You may recognize today’s featured blogger, Christina Baglivi Tinglof, from her book Double Duty. I’m pretty sure all of us had that in our pile of books to read as soon as you found out you were carrying multiples. Today is all about her blog, aptly titled, Blog About Twins. Christina is the proud MoM of three boys, twins Michael and Joseph (16), and Matthew (13). I hope you love Blog About Twins as much as I do!
Your blog is relatively new, what made you decide to start one?
The idea of blogging came to me slowly. I had been writing and editing my website, Talk About Twins (talk-about-twins.com) since 2004–and that had kept me very busy–but the articles were all research driven where I’d let the parenting experts as well as parents of multiples do all the talking, and I realized that I wanted a platform where I could share my own point of view directly to parents of twins and triplets. So blogging seemed like a perfect solution. It’s more informal than writing articles, and that appealed to me as well. When I blog, I can be myself and share my experiences as a mom to teenage twins. I’m really enjoying it and wish it had been around when I was pregnant with twins. When I had my boys a little more than 16 years ago, we were just on the cusp of not only the twin explosion but the rapid rise of the Internet. Social media wasn’t even around! Today’s new mom to twins has so much more information to tap into and I wanted to be a part of that.
Were you surprised when you found out you were pregnant with twins?
Of course! It never crossed my mind that I would have multiples. I think it shocked my husband even more. We were lucky though as we found out early–at six weeks–so we had plenty of time to wrap our heads around it.
Your boys are teenagers, so be honest, was it easier having twin toddlers or twin teenagers?
What a great question! I have to say that I am enjoying this stage of life with my twins and their younger brother. Although family life is still completely focused on “the kids,” my husband and I have a lot more freedom to be a couple again. We can go out whenever and not worry about finding a baby-sitter who can handle three boys! It’s fun, too, to ask my twins their opinions about what it’s like to be a multiple, and to hear their stories about how others relate to them as twins. They’re very insightful and I’ve often thought of doing a Q & A with them for my blog. But, as any parent with teenagers will tell you, it can be a challenge as kids their age think they know it all! Plus, I do miss the days when they were little and cute, when they’d sit on my lap or hold my hand at will, when they’d go to bed at 8 without a fight, and when they actually loved playing outside rather than sitting at the computer updating their Facebook status! But the energy they had as toddlers was exhausting at times. When they were young, it was all consuming!
You write a lot about your view of parenting twins, which tends to be against the mainstream. Can you discuss some of your views?
I don’t mean to be! But I guess I do have a few different opinions from the mainstream. For instance, I don’t like it when parents dress their twins alike. I’ve never been a fan, especially when twins hit the preschool years and beyond. To me, when parents put their twins in matching outfits it just continues to perpetuate the myth that “all twins are alike,” soul mates forever. They may not see it that way but people around them and the world at large does. How can they not when the parents present their children identically dressed? Two peas in a pod. Clothing choice is a strong component for identity formation as it’s an outward presentation of ourselves and it contributes to an internal sense of who we are.
Yet some of my opinions have evolved over time. Take classroom placement, for instance. I realize that every situation is different and should be addressed as such but if parents can separate their twins then they should. For nothing else than just to give each child a bit of elbow room, a little time apart. Twins have to share just about everything. A separate classroom allows each child a chance for a unique moment, a solitary experience or memory that he can truly call his very own and share all by himself at the dinner table without his cotwin constantly interrupting to add or change a detail. The twin bond will not only survive classroom separation, it often thrives because of it.
What types of activities do you like to do as a family?
We live in the foothills of Southern California so we do a lot of hiking. We also love to ski as a family, and of course, we adore the beach. Now that my boys are older, we’ve been hitting a lot more artistic venues like museums, concerts and plays, too. That’s been fun to share as a family.
What tips do you have to offer to a new mother or father of multiples?
Recently, I read a great quote: “The days may be long but the years are short,” which I think is so spot-on when it comes to parenting multiples. I remember all too well pacing the floor with two crying babies waiting for my husband to walk through the door at six o’clock so that he could take over and give me a break. Yet here I am with twins talking about going off to college. How did that happen so fast? To that end, it’s important to get the help that you need when they’re little so that you don’t burn out, so that you can enjoy that new baby smell, and all those exciting “firsts,” so that you can be present and enjoy it all. Surround yourself with positive people–girlfriends and family members–and reach out to them often. When Mom is refreshed and happy, everyone else in the family is too.
What questions do you have for the other families in the community?
Twins are expensive and I’m facing two heading off to college at the same time! I would love to know how others cut costs but still live full lives.
Be sure to leave your answer to Christina’s question in the comment section and then head over to Blog About Twins to leave some bloggy love!