I’ve thought about doing a series on the reality of Raising Twins for quite sometime now and with Mothers Day approaching thought I’d start a Raising Multiples series which for me is still in line with #MyStorySeries
So if you have multiples, expecting some on the way or wish to have some(as I hear all the time!) Here’s a little reality check…
THE TWIN BOND
I’m learning that with each set of twins the bond is different! there’s no one size fits all formula like the intense bond between identical twins is different from fraternal twins & mine happen to be fraternal. Their Father happens to be an identical twin & watching him & his brother was quite something so I always thought that’s the case with all twins; having a 6th sense when the other is unwell, fighting one minute & besties the next, ending up in the same or similar careers etc so watching them I thought that must be how it is for all twins!
But Surprise Surprise! watching that phenomenon unravel before my eyes is quite different with my pair because as much as Zawadi and Raha have their similarities they can also be as different as night and day and I’m yet to see that crazy Twin bond I saw with their Father and Uncle, though I’m learning that it intensifies as the grow & spend more time together as their auntie(Janet Mbugua Ndichu) she shared with me- that her & her fraternal twin brother like mine fought a lot in their younger days only to get closer with time, though with same sex twins they’re more likely to be besties naturally, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this bond will develop. What I can definitely attest to is their solidarity especially if I come in between to stop their fights- it sometimes get to a point where I end up being the bad guy because they’d rather resolve their issues among themselves than have one of them be punished! so I guess there goes the fighting one minute to besties the next moment scenario playing out…
And when one is unwell the other will be so caring and extra gracious, if seriously unwell the other twin (if they don’t catch it) will also be a little down because their partner in crime isn’t available to play with, bother or tattle on:-)
So the bonding is indeed different from sington siblings but it’s also not as automatic as most would expect, watching this bond unravel is quite a ride filled with surprises!
Surprise number one is the Competition! I was not prepared for this I must say! I guess because growing up my sister and I never fought, but also we are four years apart!!
So imagine having someone your age with you ALL! the time! from the womb! it must get frustrating, so it’s very key for the environment to facilitate equality and individuality- Here are some necessary tips;-
- Don’t compare them! it only creates more competition!
- Don’t refer to them as one Unit- like “HI TWINS!” but by their specific names
- Stop treating them like a museum monument they can not only get a complex but it frustrates them as they wonder what the fuss is all about and why the rest don’t get the same attention
- Encourage and Nature their strengths and Uniqueness so that they each feel special
- Align the support system to implement your structure so that whether in school or at home the same is practiced and followed!
- Contrary to popular belief don’t dress them alike, atleast not all the time! this helps to create the individuality. In our case as seen even on the images on this blog we still do it more than we should and reason for this is the Competition;- if they don’t fight over who looks better they will fight to wear the same one or at least they used to, now as they grow they actually want to dress differently because they too get frustrated with the constant who is who comparison! so when I shop I buy lots of stuff that come in pairs that have different prints or colours and as they grow will buy more and more different outfits because their tastes too are different. One thing that also helped when they were younger and even now is color coding them;- Pink and Purple have always been our go to colours, so even as people buy your multiples gifts request for different selections or at least different colours! because I have so many matching outfits that are gifts, but ofcourse the other option is they don’t have to wear the matching outfits at the same time.
THEY SOMEHOW ESTABLISH THEY’RE OWN PECKING ORDER
Strange as it may; Zawadi is the older Twin by 1Minute and Raha second and before they even knew or understood that hierarchy Zawadi naturally behaved like a first born! always has and Raha follows her lead- but this reality doesn’t always sit down well with Raha- she doesn’t like hearing that her sister is older because there we go again with the competition! so it’s key for Parents of Multiples to learn to manage the competition because at the end of the day they’re all age mates which brings me to my next point;-
SCHEDULE ALONE TIME WITH EACH CHILD
This is so key and fundamental for them because again imagine having to share your life with someone from the womb, so spending time with them separately helps build a stronger bond, helps your child feel special and also helps you as a parent learn more about each child. Granted this alone time is not an easy one to achieve especially if you’re a single Mum like me, so if it proves difficult you can start small and steal moments alone with each twin and be very present in those few moments you’re with each child.
And Last tip for this first series of Raising Multiples for #MyStorySeries
THINK IN DOUBLES!
And by that I mean imagine buying two packs of daipers and one formula for your singleton and how you couldn’t wait for that phase to end, well with Twins double that cost, everything you do for your little one double it! clothes, fees, Extracurricular activities (yes thats usually a whole other separate cost), gifts etc! it’s not cheap especially if you want to get your kids the “cool stuff” and the growth sprouts are no joke- they can go up a shoe size in a month, so there will be seasons when all you seem to be doing is spending money so here are a few coping mechanisms;-
- If you can- encourage as much sharing as possible, yes you’ll need to get two bikes or two car-seats but I’m learning as they grow older that I really don’t have to buy two of everything which I’ve always done but that is not only too much of an expense for you but how about you use that opportunity to instead teach them about sharing.
- And as much as they have matching out-fits shop different clothes as well, because they can switch the look next time so in a sense doubles up their wardrobe.
- I grew up in a home where there was always a monthly budget that we stuck too and we stocked up on what we needed for the month, so I applied the same formula in our house-hold, because you save more as you can more clearly see how much you are in fact spending and plan for it. Also in the earlier years stocking up on daipers and formula saved us a lot! so if you can shop in bulk and if you have a connect abroad it may be cheaper for you because daipers are cheaper there and they have more bulk options, same with clothes if you have a friend or family or you’re able to travel- get as much as you can each time! there was a time I didn’t have to stock up on much for almost 7months if not more because I shopped in bulk when I traveled. Also always take advantage of sales if you’re lucky the can be quite a good bargain.
- You don’t have to sign them up for all the Extracurricular activities even though you really want to! I used to pick almost every activity and pay through my nose until I realised that I could make it fun and either pick different activities for each child or pick a certain number a term and then switch it up the next term.
- My Mum keeps reminding me to teach them early what needs and wants are and that sometimes we won’t always get what we want. It’s important to start this conversation early or you’ll be quite a frustrated broke Mum.
I know how it is single parents, we sometimes feel bad and over compensate by trying to give them “the world” because you feel like you may have let them down, but you’re actually doing them a dis-service by not teaching them the realities of life, so find a balance and take it a day at time, take a breath, have a strong support system and above all Trust God! He is so faithful and His Blessings are over-flowing! Just stay in him and watch Him supply for all you needs.
Remember Double the Joy & Double the Work, but also Double the Grace!!
Part Two coming soon!
These lovely images are courtesy of Bliss Memories
Look for them next time you’re having a party and want to add an extra dash of FUN!!
Stay Blessed from Me and Mine, to You and Yours!