My twin boys are now 8, and it’s really tugged at my heart how quickly they’ve grown. The tiny infants I held in my arms are not so little anymore. Where did the time go? How did they grow so fast? It seems like just yesterday I was walking around in a sleep-deprived haze, caring for newborns. Here is a breakdown from year 1 to year 8 to give you an idea what you have in store.
Ok, so the first three months of the year are a blur. Not much sleep, eating when you can, basic hygiene. It’s all about the kids. In fact, it is only the kids. Everything else is survival mode. I don’t know how I or Mommy did it.
Think of it this way, the kids have no routines, no preferences and have no idea what they’re doing. So, it’s all up to your parenting team and any interested parties, related or otherwise, to help the kids discover their new living arrangements and life itself. No pressure.
Be prepared with supplies. Try different things. Clean up the messes. Take care of yourself and hang on.
Dishes. Laundry. Groceries. These never stop. And diapers. And formula.
Fortunately, mommy and I really didn’t have specialization of labor. We both did anything and everything that had to be done. They are my kids, too. Why wouldn’t I help? In fact, I wanted to because I am daddy, hear me roar. We would also give each other breaks as the occasion arose. One piece of advice: nap when they nap.
Let me put it this way. This is the easy part, believe it or not. Once the gang start walking and talking, all hope for normalcy in life is lost. Enjoy.
It took my boys about 11 months for both of them to sleep through the night. It just sorta happened and one morning I, and mommy too, woke up and realized that we had also slept through the night.
You need a team. There’s you and mommy, but you will also need other relatives or friends to fill in for those contingencies that are unexpected or for which you and mommy are unavailable. Have your team ready. You will need them, especially if you both work.
The time will come when you will go somewhere with the little buggers whether it’s the doctor’s, the grocery store, the clothing store, the mall, whatever. You already have car seats cause you brought them home in those from the hospital. Wet Wipes are a necessity at all time and in great amounts.
It felt like we got a raise when the boys went off formula in the first year and went to baby food and whole milk.
It is beyond fascinating to watch humans develop from infancy. It’s even beyond that for twins. Preferences in food or maybe clothes and activities, like reading or listening to music or dancing may begin appearing. Baby food is introduced by now.
They will be crawling by this time and perhaps trying to form some words…. They will also be standing up in their cribs and maybe attempting escape… I haven’t met a parent yet who hasn’t put cushions all around the cribs JUST IN CASE the more adventurous one of the two makes the gymnastic move of leaving the crib. The day will come in the not-too-distant future when you will take one side of the cribs off and leave the little buggers exposed to falling. They won’t. But, prepare anyway.
You will begin getting into a routine, such as it is, with sleep and feeding and work and mommy and house and anything else… somethings will go well, some won’t. It’s all about the kids now… gotta get up early to cover for mommy who has an early morning meeting? Gotta leave work early for a doctor’s appointment for Baby A who seems to be running a little fever?
Just wait, Baby B will be running a little fever in a few days… in fact, in the first few years especially, if one gets sick, or even if you or mommy get sick, it spreads and everyone will get sick, count on it…
Then, there’s the midnight runs for diapers or formula or milk or ice cream for mommy.
I didn’t drink at all for the first almost eight years of their life. My feeling was that I wanted to be prepared in case anything happened during the night. I didn’t want or need a buzz if the boys needed something.
The time has come for day care. We found one quite innocently enough. I took the boys for a walk to the park. On the way back, we noticed a house had some day care signs on it and on a minivan. It was a warm day so a woman from the house approached us. We talked for awhile and decided to consider her day care for our needs. Well, long story short, she gave us a package deal for twins. Gma, mommy’s mother, could no longer provide a full day’s care for the boys, so we switched to a day care arrangement. It was tough with having to pick the boys up at a certain time and, of course, the money. But, somehow we did it.
I will never forget the look of one of my boys as we dropped them off the first day. The owner of the day care was holding him as he looked out the window at us walking away. But, as the owner told us later, he got over his dismay very quickly when he started playing with the other kids.
I believe it is good to start the socialization process early and coach them as much as possible as to what is acceptable and what is not. Our boys did pretty well. Little friendships were formed with some of the kids at day care. In fact, the boys are still friends with several of the kids from day care who are now in the same school.
Solid foods have been fed to the little buggers for awhile now.
They are growing, too, and the little onesies don’t fit and they can wear toddler clothes with cool t-shirts and cargo shorts (may as well start them early on those).
They started pre-K. In New York, it is free for half a day. The other half of the day was spent at the day care.
More socialization. More friends. Occasionally, there may be some awkward moments with their class mates. There were for us, but they were no big deal. Fortunately, kids have a short memory and within a day (or less), everything is forgotten. Other parents are in the same boat and most were pretty receptive to forgive and forget.
It was also our first parent-teacher conferences. These will really set the stage for what to expect in the next few years.
And they continue to grow. And eat. Or not eat, as the case may be. As it was in one of the boys’ case. Mortimer (not his real name) somehow became sensitive to a lot of different foods. Thus, his variety of foods consumed became limited. Still not sure what caused it.
Socialization became even more prominent as they were exposed to more (and varied) kids. Not a bad thing at all. But, always something to watch as a parent. Not everybody parents the same way. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but some parents are more permissive or restrictive (and controlling) than others.
Since school ended in June, the school offered a “summer camp” for the kids to help give the kids something to do. I’ll never forget that at the end of the summer camp, Archibald (not his real name) had developed such a friendship with another little boy, I had never noticed or met him before, that they spontaneously gave each other a big hug. It was actually quite touching and surprising. They grow up so fast.
By this time, you will have a better handle on what is generally required to be a parent with all of its subsequent responsibilities. However, in Grades 1-3, each year is similar including the summers, but the problems as they grow get a little harder, too. More homework, more social interactions and more opportunities to teach and coach the little buggers.
They understand life and things a little more now. They start asking questions. I had the “sex talk” a couple of weeks ago with the boys and it went surprisingly well. They were “all ears.” I said, “And if you find out anything different, please let me know, too.” But, seriously, they could feel their bodies changing and were ready for this overview.
Well, this is meant to be an overview of raising kids and what to expect generally in the process. Sometimes, you will get immediate feedback on something you do. Ok, most times, they will let you know right away. But, for their growth and development, you don’t really see the results for all the time, money, energy you have spent on their behalf.
I make mistakes. I do or say the wrong things all the time. The best piece of advice for new daddies who aren’t quite sure what to expect is to simply enjoy the kids and the whole process. Time flies. They look to you as their role model. How well do you handle your mistakes, your communications, your relationships, your self?
Well, this writing has worn me out. I think I need a drink. Ok, maybe later, after they go to bed. A glass of wine at night is not necessarily a bad thing.
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