Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fifteen years ago today...

Fifteen years ago  Rustin and I settled into our little student apartment with a newly doubled-in-size family.  It seems like a lifetime ago and just yesterday at the same time.  When we brought those little twins home we had no idea what we were in for.

Those first few weeks with two little babies are a blur.  My body was so wracked with adrenaline and nervousness that I could only sleep in short nap-like bursts for months.  I was seriously sleep deprived.

I did eventually learn to sleep again.  
I think the most important lesson I learned from mothering twins is to be patient because everything unpleasant  is a phase that kids will outgrow if you just leave them alone.  And everything pleasant is a phase too so enjoy it while it lasts!

If I could go back and give myself advice here are a few things I would tell myself:
Biting--don't worry, they grow out of it.
Potty training--they aren't going to go to kindergarten in diapers--just relax.
Injuries--if they aren't in danger of bleeding to death or suffocating then don't panic--everything is fixable (believe me it's a good thing I am a nurse because I have never seen more accident prone children...).
Binkis/bottles--they will almost always give those comfort items up on their own if you don't make it a big deal.
Dirt--seriously.  That's what bathtubs and washing machines are for.  It doesn't hurt them to eat a little dirt. Or grass.  Or an occasional bug... (gag)  But if they eat a bottle of claritin you will have to take them to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped--put the claritin up really high. And put the lid on really tight.

I would also tell myself:  

Be positive as much as possible--"let's build a really big awesome tower" instead of "stop knocking the blocks over."  "Let's take little tiny polite bites" instead of "don't shove food in your mouth."  Almost every single statement can be rephrased in the positive by stating what you would like instead of what you don't want.  

Kids will be kids. I have a philosophy that if something is an age specific irritating behavior (e.g. throwing things out of high chairs, being scared of sleeping alone, wetting the bed...) then I can just ignore it and it will go away on its own. I don't waste my energy worrying about those kinds of things.

And you know what?  Almost everything fits in the age specific self-limiting behavior category.  Seriously.  Everything.

A few other twins lessons we've learned through experience:

We are really careful to never label our kids and especially the boys' personalities {as in 'Dallin is the stubborn one' or Landon is the patient one'} because we know they will likely trade around.  They really do go through personality changes and differences and they are almost never uncooperative at the same time. It's almost like they know I can't handle both of them being moody or grumpy.  

I actually think that is part of the twin dynamic--they compensate for each other's personalities. 

They have always traded around in size too. Landon was the bigger baby for the first couple of years and then Dallin was bigger through the toddler/early school years and then back to Landon... Currently Landon is 6'1 1/2" and Dallin is just under 6'1".

When the boys were toddlers they started to develop differences on purpose.  One would only like peanut butter with jelly (Dallin) and Landon would only eat it with honey.  We let them have those different food preferences where we wouldn't let the other kids get away with such pickiness.

The best advice we got was from my {identical twin} mother:

"Only singletons think it's a problem for twins to be really close to each other.  
Twins just know it's a blessing."

We definitely think these two are a blessing! 

Happy Birthday!


Jamie Hatch said...

seriously where does the time go? Its amazing, I remember the first time Jotham showed me pictures of his new twin nephews, they were just chubby little babies - now look at them! Happy Birthday Dal and Landon!

Ash said...

I can't believe they are 15. That makes me feel old!