The toddler years are an intense time for all involved. Our kids are suddenly in everything, aware of everything, questioning everything. Our multiples have figured out that there is power in numbers and can cause all sorts of mischief even while wowing us with their insights.
Several of the HDYDI Moms’ multiples are on the brink of toddlerhood. It was time, we decided, to introduce Toddler Thursdays, a weekly series on the joy and challenges of the toddler years, multiplied by multiples.
Year two – with two! I am not exactly sure how I envisioned the second year. If I am being completely honest, I think it was difficult to think beyond the first year. Not to pat myself on the back, but making it to one year was an incredible feat in itself.
Now that Jack and Mara are 14 months old, I’m learning more and more about this new and exciting period in their lives. While some things have gotten much easier, we are also dealing with brand new challenges. Here are some lessons I am slowly learning as we embark on this journey.
What has gotten easier …
Walking is a game changer
I may be in the minority on this one, but things have gotten so much better since the twins started walking (Jack at 10.5 months, Mara at 11.5). We are able to do new things like go to the park, which has been absolutely wonderful. Logistically, it has also helped a lot. For example, they don’t each need to be held consistently in the doctor’s office; they can walk around the room. It has also been easier for play dates and going to other people’s homes, as they are not crawling around on the floor. The obvious flip side is that mobility means more independence for them … which means they have a greater ability to get into things. But honestly, I don’t mind. It’s completely worth it.
They are learning to play independently … and with each other
Jack and Mara love to chase each other around, explore the house, and play “hide and seek”. While there have been bursts of this in the earlier months, it seems to happen more and more each day. Plus, they are able to play by themselves more – even if it is just 20 minutes while I cook dinner.
And, there is nothing that warms my heart more than hearing them squeal in delight … even if it means they are squealing in delight as they splash in the toilet together.
Watching them talk and learn new words is incredible
Their vocabulary is growing by the day. There is nothing more exciting or thrilling than hearing your toddler learn something new. Some of Jack and Mara’s recent words and phrases include “people”, “good girl”, and “the end” (when we finish a book.)
Bye Bye, Bottles!
For those of us who used bottles, this is especially liberating. There is nothing more gratifying than putting all of those bottles away for good (for me, it was the Dr. Browns bottles … note to self: maybe all of those parts weren’t such a good idea when you are dealing with two babies?!)
And don’t get me started on the joy of stopping formula. Woo hoo!
If you look back a year ago, its hard to believe you have gotten where you are now
During a particularly fussy day with the kids last weekend, my husband asked me to think back to where we were a year ago. Oh yes, that’s right … a year ago Jack and Mara were still teeny tiny newborns eating every two hours. I was hooked up to that darn pumping machine all day. My husband would joke that when it got dark out, his heart would race because he was so terrified of what that night would be like. I slept on an air mattress in Jack’s nursery. Our big outings were trips around the neighborhood in the double snap and go.
We were in pure survival mode, living in a fog.
After you have survived newborn twins, not even the worst day with two toddlers will ever feel that bad.
And harder …
Nap transitions with twins
I could write volumes about this topic. For the first year, I prided myself on my excellent little sleepers who kept to a very strict sleep and nap schedule. But when they turned one, Jack went rogue. He refused to take naps. I tried everything – going from two to one, waking him up before his sister, keeping them up later … but he didn’t want to nap. Poor Mara … I made her go along with whatever I was trying with Jack. (Thank goodness she is a great and adaptable sleeper!) But trying to figure out a new schedule all over again with two kids is hard. Really, really hard.
The fighting. The biting. The screaming.
This has been a real source of anxiety for me. Last week, we invited two other toddlers over for a play date (non-twins). The two other toddlers were very sweet and well-behaved. But unfortunately for me, Jack and Mara decided to act like terrors – biting, fighting over toys, screaming at each other. It was awful. The other two toddlers seemed to be a little bit afraid of them.
Is it because there are two of them, that they fight more? I have thought about this a lot lately. Are singletons better behaved sometimes because they don’t have a built-in playmate (or rival!) to scuffle with, day in and day out? Anyway, the fighting has been a real challenge for us.
Attachment … times two
For the past two months, Mara has been attached at my hip. While I secretly revel in the attention and devotion, it has also been very difficult. Tending to a second child while she is clinging to me is incredibly hard. She also does not want to share me with her brother. If I am reading to Mara, with her sitting on my lap, and Jack comes over to sit with me too, she will push him away.
They aren’t loving being confined in the stroller
I remember taking the twins to Lord and Taylor last spring and bringing them in the dressing room while I tried on bathing suits. Ha! This would unlikely never happen at this moment. Their stroller threshold seems to be at an all time low. They need motion, motion, motion or else they scream to get out. I’ve limited the activities we do in the stroller for now.What has toddlerhood been like for you? What has gotten easier, and what are you struggling with?