From the moment you find out you’re having twins, life as you know it will never be the same. In fact, staring at those wriggling bodies on the screen during your scan might be about the point you start feeling out of control, and that’s good because it sets the scene not just for the next few months when those two little bodies take over your uterus, but for the first year of parenting, when you bring them home and realise the chaos that comes with twins.
Naturally, two babies bring double the joy, so you get extra cuddles, extra smiles and all the good things babies bring, but you also get intimately acquainted with twin dramas that only parents of twins will understand.
1. The mix-up fear
All I could think about when I brought my identical boys home was, what if I get my own babies mixed up and swap their names? But even if your twins aren’t identical, if they’re the same gender, there’s a good chance they’re going to look pretty similar when they’re newborns. Nail polish on one tiny toenail was my way of keeping on top of who was who.
2. Giant pram woes
No matter how modern and slimline your twin pram is, if it’s big enough to hold two babies, you’re going to feel like you’re pushing a little truck down the street, which doesn’t fit down narrow pathways or into small shops any longer. You don’t get the luxury of popping your babies in a baby carrier and leaving the pram behind, because carrying two babies will break your back. We also live in fear of getting wedged somewhere with the giant pram, which happened to me once in a tiny IGA checkout aisle.
3. The double cuddle
Hearing two newborns crying pitifully for you is one of the hardest parts of having twins, but being the super parent you are you’ll soon master the double cuddle, being able to scoop the two of them up and hold them close while you pace the floor to soothe them. And you get bigger biceps for your trouble. Go you!
4. The feed-in-public dilemma
Whether you’re breast or bottle feeding your twins, when they’re small and impatient, trying to feed them in public is a sweaty nightmare. There’s no perching on a park bench to do a quick tandem feed, and even if you made it to the parents’ room, there’s no twin feeding chair in there. The only choice you have is to try to feed one twin at a time while you jiggle the pram with your foot to keep the other one settled. Like I said, it can be a sweaty mess, and personally, it’s why I stayed home with them for the first six months.
5. Twin sleep
As if trying to get one baby to sleep isn’t hard enough, getting two of them settled in their beds can be a bit of a joke, only you’re a tired twin parent, nothing about sleep is a laughing matter. While some twin parents manage to get their twins sleeping soundly in the same room, most of us battle with one baby waking the other up over and over and to be honest, this doesn’t really change much as they get older. But at least when they’re older you can bribe them.
6. Dressing up twins
The good thing about having young twins is that you can dress them however you want, and sometimes this can really cheer you up if you’re dog tired. Because look how cute! If you can overlook the two hours it took to get the little monkeys dressed because they kept crawling out of the room every time you turned your back, it’s totally worth having twins when you get to dress them up.
7. Bath time
Bathing twin babies for the first time can also be the last time for many twin parents … trying to keep two babies from drowning can be enough to keep you all out of the bathroom until said babies can wash themselves.
8. Learning to crawl …
Twin parents are a little different to singleton ones, in that a lot of us want to avoid the crawling stage for as long as possible. Wrangling two busy babies who can’t go anywhere is hard enough, but chasing after two of them? It’s why I kept mine contained in the pram when we where out until I physically couldn’t fit them in there any longer.
9. Feeding time at the zoo
When twin babies start solids you’re better off dishing up all that mushy food outside where you can hose everything down afterwards, because twins not only make twice as much mess as single babies but they also egg each other on. I swear they are in cahoots at meal times. One will fling food at you and push their plate on the floor, while the other figures out how to undo their harness and stand up in the highchair while you’re bending down picking everything up.
10. Sick babies
By the time one twin has a fever and a runny nose, there’s no point trying to separate them because the germs have already been spread and it’s on its way for the second baby. So just when your first sick twin is finally on the mend and you haven’t slept more than an hour in a row for the last three nights, your other baby comes down with a fever.
11. Your personal fan club
Because twins have so much energy between them, it can feel like you’re parenting 10 kids at once. But when you walk into a room and you’re greeted with all that energy from two little babies that think you’re an absolute rock star, it feels like you have your own dedicated fan club. They don’t even care that you didn’t get to shower or brush your hair that day. To them, you’re amazing all the time.