • They understand firsthand that being kicked hurts. However, they continue to kick things… and people.
  • They know how silly they look when they throw tantrums. They throw ’em anyway.
  • It’s easier to cook for three than for two. Most dishes I cook with a pound of meat and a couple of vegetables get consumed before they go bad.
  • You essentially do the same amount of work (one bath, one bedtime story, one set of meals) for twice the kisses and hugs.
  • They understand, and live by, the meaning of “Share”.
  • Some amount of competition is good for them. “She’s walking? Maybe I should try it.” “She said ‘please’. That worked pretty well. I think I’ll give it a shot.”

In what ways are twins easier than singletons in your family?

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Kids Talking: Boss of Me

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I came across this gem of a conversation from when my daughters were 5. It makes me laugh every time, so I thought I’d share it with you.

from hdydi.comPlanning out a game of Pretend set in Neverland

J: … and then you can put your hair in two braids and be Tigerlily.
M: You’re not the boss of me. I don’t have to be Tigerlily.
J: She has black hair and long hair and you have black hair and long hair.
M: You are not the boss of me. Mommy is the boss of me.
J: And the teacher.
M: Yes. Mommy is the boss of me and the teacher is the boss of me and Daddy is the boss of me, but you are not the boss of me.
J: I’m just saying you can be Tigerlily.
M: Mommy, can you make me two braids to be Tigerlily?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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It’s Okay to Think It: Responding to Twin Comments

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Most days, I recognize that when some asks me “Are they twins?”, they really mean, “I see you have twins, but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. You might have just have a kid with a growth problem. I would like to open a conversation on the subject of (your) twins, so let me make sure that they are twins.” Then there are the days when I have been chocolate-deprived or sleep-deprived or my children are 3 years old or I am generally grumpy. On those days, don’t ask me these questions.

I may smile and answer your dumb questions about twins but you should know, I will laugh at you with all my twin mom friends later.
From Someecards.com

On days of the Sadia grumpies, here is what happens when talking to people I will generally label as Nice Person at the Grocery Store (NPGS).

NPGS: “Are they twins?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Duh.
Sadia: “Yes, they are.”

NPGS: “Are they identical?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Yes. The ultrasound said so. You see, they shared an outer sac, but not an inner sac, and that’s how we know. They’re “identical” only in the genetic sense. I wish I could get people to use the term “monozygotic”. That means they came from a single zygote, a single fertilized egg. It’s most fascinating to study how different monozygotic twins really are. You really should have asked if they were monozygotic. Look at ’em! They don’t look the same, so clearly they’re not “identical”! They could have been dizygotic twins, and still looked all kinds of similar. “Dizygotic” would have been what you meant if you’d said “fraternal”. There is no such thing as a “paternal” twin, so it’s a good thing you didn’t say that.
Sadia: “Yes.”

NPGS: “Can you tell them apart?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Now why would I need to do that?
Sadia: “Yes.”

NPGS: “How do you tell them apart?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: They’re different people. How do you usually tell people apart? Go read Alice in Wonderland: `That’s just what I complain of,’ said Humpty Dumpty. `Your face is the same as everybody has — the two eyes, so –‘ (marking their places in the air with his thumb) `nose in the middle, mouth under. It’s always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance — or the mouth at the top — that would be some help.’
Sadia: “They have very different personalities. And different noses. And different haircuts.”

In haven’t gotten this since they were infants, and it was probably because I dressed them in colours other than pink:
NPGS: “Which one’s the boy?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: I just told you they were monozygotic! Fine, there’s that one set of twins that’s monozygotic but different genders; I saw them on National Geographic. These are not they.
Sadia: “Both girls.”

NPGS:Who’s older?
Sadia’s internal monologue: How is that relevant? The whole age rank typecasting thing just doesn’t apply. They’re two minutes apart. They’re both bossy, if that’s what you’re asking. The doctor yanked J out first.
Sadia: Wave hand in the general direction of both girls. “That one.”

NPGS:You’ve got your hands full.
Sadia’s internal monologue: Why would I want my hands empty?
Sadia: *smile* or “Better full than empty.”

NPGS:Are they natural?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Are you really truly asking a stranger about her reproductive system? Really? You’re asking me whether their father and I had trouble conceiving? How is that any of your business? If I had gone through the trauma of finding myself infertile and the emotional, physical and financial rollercoaster of in-vitro fertilization, do you really think I would want to discuss at the check-out line, in front of my children? What if I were to turn around and ask you about your fertility level? Some people!
Sadia: “Yes, but I’m not sure infertility is an appropriate topic for discussion in front of my children.”

