Having a set of twins caused me to belly flop right into parenting, needing to learn things at double speed. Now, after a year, when it feels like I've gotten my head above water, I constantly am diving back down to learn something new.
Here are a few things that I've picked up along the way so far:
1. They are not cookie-cutter people
Most of you will probably say "Duh" to this, but in the midst of the chaos of having twins, you forget that even though they come as a unit, it's not like buying the same shirt from Target twice. My little boy loves showing off for people, while my little girl is happy watching the hustle and bustle from the comfort of Daddy's arms.
2. It's a lot like tag team wrestling
I'm sure parenting a single child is the same way, but not yet having a child one at a time, I don't know. Usually, we divide and conquer, but there are moments when we can't. When they weren't sleeping through the night, my husband and I worked in shifts. Nowadays, when one is busy, the other will jump in for a time with both kids until the tasks are completed or one gets overwhelmed, and we say, "Tag, you're it."
3. They came together for a reason
For us, I think it's because my little boy needed extra support when he was first born. My twins came very early, and they had to spend time in the NICU. My little boy was born with a heart condition, so he had to stay in the hospital longer than his sister. It wasn't until my twins finally got to spend time together that my little boy's health improved. He hasn't had an issue since.
4. Laugh it off
Imagine while changing a poopy bottom of one child, the other comes up and pulls all of the wipes out of the container. That was a weekly experience in our home. Other such similar experiences happen, and I must laugh them off, or I would be bald by now, having pulled my hair out in frustration. Kids are curious, and I am trying to walk the fine line between letting them be curious, but having them understand safe boundaries.
5. Schedule matters
Like every first-time parent, we got plenty of advice, and one piece was, "Get them on the same schedule." Great, thanks … how? We got that answer at the end of my pregnancy. "Feed them at the same time, even if the other one is sleeping." And from day one, feeding and sleeping schedules stayed the same if we followed these words. Having them on the same schedule brings some sanity back.
The development process varies just as much as personalities. I had bald babies who walked and talked later than some. And when they reached points like having enough hair to have bed head, or a new tooth came in, it was a day of celebration!
7. There is no such thing as a Super Mom
There is no perfect way to raise twins, or any child. You make things work with what you have. They say not to prop up the baby's bottle when feeding, but when the baby won't breastfeed or you can't produce enough milk for even one, and it's 4 a.m. and you are falling asleep, you make it work. In the end, you find that you and the babies get through it together.
8. Twins are the 8th wonder of the world
There is no blending in with twins. In every aisle of every store, people will exclaim over my twins as if they've never seen a set of twins before. It slows down shopping; and I feel all babies are wonders, but any more than one at a time blows people's minds.
9. You are never alone
Parents of older twins were everywhere we went when mine were newborn, and they said these very comforting words with honesty: "You will get through this," and "When they are four, it gets so much easier." I now love paying it forward to parents of new twins by giving them the peace of mind that it gets easier.
10. You get to hear what's on people's minds
"You must have your hands full!" is the most popular (As if a mother of one doesn't). The most memorable was when a lady very solemnly said, "My heart goes out to you." I have twins — not a fatal disease!
You will get through the first year. They will sleep through the night. There will somehow be enough food and clothes when the budget is tighter than ever. Illnesses will end or be easier to bear. Support is around you or will come when your knees are about to buckle. People open doors when they see you coming with that double stroller. And your little ones will make you smile when you are close to tears. They do this just because they love you.
I don't mean to imply that my experiences and what I've learned are more valid than any other parent's. There are times when I don't know what to do and call up my list of friends who are parents of older kids and ask them for advice or help. I'm just hoping to help those still freaking out because they just discovered they are having twins. My husband and I are still recovering from that.
I'm Candilyn Young and I recently graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a degree in Technical Theatre and a minor in Writing. I am working towards being a first time published author of young adult novels and plays, and whatever else I am inspired to write. I enjoy life and getting the most out of it. I travel whenever I get the chance with my husband and twins. My goal is to see as much of the world as possible.