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What Having Twins Is Like

"My kid needs a buddy; they never play by themselves."

"AWWWW! I always wanted twins!"

I picture bathing only one kid at a time, or having only one toddler tromping around the kitchen with a Fisher Price popper and it seems so lonely. But then I picture the freedom of going on little adventures, such as to the pet store or bookstore or really anywhere, with only one little zoomy, potentially whiny, person to deal with and focus on and I crave that. I stay home and indoors way more than I would with only one little person.

I read an article on twins recently in which the author shared that everything has to be evaluated in terms of Safety when you have twins. Hmm, it's a gorgeous day. We should visit that new park across town! Oh wait, there's one of me and two of them. Oh well.

But the real thing I struggle with is that as annoying as I find our digital, materialistic culture, I am totally a product of it. Instead of focusing on the spiritual aspects of this huge endeavor, I spent more time than necessary on Amazon compiling my list of products I was sure to need. I instantly went into management mode when I learned I would be caring for two babies at the same time. Once they arrived, any baby-free time was spent wandering a store in peace and buying new clothes I thought they'd need (i.e. retail therapy).

I worried more about what I was supposed to be doing at certain ages than what my individual children really needed. I assumed I couldn't concentrate on anything deep (I WAS really tired), so I spent quiet breastfeeding hours on Facebook and reading whatever parenting articles popped up.

But you know what? I am perfectly equipped to be their mother, because they were assigned to me. Not to anyone else.

The first year, my needier twin got more time in my arms, leaving me wishing I could linger longer with his calmer brother. I hated always having to hand Calm Baby off when I needed help. He was MY baby too. After their 1st birthday, they switched, and I got to connect with the calmer brother who was much more people oriented and better in the communication department. This child thrives off touch and seemed to understand everything I said from an early age. He was so easy to connect with. He laughed at everything.

But now, my frustrated baby could finally move and he wasn't a fan of lots of hugging and kissing. I weaned him at the same time he both wore a helmet (for a flat spot) and learned to walk. Now it seems we barely touched. I felt so disconnected from him. And annoyed at him in a way I hadn't been when we were nursing. And it bothered me. Sometimes he would bring a toy or book and sit quietly in my lap...and then his brother would jealously barge in.

0-2 with twins felt like survival and management. The first year was all nursing and making sure the three of us didn't starve. I ate more than my 6'8 husband during that time. The second year, they weren't nursing, but were on the same schedule both day and night. When my parents helped or my husband was home during naptime, I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. I'd get coffee and go shopping.

We've entered the third year and everything feels different. I use the time for what matters. I practice writing. I make sure my husband isn't ignored. I'm exercising (when it's not raining, haha!) so I stay strong well past middle-age. I crave spiritual growth and I work to that end.

It's no longer survival. It's training: Discipline, routines, manners, empathy, following directions. And sharing me with each other has become infinitely harder for my twins. I recently took my less-touchy twin out the other day without his brother (who went to my parents' house). We went to a park and walked. For the first time, he wanted to hold my hand the whole way. We went grocery shopping, had a quiet lunch and read books. He had my undivided attention. He was a different kid the whole day. My husband noticed. He was content. Calm. He didn't flip out during transitions or even just at random.

Twins are great when you had to wait for your spouse to be ready for children. It's like making up for lost time. Twins are the best, unanticipated solution to wanting kids close in age. Twins are great when they are on the same schedule and you have guaranteed Me Time to look forward to. Twins are a blessing when you need more hugs and kisses and giggling and color in your home.

Twins are basically whiplash; you go from twice the whining to twice the cuteness. In the same day. Really, every hour.

But I guess that's just parenting.

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