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I wait for bedtime for so many reasons.
To rest, sit down, to breathe but most importantly to meet with Jesus and reflect, refresh and restore my soul.
Sweatpants and honesty required.
Come sit with me momma.



June 10, 2011

I Survived


Two months old

My twin boys will be one Monday.
That year flew by. I think Paul and I deserve the following T-shirt, “I survived the first year of twins!” As do all other twin parents. It is a whirlwind.
The first year is so difficult. The first three months I do not even remember. Seriously. Luckily- it got better every day. I would repeat in my head the first several months- it will get better- it will get better.

I decided to write down what I learned the first year- or what I could remember anyway!!

Things I learned the first year of having twins.

As a precursor- I by no means have any idea what I am doing- these are only things I have learned by trial and error. They worked for my twins and our family. My boys still get up in the middle of the night sometimes, still fight with each other, and still whine. These tips will only help make your twin journey easier, or so I hope. From a mom who learned the hard way….

Keep them on the same schedule. Yes its brutal at first but totally pays off. Otherwise you will be changing and feeding allll day long. If one wakes- wake they other within 15 minutes or so to keep them on schedule. Yes its brutal at first but pays off. Now- I did not do this at night for my own sanity- some mothers of twins do- but I did not find it helpful. We just started fresh every morning.
Have a schedule. Are they eating about every 3 hours? Make a routine. Eat, play, sleep, change diaper when they wake. Write down who did what when- the doctor will ask and you need to know. Your brain is now mush.
Write it down. When they are sick and need to take Tylenol- write down who took what when. Otherwise it will be 2am, you will have a crying baby and not remember if you gave him Tylenol 2 hours ago or his brother. Write it down every time. When they are smaller, I would write down the time they ate or were changed so I would have a better idea of why they were crying. It gets confusing who you did what with when you have two babies. I was a new mom- I had no idea.
Dress them the same. This of course is optional but it was one less decision I had to make of the hundreds of decisions in a day. I folded the same shirts and pants together and just pulled it out of the drawer. It’s easier to spot them too. I was blessed enough to have twin clothes handed down too.
Laugh. Sometimes that is all you can do. Simple.
Sleep when they do. Everyone always tells you that. When you have a house of laundry and dishes and tons to do you want to get it done while they are asleep. Don’t. It killed me to let it sit because I am a slight neat freak but it will be there. Rest. Restore yourself so you can give your best to your kids and hubby. Do little bits throughout the day and let others do the rest. You will survive.
Bedtime routine is key. I was at wits end waiting for my boys to sleep through the night. Sometimes, it is just developmental and there is nothing you can do. My boys know when its bedtime because we do the same thing every night. Children thrive on routine- where us adults it can get mundane. We eat dinner, play, take a warm bath, read a book, drink a warm bottle, brush our teeth and go to bed. We only use soap twice per week to prevent dry skin unless they are super messy from dinner. As soon as bath time is over they know what time it is. They calm down and begin to start their lull to sleep. (Granted there are some days they are just wired overall! Haha!)
Go to bed early. My boys are asleep by 7pm. Yes- its early and I can’t go out and do things in the evening but how often do I really go out? I prefer to have three hours to clean up, rest, and have time with my husband. My boys are much happier sleeping a full 11-12 hours every night anyway. Pediatricians recommend babies not go to bed past 730 or 8. The more they sleep the more they grow healthy immune systems. Not to mention, if I did not have this time every evening to defrag I would go insane.
Put them down slightly awake. It does not always work and I have had to let them cry but now I put them down sleepy and they know how to get themselves to sleep. They still cry sometimes, or stay up and play together but training a baby to be a good sleeper now is imperative. Training a 2 year old- ha- that is tough.
It’s okay to watch TV. Pediatricians say no TV before age 2. Who does that? I make sure to chose shows that are not too ADD crazy and that teaches them something. They watch TV almost every day from about 4:15 to 5 while I cook dinner. It’s a life saver for me and they enjoy learning fun things. My Levi learned how to dance from watching a Baby Einstein rhythm DVD. So cute.
Take them out. Yes- it’s a huge ordeal. Huge. But you need it for your own sanity. They need a change of scenery on occasion and to learn how to act in public. You will get stares, lots of comments (both rude and nice), and will always wonder if it’s even worth all the hassle. It is. Staying in with them all day can get depressing day after day. Trust me. I would only take them out about once or twice per week but that is really all we needed. We went to church Sunday and some sort of store Saturdays normally. It gets easier to take them out as they get older and as you get used to their schedule. Now you only have a few short hours of non-meltdown time so plan your trip accordingly. Come up with a standard response to some comments too. You will soon see the “normal” comments you get. And no, having babies 10 months apart is NOT the same as twins. Not even close.
Have individual time. I am blessed enough to be able to take my boys to work with me during the day. I take one while Paul or a grandma takes the other most days. This give me time to bond with one baby. To give him individual attention (as much as I can while I am working anyways) and also teaches them a lot. They can play alone, sleep alone, and they go to my co workers well. They have suffered very little separation anxiety because of this schedule I think. It also gives my husband individual time with each boy two days per week since he only gets to see them in the evening otherwise. Do what you can to get individual time- especially if they are identical twins.
Enjoy them. Few people get to experience the joys of having twins. Yes, it is a huge amount of work but also makes me feel so blessed. I always have someone to hold even when my husband is holding one- we are never childless. (Which can sometimes be a burden- but it is normally nice)

I am still learning every day. We adjust and change what works for us on a regular basis. I guess that is part of being a parent.

Jude and Levi, It has been a joy the past year to be your mother. Watching you learn and grow has brought me such happiness. From the moment I heard your first cry I fell deeply in love with you. My love for you grows every day. May we continue to learn, grow, and love each other more as the days go by. You and Daddy are the best things in my life.

To all you mothers of twins, you will make it. You will get the t-shirt too and get off the first year ride with very messy hair, but a huge smile on your face.
May God bless you and fill you with His love today.

2 comments:

  1. Rachel I am so impressed by what you have learned. I don't know how much experience you had with children before yours were born, but I have worked in various day care centers since I was 16 and have a degree in Child Development/Early Childhood Education. The advice you gave was all spot on. Exactly the advice I always give new moms. Jude and Levi are so blessed to have such a wise mommy! Congratulations on getting through the first year. And now you get to have 3 babies to care for in the next year! I am so happy for you guys.

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  2. Thanks Paula! We are excited too. I think I had to take a crash course in baby since I had two at once! :) Hopefully baby three will benefit from this. Hehe.

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