Thursday, 21 October 2010

Toddling through twinhood

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Having twin toddlers is generally less of a hindrance than having two babies was.

In the baby stage, the worst thing about having twins was that I couldn't wear them both together. Lots of MoMs do of course, but as I had two average size babies, it didn't take long before they were too heavy for me.

This meant that wherever we went, our stroller came too. There is little wonder that I tried so many prams; the pram became a necessary companion and the key to freedom. I remember looking wistfully upon passerbys wearing their babies, thinking to myself how much easier that seemed than pushing the Big Rig that I had.

Once I got over that, I just got on with it. One nappy change. Two nappy changes. One spoonful for you, one for you. Dress one baby, dress the other. You get the picture.

Lately however, my feathers have been ruffled again. As we have entered the next stage of parenting multiples, there are two new things that have reminded me that having twins is no walk in the park.

The first has been the haircut. Both the Minx and Dew Drop have long flowing hair that curls sweetly on the ends. Both have fringes that act as curtains, hiding their eyes from the world. Both, plain and simply, are in need of a trim.

If I am honest, this has been the case for some time. I have been using clips in The Minx's hair for a while now, casually sweeping her ample fringe across her face and out of harms way.

And, come to think of it, my in-laws have been making subtle comments that perhaps the reason Dew Drop gets recurrent conjunctivitis is because his fringe is contributing to the re-infection process. I get it. But I haven't worked out the logistics. It is a two player game and my other player is always busy working.

As things have become increasingly dire in the hair department, and the hints I keep giving The Geege continue to fall on deaf ears, I am considering getting one of those mobile hairstylists to come to my house and clip the lot of us. It would possibly be the worse gig of his/her life, but is the only plausible solution I can devise. I always thought they were just for old people, but perhaps not?

The other thing that seems impossible is swimming lessons.

When you have 22 month old twins, plus two others, getting into the pool with your babies becomes impossible. What happens to the other when you are in with one? What happens to the other kids when you are swimming with one or other of the twins? Even if the Geege could accompany us, we'd still have two surplus children to somehow supervise while swimming with the Minx and Dew Drop. I mean, does it seem plausible to have to get a babysitter just to do swimming lessons?

I have put this one in the 'too hard' basket, preferring instead to defer lessons until they are older and able to go in by themselves (with the instructor). Even though we have our Fijian Xmas coming up, we are still going to forego lessons this Summer.

Just when you think you have started to get on top of things, simple things like haircuts and swimming lessons bring you undone.

What have you found difficult with your family set-up?


Jacki said...

Wow! Truly, I don't know how you do it! Let me just say that I have a 1 year old and a 2 year old and swimming lessons are a big hassle. I can't imagine trying to do it with 2 in the water and 2 out. I think deferring is a much better option. When they're old enough to go in by themselves (and the others are at school) I'm sure it will be much easier. I'm sending you a mental pat on the back for what you do every day!

life in a pink fibro said...

With three years between two boys, things have been easier for me. Haircuts were always hell anyway, especially with Mr now 6. Bring them down one weekend and Aunty will help you get the haircuts done. :-)

DancingInTheRain said...

I just had a friend tell me how she got a mobile haridresser and thought it was great. Sounds like the way to go. I can offer no other wisdom as it takes my girls 5years to grow any hair worth cutting!

Tat said...

I know what you mean about having too many kids for swimming. With two, I manage swimming lessons, but swimming at the beach is an impossible task unless I have another adult with me. My son used to be scared of the water, which made it a little bit easier (but obviously not something you would want to encourage). He's over his fear now, which means the moment they see water, they are both in it.

toushka said...

Crikey - haircuts are traumatic enough in our household with just the one toddler!! I would recommend the mobile one too.
maybe those in-laws with all their hints could take the kids to the hairdresser. Leaving you to have a nice glass of whatever without having to deal with the screaming.... bliss.

As for swimming lessons... meh- wait till they're older. Water wings and rings can be used in Fiji.

Nadiah said...

Wearing two babies at once? You'd have to have spinal discs of steel.

I'd second what Toushka said re swimming lessons. It can probably wait a little while.

Maxabella said...

I'm always here for haircut duties, you know that. I can come on a weekend with you!!

