Mazel tov. Welcome to the world of twin parenting. I’m guessing by this point, you’ve wrapped your brain around the idea of having two kids at once and that you haven’t, let’s say, just found out the news and jumped off the table from the transvaginal ultrasound to yell it to the world on Instagram. But you still may have questions and concerns, and that’s where I’m here to help.
When my twins were little, I used to put them to bed and then go downstairs to listen to them through the baby monitor. It was like having the world’s greatest talk radio station broadcasting shows about our family. My daughter’s voice: “Mommy. She cranky. She say, ‘Stop. No. No eat dirt. Mommy cranky. Mommy say, ‘No dirt.'” Long, thoughtful pause. My son’s voice: “I eat dirt.” Pause. My daughter’s voice: “Mommy say, ‘No eat dirt!’ Mommy say, ‘Stop.’ Mommy cranky.”
That. That is what you have to look forward to. I’m not talking about your children critiquing your parenting skills (well, I mean, yes, you will hear that, too), but your two children, living out their day together, interacting like an old married couple while they suck on their binkies in their respective cribs.
And then growing into an old married couple who squabble on the playground or at the dinner table or the school bus, but like all old couples still fondly have each other’s back. It is one thing for your twin to point out the location of all of your zits. But woe to the person who attempts the same thing when that child’s twin is around.
You may worry that twins are twice the work. They are. I mean, I never parented a singleton, but any time you have to do things in duplicate, you’re doing more work. That’s just science. But they are also twice the joy. The double cuddle—that is the best; when you are covered in a nest of babies and everyone is warm and squishy and snuggled up against you. Twice the keppies to kiss, twice the pulkes to pretend eat, twice the puffy cheeks to kiss.
So here is my best advice for getting through parenting twins:
1. Get some good responses to common questions ready: “Are they natural?” (No, they’re robot babies and if you rip off their faces, you’ll expose all the wires.) “Which one is the good twin?” (What makes you think either of them are good?) “Which one is older?” (The one who was born first.)
2. When filling out permission slips and other school forms, write in all the duplicate information FIRST, then Xerox, then fill out the rest. It will save you a lot of time, I promise.
3. Make sure that when you get something for one and the other claims they do not want it, that you purchase a second one anyway and put it away for when they come to you a few moments later with the lip quivering and admit they do want X, Y, or Z now that they see that their twin has it.
4. Remind them every single day that they are individuals and it’s not a competition. They should know that you don’t compare them, and they shouldn’t compare themselves to each other.
5. Ask them what they want rather than going with the status quo. My kids always wanted to be together in school. I fought to keep them in the same class for every year of elementary school. Other twins in their school wanted to be apart. Really, twins are happier when they get to have some say in their lives vs. adults telling them what it means to be a twin.
6. Set up the baby montior in their room, even if your room is two feet away. Really, they say the funniest things to each other when you’re not in the room.
Actually, my best piece of advice is enjoy it. It goes quickly. And there will be people who give you terrible advice along the way. Your job is to ignore it because you’re going to be fine and your kids are going to be fine. Actually, they’re going to be better than fine: They have a house full of music and love.