Dear new Mothers of Multiples (twins, specifically),
It gets so much easier, I promise! One year is so much better than one month, or two months, or really almost any month before it!
It is hard, of course, in different ways. Twin Toddler Tornados can destroy just about anything, including your patience, some days.
Chasing them away from things they can’t have is a never-ending battle.
The screaming, the fighting over toys, the hair-pulling, the pushing down, the sitting/standing/walking on each other – these things happen, it is true. They’re the same age and don’t understand when you tell them to “be nice” or “give your brother a turn.”
Feeding times are frequently fiascos. They eat much more now, but they throw just as much on the floor. You think they’re through eating or that they don’t like that food, but the second you get one out of his high chair and turn to get his brother, the one now on the floor starts eating all the food he just threw there. It is now magically delicious.
Baths are always a fun time; you could about shampoo your own hair as wet as you get! Then there is the after bath diapering rush. You MUST get both babies’ butts oiled up and diapered before one or both of them pees somewhere – just hope it’s not somewhere with carpet (or on their books…hypothetically, of course, as this has never happened to me…). As you’re diapering one, his brother will either be A) destroying something, B) pulling on his penis, C) pulling on the penis of the baby you’re trying to diaper, D) ripping the hair out of the back of your head, E) (if you choose to put him up on the changing table) slamming the drawers open and closed into your shins, or F) at least two of the above.
All diaper changes are actually just like the previously described scenario with the single exception of no pee on the books, er, floor.
They come running right when you try to open the oven; they open every cupboard and unload every.single.thing that isn’t locked up; they climb on every possible surface, including their brother; they throw remarkably well, but don’t understand that they shouldn’t throw hard plastic things; they unroll toilet paper; they’re obsessed with the trash; they don’t want to take naps so they just play together instead; the list goes on.
In fact, sometimes they even get me to reminisce fondly about the days when they couldn’t roll over, let alone run – the days when all it took was a swaddle and full belly to get them to take a nap.
That lasts about fifteen seconds, because then I remember:
For the first (almost) month, I nursed them both literally around the clock. They took 15 to 20 minute breaks, and not always at the same time. I can’t even count the number of times my mom or my husband fed me because both of my hands were occupied. The only time I left the recliner in their room was to use the bathroom, and they screamed the whole time. I probably only showered three times that whole month, but I’m not really sure. It’s all very hazy and I think I may have been drowning. Or dying. A few times I really thought I might die. I rocked and nursed and bled (oh, nobody told you that you bleed enough that you could save a few hundred dying people if you donated an amount equal to that you throw away? nobody told me there’d be that much either – heads up, there is).
Then, low and behold, I found out that because of the way my breasts are constructed (eek, TMI) and the way the boys’ mouths were constructed, all they could manage to do was get a “slow leak,” to quote the lactation consultant. That’s why they nursed all the time. I pumped, gave them a bottle, and they slept for two hours. TWO HOURS. My life was changed!
For the next month and half-ish, I was a pumping, bottle-feeding, bottle-washing fool, but life was easier. My children slept for two to three hours at a time – this was just enough time to put them down, use the bathroom, pump, eat, and clean something/rest for 20-30 minutes before they woke again. At night we practiced “one up-both up” which allowed me to only get up a few times a night. The only reason they woke at night back then was to eat. Alas, caring for twinfants and trying to fit in the minimum eight pumping sessions a day didn’t always work out. Plus, as they grew, they required more than my meager supply. Even though my pee reeked of maple syrup (thanks, Fenugreek), I couldn’t produce enough for my boys, so we supplemented with formula.
Then I had to go back to work – my plan times were not at all conducive to a pumping schedule, so I weaned myself off the pump and we switched to all formula. I felt guilty, I agonized, I worried about the cost of the formula, but, in the end, it was so much better for our family. I’m thankful that we live in a modern society where formula is an option. (Check out this blog post if you’re totally against formula feeding, or if you’re for it, or if you just want to laugh). Formula feeding allowed me to sleep slightly more often.
Months 3-5ish got easier almost daily. Both babies could hold their heads up well, could roll over, were happy to play on the floor sometimes, etc.
Months 6 & 7 were so easy. They couldn’t yet crawl, but they could sit up. That meant that when I needed to go add to their bottles, for example, I could sit them both down on the floor quickly and come right back. That might not sound like a big deal, but it was monumental to me. No longer did I have to find a soft surface (our living room floor is laminate) to put both babies down on to go refill one bottle, come back and put one baby back in the rock’n’play and prop his bottle, and get re-situated with the other baby. Nope – just pop them both on the floor, go fill the bottle, and come back! There was even a brief period of time in there where I could leave the one in the rock’n’play without fear he’d somehow fall out on his head!
Since then things have just gotten easier and easier. They could crawl, then walk, now almost run toward you when you want them to. Taking them both somewhere? No problem! Stand one up in the van while you buckle the other, then take him around to his side. They can both sit up in restaurant high chairs and eat most of what you eat (thanks, baby led weaning!). They both sit up in the bath in their little chairs (those help contain them, though they don’t always work…). They can hold their own sippy cups. They entertain themselves for 20-30 minutes sometimes, playing with their toys and books. They are SO MUCH FUN! They laugh and give hugs and kisses, clap their hands, wave, and screech in excitement. Again, this list could go on for days, but, to sum it up, LIFE IS SO MUCH EASIER!