Christmas is here again, so it’s time to start our shopping …When it comes to buying gifts for our twins, we’ve all had the experience (with toddlers and older) that when we give one item and encourage them to share, we hit the inevitable conflict. So, do we try to avoid the fighting and buy two items? Are the items different enough that they can be distinguished yet alike enough so each child knows that he or she is getting the same, equal treatment? For instance, we buy two Barbie dolls but two different styles of Barbie doll. Chances are, as it occurred with my twin girls, that one will still want the others doll, and trading doesn’t always solve the problem! So, do we resort to buying two of the exact same items in order to demonstrate equal treatment, and also to avoid conflict? Disappointingly, this isn’t always the perfect remedy either because one twin will just grab both dolls and run off with them, leaving the other screaming in protest and chasing her greedy twin! When it comes down to it, we all want to assure our children that they are equally loved and equally treated. However, fairness and equality are not always attainable, and with further consideration, these treatments aren’t things we’ll always be able to count on in life, right? So, it’s fair to say that we should probably teach our children, twins and singletons alike, that sometimes every effort will be made so he or she will feel fairly treated, BUT, also be aware that this is not always possible and not always appropriate. Still, don’t we hate the fighting?! Don’t we greatly dislike the reactions our children give us after we’ve gone to such great lengths to please them all? My husband and I try to instill in each of our children that they are blessed to receive ANYTHING! They are NOT entitled to anything beyond our parental responsibilities to provide for their needs, so anything they receive for birthdays or Christmas or any such occasion is a gift that should be deserved … and ultimately appreciated. If gifts are fought over, fought for, not appreciated or shown any such reaction … goodbye gift! Now that’s when the tears start … and earning the right to deserve said gift has to begin all over again! Gift receiving is only half of the lesson. Each of my children, when they reached the age of five or so, were encouraged to participate in gift-giving as well. They could create a little crayon drawing for the birthday person or for their siblings and grandparents for Christmas, for example. In doing this little task, they would then experience the pride of seeing the happiness on the faces of their gift’s recipient and share in a little taste in the pure joy of giving. They would then begin to remark about how it was (almost) better than the gifts they received … (almost).
So, let’s discuss the topic of gift giving …What are your best and most creative solutions for giving gifts to your twins and your other children who may be singletons? How are you teaching them what gift-giving and gift-receiving is really all about?
The title of this article was a question asked on a twin-mom facebook page, and after reading it, my reaction was: “Hhmmmmm … good question, and really worth exploring!”
As women prior to becoming mothers, we can only imagine what it will be like to have a baby. While pregnant, our imaginations begin to work overtime as we wonder what he or she will look like, and we especially hope and pray that the baby will be healthy. Perhaps, we imagine billowing curtains as we sit enveloped in a flowing cotton nightgown breastfeeding our baby quietly in a comfortable, cushioned rocker to the early morning sounds of chirping birds as the sun streams in along the nursery floor. Ahhhhh, future motherhood.
Not having experienced parenthood, and only going by others’ stated experiences and advice, we anticipate that our amount of sleep will probably diminish once the baby arrives, and that it’ll be challenging at times adjusting to parenthood, but no one and nothing can really prepare you for the realities of parenthood. We truly only learn first hand when the baby arrives.
It will take time for us to live, experience, and look back in retrospect in order to one day answer the question: “Is it what I expected it would be like?”
All new experiences teach us what we didn’t already know. We realize that there are some things that we didn’t know we didn’t know! As brand new mothers, we lay in recovery from labor and childbirth and find that nothing looks the same, everything has taken on new color and new perspective. Everything has changed forever. We’re filled with a joy, anticipation and love that is combined with exhaustion, a little fear and apprehension. Are we a bit overwhelmed? Oh yes … but we don’t know the definition of overwhelmed until we are hit with the reality that this little person now completely depends upon us for everything from this moment on.
New Parenting X 2
Now let’s imagine that we don’t only have one brand new life depending upon and demanding of us. What if there were two, three or more little people suddenly needing us 24/7? I’ve been asked over the years from moms who had their children one at a time, “How in God’s name did you survive the first weeks or even months with twins? My ONE baby’s colic, sleep inconsistencies, teething, diaper rash, colds, viruses, ear infections and acid reflux almost killed me!”
