by Emily Pepka
Every single person I talked to told me the first year of raising twins would be the hardest. If I could make it through the first year, things would get so much better, they told me.
Well, I am here to tell you, those people were all liars. I survived my first year just fine. There were challenges. There were adjustments to be made. With 2 extremely premature babies, life was pretty busy and hectic that first year. But you know what...if I put the babies down, they stayed there. If I put them in a swing, they were happy and content for even a few minutes. They woke up every few hours, but they'd eat and go back to sleep.
And then they turned one. Soon after, they started walking. And soon after that, they were running. And before I knew it, I had 2 full blown toddlers. And let me tell you, TODDLERS are hard work.
Doing the simplest tasks has become such a challenge. I have to adjust and take into account the needs of not just one, but two, opinionated and picky toddlers. Meals are mass chaos. I can't even sit here quietly for 5 minutes typing up this blog post without a kid climbing on my head, 20 little fingers to swat away from the computer, and Yo Gabba Gabba blaring in the background because someone figured out which button is the volume button (just mount your TV as high as possible now, moms of multiples. You can thank me later).
I see pictures of friends with just one child, sitting quietly and reading a book, or painting a picture. That never happens at our house. I might sit quietly with one twin for a minute, but soon enough, the other will require something different, or will distract the quiet twin. Suddenly, a quiet moment turns into a crazy fight over a truck. Please note, we have probably 4 of the exact same truck. None of them are as good as this ONE truck though.
Now I'm sure there are similar challenges with siblings, but with 2 different ages, I'm sure you don't have two naked kids running around your house, peeing left and right while you try to potty train them. And with that, I think I will potty train one at a time. Let's start with my daughter. Then let's hope I have enough patience left to potty train my son so he's not in diapers at 4.
All of that is hard. When they run in two different directions at the park things get a little frantic. But our biggest challenge yet is keeping the house safe and toddler proof. I have two very bright children. I am very blessed. They are smarter than they look though, and with one urging on the other, things very quickly get out of control.
That would be 2 children sitting on top of the kitchen counter after using the oven to climb up. And why yes, my chairs ARE on my dining room table in the background from a previous incident involving the chandelier. I can't let my children out of sight for a second. I don't take showers anymore. You don't have to sit too close to me, I understand. The knives are now in a drawer that is locked and far out of their reach. The oven is also now locked with a new lock that they haven't figure out. Yet. Feel free to contact me for any tips on good locks for your drawers, cabinets, and appliances. I have a lot of experience. When a vending machine full of child proofing gear at a hospital gets you excited, you know you have a problem. And the vending machine is at CHLA, for those interested ;) and the locks and things are actually cheaper than you'll find them at Babies R Us. I digress....
So let me be the honest one who tells you, the first year is definitely not the hardest. I'm sorry if this is bad news for everyone waking up with their newborn twins at 2am...and 4am....and 6am. But while they are a challenge and make me want to rip out my hair frequently, I wouldn't want it any other way. They make me laugh constantly and have shown me the joys in all the little things in life. They cheer for me every time I enter a room or do a dance (what a self esteem boost!). They're each others best friends. And at the end of the day, when they are finally asleep, while I'm lying there exhausted and partially bald, I miss my crazy little twins and can't wait for the adventures the next day has in store.
About the Author: Emily Pepka is a proud Air Force wife and mom of twins. Her boy/girl twins were born in June 2011 at only 27 weeks. Her blog, Twice the Miracle (http://twicethemiracle.
documents her family's life through the NICU and beyond. In January
2013, Emily and her husband welcomed a full term healthy singleton baby
boy. The Pepka's are currently stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base,
volunteer with the March of Dimes Family Teams Committee and are members
of the Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association (www.twinsclub.org).