Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's So Different, Dad?

Greetings once again,

One picture is all you get for this post, but it's a great one! A lone shot of the twins riding happily in our Chariot jogger as we took a walk in our neighborhood today. I was ecstatic to get a picture of both of them looking at the camera with NO red eye (that darn Canon Elph). Both of them smiling and you can see their wonderful hazel eyes and 4 teeth each.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to play "only child". Easton and Layla took naps at different times because Easton has a runny nose and didn't feel well. 99% of the time we keep the twins on the exact same schedule for everything including sleep. However, we let the timing slide a bit so Easton could sleep as long as he wanted, whenever he wanted. While he was sleeping we enjoyed Layla's awake time and that's what we call playing "only child". It was a surreal experience to have TWO of us and ONE baby. I believe Kendra called it a piece of cake, but I called it weird.

We don't know any different since these twins are our first babies so having Layla alone to play with was an interesting glimpse into what normal people experience with one kid at a time. I'll be honest, it was kind of fun to focus on one kid at a time and play all the fun peek-a-boo games without having to keep track of the other baby who invariably wanders off. With that being said, here are some things about having twins that make the experience unique compared to having one baby at a time.

I am never bored. Never. I remember BC (Before Children) days where I would have entire evenings after work to go play basketball with my friend, watch weekly TV shows, call friends on the phone, and keep up with the latest mountain bike magazines. The only thing that is different today than the previous 5 years of marriage is the twins so I have a long history to compare BC days to AD (After Diaper) days. I realize having even ONE child means your life changes in a way that leads to less free time, but having twins eliminates it completely. Ok, ok... I have time to blog. That's my "free time", which really boils down to me choosing to blog over sleep. We all have our priorities, right?

The spoon must not stop. When feeding twins there is no pause with the spoon to wait for a baby to chew or swallow. The spoon goes from the food to mouth #1 then straight to food to mouth #2, then repeat until both bellies are full. Any pause will result in crying or tantrums from the seemingly neglected child.

There is no benchmark advantage. What I mean is a new dad like me has NO preconceived idea about the timing of milestones. You'd think by having two babies you can measure between the two and figure out what skills to work on. That's not the case at all. One baby might be far ahead of the curve on one skill while the second is far behind the curve. That usually results in a call to the Pediatrician from me where THEY tell me to relax and give the biggest, most overused copout ever, "All babies are different!" If I had one baby, then I wouldn't be comparing all the time. Don't take that the wrong way though, I don't try to make both of them hit milestones at the same time or add any competition. That's just wrong.

The guessing game. We continually get to guess which baby needs attention. Let the butt-sniffing commence! I never thought I'd put my nose up to a babies bottom and intentionally try to smell what's behind door number 1 to see which one made a "number 2". But here we are, daily, guessing which baby pooped. With the odds being 50/50 you would be surprised how bad my track record is for finding the stinky baby. The humorous part is that sometimes there is nothing tangible behind the smell so I end up sniffing two butts with no need to change a diaper. The guessing game also refers to crying where we look at each other and try to see which parent correctly guesses which baby is making noises in bed.

Spatial concerns. Not only do I have to keep the twins close enough to me so nobody wanders off to another part of the house, but I also have to keep them far enough apart so nobody gets a finger bitten from putting in the other baby's mouth. There is a fine line to walk...

The "I'm more tired than you" game. We playfully engage in this game about once every couple of nights. At some point in almost every evening Kendra will start to describe why she is so tired. I jump in with MY reasons why I'm more tired than her and we have a good laugh trying to out-do each other with stories of what we went through during the day and previous night. Maybe that's not unique to parents of twins, but I bet it happens more often than those with one baby.

Nothing I've mentioned above overshadows any couple with 3 or more children no matter what age. My hat is off to you. Once the one-to-one ratio of parents to children is gone I have no tricks up my sleeve for how to manage a household.

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