It's been a while since I've blogged. Welcome me back, thanks.
There is a lot of things that people don't understand about raising twins (or trips, quads, etc. .) That's not to say that I was enlightened with any of this information before having boys of our own but rather things that both Sara and I have learned along the way.
Raising twins is not the same as singulars. Multiples have an unwritten and unspoken bond that unless you are one, it can never be understood. They play off of each other in how they interact with us as parents, and everybody else for that matter. That can't be "parented out," nor should it be. It's simply a part of their neurological makeup and can not be changed.
Max's speech is slightly delayed for two reasons; he couldn't hear for the first two years of his life and Zachary, his TWIN brother, answers for him all the time since he is the big brother by all of one minute. Zach is literally one minute older and the "big brother" mentality is already programmed into him. I have no doubt that if Max had come out first, this situation would be exactly reversed. It is what it is and, as I've already said, this can not be changed.
Part of the reason for me blogging again is that I want people to understand that our boys, as twins, do not react, interact or converse in the same way as "normal" children do.
I get extremely frustrated when parents try to throw their dictating tactics for discipline at us when in reality they have no idea what it's like raising multiples. Two children, separated at birth by one minute, who could not be more different in their personalities but couldn't be any more connected for the rest of their lives. If one is crying, the other instantly stops what they are doing and investigates the cause. If we put one in timeout, the other one waits outside the door until they know that their "brudder" is OK and not harmed.
Christmas is a joyous time of year but the nuances of making all the appointments work really drains the life out of you sometimes. Sara and I want to make everything work for everybody but that just never happens. There is so much more involved in getting two active and sometimes defiant two year old twin boys to places that by the time we get there, it just isn't fun for anybody anymore. Add to this the various challenges presented by different households in keeping their little hands off various knick-knacks, rocks, ornaments and candy and no one can truly enjoy themselves in the spirit of the holiday season.
We know this will get better as they get older and we get more accustomed to meeting these challenges with the information that we have accrued in two and a half years of being new parents.
All that said, Sara and I both wish the best for everybody this holiday season. May your next year be better than this one.
Today wasn't a good day. It was a combination of a tired mommy, two tired boys, a messy house, a huge pile of laundry and a mile-long to-do list. And it didn't end well. The boys woke up in fairly good moods, I made breakfast and we migrated towards the family room. We had a bit of snuggle time and then I started my "to-do" list. The boys love to help and I need to learn to let them do what they can, even though it makes the task longer and harder for me. I had put the car seats back in the car after cleaning them last night, and Zach only ran out of the house once when the door was open. When I got a load of laundry out of the dryer, the boys decided to "help" by drying 2 packages of fruit snacks and 6 cans of Pepsi Max. The fruit snacks melted a bit, but thank God the soda made enough of a racket that I pulled them out of the dryer before they exploded. Zach was obsessed with climbing on things today. He climbed on a chair to be able to reach higher on the Christmas tree and he started pulling down the "good" ornaments. The rest of the tree, from 4" and below is empty, as they have all ready cleared it off and thrown all the balls down the stairs. When I "shooed" him away from tree, he ran into the kitchen, and again climbed on whatever he could (a Tupperware, a chair, his brother) and started pulling things out of the cupboard. He opened a package of Ramen and crunched it on the floor, as well as dumped out a Costco size container of Craisins. I encouraged nap time, which was a no-go and after an hour of insane yelling, I got them up. It started a cycle of kicking, hitting, biting, pulling back and forth at the tree. Not to mention that during that one hour of yelling, Zach managed to get the closet door open and pulled out ALL of his drawers and the clothes in them. They also managed to take all of the little containers of Jell-o and smoosh them into the floor. And then, cue the hitting, kicking, biting. Max gets so tired, he can't walk. He just sobs. You can't put him in his room, you can't get him to do any type of activity. He just sits on the floor, chews on his blanket and sobs. Zach gets tired and he gets rowdy, and naughty. At one point, I asked Zach if he needed a spanking and he turned around and stuck his butt in my face. Kind of defeats the purpose of that threat. The kid has never had a spanking, maybe a swat on the behind once or twice. Today, he should have been swatted at least 50 times if I was going to tell him NO every, single time. I try. I know that they want discipline, but sometimes, I am just tired of talking. I am tired of saying no. I am tired of redirecting. I am tired of yelling, tired of picking up toys. I am tired of laundry. I am tired of a messy house. I am tired of pine needles from the Christmas tree. I am obviously missing the boat on the whole holiday thing, because I am tired and so are the boys. So, why won't they sleep?! I made dinner, Max screamed the entire time because he wanted to push the buttons and I wouldn't let him up by the stove. I tried to cook and keep the boys safe while I was making dinner. Then, I open the oven and find a AAA battery on the bottom of the oven. No clue HOW that got in there or WHEN. I didn't get a look inside the oven before I threw the green bean casserole in it... Max refused to eat dinner, he wouldn't sit in his chair, kept climbing on the table. Zach wouldn't eat off his plate, only mine. Dustin was mad because I was being quiet and I was so tired. I cleaned up the kitchen, living room and vacuumed up some of those damn pine needles and went to bed. Did I mention I am tired?
