Welcome to my blog - it's like a diary only better. This is my soapbox containing a collection of my thoughts and the experiences of my life raising twins.

Prior to this blog, prior to marriage and prior to the twinsanity that I now call my life, life was quite different for me. When you visit this blog, you won’t find me writing much about my life pre-twins – I hope that’s okay. Why? You ask. Because life with twins changes everything and my life pre-multiples is now just a dizzy, distant memory. And while it’s true that life years ago may have been a little more glamorous, the life I live now is a whole lot more rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m glad you’ve stopped by...there’s a really strong chance that I won’t offer anything extraordinary here, but by the same token there is also the possibility that you will experience a taste of the adventures, challenges and many joys that come with my life with twins. Hopefully that will be enough to bring you back here again.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Pros and Cons of Twins

Sometimes, I feel as though my kids have been a little cheated because they’re twins.

That’s right, I said cheated. Now, at first blush, you may be thinking, well what’s that all about…well, let me explain.

Paige and Taylor neither get completely undivided attention and the kind of doting a baby would get from those parents of a first-born. And, in that same vein, Paige and Taylor also don’t get the spoiling, wisdom and experience of those parents of a later born child, like the baby of the family typically would.

Instead Paige and Taylor get a mommy and daddy who are new parents, often bumbling and over-tired, and who always have to attend to someone else, not just them individually. Instead, Paige and Taylor are often tended to as a pair.

Paige and Taylor didn’t choose to be twins, and yet here they are, fighting for attention from mommy and daddy.

For example, when they were just infants, I would have to decide which baby to feed first and that meant that the other one would just have to wait, sometimes, quite sadly and for a long time until the other one was finished feeding. I can recall Taylor getting very distraught, even as an infant, having to wait her turn to eat while reaching her arms out to me.

But, I also think about the advantages Paige and Taylor have of being twins.

While it's true that Paige and Taylor don’t get the experience of a parent of, say, the last-born child in a family, they do both get to be involved in our joys of being first time parents with them as the center of our universe!

Think about it in another way…I was the last-born in my own family. My older brother had so very many baby photos – actually, a ridiculous number of baby photos - because he was the first-born. By the time I discovered America, the photo obsessions and the undivided attention that is often bestowed upon the first-born in a family, had waned by the time I came along. I know this type of experience is pretty typical of last-born kids…I’ve had several friends, also last-born kids in their family, who attest to the same kinds of things.

So, while Paige and Taylor don’t get the undivided attention that a first-born, single baby might get from their first-time mommies and daddies, I also don’t think that we’ve obsessed about either Paige or Taylor to the same degree that new parents often do those first couple of years. Two babies of the exact same age doesn’t afford that luxury to us parents of multiples. We have often had to take a divide and conquer approach. An approach we were introduced to when they were just out of the womb - feed this one, change this one, put this one to bed THEN feed that one, change that one, put that one to bed. Then, repeat it all over again several times a day. But, as I think about it further, that kinda' stuff really won’t matter. It won't matter that Paige and Taylor didn’t have an older sibling to first break us parents in…because they have each other….because having twins breaks you in anyways, in a sense.

Here are a few other pros and cons to life with twins…

As a twin, you have constant companionship… by that same token, the downside is that you’re also never alone when you’re a twin.

You get more (not twice) the toys… the downside is, being a twin also means that you always have to share.

People remember you more easily and you become these little “rock-star” kids always getting a lot of attention wherever you go…the downside of that attention and “rock-star” status is that you’re always known as one of “the twins”.

You’re always getting compared to your other twin (and sometimes you’re the twin that wins)… but, as I said, you’re always getting compared (and sometimes you’re the twin that loses).

With twins, there’s always someone else to blame… or to blame you.

Because they are the same age, they often enjoy the same books, same bedtime/naptime schedules, the same routines. Since they aren’t different ages means that bedtime/naptime is, and pretty much always has been since they were infants, very uneventful. My friends who have children of different ages tell me all the time that it feels like bedtime really drags on for hours because one child goes to bed a little earlier than the oldest child, and one child is into picture books at bedtime while the older child is into chapter-ed books so there comes the challenge of really addressing totally different bedtime routines for the older and the younger children. So, for me, twins is a BIG, BIG PRO from that standpoint. With twins, it’s easy to have one set of rules and expectations at bedtime/naptime.

The joys of raising twins is doubly amazing…the flip side is that the challenges of meeting two babies and toddlers' needs at the same time can be doubly frustrating. Sometimes, I've thought to myself, "man, if only these kids were even a year apart from each other, how much easier it would be"!!!!

Lastly, I think that twins have a bond unique only to twins and to other children of multiples. My hope is that the bond they have together always outweighs any of the losses of not being a single baby getting our undivided attention and getting unprecedented doses of one-on-one doting from parents who have been able to focus on one child at a time.