Once upon a beautiful May day, an ultrasound technician VERY casually said to me, “So you’re having identical twins.” She may have said other things. I do not know. What I do know is that my reaction went something like this: lead-in of total disbelief, escalating into panic, and then mellowing into complete overwhelmdom, which is now a word. My mind leaped over the pregnancy, into the chaos of having two babies whilst trying not to pull the rug out from under my older daughter and our trusty canine, both quite content as the center of the universe.
I eventually realized that we would just need to address the “how’s this family going to work now” part of things one step at a time. More pressing? 1) What do I need to buy/ask for for twins? And 2) how will I tell them apart? Expectant twin mom? While you still have the luxury of thinking about one thing at a time, let’s focus on question #1.
Will we need two of everything? Everything?!??
When I was making the call on what we really needed (And you know I was. Do the dads show up at all for this stuff?), I had already gone through the new baby phase once. I knew what we used (wipes) vs. what we found superfluous (wipes warmer) with our older daughter. But this time around, we’d obviously need two of some things in order to make it work with twins. Every baby and household functions in its own way. But here’s my take on what needs to be doubled—and what doesn’t.
DOUBLE IT. Twins shared a very, very small space for months (woe to the person who suggests that that space did not look small…). Theories suggest the transition from womb to world is easier if we let them continue to share space. We let our girls sleep together for the first three months or so. But as soon as they started rolling over? We separated them.
You might as well start with two cribs/bassinets—even if one of them lies empty for a while so you can avoid an emergency trip to the store if/when co-bedding doesn’t work out. Include the Pack ‘n Play in this category. If you go on vacation (or to grandma’s house and you have the first grandchildren), you’ll need two of them. Don’t forget that double the beds means double the sheets, mattresses, and mattress pads. Also, double up on those swaddlers and sleep sacks, if you use them, because they will get soiled—and you will NOT be a laundry ninja. I know. Ugh.
DOUBLE THEM. The bouncy seat should be a part of the Justice League because it is a superhero. It provided a safe place for my girls to sit/lay in the bathroom while I showered, was a great spot for a catnap, and even became a nighttime sleeping spot when stuffy noses required a more upright position.
DOUBLE THEM. Not every child can use a Bumbo seat. For example, my older daughter had “healthy” legs that we had to poke and push to get in there. And to get her out? One person had to hold down the seat/wiggle it off while someone else tugged her out. The twins fit fine, however. (Someday I will be defending myself for comparing their body types.) We fed countless baby meals to nearly nekked babies sitting side by side in their Bumbos.
DOUBLE IT. If you plan to do any bottle feeding, do not skimp on the bottles. They’ll take up cabinet space, and you’ll get so tired of them sitting out and drying. BUT it will be less intense than realizing that you have no clean bottles while hangry babies are scrying for milk. Be ready for them to start eating solid foods too—with plenty of baby spoons, unbreakable bowls and plates, and wipeable bibs—with pockets on the bottom to catch grossness.
DOUBLE THEM. Lots of twins come out early and are a little small. Ours were also winter babies, which contributed to our choice not his one. But little ones need help maintaining body temperature, and the NICU nurses had ours wearing TWO hats at a time—which we continued for the first few weeks after we got them home.
DOUBLE IT. This is another one that will vary some depending on the weather when your littles are born. But babies sleep a lot. Having little footie jams is so much easier than trying to keep socks on those feet. Plus, if you ever go through the “these diapers do not work” phase, you may find yourself going through three+ sleepers a night . . .
Wait until they’re older to double them! For the first 18-24 months, our girls didn’t care if they had the same things to play with. We had one doorway bouncer, one exersaucer, one tummy-time mat, one swing. We were glad to have two push-behind walkers and two rocking toys.
Around age two, they started paying more attention to detail and noticing when one of them had something the other didn’t. Since then, we’ve been more intentional about buying at least some toys in pairs to keep our battles to a minimum.
So much to think about, I know! But take heart . . . you get to double up on good stuff, too. Belly laughs. Hugs. Mother’s Day art projects with sweet little poems that make you cry . . . DOUBLE THEM. I THINK. MAYBE.
And for you?
World-Changing potential: DOUBLE IT.
Sympathy AND street cred: DOUBLE THEM. Suddenly you are on a mini-van sized pedestal. And although you will totally earn it, the cred is a nice bonus. OWN that pedestal. You and Beyonce. And you know she’ll have an army of people helping her. So really? Your pedestal will be bigger than Beyonce’s. Slightly smaller than Mother Theresa’s. Somewhere between Beyonce and Mother Theresa is you—a mom of multiples. Not bad.