Being the parent of identical twin boys has been the most exciting thing I have ever done. I am never bored. I am also never well rested and I hardly recognize the tired lady I glimpse in the mirror some days. But, I have gained laugh lines and perspective and experienced such joy in being the mother of these boys. I am convinced that the advantages overwhelmingly outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to twins!
Pro number one, you have one pregnancy, and you get two babies! Isn’t that the epitome of efficient reproduction? I often tell people that I have only had sexual intercourse twice, and yet I have three beautiful children. It is an awkward conversation opener, but for all anyone knows, it could be true! Con, your body will hate you for it. My twins were born at 34 weeks due to complications, and weighed a whopping 6 lb 6 ounces and 6 lb 5 ounces. If they had been full term, I likely would have needed to be carted around in a (very) large trolley. I doubt I could have continued my shuffle waddle if they had reached 10 lbs each. My diastasis recti is extreme due to how frighteningly large my belly became. Despite being a candidate, I have not seriously pursued surgical options because I am far too body positive and to be frank, I cannot afford the down time. Do you know what twins are capable of when a mother is incapacitated?
One of the worst parts of being a twin mum (or dad), is how busy you are when they are newborns. I had all my favourite people fly in one by one (we never live near family because we are foolish) to help me when the boys first came home from the hospital. If you know me and how much I detest having help, you will know that we were in desperate times. The first two weeks were divided between visiting the twin with health complications at the hospital, tending to the healthy twin at home, and trying not to ignore my gorgeous autistic 2 year old, who was having an extremely difficult time adjusting. I suppose my husband was there too. I don’t remember. Which brings me to another pro, you don’t remember much. Luckily, I took a lot of photos, so I can look back with rose tinted glasses at how utterly adorable all the babies were and hope that I am correctly telling them apart. I’m nearly 100% correct in identifying the twins, unless they are newborn, naked, and perhaps pulling the same face (obviously on purpose- an early twin trick).
My favourite pro of all, twins have a built in playmate. Both of my boys would tell you that their best friend is their twin and I would have to agree. They have their disagreements, but they fight much less than siblings of differing ages, although perhaps more viciously as they know each other too well. The con to this intense bond, is that twins defer to each other. This is where you feel futile as a parent. My boys absolutely value their twin’s opinion and regard more than they do their parent’s. It’s difficult and annoying. Especially when they are reinforcing poor behaviour, or most often, awful jokes. Can you imagine, that you are four years old, and every joke you come up with is met with riotous laughter instead of the eye-rolling and groan that would be more appropriate? It would do a lot for your self esteem, and perhaps encourage you to make more jokes on the same topic. The topic is always poo. Always.
Pro, twins teach each other things. This is also a con. Twins can be quite (both unintentionally and intentionally) competitive, so they might teach each other reading, or maths, or every planet, moon, asteroid belt, and dwarf planet in the solar system. They might also teach each other how to flush things down the toilet, or where the cat food is hidden so that they can get their own “snacks.”
When twins attend school, or a dance class, or go to a birthday party or friend’s house, they have each other. I do not worry as much because I know that they are together. They look out for one another, and report back to me when it’s over. I feel like I get a more complete story as I can piece together both boy’s contribution to the narrative. Of course, I do worry about the teachers, as all that reinforcing of each other can mean listening to an authority figure is more difficult. I’ve also noticed that it can be overwhelming for other children to be approached by both my boys at once, as they are a very confident pair, and although not at all aggressive in nature, it’s still a lot to take in. That being said, they have made loads of friends who can handle them just fine.
A pro to having twins is that you don’t have to think too much when purchasing clothing, toys, food, etc. I always buy two of everything. The very obvious downfall here is that it is so EXPENSIVE. They grow out of their entire wardrobes at exactly the same time. They both need payment for swimming lessons, the school field trip, bikes, braces, driving lessons, tuition for University (I’ve got a little ahead of myself here) at the same time. Costly parenting times are made even more painful when you are constantly multiplying by two. So twin parents feel poor. And learn to budget. Or tell their kids that the shop is sold out of bikes.
The absolute best thing about having twins is that everything is the cutest in the world. Two babies laughing at the same time, two toddlers learning to walk at the same time, two newborns trying to nurse from their brother’s head at the same time (baby heads look like boobs), two babies tasting birthday cake for the first time, two boys dressing as batman, two boys drawing and discussing the solar system, two boys making videos on their tablets together. I can only imagine that this is even more adorable if you have triplets. Truly though, I am okay not knowing this for sure.
A Guest Blog from Danielle Deschenes
Danielle is a Canadian living the dream in the Cotswolds with her handsome husband and three adorable sons. She is a writer, painter, singer, musician, decorator, child herder, adventure seeker, autism mom, twin mom, and cheese connoisseur. In her free time she is a classical music teacher specializing in voice, piano, and theory.