Cafe Brigitte

A place for stay at home moms to talk over coffee

The Trouble with Twins July 12, 2009

Filed under: Parenting,Twins/Multiples — Cafe Brigitte @ 2:27 am
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People often ask me how I coped having twins. They say they can’t imagine taking care of two babies at once. My response is always the same…I didn’t know any different, so it didn’t seem that bad. In fact, I found the first year or two to be pretty easy, after the girls came home from the NICU, that is.

Since my twins were preemies and we lived in New England, we had to be particularly careful about RSV. So, we did not go out and about much. When the girls came home, I kept pretty much to the schedule they had in the NICU. That coupled with the need to stay home kept my days predictable and I was able to nap when ever I felt the need and I got to most of the household chores in a timely manner. My mother visited quarterly and I had some good friends who would help out when I really needed it.

It also helped that my twins were relatively good babies. They cried when they had reason to, but it was usually easily solved. Don’t get me wrong; they were not perfect. One twin had serious separation anxiety every time the baby books said it could happen at a particular age. (She seems to suffer from it still on some occasions. :P) The other twin would go on what I thought were hunger strikes, but the pediatrician said she was just snacking and to go back to our regular schedule – which worked.

My girls are built-in playmates for each other. I never had to call a friend over for a play date.

Until recently, having twins has been very manageable for me and has made life a bit easier. The trouble only began this year. Their interests and their strengths have started to diverge a bit. One rides horses and the other is a ballerina. They encourage and support each other in their separate activities, which is great.

The problem comes in when they are in the same activity or with school work. The success of one is viewed as a personal failure by the other when the outcomes are not the same. For example, they finished swimming lessons last night. One “completed” Level 2 and the other did not. Congratulating the one causes the other to feel like she failed. Yet, you don’t want to not congratulate the twin who moved up to the next level. Ugh.

Of course, next week the shoe will be on the other foot. The “non-swimmer” will do better in something than the “swimmer.” The one who does not do as well will mope despite my reminding her that she did better in swimming than her twin did. Each will have things that she is better at and things that she does not do as well. It all balances out, right?! Try and explain that to an 8 year old.

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