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After recently taking my kids to the pool for the first time this summer, I had a moment. As the kids — a 5-year-old and twin 2-year-olds — joyfully walked around in their flip flops and towels, I got a little teary. It hit me that time is flying right in front of me. Here they are walking, "going to the potty"; they have become little "big kids"!
Granted, juggling twins is still a big challenge — often when one goes one way, the other goes in the "opposite" direction (and the 5-year-old chases after them). But compared to the early months of stress and exhaustion, I can say that it does get easier.
In those early months after having our twins, my husband and I were in "survival" mode, just trying to get through each day. But here are a few things I wish I would've known before having multiples:
1. Try a diaper shower.
If you're pregnant with multiples now, I strongly encourage you to have a diaper shower. Tell your guests to bring any size they want — you'll eventually use them all!
At the end of the party, you'll have a mountain of diapers. I had enough to get me through the first year. You'll save so much money.
Think how many diaper changes one baby has, and then multiply by two (or three, for those with triplets). You will need a mountain…and more.
2. Schedule education time.
It was so easy to "educate" my first child by taking him out and teaching him about the world naturally.
My first child was reading at 3. With the twins, I didn't realize how difficult it would be. We were so busy just trying to meet their needs that the "other stuff" — like long story times or even just trips to Target where you just "talk"— was harder to manage.
So I wish I would've known that, so I could've planned a little better. I would've scheduled "education" time for each kid. Really! It helps to schedule things you would otherwise take for granted, otherwise you're so exhausted it doesn't happen
3. It’s OK to split them up.
It took some time for me to realize it’s OK to give them separate outings.
I remember when they were months old and I was so busy trying to make sure both twins went everywhere. As a result, we didn't go anywhere. The double stroller, the loaded diaper bag, loading them in the car seats.... It was too much. With 20/20 hindsight, I realize I could've just taken them out, one at a time.
Let one child get out of the house a bit. And next time take the other. That way it's not so hard to manage.
4. It’s OK to treat them as individuals.
I wish I had known earlier how important it is to learn who they are as individuals and feed their own particular needs, while also teaching them that they are a team. It's a tap dance. Always.
With all three of my children, I try to show them that they're ALL a team, and they have to take care of each other. At the same time, I'm learning that they each like to know they're special on their own. They will often come to me for individual affirmation and then head back into the "group" ready to play as a team.
These are just a few things that may help you if you're having multiples. It's an absolute thrill, even though at times it's stressful.
Now, it's time to take my "little" big kids to the pool. Truth be told, I'm having just as much fun.
This story was first published on June 23, 2015, and updated on Feb. 1, 2017.