I didn’t arrive in twinland by way of the traditional road. My two four-year-olds came to our family through adoption. They are four months apart and not biologically related. While we don’t tell them they’re twins, most of the world assumes they are, and, as their mom, I face the same kind of crazy-fun-mayhem other twin mommies face.
I used to have all sorts of fancy notions about sharing, competition and coordinating outfits. Most of my preconceived ideas about life in the twinosphere were tossed in my mental trash can faster than you can say “two for the price of one.” By the way, that really means “two for the price of yeah it really costs twice as freakin’ much.”
Here are a few “twin myths” I have laid to rest
No need to buy two of everything
Yes. Yes, there is. If you’re totally uninterested in protecting your household peace or keeping toddler bloodshed to a minimum, disregard this.
You might not expect your little darlings to share big ticket items like tricycles but asking them to always share Barbies and Legos isn’t practical (or safe.) Sure, you’ll have peace and harmony at the communal crayon bucket sometimes (like about as often as a lunar eclipse) but kids have a built-in aversion to sharing their stuff. And that’s okay. I don’t like to share my stuff all the time, either. Sure, kids need to learn to share, but a sprinkling of “this is only for me” toys is a good thing (and promotes sanity for twin moms everywhere.)
You’ll love them the same
Two words: bull and shit.
If you are the mother of more than one small human, you have a favorite, whether or not you admit it. The holder of the top kid title fluctuates daily, sometimes hourly. It’s totally okay to be fickle. You’re not gonna like them the same, let alone love them the same. Sometimes they’ll piss you off equally but this will be the exception.
You’ll never dress them alike
You may have strong feelings from the get-go about maintaining a distinct sense of individuality (or crap like that.) You’ll succumb. If not willingly, by virtue of insane amounts of matchy-matchy Baby Gap shit other people will gift you with. Seriously, it seems to just appear in the kid’s closet. You might feel like a sellout but once you give in, you give in.
You’ll always dress them alike
Maybe you’re one of those uber-committed twin moms who stocked up on matchy-matchy Baby Gap shit as soon as you saw two blips on the ultrasound. Maybe you’re planning out their wardrobes from christening to first day of Kindergarten (or however long your kids will put up with wearing matching outfits.) At some point, you’re going to give.
It might be a laundry issue, an exhaustion issue or an “I’m just too busy controlling the chaos to do more than make sure the kids are actually clothed” issue. I love putting my boys in matchy-matchy outfits and they’re too young to really care what they wear, but more often than not, I find myself just grabbing what’s clean and semi-seasonally appropriate. Right now, one of my kids is wearing red, white and blue madras shorts and a traffic cone orange tee-shirt. I’m over it.
They’ll be best friends
While this is sometimes true, they are often the worst of enemies. My boys have a strong attachment to each other and on the few occasions they’ve been separated, they really don’t know what to do without each other. That, and there is the concern that the “out of sight” sibling is somehow getting something good the other kid wants. That might be a shot or a suppository but by golly, if the other one’s getting it, it must be good.
When they are together, their scuffles are WWF-style legendary and I dread their teen years. I’m considering duct taping the knickknacks down and getting a wrestling mat instead of an area rug for our living room. Screw my concept for a Zen family space and let’s get ready to rumble.
My children won’t compete with each other
Snort-spit-coffee-through-my-nose laugh. Yes, I actually said this. Reality: daily squabbles about important stuff like who gets to unplug the drain in the tub when I announce bath time is over, who gets the yellow vitamin and who gets the Spider Man cup (I’m really not very smart to only have one.)
The latest rivalry has to do with car window scenery. If one child sees something cool like cows or a tractor, the other one gets pissed off because something isn’t outside his window. I wish I could control all the things on the road, but since I can’t, this causes car trips to be somewhat dicey. If one child sees something unique (and by that I mean a red car) and the other just sees the open road, it’s on like Donkey Kong.
You won’t get them mixed up
My kids aren’t biological twins but they look a good bit alike. I haven’t completely lost my crap and I still know who is who but my kids will correct me at least once a day for calling them the wrong name. Most of the time, I just splutter things like “you kid right there I’m looking at you so you know I’m talking to you.” Good times.
You’ll become super-duper efficient at snack making, laundry management, diaper management, crafts for kiddos and all the things
I am a slave to snacks and poop. Having two preschoolers has not made me efficient at anything. The sheer amount of laundry makes my head spin. If I find a Pintresty kid activity not beyond my limited scope of craftiness, only one child will be interested in participating. The other child will be interested in something like filling the toilet bowl with driveway gravel he’s hidden in his pockets.
I used to be confident that I’d be uber-organized and have a “system.” I don’t have a system, unless you count being okay with an overflowing laundry hamper and the occasional lunchtime cocktail.
So, there you have it. Parenting pint-sized twins is a crazy ride and I’d probably have been smarter not to have any expectations, but the state of perpetual exhaustion I live in has made it pretty easy to let go of any expectations of twindom I once had. I try to savor every crazy second, because I know that they’ll be teenagers faster than someone can say “day-um, you have your hands full.”