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Ups & Downs
It is our goal with this website to focus mainly on the positive aspects of twin parenting, celebrating the blessings that it brings.

When I thought more about it, though, I came to realize that just bragging about happy times and telling success stories could cause other parents to feel discouraged rather than built up.  We tend to compare ourselves to others, and if other parents of twins are having such a great time and aren't experiencing any problems, then “what's wrong with us?” might be the thought of the reader.
  

Our Greatest Challenge

Please be assured, then, that we struggle everyday to successfully meet the challenge of caring for two babies at once, not to mention a strong-willed 3-year old.  My biggest complaint is that the babies are terrible sleepers, as was my first child.  It seems that it must be hereditary.  There have been brief sections of days where they slept 6 hours in a row, only to return again to their crazy (non)schedule.    For the first 8 months or so I fed them both at once during the night.  If one woke up, I would automatically wake the other.  As soon as they nursed, they would often go right back to sleep & I'd put them back in bed.  However, they would wake up sometimes in between feedings - because they had gas, or they were teething, or Claire just wanted her pacifier, or who knows why!  They still do this, except now I have to feed them one at a time, which takes twice as long.  I have many nights where I have to wake up every hour!  Even their naps are getting worse rather than better.

Such lack of sleep has a huge impact on a person's tolerance for stress.  If anyone needs a good night's sleep, it's parents of multiples.  Yet, they're probably the least likely to get it.  Almost every morning I shed tears and whine about my lack of sleep.  Out of necessity, though, I pick myself up, say a prayer, and make myself some coffee and a good breakfast.  Before I know it, I usually feel ready to face the day!  It's amazing what we can accomplish when we're forced to!
  

“I Know Just How You Feel”

There will always be people out there who think that they can relate to your situation just because their children were only a year or 18 months apart.  Don't believe it for a second!  Even when you take care of both babies at once, such as when you're bathing or feeding them, it still takes almost twice as much time.  I've had many days where I didn't accomplish much of anything other than taking care of the basic needs of the children; just cleaning, feeding, and rocking them.  This has certainly forced me to prioritize everything in my life.  I try to remind myself that keeping the children healthy, playing with them, and teaching them is certainly the greatest thing anyone could accomplish on any given day.  Who cares if the windows are smudged or the furniture is dusty?
  

Double the Blessings

There are so many great experiences that come only with having twins.  Yesterday, as my husband changed Claire's diaper on the floor, Audrey came up and “kissed” her on the forehead.  Every once in a while, we let them crawl around with their clothes off.  They get this sudden burst of energy and proceed to chase each other around the room, giggling the whole way.  Sometimes, Claire will even try to bite Audrey on the butt!  

As newborns, they were each more content in the other's company.  We slept them in the same bed, as they were used to being together in the womb.  When they were around 4 months old and started rolling and rotating on top of each other, we set up two port-a-cribs and put them together in the corner of the kids' bedroom.  When they both wake up in the morning or after a nap, they stand up and talk to each other and play around.  As soon as one of us walks in the room, we are greeted with two huge, giggly smiles as they joyfully bounce up and down in their cribs!  The same reaction is experienced each time Jon comes home from work, or I come home from grocery shopping.  Twice the smiles, twice the hugs!

There's nothing quite like getting down on the floor and playing with them.  Lay them down side by side on the floor and tickle them back and forth, and you've got twice the adorable belly laughs.  Or simply lay on the floor yourself, and you'll quickly have two little monkeys climbing all over you.  They'll growl, squeal, and laugh with delight as they try to crawl over you, mess up your hair, or slobber your face!

Watch as they play by themselves, following each other from one thing to another, usually causing trouble along the way.  They're partners in crime - which is so cute, despite the fact that it keeps you on your toes.  Although one will sometimes get a little upset if the other takes a toy away, they will usually either “share” (give it up peacefully) or will play tug-of-war as they giggle.  Sometimes they have little “conversations”, babbling back and forth as if they're having a serious discussion.  And what could be better than two cuddly babies wrapped in your arms as you rock them to sleep?  Twice the joy, twice the love!  It's at these moments that you forget all the work and ask yourself what you could've done to deserve such a blessing!

Rachel Pielak