Raising My Twins

It's what's on my mind.

In Case You Were Wondering

IMG_8005Having twins is a treat, for the most part. It’s just as charming as can be to watch them play together and care for each other on a daily basis, and it’s fun to ponder how it would be to have a regular partner from birth through childhood—the good and the bad of it. Also, many people in the world love to see twins together, and that’s really fun. It’s overwhelmingly a positive experience.

And of course there are difficulties. I’ve been asked what the most difficult part of having twins is, and…I know what you think I’m going to say: potty training! But no. While that continues to be truly difficult for me with one of my twins, I now know that every kid and every twin set is different.

What’s the hardest thing? It’s the lack of little moments of everyday bonding. This is how that looks:

1. The second girl to get up from her nap bypasses me (waiting for her with open arms and a big smile) because her sister is already up and playing, and that looks more fun.

2. I NEED to talk to Twin A about a safety or learning issue, and Twin B will come and disrupt by physically messing with a) Twin A, b) me, or c) the half-prepared dinner I was working on, which is now all over the living room.

3. I start to ask Twin B about her day or mood, as it seems she needs some individual attention, and Twin A starts a) answering for Twin B, b) talking loudly and disruptively, or c) climbing on my head.

4. I am as much a toy as anything else when there are two of them. Here’s a game: Touch spoon with intent to drop it on the floor, watch mom move quickly to stop you, then make a funny “Eeeeaaah!” noise and laugh with sister at mom. Repeat—alternating twin perps—until mom stiffly removes spoons.

5. One girl climbs on my lap for snuggles, and the other girl MUST join her on my lap. Pushing and crying ensues all around (not excluding me).

Piles of “ruined moments.” I know: it’s all about expectations. The moment is only ruined if I was expecting it to go differently. So do I have a lot of expectations? YES!  I can’t help myself. Over and over, I have lovely nano-moments implode into frustration and disappointment (me) or explode into chaos and crying (them). Most of the time it feels as if I never get to “settle into” the present and really enjoy it. So much for pursuing a state of zen, huh?

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Preschool Angst

Our kids NEED preschool. It’s not a fun luxury item, like I thought it could be. (That was silly, yes!) They both have speech delay and preschool is a necessary addition to their lives. Doc says so. So does the speech therapist.

But I didn’t need to learn about the speech delay to know they need preschool. They’re climbing the walls keeping to a toddler lifestyle here at home. They are 3 now, not 2. They can’t hang around home with the same old things to do without getting into mischief.

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And because they are mischievous and I am often too busy, things are going badly between us more often than I’d like. They need expansion!

So we signed up. Audrey in a traditional classroom, Rachel in Montessori. Back when I was only thinking about the girls attending preschool it seemed like it would be a kind of break, but in reality it has simply added more stress. A LOT more stress.

I already have homework. And they haven’t even started class. I have to buy several items, label all their clothes, print pictures, decorate a poster, make a meal plan. Then I have to find time to volunteer at least once a week in TWO classrooms, in order to make the 12 hours per classroom requirement for the semester.

The square footage of each classroom might be larger than our house (in keeping with the payment). These pictures are from Audrey's class.

The square footage of each classroom might be larger than our house (in keeping with the payment). These pictures are from Audrey’s class.

And did I mention the cost? Oh boy, the cost! Here’s an area in which having twins is really tough. Our new monthly preschool bill is more than our mortgage! How’s that for messing with one’s budget? Have you ever suddenly added an expense that cost more than your housing?!

And no, I didn’t pick an exclusive, fancy preschool. Not at all. It is a “lab school” at a community college where the kids have their regular, top-level teachers, and where college Child Development students also get their supervised “hours”.  There is much observation of the kids here, and the programs are completely up-to-date with modern Child Development theory. (Did I mention I love it here?) Because of the lab format, the cost is actually quite a bit lower than average for the Bay Area. But there are two of them…two kids. Two classrooms, with different rules, and I have to volunteer for 12 hours in each.

But I have to work to pay for preschool! Oh and they’re only there part time! Half days all week.

I know I’m not the first one to face this problem…not by a long shot. But it’s very stressful. And if I stop sleeping, like I did last night (worrying) then everything else will go down the tubes.

I know we will make it work. We always do. But I needed to vent, to relieve some pressure.

I’ve just stopped typing and taken some down-time before consolidating my lists and with that done I already feel better. And most importantly, I’m SO excited for the girls to experience their new school. It looks so fun that it would make anyone want to be a kid again.

When did preschool become so expensive? Or was it always so, and has just become more compulsory? What’s your experience with preschool?

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