NPGS:Do twins run in your family?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Of course they run. In fact, they’re running right now. They jump too. And dance. Oh, there they go, skipping again. Someone’s going to get hurt.
Sadia: “In my mother-in-law’s family.”

NPGS: “Better you than me!”
Sadia’s internal monologue: No, kidding, with that attitude. I really hope you don’t have kids of your own. Your resentment of children is kind of obvious.
Sadia: “Yep!”

NPGS: “Oh you poor thing. Twins!”
Sadia’s internal monologue: You did NOT just say that in front of my children!
Sadia: Leave as quickly as possible.

NPGS: “Twins! I would kill myself.
Sadia’s internal monologue: See “Oh you poor thing.”
Sadia: See “Oh you poor thing.”

NPGS: “Double trouble.”
Sadia’s internal monologue: See “Oh you poor thing.”
Sadia: “Double fun, if you ask me!”

NPGS:How do you do it?
Sadia’s internal monologue: Pretty darn well, thank you very much.
Sadia: “They make it easy.” Or, if they’re arguing, “Oh, I just do my best.”

NPGS: “Were you trying to get pregnant?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: PRIVATE. PRIVATE. PRIVATE.
Sadia: “Oh, sure. We planned the pregnancy, and got a bonus prize.”

NPGS: “Were you trying to have twins?”
Sadia’s internal monologue: Huh? How, precisely, would I do that?
Sadia: “Huh?”

"Are they natural?" is a loaded question many strangers ask parents of multiples.

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20 Reasons Why Having Kids is Like Being a Celebutante

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  1. Due to nursing, you’ve had more nip-slips than Tara Reid.
  2. You’re constantly being followed. You have your own tiny paparazzi, and if you have teens they WILL photograph you on their phones at the worst possible moments of your life.
  3. Someone else is always trying to do your hair and makeup.
  4. People are always judging you and giving you unwanted advice. Let Miley smoke her weed, let Lindsey steal jewelry, and let me feed my kids chocolate for breakfast! It’s none of your darn business.
  5. There’s a different person in your bed every night. Sometimes another one (or two) by morning.
  6. People vie for your attention and break out in fits of jealousy over your affection. Forget autographs. They want your soul!! (LESSON- always give the same amount of food, snacks, juice, milk, hugs, kisses, Christmas presents, and snuggles!)
  7. Your house should be on an episode of Cribs (because you have so many).
  8. You have real scare-the-bleep-out-of-you stalkers that will stand by your bed quietly staring at you until you wake up fearing for your life.
  9. You are constantly being watched like you’re a patient at the Betty Ford Clinic. You can’t shower, poop, or brush your teeth alone. Not because you’re on suicide watch or you might chug down the Listerine, but because to them you’re just that fascinating!
  10. People are obsessed with your body. ( I know, gross, right?) They want to see every inch of it and want to analyze what they see. They ask a million questions. “Are those your boobs? Is ALL of that your butt? Why is hair there? What is that bump? What is that crease? What is that dent?? Will I get that? Will I have those?”
  11. You don’t have an actual ‘job’ yet you’re busier than everyone you know. Maybe your days aren’t filled with fashion shows and charity lunch appearances, but some days you actually wish YOU could wear the diapers to save time.
  12. You’re an embarrassment to your family. This isn’t because of a sex tape and drug abuse, but more due to your mom jeans, ‘I didn’t have time to brush my teeth’ breath, and showing them love in public. You’ve been called ‘that’ mom.
  13. You have your own fragrance (though I doubt anyone would buy mine). Think bleach/bacon/pee (not mine!)/ pancake batter/Desitin/sweat-socks. Awesome, right?
  14. You go half the time without a bra, and when you do wear one people ask if you’ve had ‘work done’.
  15. You stay up until wee hours at the ‘club’. (And by club I mean reading a book from your reading group’s list that doesn’t rhyme or teach phonics.)
  16. You have others do your shopping, or do it at odd hours so you’re not seen in public.
  17. You always make a grand entrance because you’re definitely late and you have an entourage.
  18. You think you can sing beautifully and deserve a recording contract. (Although I don’t believe anyone would buy a CD of me belting out Disney and Laurie Berkner songs in my Suburban. But hey, Kim K sold her record, so it could happen, right??)
  19. You’re the most talented (in your mind) person in the world!! Bring on the party planning, cake making, soccer coaching, costume sewing, toilet scrubbing, and butt wiping! You can do anything! You’re Super Mom!! (Riiiight….and Paris Hilton can act….). But I really do feel like a bad-ass when I get ANYTHING accomplished.

