My friends, Jeff and Jaime McQuaid just had twins, a boy and a girl, a few days ago. In honor of their new venture into parenting multiples, I decided to give them some thoughts on twins. Obviously everybody is different, especially every child, but hopefully there are helpful ideas here.
- · It gets old when everyone treats you like a freak show. Complete strangers will want to talk to you, usually when you are in a hurry or incredibly tired. Yes, they are twins. No, you cannot touch them.
- · Heidi wakes the other twin to feed him once the first one is done feeding. This is especially true at night. We feel bad waking them up but she also does not want to just keep waking up all night. Eventually they fall into some kind of rhythm and Heidi gets more rest.
- · Some people cannot stand that someone might be busier than them. When we tell people that having infant twins and a toddler is unbelievable busy, those people launch into a monologue about why they are busier than you. One lady said that her kids were born 13 months apart, so it was just like having twins. (No, it is most certainly not.) Another woman told us that she is a teacher and that is way busier than being a parent to twins. (Again, no. You get paid to be a teacher and don’t have to feed your students in the middle of the night.) We never want to complain about this incredible gift God gave us. These boys keep us really, really busy.
- · We were fortunate that our twins made it to full term and were born unusually large so that plays a large part but we were still pleasantly surprised by how well they sleep at night. I am confident that consistency plays a large part in that. We put them down at almost the exact same every night and they have been sleeping through the night since they reached three months old. We are no experts on baby sleeping but that seems to work for us. It pretty much kills any social life, but that will change eventually.
- · We have come to accept that there is often one crying child in our house. If Heidi is home alone, which she often is as a stay at home Mom, there is one of her with two infants and a toddler. When I am home, we are still outnumbered. The zone defense can only do so much. If I am playing with Jackson, and a twin starts to cry, then I have to decide if I will let the twin cry or stop playing with Jackson, which makes him sad. Naturally that only happens when Heidi is already feeding one twin.
- · There are many opinions on this, but we kept the twins in the same crib at night until they reached three months. Now their cribs are right next to each other, and, I cannot prove this scientifically, but I think they sleep better right next to each other.
- · Going anywhere is really tough. Beside everyone staring at us, there are so many babies and so much gear, that it is hardly worth leaving the house. With a few exceptions, if we see people, we have them come to us. Restaurants are totally not worth the effort.
- · If someone offered us help, we almost always took it. Many meals came our way because we would not turn down anything. We did not cook a single meal for over three months after the twins were born.
- · Twins were hard on me because I got up in the middle of the night to help Heidi feed them for three months. Twice a week Heidi’s mom would stay overnight and take the middle of the night feeding but the rest of the time I was up with her. I was like a zombie at work for the few months but somehow, with a lot of caffeine, I made it.
We are so blessed and love these boys so much. While we are busy and tired, we would not trade our lives with anyone. Jeff and Jaime, you will be great parents. Enjoy this time.