I’m a stay at home mama to boy/girl twin toddlers that likes to read, write, craft and practice yoga. I am discovering a new passion somewhere deep down for baking and am a huge animal lover. I drink way too much coffee during the day and stay up too late at night. I enjoy crime reality shows, Vietnamese food, potty humor, any movie with Vin Diesel except for The Pacifier and colorful fluffy socks.
Twins: (The First Year)
What I remember of it….
By Andrea Spaude-Kerr
I read probably a good chunk of the books out there, went to the What to Expect when having Multiples class, researched, planned. There’s so much information out there in the world of multiples, but I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the experience.
This is not a list about what you need/don’t need, I’m sure by now you’ve read more than your fair share of those. You won’t find this list in your “What to Expect” book because it’s a combination of my experience, advice I got in those beginning days from veteran multiples moms and things I wish I would have done differently.
Take Lots of Pictures
Seriously! Empty your phone, ipad, cameras, all of it well before your expected date. You’ll need all of the space you can get!!
The first 6 months for me were a blur and the next 6 months were not much better. I literally don’t remember much of anything, if it wasn’t for the hundreds of pictures and videos I took I would have to question my presence for probably 90% of the time. Also, if you’re anything like me and buy ridiculously detailed baby books that you can’t seem to keep up with- it helps to look back and fill in the missing pieces. Being born will likely be the only thing they do at the same time, I found myself recording the firsts of everything but then missing out on writing the firsts for the second one (I swear second child syndrome still happens with twins) and don’t get me started on teeth!! Which brings me to number 2..
Choose your Baby Books Wisely
Of course I chose the most detailed book I could find and Toddler A has an amazing record of nearly all of his pearly whites; the exact date they came in, the moment we noticed it. Toddler B? She has a few exact dates and a couple of rough estimates but despite nearly having all of her teeth, it shows a total of 7… but having hit many other milestones first she has great records there while her brother…not so much..
My advice? Simple books are great if you’re wanting to do a book at all. Or enlist the help of someone else to fill it in for you, just for that first year. Maybe a grandparent that you would text with every detail anyway or even your spouse! You’ll be busy enough that you won’t want to even have to worry about this.
I can’t stress this one enough! I know of several twin moms that were terrified to go anywhere with their babies, fast forward a couple of years and it’s still anxiety inducing for them.
Maybe I’m selfish but I couldn’t stay cooped up in the house all day every day, that just wasn’t me. I started taking my kids somewhere, anywhere when they were only a couple of weeks old. For my sanity really… It’s completely doable, you may just have to get creative! Especially when they’re still in bucket seats and you can just move them from car to stroller and back again while they sleep completely oblivious to anything around them. Aaaah those were the days. We’d go for a walk, to the grocery store, to the chiropractor, coffee shop, joined baby groups through Mommy Connections, play dates, you name it.
Sometimes with 2 under 1 you definitely have to be creative. You can still go shopping at the big box stores like Costco with 2 bucket seats. I remember pushing my giant tandem stroller in front and pulling a cart behind me loaded with wipes and diapers feeling like a bit of a side show but it was great, I could get my shopping done and get out in civilization for a bit all while they napped. Others prefer baby wearing one (or both)- totally doable, I wore both of mine until they were around 6 months to weekly chiropractor appointments simply because my stroller wouldn’t fit in the small waiting room.
The sooner you take the jump and get out alone with your littles, the more comfortable you’ll feel, I swear!
Oh the Awkward Conversations..
Did you know the cashier at the grocery store has an Aunt who went to school with a set of twins? No? Well you will. 😉 One thing I definitely was not prepared for was the attention I’d be getting nearly every day I went out with my twins. Not to mention the questions. People are generally fascinated by multiples. Of course, what’s not to be fascinated about! They’re pretty amazing. I used to joke with my husband about how when I went to the grocery store I avoided eye contact with everyone. Truly, I did. Probably for the first 9 months.
It wasn’t the questions around what it’s like having twins but rather the uncomfortable ones that revolved around how my twins were conceived or my personal favorite “are they natural?” that led me to speed shop more often than not.
2 years later, I still get caught off guard. Example, the elderly gentleman behind me in the checkout that insists ‘there’s no way’ my kids are twins because they look nothing alike. “Are you sure?” “Hmm.. yes, I’m pretty sure”… so I don’t have any great advice for this because everyone is different and every situation is unique but fair warning! I try to remind myself that the people that are prying a bit umm.. too much probably don’t even realize it, they’re just genuinely interested.
I know, easier said than done. Try to remember, although they were born at the same time, you still have two different babies with two different personalities. I can look back now and see how different they were even as infants but at the time I just worried.
My daughter was always more vocal, she would just randomly yell when she was only a couple of month old. Now at almost 2, she speaks in nearly full sentences often and has for a couple of months now. She hit most of her milestones long before her brother. She also was the reason I was put on bed rest very early in my pregnancy (we joke that she was trying to be first even then). She likes to stay up late and sleep in in the mornings. It’s always been who she is.
I found myself constantly worried about my son. Why isn’t he crawling? Why isn’t he talking? He just took his time and still does but once he’s ready to master something he picks it up fast, much faster than my daughter. There’s no messing around once he’s finally decided. He’s also amazing when it comes to putting puzzles together and general mechanical things that his sister doesn’t have the patience for. He likes to go to sleep at a decent time (usually) and get up before the sun. And that’s who he is.
That’s right, be selfish. Babies are hard let alone two babies at once. No, I’m not going to tell you to sleep when they sleep- of course you should sleep any chance you get though! You have two things to really focus on. You and your babies, ok, I guess 3..that’s it. As much as you can, delegate the rest even if it’s just temporary. Maybe your spouse can take care of some of the other things (walk the dog, feed the cats, clean bathrooms, etc) or family/friends can help out with some hot meals or if your budget allows, hire a cleaner once every couple of weeks or month just so you have one less thing to worry about. That first year can be exhausting and you have many more years to wear all the hats you want, don’t empty your tank so early on, be kind to yourself.
Try to Enjoy the Ride
It will fly! Before you know it you’ll be planning the first birthday party and baby proofing everything in your house. It will feel like its moving at a snail’s pace some days/weeks but they will change so much in just twelve months, they’ll have so many milestones, so many moments together that you’ll treasure forever. The first time they really see or notice each other, the first time they make each other laugh or try to “talk” to each other. It’s amazing, Enjoy!!