Surviving Twin Toddlers…
Having twins is a blessing they say and they are right! It is an amazing journey being mother to twins and watching the dynamics of their unique relationship is nothing short of fascinating, but… Have you ever heard the phrase ‘one is none; two is twenty’ well never was that more true than when you have twins and when they are toddlers it is beyond chaos!! My twins are nearly four now so we are almost through it, but has been surviving twin toddlers. POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
Twin Toddlers are not just double the chaos
Twins are infinitely more capable of chaos than a singleton or even siblings who are close together in age. In case you were wondering having children close together is not the same as having twins. Siblings are limited by the simple fact of one being younger and so less physically capable. My boys are less than 2 years apart, but they could not work together to achieve the things that the twins can. This is not a good thing!
Plotting and Scheming
I could be overly suspicious, but I swear one of the girls distracts me so that the other can achieve whatever that minute’s dastardly goal is. They tag team so that as I stop one of them from smearing sudacream everywhere the other has run behind me and picked up the potty full of wee. Then as I catch the flying wee and dispose of it they will see an opportunity to start empty out the toy boxes or better still their clothes drawers.
These moments of abject chaos make the two of them laugh so much that it is hard to even be annoyed. Their response to me stepping out of the room for less than a minute is so instant and efficient that it is impossible to believe that they hadn’t been planning it secretly all day.
Toddlers are unsteady little beings who fall over lots. They are also typically inquisitive and adventurous and this is where it gets super tricky with twins. Unfortunately, when you have twins no one sends you home from the hospital with an extra pair of hands or eyes and yet you really need them! Keeping twin toddlers safe from harm can be a blooming nightmare. Its like Sophies Choice all the time…. As you grab one toddler off their pursuit of danger climbing a shelving unit you can almost guarantee the other is busy seeing what happens if they jump off something or another. They don’t know their limitations and self-preservation levels are low so it can be a very stressful business keeping twin toddlers safe. I also used to find taking them to large parks or playgrounds quite tough as they just always go in different directions so who do you go after or help up the climbing frame?
Twin Toddlers Fighting
The biggest challenge I have found is handling twin toddlers fighting and managing twin toddlers tantrums. The frustration that toddlers feel seems to be exacerbated by having another little person there too. Let’s face it toddlers think that they are the centre of the universe so it must be hard to have to understand at 2 years old that you are in fact only partly the centre of your mummy’s universe. This really does seem to be a twin thing. When you have two siblings of different ages even if one is 2 the other is typically a baby so the 2-year-old can still command much of the attention. By the time the littler one is getting to demanding things other than milk or a clean nappy the elder one is starting to come out of the selfish phase and can begin at least to understand why they have to wait for 30 seconds. Not so with twins. They both want everything at the same time. They both want to sit on mummy’s lap, but have mummy’s entire cuddle and not share. They both want to go to the loo (on the same loo) at the same time, they both want mummy to read their book at the same time and so the tantrums begin. I hope that over time this experience will ensure that they become very patient grown-ups, but for now, it means that I deal with lots of squawking and tears about not being first!
My top tips for surviving twin toddlers are:
- Try to find some time to spend with them on a 1:1 – This could just be 5 mins reading a book whilst the other twin plays with a toy or if you have a partner taking one twin into another room for a few minutes just to play or have a 1:1 chat. I have found it to be something they really respond to and that it eases the fighting over mummy!
- Keep that baby monitor up – We have cameras in our playroom, dining room and the girls bedroom so that if I have to deal with a tantrum or toilet emergency I can look at the app and see what the other twin is up to. This also means if they are fighting I can actually let them play in separate rooms and have some space from one another
- Alternate who goes first – being first is a big thing for our twins and one of them is louder than the other so I am consciously trying to ensure that our quieter little lady still gets her turn
- Relax your mothering style – you simply can’t be in two places at once so you have to let them be more independent than you might like. This is something I have really struggled with as I am very anxious generally, but I haven’t had a choice with the twins
- Make friends at playgroups – I try to go to the same playgroups regularly so that I can make friend there and have someone who I can at least say ‘can you keep an eye on her whilst I take her twin to the loo’.
- Be aware two can achieve a lot – twins are a force to be reckoned with so never underestimate how much they can achieve as a team. If you think, a toddler couldn’t climb up there or couldn’t open that cupboard then you are probably right, but maybe just maybe two toddlers could… Teamwork makes the dreamwork! This was perhaps the biggest shock to me as I thought I knew it all having already had two children. I underestimated twin power!
It is very hard surviving twin toddlers and I have been very tested by them both, but watching their amazing bond as sisters and twins grow is a true privilege. They find one another so infinitely entertaining and have a crazy bond unlike other siblings. Their brothers are very close, but the girls (when they aren’t squabbling over who will go on the toilet first) are a distinct unit and worry for one another. This means that sometimes they don’t need me. I am not their entertainments manager as much I needed to be with the boys as they create their own fun.
At 6 months old this was just sitting and laughing at one another – like they couldn’t believe there was another baby. I was with them I couldn’t believe it either! As toddlers this might be jumping on their beds, singing at top volume, turning multi coloured playdoh into grey sludge or sniffing out danger so they can give me more grey hairs… One thing is always constant though they want to do whatever it is together.
You got this!
If you are currently surviving twin toddlers remember that this is but a moment in time and soon you will have two teenagers to deal with and will no doubt be looking back to this time as being the easy bit! My grandmother told me that only special people are chosen to have twins. So as we head out of the surviving twin toddlers part of the journey and on to the next phase I will try to keep believing that!