It’s one of the top questions moms of twins ask during that intense first year. I’ve been stopped at the mall more than once by an exhausted, harried mom with a double stroller, and asked this very question.
If you’ve asked this question yourself, you can probably guess what my response has been.
“It doesn’t really get easier; it just gets different.”
That’s code for “I’m still struggling, too.” And, “Just wait. You think that is hard? Try wrangling twins that run in opposite directions!”
But on a serious note, it’s true. Each age and stage has its own set of challenges, and its own set of priceless twin moments. In the first year or two, the struggle is often physical for moms. Postpartum hormones, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, trying to lose the twin skin, chasing after toddlers than run away from you in parking lots. Then,
our twins enter into those terrible twos or tyrant threes, and parenting becomes much more emotionally and mentally draining. (But, at least the kids are mostly sleeping through the night by then!)
My twins turn five in July, and I must say, age four has been a great age for us. I’ve informally polled my mom friends, and I’m not alone in this assessment. It seems like four, generally speaking, tends to be the light at the end of the dark, noisy, whiny tunnel that is age three.
If you’re still in the throes of twinfants, double trouble terrible twos or three-year-old tyrants, here’s a list of four reasons to look forward to age four.
Built-in Playmate: At age four, I finally started to realize just how special–and convenient–it is that they were born with a playmate. Four-year-olds are mature enough to engage in make-believe play. So having a twin to engage in those fantasies means that I don’t have to be the Emily to my son’s Thomas or the Boots to my daughter’s Dora as often.
Logic: They may not be ready for that college-level philosophy class, but they’re capable of understanding logical cause/effect relationships. In other words, they get consequences. Sure, they may not always obey my instructions, but at least when they don’t, they’re making a conscious choice and accepting the consequence.(Well…accepting might be a bit of a stretch. They may sulk or stomp to their rooms, but hey, they go there for timeout without too much of a fight.)
Trust: By this point, I’ve known these kids for nearly five years. During that time, we’ve built up some trust for each other. I can trust my kids to get up on a Saturday morning and entertain themselves in their rooms for a half hour or 45 minutes before I drag myself out of my bed. Take a moment to really let that sink in. If you have crack-of-dawn early risers like me, that extra 30 minutes is glorious! Sure, I’m still awake, but at least I’m cozy under my blanket.
No More Baby Paraphernalia: By age four, the cribs, swings, bouncy seats, high chairs, bottles, sippy cups, special bath tubs, strollers, and perhaps, even the baby monitors are GONE. You can reclaim that cabinet shelf for your own cups and toss those leaky, plastic sippy cups. Alleluia!
Four is fabulous. It’s not perfect, and believe me, the sass that can come out of a four-year-old’s mouth can make your jaw drop. But it’s been a really fun time for our family, and I hope it is for yours too.
What are your reasons for enjoying the age and stage your twins are in right now?
Jessie is the mother of 5 year old boy/girl twins and blogs over at Mother.Runner.Writer