There are certain phases of childhood that each parent goes through with their children, but when you are a parent of twins, the normal is different. There are some things that only parents of twins will understand.
People will ask inappropriate questions
I do not mind sharing my journey of having my twins or educating people about my health problems and what it meant for us getting pregnant, but when a perfect stranger asks me if I had to do in vitro (which I didn’t) I find it a bit personal. It somehow makes the miracle of twins less special when people assume they were not naturally conceived.
You have to learn to speak twin
My kids talk to each other all the time and they know exactly what they are saying. Sometimes I feel left out because I am not included in the conversation. I have picked up on some of their words and what they mean, but for the most part I am totally lost. My kids get frustrated that I don’t understand them, when they understand each other perfectly fine. What’s wrong with me?
You will never stop being asked if they are twins
When my twins were babies, I thought it was pretty obvious they were twins, and I was asked about them everywhere I went. I thought it would go away as they got older, but nope. The question turned from “are they twins?” To “how old are they?” When I reveal they are both the same age, then the twin questions come. I guess they will always be asked if they are twins.
There is no such thing as just running out to the store really quickly
I always envied those moms that would easily take their one child out of their car seat and place them in the shopping cart while they walked around cooing and awing at their little baby. Not only do I have to juggle getting two kids in and out of car seats, but I have to either pull two shopping carts along with me, or put one in the child seat and the other in the back of the shopping cart (which you’re not supposed to do) threatening them not to touch anything that I put in the cart with them. Needless to say, there is no such thing as a quick trip to the store with twins.
The learning curve on sibling rivalry happens much sooner
My kids have had to learn from the time they were born to take turns, share and not fight. You’d think they’d be pros at it by now, but instead it just turns everything into a competition. Who gets to sit on mom’s lap, who gets out of the bath first and who gets what toy. I have learned to referee almost all of my children’s interactions. All I have to say is, I am so glad they are out of the terrible two stage. Of course, I have yet to experience them as teenagers!
They truly love being together
When they are not competing with each other, my kids truly love each other. They are concerned for each other, and they like to do things together. Whenever we go someplace new, they feel secure because they get to try new things together. They share secrets, experiences and friendship. Siblings can be best friends, but there is something special about the friendship between twins and I love watching it develop.
It feels like your kids grow up faster
I have two kids, but I only really experience things once. They both started crawling, walking and talking around the same time. They will start school on the same day, celebrate their birthdays once a year and graduate from High School on the same day. If you have kids of different ages you get to experience one child learning to drive, and then a few years later the other, things are spread out a bit more. For me everything happens at the same time, just in double dosage. Somehow it seems like they grow up faster.
They will always be compared with each other
If one child is stacking blocks and the other is not, then the other must be developmentally delayed. If one child excels at playing the piano, but the other doesn’t, the first must be exceptional. It doesn’t matter what they are doing, they are always compared to each other. And, if they are not on the same level people think there must be something wrong with one. They are just different. Twins have different likes and dislikes and are their own people.
You will always be teaching people about twins
I’ve been asked why they don’t look alike, if their personalities are the same or different and if one is more outgoing than the other, but believe it or not, the number one question I am asked (besides if they are twins) is if they are identical. They are a boy and a girl, so I thought it would be obvious that they are not identical, but people surprise you all the time. I then have to choose between sarcasm, or taking the opportunity to educate people on twins. I usually go for the later, unless I am in a really special mood.
I am sure as my children grow, there will be even more things I will discover about having twins. Even though they can be expensive, challenging and lots of work, I love having twins and would not want it any other way.
(Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. Contact her at Meganshauri@gmail.com.)