    AND FINALLY…

  20. You are the most important person in the world!!! Not because you’re a regular on TMZ and people copy even your bad habits, but because to those people you’ve created, you’re everything. You’re their meal making, scrape kissing, tear drying, closet monster slaying, homework checking, bubble beard creating, constant chauffeuring, fort building best friend. That’s right, you’re a bad-ass.

    You’re a mama.

Sundy is Super Mom to four amazing kids, including a teenager, a toddler, and 1-year-old twins.

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Potty Pride Before a Fall…

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The early days with my twins admittedly are somewhat blurry, but the days of plural potty training? Not as hazy as I might like! Sometime ago, I composed a diatribe (more of a catharsis really!) on our experience training our twins…the upshot of which, in trying to focus on the upbeat, I declared something along the lines of “our twosome have yet to have an out-of-house accident.” Shortly thereafter, I’d need to retract those words. But as it is with all things twin parenting, keeping your humor makes even the “less pleasant” experiences with twins doubly amusing. Here’s the confessional tale — in the interest of integrity, the epilogue to the Lage family potty training story:As we sat savoring our Chic-Fil-A nuggets in the Food Court, a somewhat harried young mom approached us, “Is your daughter still in diapers?”Judging from her thinly-veiled expresssion of panic, I could tell this wasn’t just a curious inquiry from a mother wondering when to start potty-training her child. A quick glance to her stroller-bound daughter revealed the gleeful countenance of a girl who in all likelihood was joyfully, but precariously. wearing no undergarments.

With sincere regret, but not very subtly-tinged pride I responded, “Oh, I am so sorry! They are both potty-trained.” In efforts to offer the limited assistance I could, considering my twins’ joint triumph over diaper-manufacturing magnates, I directed her to the in-mall, soft playground; where surely, a mother of a similarly-sized child could provide the necessary nappy.

I then returned my attentions to my twosome, “Didn’t that make you feel good to know you don’t need diapers anymore?”

“Yes, Mommy, “ chirped my son, providing the the answer he clearly knew was expected.

The waffle fries had my daughter’s total attention. She emitted a half-hearted, “Mmm-hmm.”

That night, as we tucked everyone in and said our prayers, we (mostly me) voiced our thankfulness for all we’ve learned (namely, how to use the potty) and the example we can set for other kids preparing to tread the same path.

3:00am.
“M-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-y!”

Upon entering the lava-lamp lit nursery, I could see Sarah standing in the very corner of her tented crib. Training panties, Tinkerbell nightgown, sheet and fleecy blanket all drenched in a daughter-described (and dramatically minimized), “Little accident.”

Knowing she is the latter stages of the potty-training process, these late-night, deep-sleep accidents are not totally unexpected, or overly corrected.

As I groggily stripped the bed and restocked it with sleep-inducing supplies, I made a mental note to purchase a new vinyl protective cover the next day, as hers had a mattress jeopardizing rip.

Babies-R-Us (the only location in town that stocks vinyl crib mattress covers) continues to be an entertaining destination, despite the fact our twosome can hardly be considered “babies” anymore. Of course the 50-cent Big Bird jet plane ride at the store’s entrance serves as a great motivator for appropriate in-store behavior.

We hadn’t been shopping ten minutes when Darren erupted with an urgent, “POTTY, MOMMY!!!”

Pushing the in-line double stroller pottyward, with the adrenaline-charged speed of an Olympian luge-launcher, I raced
against the biology of boy parts.

I lost.

Stroller seat? Saturated.

Pants? Puddled.

Mom’s patience? Over-taxed.

Wedging the stroller so that it kept the stall door ajar, allowing me arms-length access and sightline to the strapped-in and highly-amused Sarah, off came Darren’s shoes, socks, pants and wringable Thomas the Tank Engine undies.

Wisely, I continue to carry dry clothes for instances such as these.

Woefully, I neglected to pack a plastic bag in which to place any urine-dripping duds.

Into our thermal waterproof lunchbag they went. Delicious.

Twenty-four hours had yet to elapse since my pride-inflated declaration of the diaper’s demise in our twin-blessed household.

Alas, our journey to plural potty prowess continues….

Suppose the moral of this story is, if you see the three of us out
eating Food Court cuisine, please…no personal questions. Just ask
us how to get to the mall playground.

[Here’s hoping my now-kindergarteners’ pals don’t use Google yet…]

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