I’ll admit, that there were times that I was holding on to the last fiber of the last inch of my last rope by my finger nails, but I did survive, and actually came out on the other side a now more confident, self-assured, stronger person, just as any difficult experience that tests you to your limits will leave you. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! All moms will admit this truth. Motherhood really toughens us up, and it’s not for wimps or the faint of heart!
Now with the difficult side of new motherhood mentioned, what about discoveries of the wonders, the joys, the amazing moments that we never expected?
Before our babies are born, we truly cannot imagine the incredible, unconditional, complete love we feel for these tiny little creations that we hold for the first (or 1,001st) time. Their incredible beauty, the miracles that they are, the wonder in their eyes, the expressions on their faces only begin to introduce us to our unique privilege to re-experience life through them. As we learn our babies’ likes, dislikes, and habits, and strive to make them happy and safe, we change ourselves in a way, tailoring our routines and placing our own needs after our children’s. Isn’t it amazing how much we change, and (for the most part) really don’t mind giving up some comforts, some of life’s conveniences and pleasures that up until motherhood were routine in our day? For instance, do you remember just waking up on a weekend morning when you wanted to? Or, taking a shower everyday (ha!)? Remembering if it were today or yesterday when you last brushed your teeth? Or, running to the store for something you wanted at a second’s notice, instead of dressing the toddlers and trying to figure out the best method of maneuvering two babies or toddlers and a grocery cart? Or, running out to meet a friend for a quick before work coffee or lunch on your work break?
Enjoy the following compilation of the other moms of twins who’ve answered our title question, asked by twin-mom Courtney:
Kara: Pretty much….I almost cried watching TLC’s multiples. Had to turn it off because it was like they filmed my house. If you’re expecting, I recommend watching it.
Judi: It’s a extra gift from God 🙂 Yes, there are times that it’s a challenge, BUT it’s all worth the effort. My twins are now 21 & I wish I had a lot of the new products that are on the market to help new moms now.
Amy: Better than I ever could have expected 🙂 Definitely hard, but not as hard as I had thought it would be.
Judy: I had no specific expectations, so each day is a new adventure! It’s not as hard as people said it was going to be. At least for me, that is, but I’m pretty easy-going.
Michelle: I agree with Judy so far, but since my girls are just 11 weeks old, I might change my mind many times!
Meagan: … I find myself SO blessed each and every day with double the smiles and laughs and the totally different personalities! Yes, it is VERY stressful at times, you feel like crying(and on some days you do), and you just don’t know what to do… but I think that’s with ALL parents! … My favorite quote that I live by each and every day, “God only gives you what you can handle”! So by that, we’re all doing great!!
Ashley: I never know what to expect but I love it and would never change it.
Christa: I don’t remember having too many expectations before hand, with the exception of coming home with two babies…… 10 years later ….. no one would have ever thought to expect the ride you get from having twins…. my advice stop expecting and let life happen 😉
Jessica: I thought it would be a lot harder so its a piece of cake. Now I have a cousin having triplets and I am the only one who told them it wouldn’t be that bad. Everyone else scared them, but I’m the only one who had more than one at a time so it made them feel much better.
Courtney: I thought the first year was absolute misery (just being honest!!) and feel like I had NO idea it would be that hard! BUT! After that first year, I feel like twins become so much easier than singles!! I was surprised by that too! I mean, for so many reasons… they can’t get into too much trouble because they tell on each other. lol. They also entertain each other and help one another… learn from each other…. the list goes on!
Luann: I agree that I didn’t know what to expect, except for a lot more diapers! I knew it was going to be hard but what in life isn’t? Everyone asks me, “how do you do it?” Especially now that I’m a single mom. I always answer, “one at a time!”
Lee: Yes and no. I really do not have anything to compare it to since these were my first kiddos. We were really surprised but I do have to say ever since I was a little kid I always said I was going to have twins … I am the only one in my close family with twins … so that has made it hard since no really knows what it is like and cannot really help out with different questions I have. We are part of that special twin group and I love it. I would not trade it for the world even though it can be hard at times … my b/b twins bring so much joy, fun and learning to my life I just have to sit back and smile. I had a friend tell me that “God only chooses special people to have twins!” and I am a believer in that!
