As a mother of two sets of twins, I have learnt so many things over the last seven years, when I started this journey. Some good…and some not-so good, what other people’s perceptions are and what my own reality is.
I have heard enough, “Aww, you are so lucky to have twins” “How did you breastfeed them?” “How are you coping?”, and when I tell them, their eyes bulge in shock, and they leave the usual parting words, “You definitely have your hands full.“ Or the usual words of comfort, “you will enjoy them when they are older.” And I definitely agree, can’t wait.
But the reality is, it might have been a single pregnancy producing two kids, as it is definitely not a two for the price of one enjoyment, as that phrase connotes. They are a bundle of work…but definitely worth it.
So, I’m here to take you on a trip into the realities of the twins’ kingdom and burst some of your opinions about the lives of twins, in the process.
The competition is real
Hmm, every day comes with its own round of competition…over clothes, food, toys, and even what I say. If I so much as say to one child that I would buy him or her something, then I better be prepared to repeat myself to the other person. If I don’t, I risk a tantrum or a sulking spell for a while. No new thing there.
But when a cute face looks up at me and says, “Mommy, will you buy my own too?” of course, I will be replying in the affirmative, even when I have no intention to, or if there is no such need for them.
Recently, one of the older twins wanted a second helping, after finishing his breakfast. As I was dishing this, his sister brought her own plate. She also wanted more. I could tell that she already seemed full, but she would not be outdone by her brother! That is the reality.
Thinking that they will be firm friends is a myth. One moment they are gisting and dancing, and the next moment, they are not talking to each other, or are actually fighting. I perspire when I think of what their teenage years would be like, with all those raging hormones. God save us! Added to that is the fact that they keep a firm tab of what the other is doing, so they can tell me. Meaning I usually have to listen to two different stories of the same event all the time.
They are two personalities
My twins are not identical. They are different…they like different things. My older twins have music in common…but one is friendly and outgoing, while his sister will gladly stay in the house to read.
For the younger twins, they are both outgoing but do not relate to people the same way. While, the boy will want to touch and be touched by people, his sister is more likely to smile at you and continue to play around you, without making eye contact after that smile. She is more of the no-time-for-talk madam.
I attended secondary school with an identical set of twins, and knew from my interactions with them that one was more outgoing than the other. Taiwo was more likely to approach you, while Kehinde would wait until you approached her. I have not seen them for a while, but I used to mistake them for each other a lot, until I was able to get a hang of the facial differences that marked them out.
But another set of twins I know have similar personalities, and even married husbands who could pass for brothers. They are 60 years old, and they are both very outgoing people. One of them is involved in events management, and the other is an organiser extraordinaire…both activities involve dealing with people. They are quite good at making people comfortable. So in this case, their personalities do match.
Sharing is not compulsory
I know all that talk about there being love in sharing, but it does not work for me and my kids. They need to have something that is their own and only theirs. So, for that reason, every single thing that I bring into the house needs a label of ownership.
You need to see their faces, when I give them gifts and the like, and how they clutch these tightly to their chest. It is that important to them…that it is theirs and only for them.
This is my theory on the matter of sharing. They have had to share the most intimate of places (the womb) without a choice, so, the moment they find out they don’t have to share, it is grabbed with both hands and they insist on never sharing again. I can relate to that. How many of my own things do I share with other people? Not many, and that is the truth.
I only witness some sharing, when there is some form of horse trading going on. Someone is giving something in exchange for something. So, it is not really sharing. For the sake of my own sanity, I don’t bother trying to get them to share, so they have different birthday presents and everything else. Thank God, it is a boy/girl combo, so they don’t really have same needs.
You cannot love them the same way
You might think that this is not fair, but then life is not fair. I only do my best. I’m not going to tell you who my favourite is, because they will grow up one day and stumble on this but I will tell you this, I don’t have an all time favourite.
One day, it is my younger son with his love for cuddles, sometimes it is the no-nonsense madam who cheers me up with her big smile, even sometimes, I just crave the quietness that my older daughter can bring. On the other hand, my older son’s singing can make me just want to hug and kiss him.
In all, the most important bit is that I love them all.
Matching is not compulsory
I would have really loved to wear matching clothes for them, but the boy/girl combo never made it easy as they started to grow. As babies they wore matching outfits but nowadays, they determine what they wear.
So, what do I do instead? I colour coordinate. If colour blue is on my radar, that is what I would wear for the younger twins (because the older twins are firmly in charge of their wardrobe, so my sole responsibility is to keep it stocked). Pink? Not so much! But black and white are my favourite colours, and work well with them. At least they are not as yet choosy as their older ones are. This matching thing is more for my sake than theirs.
You will no longer be enough
Trust me, just because you now have twins does not mean you will automatically be able to do things twice over. You will learn because you have to, but it will not be automatic. You will learn to always think in twos, buy in bulk because of increased consumption, you will want to make more money, and you will need more hands to help out.
In everything you will want more. Since, I had my first set of twins; my daddy refers to me as someone who has big eyes. By the next time, when the second set of twins arrived on the scene, it was confirmed and the name has stuck.
And this is one is a bonus, Nigerians love twins A LOT. Total strangers have stopped my kids and I on the street and started to say the local praise for twins. It’s awesome…and also creepy, when strangers start to offer you help and money, just because you are a twin.
So, there you have it, parenting twins is a jolly ride filled with many turns and roundabouts. Flexibility is required to face whatever each day with them throws at me. But, I’m enjoying it all the way, before they actually all grow up and leave the nest.
Hope, I have been able to give you a realistic view of the job ahead, because the twins are coming!!! Baby dust to you all!!!