I lead a double life.
I am the sister to twins, the wife of a twin, and now mother of twins. Things have come in twos all my life.
I like to think that being a sister of twins and then marrying one prepared me for the role of raising twins. I’m not sure anything can really prepare you though. It’s double the trouble and twice the diapers. Double the tears and twice the tantrums.
It’s double the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thankfully, I have a mom and mother-in-law to compare notes to. Their experience and perspectives from raising twins have been helpful for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just an encouraging word or two.
So yes, sometimes it’s double the trouble, but most times it’s double the fun. And even better, it’s double the kisses, twice the hugs, and, most importantly, double the love.
Whether you are a sibling of twins, marrying a twin, or having twins, here are a few takeaways to living a double life.
Sister of Twins:
My identical twin brothers are 20 months younger than me. As their sister, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Twins get a lot of attention. My mom was always very conscious of this and did small, subtle things to include me. When people would stop us and ask the famous question “OMG, are they twins?” her answer would always be “Yes, and this their big sister Tiffanie.” This response included me in the conversation and made me feel special. It’s now something I do for my oldest daughter.
- I didn’t have to share my birthday with anyone. It was my special day with my own cake, gift, and song. My brothers, on the other hand, had to share the spotlight. My mom always made two cakes and bought separate gifts, but still, there was one party and one theme. As I reflect on past birthdays my main takeaway is this: make each kid’s birthday special in a way that feels unique to them. If my daughter likes princesses and my son loves Ninja Turtles, then I’ll have two parties in one. I will decorate half the house pink and other half green. I’ll buy princess crowns and turtle favors. They might have to share the day, but not every detail.
Wife to a Twin:
My husband has a fraternal twin sister. As a wife of a twin, here’s what I know:
- Twins don’t always celebrate their birthday together. One of the things I have always felt guilty about is throwing a dinner or party for my husband’s birthday and not celebrating his twin sister as well. Not only did they go to different schools in middle school and college which led to separate groups of friends, but they also live in two different cities. These factors are why I end up planning a special dinner or get together just for him. It’s a night to celebrate how special he is as a husband, friend, and dad.
- They have a special bond, even as adults. My husband cried when his twin sister told him she was pregnant. In that moment, I saw their unspoken bond that tied them together. I can only hope that one day my fraternal twins follow in their footsteps and share that connection.
Mother of Fraternal Twins:
As a mom to 16-month-old fraternal girl-boy twins, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Fraternal twins are two very different people, just born on the same day. I often remind myself this as I compare milestones and learn their personalities. My daughter walked almost two months before her twin brother took his first steps. Thoughts like “Why isn’t he walking?” and “Is something wrong?” would surface. In those moments, I reminded myself that each child moves at their own pace. They are two different people on two different timelines that just happened to share a womb for 37 weeks.
- They feed off of each other. If one kid does something, the other twin is right behind them. I know this applies to all kids, but man does it ever to twins. They feed off each other’s energy, good or bad, and compete for the spotlight.
- Nursing twins is hard, but possible. I exclusively breastfed my twins for 16 months. I tandem nursed them 3-4 times a day and pumped twice at work. It was a lot of stress, tears, and work, but worth it. Not just for the health benefits, but for the small moments they found comfort in each other. I watched them stroke each other’s hair as they nursed. I watched a bond form each morning and every night as they spent time together being nurtured and loved.