Liaco: Wish I could say it was all sunshine and roses, but that would not be the truth. However, it was not so bad that we decided to have another baby 🙂 I would not trade the good, the bad, and the ugly for anything else in this world. As hard as some days are, other days are so joyful, that I would not imagine not having these beautiful little girls in my life. These girls make my life better and MUCH more colorful.
Hillary: Courtney, I’m hanging on every word u say and hoping it gets easier … mine are 9 months and this could possibly be the most tired I’ve ever been in my life!!! 🙂
Lori Anne: I really didn’t “expect” anything… they were my first, so I had no prior experience, and I was going through a divorce and knew I would be raising them by myself. So… I made a promise to myself:one obstacle at a time. … I believe it not only helped me, but it helped my sons as well. They are almost 2 and they have a schedule, and they are very happy boys. There is rarely crying and fits involved in the daily activities. They are very independent and I am very grateful that they are as good as they are. In my opinion, sometimes people focus too much on expectations and future decisions, instead of concentrating on the “now”.
Sara: I have to be honest….The first year was very easy for me. My husband and I did not have “in house” help and we also have another young child, but everything clicked. The twins ate and napped and slept at the same time … I was very fortunate. Then they turned ONE. They still eat, nap, and sleep at the same time, but they are a lot to handle. They just turned two, and are still a lot of work, but it has calmed down. My point is: you never know what you’re going to get.
Cara: They made my first two singletons seem really easy (and they did not seem easy at the time). I guess it has given me … um … perspective?
Bambi: It was so much harder than I ever imagined. I had already raised three children, but nothing could’ve prepared me for twins. Perhaps I simply had difficult twin babies??
Expectations vs. Reality
No one can possibly predict or imagine what life is going to present to us each day. Are those expectations we have about certain future events in our lives something we do intentionally or do our imaginations and dreams just entertain us with images or scenarios of what might be?
As it turns out, life rarely gives us what we expect! When it comes to our expectations or preconceptions (pun intended 🙂 about motherhood, especially twin motherhood, the only things to expect is the unexpected!
During a visit to my mother-in-law’s home when my last set of twins were six months old, she and I began reminiscing about the early weeks following the babies’ arrival (during which she was temporarily with us to help with the other four children). I said, “Oh yes, those were some challenging times!” She quickly replied, “Challenging, no. It was HARD.” And those were my 3rd set!
We may gain experience, but as all moms know, each child is different, and each time a new baby (or babies) arrive, we face new challenges with our older children’s continued needs in addition to our new babies’ needs.
Difficult, busy, challenging and exhausting … those are reasonable expectations for any new mom to have. A realistic description of, as in the opening example, of breast feeding our babies may consist of doing so while the our other kids run through the house noisily, while one baby won’t eat and continues to cry, while we wince as our sore nipples hurt, and we sit beside the clean, unfolded laundry piled up on the sofa next to us, and we realize we should’ve taken the meatloaf out of the oven BEFORE sitting down to nurse … BUT there will be those moments when the sun streams in as the breeze billows the curtains as we look down at our tiny, sweet nurselings and look over at the bunch of wildflowers our toddler brought to us next to us on our night stand …
… just wait and see.
Please share your comments below … remember, your experience benefit all of our readers!
One minute your precious twin toddlers are playing quietly …
… so you take the opportunity to go into the kitchen and prepare them lunch. Just after spreading peanut butter onto one slice of bread, you suddenly hear a scream, and then another! In no time, they’re both screaming, hitting, and punching each other … what happened?! You immediately notice that they are fighting over one particular toy truck. “Luckily,” you think to yourself, “we have TWO of the same toy truck!” After giving each child his own truck, and placing some distance between the two children temporarily, you proceed back to the kitchen, where you’ve left the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches half-made.
Suddenly, the ear-piercing screams erupt again! You toss your banana-slicing knife down on to the counter top and race back into the family room, only to discover that one of the boys prefers to have BOTH trucks to himself! The greedy culprit runs and taunts his brother while your empty-handed child screams and chases his toy-hoarding twin as if he’d stolen one of his limbs!
