Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twinsanity clearing

Really sweet things

They play chasey up and down the hallway. Louis can't walk yet, so Pearl gets down on her hands and knees and crawls to make things fair.

They play peek-a-boo around the coffee table.

They giggle together.

They have interactive chats together. I think they are mimicking our conversations. Their chats have the same cadence - up down up down, with question marks and responses.

I really enjoy seeing their different personalities emerging. It's such a lesson in our role as parents. We can't change their temperament - we can only help them become the best people that they can be.

For the most part, I find the attention that twins get, and the whole 'twin club' thing, really bouying. If I'm having a hard day, and some stranger says, 'Oh, twins, you are amazing,' or 'My twins are thirty now, and still the best of friends,' I feel really validated and supported. Someone can see the effort that is going into this parenting business!

It's really lovely to see them mimicking our parenting. If Louis is crying, Pearl will give him a hug. When I'm trying to get Pearl to sleep, gently patting her bottom, Louis will crawl over and give her a few whacks too. It's not particularly helpful, but it is exceptionally cute.

I think having twins forces you to be much more relaxed about things. My philosophy is, 'if they are not crying, and it's not dangerous, don't disturb them.' I don't worry about dirt, or germs, or wee - they'll be right. Consequently they're kinda little feral babies.

Another thing I had to get relaxed about was breastfeeding in public. Politically I was all for it, of course women shoudl breastfeed whereever they want, but doing it myself took a minute to catch up. But with twins, in the beginning at least, one is always breastfeeding. No time for shyness here!

Co-sleeping. Two babies waking you up in the morning is so gorgeous - as long as they wait til six a.m.!

They really are divine. Notwithstanding the list below, I just give thanks every day for them. Haven't figured out Who to thank yet, but general thanks go out. Also I worry about dying before they grow up. I want to see how they turn out!

Harder things

Not being able to leave the house. I mean, literally, like going to the letterbox three doors down. I can't just pop a baby on a hip and wander to the neighbour's, or the letterbox, or jump out of the car to pick up a carton of milk. Everything involves prams which have to be hauled out of the boot of the car and unfolded. The bulk ice-cream delivery van comes around every fortnight and I have finally figured out how to get to him (after a year of sadly watching him go by from the window): I have my money and a little satchel ready by the door. When I hear the truck, I put the satchel over my shoulder and put a baby on each hip. We walk onto the street like that and flag him down. Then I get the icecream man to rummage around in the satchel and find the money, and put the change and my new box of ice-creams into my bag. It's rather intimate but I'm very proud of my prize. You would think I could just go without ice-cream, wouldn't you? But Ice Cream Night is one of the highlights of my fortnight. It's also a bit of a street social event - particularly on hot evenings, everyone is out on the street discussing their selections. It would just be un-neighbourly not to take part.

Freaking out every time I strap one baby in the car parked by the side of the road (we have no driveway) and run back into the house to get the other baby. Will baby 2 fall off the coffee table while I'm putting baby 1 in the car? Will the car containing baby1 get hit by a drunken driver while I'm inside getting baby 2? Is the handbrake on? Is the window down?

Having to decide who is crying harder - who deserves to be picked up more, and who is going to have to lie there and cry?

Putting them to sleep is still really hard work, although much better. If one is crying, the other won't go to sleep until really exhausted. Louis won't stay asleep if he is put into a different room to Pearl. All those books on how to get your single baby to sleep are useless. And the twin books just say, 'Close the door and go and make a cake - they'll fall asleep eventually.' I've never been able to do that. If it's not okay to leave a singleton to cry, why is it okay for twins?

I spend a lot of time with my mother these days. My mother is great, and has been an immeasurable help, and she adores Pearl & Louis...but it is a readjustment to spend so much time with her. We have different parenting approaches. You know how it is.

I know I felt really jealous last year that I couldn't do mother and baby yoga, or mother and baby swimming, or mother and baby movies, or mother and baby gym, get the picture. It was just me and the twin pram and long walks through the parks. I also felt really self-conscious visiting other mums, because when they were little, whoever wasn't being held would cry all the time. So we were a noisy, messy, pooey whirlwind of a visit.

No time. Like, literally. I know all mothers say that, but don't single babies sleep for at least fifteen minutes at a stretch? I was so jealous of those fifteen minute stretches. I had a rule that if both babies were asleep at the same time, I had to lie down. I think this would happen maybe twice a week, for about six minutes at a time. Two six minute naps a week. I know, shouldn't complain, if I was that serious about it I would get them into a routine by leaving them to cry. ('They'll learn!' 'They rule that house!' 'They're just manipulating you!'). I'm so glad we did it the way we did but it was hard.

I am always covered in baby food.

Breastfeeding when we are out is hard work. I don't feel comfortable pulling my top up and doing both at once, which is what I do at home. So whoever is not being fed wails and carries on. Not such an issue now they are bigger, but it really was restricting when they were little and needing to be breastfed every couple of hours.


E, SS and the Little Man said...

I know you probably get tired of people saying that you're a saint to be able to manage twins, but it definitely looks like it's hard from where I'm standing. I do get exhausted having a singleton toddler, so the thought of two is unimaginable. I think the way you did the sleeping is good. I think it would be hard for me to just let them both (or one of them) cry it out.

One nice thing that I envy is that they play together and keep each other occupied, which will probably get better as they're older.

Deborah said...

For the most part, I find the attention that twins get, and the whole 'twin club' thing, really bouying. If I'm having a hard day, and some stranger says, 'Oh, twins, you are amazing,' or 'My twins are thirty now, and still the best of friends,' I feel really validated and supported.

SNAP! When I was having a bad day, I would make a big effort to get them, and myself, dressed, ane we would go down the street for a walk, and people would stop and tell me that I was wonderful.

So very shallow, but it helped me, a lot.