Well, I guess it feels like it is getting "easier" as the boys get bigger, some moments are more difficult (temper tantrums!), and the sheer fact that the boys are getting bigger, it makes me a little sad.
Dustin and I decided when we first found out we were having twins that we wouldn't have more children. Those feelings were cemented with return thoughts of miscarriage, infertility and pregnancy complications. For the most part, I am ok with just having the boys and our angel. But, watching them get bigger and needing their mommy's help a little less puts that ache in my uterus.
Last week, I made the impromptu decision to separate the boys and get them their own rooms. They had been sleeping in their cribs, which were converted to toddler beds, with the open side facing the wall (I have no idea how this "fooled" them for so long) but, Zachary had began to climb out of his crib, into his "brudder's bed." This would cause insane amounts of anger for Max, who would be so tired and then, Zach would jump into his bed. And not only did Zach climb into bed with Max, he also bit him. One day, he had over 8 bite marks on his back. Bitten 8 times in the span of time from Max screaming to me pulling Zach off. Zach wasn't being malicious, just "playful."
On Friday, the boys were exhausted and had settled down for nap time. I got them in their beds and sat outside their room, listening, just in case Zach tried to bite Max. Within one minute, I heard Zach climb out of his crib and into Max's. I went into their room, separated them, did the "goodnight" routine again and waiting outside the door. After the 3rd time of pulling Zach out of Max's bed and Max getting angrier, AND no nap in sight... I had enough.
I unplugged the computer from the wall and drug the desk into our bedroom, without moving a thing. I threw the mattress and box spring for the guest bed into the hallway. I frantically searched for the allen wrench and started disassembling a crib and pulled that into the hallway. Dustin got home and seemed a little shocked. I had texted him earlier and asked, "are you ok with own bedrooms?" I don't think he understood the seriousness of my message, nor the determination to get these children to nap.
That night bedtime went without a hitch for Max. He climbed up into his big boy toddler bed, chewed on his blankie and fell asleep. It wasn't so great for Zachary. He sat in front of the bedroom door and sobbed for over an hour, crying for his "brudder." When he finally quieted down, we moved him to his bed for the night.
The boys woke up in great moods Saturday morning. However, Zachary woke up with the reddest face I have ever seen. He must have broken every blood vessel in his cheeks when he was screaming for the hour I made him cry it out. Of course, we had Christmas card pictures scheduled for Saturday morning. And although pictures went well, Zach looks ridiculous. If anyone asks, my excuse for his red cheeks will be that he got trapped in a nursing home with hundreds of little old ladies who pinch cheeks. Truthfully, he cried hard enough to get a red face.
He has never cried at bedtime again. And on Saturday, after pictures, they EACH took a FOUR HOUR NAP. Alleluia.
They wake up happy and the boys are actually happy to see each other. I know emotionally that separating them was more difficult for me (once I got past my initial crazy mommy moment of disassembling the guest bedroom). It was the same when the twins got their own cribs at 6 months. They shared a bed before that and when they each went into their own crib for the first time, I cried. They slept through the night and late into the morning. That transition was definitely harder for me than them.
I have a sneaking suspicion that is how watching your babies grow up feels. They hit transitions and adapt without issue. While the transitions will be harder for me. And as they continue to get bigger, needing less help from their mommy and my uterus will ache a little more. ;)