As you rush over to break them up and spare blood loss, you realize that one had actually broken the skin of the other while biting his arm … good grief! After verbally correcting both children, hoping that your stern voice and serious facial expression has made an impression, and after washing and bandaging the wounded child’s arm, you think to yourself, “What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to handle this? Are my children abnormally, overly aggressive? How do I put an END to this behavior?
Does this sound like you?
And as we all know, this scenario can involve boys, girls and both, so no mom is immune!
Toddler aggression is very common in singleton siblings as well as twins.
If you’re experiencing this type of behavior, you are NOT alone. So, first know that. Secondly, it’s only natural for any child (or person for that matter) to a react as a result of any type of provocation. Even newborns react by screaming and flailing their arms while experiencing unpleasant stimuli. As children age, however, they learn that hitting, punching, biting, scratching, for instance, are effective methods to defend or to assert their needs, wants or express an injustice of some sort, and are all quick releases of frustration that match their feelings. It’s instinctive, reactive behavior to want to fight back as a method for getting the point across!
Professor’s House, a home, family, and children information resources website posts an article on childhood aggression which states: In the early years, the hitting is pretty benign. They do it because they don’t know exactly how to handle a problem. They hit because they have been hit or scratched or pushed by other kids along the way. They hit because they are angry. They hit because they truly don’t realize that their actions can cause any sort of real pain or damage. In these years – the appropriate parental behavior is to try and teach kids how to take the high road. Children should learn to ask for mediation from adults rather than handle situations themselves.
The article goes on to say: (Another way) to keep siblings from hitting each other is to give them other options. Remember they are angry, mad, and frustrated. Help them find their words and help them find solutions to the problem that don’t involve the strike of a hand. What works for each of your children will be different. Part of the reason not to hit for a kid has to be what will happen to them should they decide to do it anyways. However, your goal is to help your child deal with what they feel in the moment and give them ways to control it. When you notice that they do, they should be rewarded. What the real issue is is self-control. When you teach your children how to control themselves, they will be far better in the long run. This self-control may entail listening to your child throw a fit or buying them a punching bag to release their anger. They should be told time and time again that hitting can hurt people physically and emotionally until they understand this fact. Chances are your child doesn’t want to inflict injury, but just wants to get their way.
When an argument arises between your children, please consider this …
Your children must learn to work out their own disagreements. Sometimes the argument has begun over something very insignificant, and if it has occurred in the privacy of your own home, perhaps allow the children to see what solutions they can come up with on their own. I am certainly not saying that you should let them tear each other to pieces, in fact, once the fists start flying, it’s time to intervene. But, if we as parents get involved in every single altercation that our kids get themselves into, we run the risk of making the situation a lot bigger than it actually is, and we don’t allow our children to find their own way of working it out. There’s nothing wrong with verbal expression … in fact, a good shouting match (without foul language and name-calling) can go a long way in your child’s ability to stand up for himself, to defend herself, to assert himself, and to debate in a healthy, creative way even at the young age of 2 or 3!
So, the key isn’t to stop the fighting, but rather to teach the correct and civil way to disagree.
When your children begin to argue, keep in mind these 3 tips:
1) Allow them to work out the problem themselves verbally. Shouting’s okay unless the volume could wake a sleeping baby or two! Intervene when you think it’s time to suggest a solution that the children could consider and debate.
2) Intervening and making too big of a deal out of a small issue (for instance, calling a family meeting together) could drag out an otherwise “no-big-deal” situation into a much bigger problem, and may only magnify the problem and cause more stress on everyone.
3) If or when physical aggression such as hitting, biting, scratching, etc., begins, immediately intervene and correct your children by taking the item being quarreled over away (“now no one gets it!”). Speak to each child impressing upon him or her that big kids don’t try to hurt each other, … that there are much better ways to argue or to express anger, …and sit them each in time-out for a cooling off period.
For the complete article from Professor’s House, go to: http://goo.gl/Hl5dn.
And for a lengthy, in depth mom-forum discussion about toddler twins and aggressive behavior, visit: http://goo.gl/A9ujn.
