Our beautiful, determined, cheerful, bold, stubborn, adorable twins turn two this week. Two years of our world being turned upside down in the very best way possible. Two years of juggling and multi-tasking even more than your average mum. Two years of watching our eldest develop into a caring, kind big brother. Two years of seeing our girls grow into loving, special, spirited individuals. Very DEFINITELY individuals.
At the moment twin 1 is developing her super assertive skills. Today she strode up to the playgroup leader and asked for us all to sing ‘Zoom, Zoom, Zoom’ during circle time and then inquired where her presents were after everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’. She is very sociable, shouting ‘hello’ to different mums and children for months now on the school run. She loves playing with bouncy balls and dancing around the lounge, as well as being on the climbing frame and slides when in the park or at softplay. She hates being in the buggy and would much rather walk (or even better scoot). She LOVES Elsa from Frozen and twiddling hair for comfort when sucking her thumb. She is a minimalist and just has her treasured ‘Bunny’ in her cot with her. She is a Daddy’s Girl.
Twin 2 was walking before she was a year old and loves playing rough and tumble with her brother. She hasn’t felt the need to talk much until recently with her favourite words now being ‘cuddle’ (pronounced ‘cuggle’), ‘up’, ‘scared’, ‘nanite’ ‘Gruffalo’ and ‘Stickman’. She also says ‘no’ A LOT. She loves pretending to put dolls and soft toys to bed and is concerned every time her sister lays down to ‘sleeping bunnies’ seeming to think she may be unwell. She prefers to stick to the swing when in the playground. She is a hoarder and will have anything and everything in the cot with her. She is a sucker for a label and regularly chases her brother down in order to grab the label from his top for comfort. She is obsessed with her Grandad.
It is definitely true what they say:
Being a twin mum has definitely given me a different perspective on life. So, to celebrate our girls turning two, I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned.
- A tidy home is over-rated. I used to be desperate for a ‘show home’ house and would always try and keep the house in a decent state just in case anyone decided to ‘pop’ round. No more. Life’s too short. I’m getting much better at ‘styling it out’ when people come over and the house is a mess. I know that people who I care about don’t care about trivial stuff like that anyway.
- With some babies breastfeeding works, some it doesn’t. Now I’m not trying to be particularly controversial with this statement. Nor am I about to quote scientific research – this is just my experience. My eldest wouldn’t latch on for love nor money. Yet I tandem fed the twins like a pro in the early days. From early on though twin 1 was hungry and would glug away at a bottle too. Not the case with Twin 2. All babies are different. Our bodies work differently with different babies. There is no point beating ourselves up about it.
- Developmental milestones anyone? Having twins has taught me that even if children are exposed to near enough the same experience, they will still develop at a different pace because the are individuals. Something else not to beat ourselves up about. Like I said, twin 1 walked a good few weeks before twin 2, yet twin 2 has talked more clearly than her older sis (by 2 minutes) for months now. Often we put too much pressure on ourselves about things that are actually beyond our control… (as much as we may like to think otherwise!) …like what we could have done better to help reach developmental milestones quicker. What does it really matter anyway?
- Wine at teatime is fine (sometimes). At times I know I am a more patient parent with a glass of wine in my hand at 5 0’clock. Not every night but those nights where teatime is turning into a nightmare and I need the patience of a saint and am instead tired and irritable. I know it’s not advice we’d find in any parenting book but this can help me just be a little less uptight about table manners etc and therefore the ‘witching hour’ can pass with less confrontation and more cheeriness.
- Recording ‘mindful moments’ helps stop life passing in too much of a blur.
Yes the camera on our phone can help us with this but if you’re not about to start a blog I advise keeping a gratitude log. Such a helpful way to remember and appreciate the little things. Even when life is incredibly hectic.
- Grab the 1-2-1s when you can. We all understand the importance of connecting with our children, but it can be bloody difficult carving out individual time for each of them when you have more than one or multiples. Initially I thought people meant taking one of the kids out by themselves but actually I soon realised that you can have ‘1 to 1’ time very easily at home. Nappy changes are a great opportunity for me to focus on just one of the twins and have a very special interaction while I do a job!
- Sharing is bloody difficult for anyone ESPECIALLY little ones. I know the phrase ‘sharing is caring’ is lovely and also extremely catchy. Yet we tend to avoid using it in our household. None of us are very good at sharing – including me with my biscuits, laptop or phone. Instead we talk about ‘turn-taking’ and are trying hard to encourage this.
- We are capable of more than we think. I will never forget the moment we found out we were having twins. We had the scan at Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital, London. Afterwards I remember standing on the platform at London Bridge station feeling on cloud nine. Then suddenly it hit me. The doubt. I cried and cried. I had barely been able to cope with one baby, how was I going to cope being a twin mum? But do you know what? I needn’t have worried. Yes I was knackered in those early days – as you can see from the photo below (and truth be told I still am much of the time). BUT I am a mum of three beautiful children – including toddler twins – and we’re doing just fine.