By N. Ferrell
Lessons in Encouraging Individuality in Twins
Allow and influence independence and individuality.
I started this lesson from day one with my children with the names we chose for them. I have seen so many pairs of twins with very similar names and I chose to pick drastically different ones: Quinn and Elliott. Twins dressed alike, often wearing the same or similar outfits, was not for me either. I feel it makes it difficult for other people to distinguish which child is which. It is hard enough since they look exactly alike. The same clothing makes this harder. I know that they will be confused for one another but I wanted to make people identifying who they were easily. This transgressed into later years as well.
Constructing a schedule.
This is a simple lesson and advice for nearly any new parent: make a schedule. I imagine how it would help a singleton, but it is necassary in my life of raising twins. I found this out in the first days where sleep is rare and crying is far, far too often. Being on a schedule, I found my babies adjusted to sleeping, feeding, and changing well. With twins you have double the diapers and double the feeding. Not everything can get done all at once, so take it slow and follow a schedule for daily activites. You, as a wife and mother, need to get things done. Showers will become less frequent, for example. Schedule that in too mama, you need it!
This lesson can be applied to both your children and you parents. When Dad gets home from work be sure that he helps with caring for the new ones. Not only is this important for you to have some rest, but it is important that the father creates his bond with both of the children. We tried very hard to make sure that I was not always caring for Quinn while he had Elliott. We wanted both of our children to know and love us and not find more attachment in one or the other. Taking turns, I feel, is most important for the mother or the stay-at-home parent.
Potty training and other developments
My boys are entering the potty training stage. I am now cleaning up twice the amount of urine, but I am glad that I wont have to go through this again (as I do not plan on more children). This aspect is nice to get out of the way, but there are others I find I need to pay closer attention towards, in order to further influence individuality and authority. Such things would be birthday or Christmas gifts and trouble making. I am constantly finding my boys as far into a mess they could have gotten into. With twins you must remember that they encourage each other and often work ideas off one another. As bad as this is when you expect to walk in on a mess your child made, imagine it five times worse because of their influences. I can see this when they play with each other: one will begin building a castle fort, and the other will find all objects about the house to build it into a mansion. This is hilarious to watch as their ideas fly to and fro, bouncing one off of the other. It is a wonderful thing to experience.
I was very fearful while pregnant, very unsure if this was something I could handle when I was not even prepared for one baby. I am only a few years in so far, but I would not trade raising twins for anything in the world. I hope that my parenting strategy works out. I guess I'll have to let you know.