Days 14 & 15: the best advice for twins, toddler stage

The toddler stage: (n.) When your precious newborn decides s/he has a mind of his/her own and will exercise it freely, especially and particularly when out in public or when in the presence of grandparents

It almost happened overnight: one day, the girls were cuddly, cooing newborns dependent on me entirely for sustenance and who could barely stay awake long enough to eat. And the next day they were walking and talking on their own, taking off in opposite directions from me and from each other to explore their ever-expanding worlds. As enjoyable as it was to applaud them in their new independent ventures, it was absolutely exhausting to try to keep them reigned in physically and to respond to their ever-changeable and ever-increasing emotions.

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If you are in the middle of this stage of parenting twins right now, the last thing you need is advice. The first things you need are a break, a nap, a glass of your favorite beverage, some chocolate, a day at the spa, a date night with your husband, or a girls’ night out with good friends. Then – and only then – you may be able to absorb a bit of advice. So give yourself permission to take a deep breath, and then return for a few words which might help you as you continue on this journey. 

I have polled a handful of my fellow mamas of twins who graciously have added their favorite advice to various categories. If you’re also a #mama2twins, add your two cents to the comments. (And note that only positive and encouraging/helpful comments will be approved – no adding to the all-too-common online “mom wars.” We are all warriors doing hard things and so let’s support each other in every way we can.)

Here is a compilation of the best advice for raising twins, toddler stage.

  1. Connect with fellow twin moms either IRL or online to be reminded that you’re not alone: “In early toddlerhood, once the babies grew out of their infant car seats, I struggled to find a method for corralling everyone from the house to the car. I don’t have a great suggestion as to how to do it — but will say that it made me feel TONS better to read a message board post by another twin mama who had the same problem. I wasn’t alone!” – Stacy L., mom to 2-year-old identical twin daughters

  2. Don’t put pressure on yourself to potty train at a certain age or with the same method for both twins. This was very hard for me, because I wanted to be “once and done” with potty training early. It was a loooong drawn-out process for me that produced many tears and prayers, like this one. We started our initial attempts to potty train around 2.5, and it failed pretty miserably – making me alternately tearful and angry. We tried again six months later when the girls were a few months from age 3, and one twin caught on then. Her sister didn’t fully potty train until a year later (a few months before age 4!). And full confession: one of the twins *still* wears pull-ups at night at age 5.
  3. “At age 2, my girls are always underfoot. It takes 10 times as long, but it’s been great when I can find them helping jobs, especially in the kitchen, like putting away non-breakable groceries or helping unload the dishwasher. We also use homemade versions of the Montessori-inspired Learning Tower at the kitchen counter. I probably wouldn’t have gone to that length with one toddler — she’d have used a stool instead — but the towers are much more stable, so I don’t worry about anyone falling when I can’t have a hand on both of them.” – Stacy L., mom of 2-year-old identical twin daughters

  4. Containment + corralling are key to {emotional and physical} survival for you and your twins. I was gifted with a primary care doctor who is also a parent of twins, and I’ll never forget her advice to me to babyproof everything so that the twins could have free reign and I could have peace of mind. We did a modification of this – making our entire downstairs baby-proofed, and then put up a gate on the stairs.
  5. Ask for help early and often. One of the best things my friend Erin did during this hard stage for me was to say, “I’m coming over – I’ll watch the girls; you head out the back door and you can have a few hours to do whatever you need to do.” I felt a bit guilty, but desperation overcame the mom-guilt, and so I accepted her gift and escaped to Target (#justbeinghonest).

I’ll reiterate what I started with: If you’re also a #parent2twins, I invite you to add what you would consider the best advice for newborn twins to the comments. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

If you want to continue to follow along, subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook page “Hidden Glory” to get updates. For the month of October, I’m participating in “Write31Days” and my series is “31 Days of Parenting Twins.” 

One thought on “Days 14 & 15: the best advice for twins, toddler stage

  1. Pingback: write 31 days: parenting twins | hidden glory

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