I don't do swimming lessons with under 3s. I just don't think it's worth the hassle. As long as they get lots of water play where I can supervise them standing and playing, what's it matter? The only baby I've done get-in-with-them swimming with is Max and we all know how great that turned out!!!

The hardest thing for me (and I know you will agree with this!) has been lifting 3 young children (one enormous) day in day out. I don't lift Max very often anymore, of course, and Ari only occasionally, but after 6 years of lifting and lifting, sometimes up to 3 children simultaneously, I am in need of a new back. x

x0xJ said...

For the swimming lessons i'm sure the instructor can take one of the twins. Usually the instructor doesn't have a child and needs one to demonstrate, and our old instructor used to love taking the babies for parents.

AS for the haircut thing, do you think strapping one in the stroller whilst you get the first one's hair cut and then swapping them would work?

I do have to agree it would be hard when your DH is working all the time. One of the hardest aspects about being a mother is just that. That we are expected to simply cope reguardless of the situation.

Busy Working Mama said...

What a beautiful picture! I really can't give advice on the multiple child thing because I only have one and she will remain a Lonely Only (my mother in law came up with that to try to get me to have more) but our biggest problem is not having family around. With both of us working full time and only having 3 weeks vacation each, it's difficult to juggle sick days with a small child.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

As you may know, I tend to keep my twinnies "strapped down / in" as much as possible. :) I take them for haircuts by myself, but in the stroller. One baby sits in the stroller, watching, while the other is in my lap getting a cut.

I want to try taking them to lunch by myself, and I'm thinking about keeping them in their stroller for that, too. I just don't think I could manage strapping both of them into highchairs (without one bolting for the exit) otherwise. Or maybe we should just wait a little while on that one. :)

Although I did brave library story time by myself earlier in the week (the room is closed, so I figured they could "escape" only so far!), I cannot figure out the issue of swim lessons, either.

While on one hand I think twins have to learn things earlier on than singletons (like how to soothe themselves), there are other situations in which they probably get the shorter end of the stick, having to wait on things like swim lessons and kindermusik classes until they can operate a little more independently.

...I say all this knowing I "only" have twins. How you get out and about on a regular basis with FOUR...well, you're SuperMom in my book! :) :)

Posie Patchwork said...

Like hair cuts, dentist, grocery shopping, walking the dog etc with 4 children under 5 (back in the day) i just made all these things 'you know what guys, we just have to do this' & did it from birth so it was completely normal.
I had excellent children, ok, get this, i could take 4 children while i got my own hair cut, no kidding, they'd sit & draw & play & breastfeed, also get their hair cuts same time as me, bliss!! I have always used Just Cuts, no appointment, just rock up when they open at 10a.m. & take the first 5 appointments, it works!!
Swimming, well my guys were born in Darwin, so i taught them to swim as you're a social pariah if your children can't all swim by 18 months, so they just learned with me, all of them from birth, no floaties. It worked, they were fearless & no one drowned.
Finally - i just had pep talks with my 4 (remember husband off at war for so much of their lives & counting) in advance of what the mission was, then in the car as an update 5 minutes later. Choice is that we have to do this, do it happy or misbehave, be unhappy & it's horrible for everyone. No bribes, just 'we JUST have to do this or we can't eat/ swim/ have short hair etc'. It's about expectations & hope, sure there is plenty of disappointment, but they learn they'll miss out, keep trying, then you forget it was ever hard. Now i have all 4 out of car seats & in school, it's an amazing feeling to look back at the best time in my life, we had a ball. Love Posie

katepickle said...

yep swimming lessons.... my girls missed out on those when they were too little to go without an adult cause there just isn't enough adults to go around.
hair cuts... these days, with four, I take my Mum for back up, cause Middle child is petrified of those with scissors.
We have issues with dentists too... if both girls go the one who goes first is fine, the one who has just watched the whole process and is supposed to go next? No freaking way people!
We have the opposite problem too... majority of places my girls refuse to go apart. The Dr is a major thing - if one has to go the other MUST accompany them to make sure no one whisks the sick one off to hospital without first asking permission (it's happened before and we are now forever scarred!).
Ah the joys

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