Raising Twins: How I Survived The First Eight Years

“One of each? TWINS?! That’s perfect! You’re so lucky! How did you do it?!”

Yes, this response is a daily occurrence that has been taking place for the last 8+ years. I can promise you there is no secret manual to raising twins. The books that are out there (I’ve read a LOT of them) do not even begin to explain what life will throw your way when becoming a parent of multiples. I cannot speak for any other “twin mom,” but I can give you a glimpse inside of our ever-changing and exciting lives.


Pregnancy

For starters, I was not informed there were TWO babies until twenty weeks into my pregnancy. “Um, what?!” Cue the tears. And panic. And an immense wave of stress that poured over my twenty-year-old self. Over the next few months, my stomach was host to an internal war between two six-plus-pound, highly active aliens who was I was terrified to meet.

Newborns

Their sleeping schedule never existed, and breastfeeding lasted a mere twenty-four hours…for one baby. The other decided he would fast for his first day in the outside world, and then chose the bottle. His sister joined him on the same road as well. My stack of new diapers stored in their closet vanished before I could blink, and sleep became a thing of the past. Every article of clothing was covered in some bodily fluid from either them or myself (yep, I said it), and the bags under my eyes could have had their own zip code.

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Toddlerhood

Before I knew it, twelve months had gone by, even hazier than my college years. Next began our next climb of the roller coaster known as Twins. Every. Single. Day. during naptime, they started removing their, um, dirty diapers and using the…uhh…contents to decorate their walls. And their faces. And anything they could get their hands on, for that matter.

This cannot be my life. I should not be cleaning POOP off my children and walls!!!

Luckily this phase did not last forever.  The smell, however, is permanently burned into my nostrils.

Between years one and two they also became mobile, like really mobile. One day we were at Gap Kids, and my arms were full of clothes. Brayden took off in one direction and Emerson in the other. I grabbed her first because she’s faster. But the little man “jogged” his way into the hallway, giggling up a storm by the time I caught him. By then, my heart was pounding, we left with zero new clothes, and I vowed to never go out in public without a stroller again.

Those first few years were by far the hardest and filled with more unknowns than I could have ever imagined. Life never really got easier, but I learned how to laugh at the crazy times, rather than lock myself in the bathroom and cry. There were days when it honestly felt that I was under attack from some sort of demonic little humans. Maybe I was being punished for being such a demon child myself. (This might still be true, and I believe the years to come will be the real punishment.)

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Don’t let these sweet faces fool you. No one creates havoc like these two.

Preschool

Preschool was the only year they were in the same class, and I can see that first day in my head like it was yesterday. We were warned a few days before that if we cried, the kids would think they were being dropped off at a “bad place”. {Side note: becoming a mother has made me the biggest emotional wreck known to mankind. This is not a woman you can say “don’t cry” to!} I remember friends telling me to “enjoy the freedom” that came with kids going to school. Instead, I was a blubbering mess as they ran out of the car without even saying goodbye. “Apparently, they don’t need me anymore!” I thought. (Get real, lady. Those two depend on their mama for everything. Let them meet friends and spread their tiny little wings!)

School Age

My hot mess express makes its appearance annually on the first day of school. I have several witnesses to confirm. But no matter how many difficult and/or smelly days we have, those two are my world. It’s always a challenge to begin a new school year, and time continues to move faster.


I know there is a mom reading this, who might be well into her first pregnancy with two little humans inside her growing belly. I hope these stories make you laugh and realize that no amount of stress will put your mind at ease. What will be, will be. We are unable to predict the future, and for your sake, I hope your twins never remove their diapers and play with their poop. The bond between twins is unbreakable–and sometimes creepy when they communicate with their weird ESP nonsense. But it’s also incredible to watch and melts your heart to know that no one will ever understand them as they do.

There is no “right way” to raise a child, let alone twins. Being a mother gives you a full range of what works and learning about what doesn’t. There will be moments that you cringe, and silent times when you know something is just not right. There will be nights that you stay up and rock them just to watch them sleep. And days when you cannot wait for naptime to roll around. And of course, weeks that you would give your right arm for a hot shower.

These days, strangers typically second-guess me when I say they’re twins. (Yes, I had some crazy idea that I would lie to you, the complete stranger in the grocery check-out line.) It’s probably because they look nothing alike, but I can assure you, those little humans came from the same place. Au naturel at that. You don’t have to feel sorry for us mamas with double-trouble blessings. Please don’t say, “Oh, that must have been awful,” because honestly, it’s been the best, and wildest adventure of my life.

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I don’t have the answer to how I did it. And sometimes I wonder how we will get through the next phase.

Even when you think you have enough diapers to cover an army, buy more.

When friends and family offer to help, let them.

Don’t forget to breathe. All of the chaos will be gone in the blink of an eye. You’ll wonder how you got out alive, but will secretly offer to give up anything for just one day with those tiny babies back in your arms.

And lastly, sit back and enjoy the ride. Let them be little and soak up every moment, good and bad. Always remember, this too shall pass. 


 

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