As a tribute to all moms, including moms of multiples, I wanted to do a little background research on the celebration of Mother’s Day and share it with you. What I didn’t realize was what a long, involved history Mother’s Day in fact has! Enjoy the following history lesson … because there will be a test. 😉
Rooted in religion and peace-restoration
Going back to the 17th century, the early Christians in England celebrated a day devoted to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and eventually expanded to include all mothers calling it “Mothering Day”, honoring the mothers of England. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the occasion changed to celebrate and honor “Mother Church”, who provided spiritual protection and was the source of spiritual birth. As time went on, all mothers were honored on Mothering Day as well, celebrated just before the holy feast of Easter.
When the American colonies were being settled, the English settlers all but forgot Mothering Day due to lack of time and attention. During the Civil War, a British American woman and social activist named Julia Ward Howe (who composed the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic) was horrified by the death and destruction of war and began a campaign to instill the British tradition of Mothering Day into American culture. She began a crusade against war, and put out an appeal to all women and mothers for peace. In 1872, she went to London to promote an international Women’s Peace Congress. She began promoting the idea of a “Mother’s Day for Peace” to be celebrated on June 2, honoring peace, motherhood and womanhood. Howe failed in her attempt to get the formal recognition of a Mother’s Day for Peace, but it became the precursor to our modern day Mother’s Day.
Influenced by Howe’s efforts to build awareness of the mothers’ role as peace and wellness provider in the family, an Appalachian homemaker named Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis began to spread the awareness of better home cleanliness and sanitation, having been influenced by her physician brother. In what she called Mother’s Friendship Day, she worked and led other women to help heal the nation in the years following the Civil War. As Jarvis’ health began to deteriorate, she was cared for her two daughters, Anna and her sister Elsinore. The two sisters devoted their lives to caring for their mother and continuing their mother’s cause following her death. In 1907, the two women helped to establish Mother’s Day as a nationally-recognized day to remember, celebrate and honor all mothers, living and dead.
Officially named “Mother’s Day”
On May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, where Jarvis and her daughters had lived, and where today stands the International Mother’s Day Shrine. The Mother’s Day International Association came into being on December 12, 1912, to promote and encourage meaningful observances of the event, and some states then began to officially declare Mother’s Day a holiday to fall on the second Sunday of May. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made the first official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
Though the original spirit of honoring mothers remained the same, what began as a religious service expanded quickly into a more secular observance leading to giving of flowers, cards, and gifts. Although Ann Jarvis was pleased with the growing popularity of Mother’s Day before her death, she was very dismayed about the growing commercial focus of the occasion … including banners and flags to announce the upcoming day.
Mother’s Day is now celebrated not so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank you’s and other symbols of affection. The restaurant industry reports that Mother’s Day proves the most popular day for families to eat out! It is celebrated all over the world as a day to acknowledge all mothers and the contributions they made and continue to make in the lives of her children.
It’s all about being thankful
As a mom, and as a daughter, and granddaughter of a some very outstanding women, I look forward to Mother’s Day (in addition to most other days) in order to remind my mother, my mother-in-law and all the moms in my life how special, unique, loved and respected each one of them is. There was a time when I thought I’d never be a mother, so when this day comes around, I’m not only thankful for my mother, but also very thankful to be a mother.
How will you and your family celebrate Mother’s Day? Will you travel to spend the day with your own mother? Since we don’t live close to either my or my husband’s mom, we’ll be calling (or attempting to call) this coming Sunday to talk and send our love and best wishes. Have you noticed that phone service (whether land-lines or cell networks) are jammed up on Mother’s Day more than any other day?
My family spoils me on Mother’s Day, not usually with eating out (since all the restaurants are just too crowded), but usually with homemade cards created out of construction paper and crayons, some potted flowers that we can plant in one of our flower beds, and a barbeque with all the fixings! I can’t wait!
I truly admire all of you moms today because, as we all know, we wear so many hats, and are demanded in ways that women in past decades couldn’t even imagine. I wish all of you, especially all of my moms of twins friends, a beautiful Mother’s day full of relaxation, fun, laughter, hugs, kisses and the spoiling you deserve! Be thankful to your mother for the life and lessons she gave and continues to give you, … and be thankful that those precious children of yours will allow you to be the honorable recipient of love this Sunday!
For the complete Mother’s Day History story, please visit: http://www.theholidayspot.com/mothersday/history.htm
Happy, Blessed Mother’s Day!