My kids are about to turn 3, which seems to be the age when a lot of their buddies are getting new baby brothers and sisters. With all of these newborns popping up lately, I've been getting flashbacks — some of them traumatic — about those first few months with my twin boys. As you might imagine, it was a pretty rocky time, so I can't help but think, "Phew, I'm glad we don't have to do that again." It got me thinking about all of the ways that twins might actually be easier (that is, if you just want two kids). Some thoughts…
1. We only have to go through the tough stages once. Many of my friends seem to find the second baby easier, probably because, as parents, they have a better handle on it. Still, I'm just as happy not to relive the multiple night wakings, unexplained crying, and a lifetime spent getting baby to burp. Also, sleep training, though a smart and healthy decision for my kids, was heartbreaking and I'm relieved we won't have to do it ever again. We're just about to tackle potty-training as well and, as tough as it will be to get both boys out of diapers, when it's over, it's over. And now that we're in the throes of the almost-3s, I can say that I'm okay with just going through it this once. I equate it to ripping a Band-Aid off quickly–with twins, it might hurt more while you're at it, but then you're done.
2. Our kids don't need a playdate. Who doesn't love a playdate? It's good for the little ones to socialize, and it's good for the mommies as well. That being said, if I'm feeling lazy and tired and don't wanna go anywhere, my guys have each other to play with. They'll work together on building train tracks, create some imaginary game, or chase each other around the backyard. Of course, they still want Mommy to join in, but seemingly not as much as an only child or one with a younger sibling might.
3) Strangers are more likely to offer help. If you ask me, getting a 3-year-old and a baby out of the car and through a mall sounds way more challenging than managing twin toddlers. Still, when folks see a mom struggling with twins, they often step in to give a hand, which apparently doesn't happen as much when a mom is juggling siblings. I don't know if it's that we look more frazzled, if our kids seem more crazy, or if they just think twins seem impossible. Regardless, I'll gladly take the help when I need it. (Sidenote: I could do without the observers who love to stand there and provide original commentary like, "Wow, you look like you have your hands full.")
4) Our garage isn't loaded up with baby clothes and toys for #2. My husband and I have always wanted two kids, no more. So once they grow out of their tiny outfits and infant toys, we give them to friends or donate them. Sure, I get sentimental when I fold up their teeny-tiny sweater vests and baby socks, but I know they're going to a good family. And it leaves so much extra room in our garage for important things like pieces of plyboard, framed farmhouse posters from my single-girl apartment, and never-used kitchen appliances we got for our wedding.
5) We don't have to go to quite as many birthday parties. Honestly, I love any kind of shindig, whether it's a dinner party, a wedding, or a little one's birthday. Really, I just love any excuse to eat cake. But my friends with two or more kids seem to spend every single weekend shuttling between birthday parties. There's a bowling thing for a 6-year-old and a Frozen thing for a 3-year-old and a train-themed 1st birthday for your co-worker's baby. And that's just on Saturday. Let's not even get into all of the presents. With twins, there aren't quite as many parties because they often have the same friends. So my husband and I probably go to half as many birthdays than we would if our kids were different ages. Unfortunately though, that also means less cake for me.
6) Scheduling–and schlepping–is easier. My boys are still too young to have really developed separate interests. I'm sure that day will come, but for now, I can take them to the same gym class, the same swim class, the same sports class. I take both boys on playdates with kids their own age. And, best of all, they go to the same school, which starts at the same time, at the same place. I'm not spending the first hour of my morning drinking coffee out of a travel mug as I chauffeur my kids to their separate schools. No, instead I have a super awesome morning, drinking now-cold coffee out of my "Totally Cool Mom" mug, while begging my defiant kids to please, please, please put their shoes on so we won't be late for school again.
7) Our home is like a behavioral test lab. I've noticed that when we go to friends' houses, the mom often makes a point of explaining to her child that he has to share his toys with his friends. It never occurs to me to talk to my boys about this because, well, they already do share their toys with each other. There's no sense of true ownership because, unless something has their name on it, it's communal. So, in a sense, my boys are pros when it comes to sharing because we've been practicing at home. You know what else they've been practicing? Hitting each other. I have a brother myself, so I know that this is what siblings do, except they're the same exact size so it's a fair fight. And I don't have to feel embarrassed or apologetic or guilty because both attacker and victim are mine. I have to say that their fighting doesn't get physical very often, but when it does, we talk it through and work it out at home. Basically, twin parents are able to build healthy social habits without bringing any other kids into the mix. In fact, I believe that because they are twins and have been-there, done-that, they have an easier time dealing with conflict, they're more empathetic, and they know how to play well with others.
Hey, now that I think about it, raising twins is easy. Almost too easy. Oh look, a unicorn.