Being a twin mom has been one of the most rewarding, confusing, frustratuing, satisfying, crazy and wild experiences of my life. I never expected to be a mother of multiples. Yes, I do remember growing up and joking that I would like to have twins and knock them out in one shot, but I never thought it would actually happen. So I never gave any thought to actually having them in all honesty. My dad was a twin so I always thought it was cool as I looked up to my dad so much.
The last 32 months have been like a strange roller coaster ride. At times I will admit I wanted off. I have carried much guilt over what I have recently read another multiple mom calling "one baby envy." Many times wondered what life would have been like with just one baby. Not that I would want to give up either of my children for one minute! I just wonder how different the boys would be had I had them one at at time instead of them sharing a birth date.
What is it like to just run in real quickly to the store or anywhere for that matter? There is no quickly when you are talking about getting two babies/toddlers out of their car seats and into a stroller just for a five minute trip into a place. Oh this just doesn't work. They won't go for it. The stay must be at least 15 to 30 minutes or it just isn't worth it. They don't like getting in and out of the car and more than I like getting them in and out. And yes, it did get somewhat easier when they could walk on their own but now I am faced with the challenge of they want to go and explore and while you can contain one toddler who is ready to do this, two or more at the same time is next to impossible unless they are confined...in the stroller (or unless you are a teacher...they have some magical power over kids). And lately even that isn't cutting it.
I wonder what it would be like to be able to actually see my children when I take them to a store. You know, to let them ride around in the cart and face me and we talk and chat about all the pretty things they see but can't have. I have got to experience this a few times and it was so strange for me. Very enjoyable and yet still such a strange and foreign feeling.
Now don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that as a parent of a singleton child your experience is any better/worse than mine. I am just simply stating what I am feeling, which I am learning is not all that uncommon. I am also learning how hard it is for parents of multiples to relate to parents of single children. And yes, I hear "my children are only [insert number of months here] months apart so I may as well have had twins too" more times than I care to share. The truth is, it isn't the same. You had one that was a little more self sufficient when you had the second. Again, I am not saying that it was any easier than what I am experiencing I am just stating that no, it isn't the same. Just like I have no idea what it is like to have to deal with a sibling coming along and the dynamic that takes on. I doubt my children will ever have another sibling.
One of the other things that has been a big guilt button for me is travel. I would so love to just pick up and take the boys places. To see friends and family and new places whenever we want. But the sad truth of it is as a parent of young multiples you survive on routine. You can't live without it. Some people think you are crazy that you "protect" your children's nap and bed time the way you do. At times I feel like I have no choice. Whenever we deviate from this valued routine we pay for it...dearly. Even now, the boys are 32 months and our schedule keeps changing and changing. I am about to lose my mind because they are acting all crazy and I don't know what to do with them. But when I sit back, I realize if I just find a new groove, a new routine for us to fall into they will be back to their happy little selves.
Oh, and let's talk about taking turns watching someone else's child so you can get a little break. What mother of a single child wants to watch your twins so you can get a break? I hear my friends talk all the time about swapping child care. Um, not going to happen. Yes, I have seen it actually happen among fellow multiple moms, but I will admit I don't know if I could handle my own twins plus someone else's if I am honest about it so I have never ventured there.
This has been on my mind a lot lately actually as the boys are getting older and making friends. They are so different from each other I know it will not be long before they actually have their own friends. No more mommy putting you together with some kiddos and calling them your friends. You picked them out and now mommy has to deal with them. Um, I am so not ready for this. Especially since one is so much more outgoing than the other. I know I will figure it all out eventually but the thought strikes fear into me these days. How do I explain to one that he can't go and play at so-in-so's house because only his brother was invited? They are the same age, in the same class, I can't use the "your brother is older than you so he has different friends" like my parents used on me.