When you are the parent of twins, you very quickly lose count of the number of times you hear “Oh my goodness, TWINS – I don’t know how you do it!”.
I always answer the same way.
A) I don’t have a choice and
B) I have nothing to compare it to, I’ve had two children from day one so it’s completely normal for me.
I’m not lying, I obviously don’t have a choice. It’s not like I can send one back. Or tell one of them to just wait a few years before I’m ready to begin raising them, so that I can enjoy parenting an only child. Having two children of the same age, clamoring for attention, is all I’ve ever known since becoming a parent.
This week I got a taste of how the other half live. Well, a taste of how most people live. Most parents, that is. Sábha has been sick and I’ve kept her home from preschool all week. So for three days now, while her twin sister was off socializing with her peers, she and I have been enjoying some one on one time.
Until recently, I had nothing to compare being a parent of more than one child to. If you were to tell me having one kid was tough, I’d believe you. Tell me juggling two kids of different ages is hard, I can well imagine. Tell me having three kids is insane? I know you’re right. Tell me four kids makes your head spin and I will not doubt you for one second. My sister-in-law has eight children — yes, eight children — (I’ll just let that sink in for a moment) and I BELIEVE her when she tells me she can’t remember a large portion of the prime of her life.
Raising any number of children has it’s challenges and although I’m usually annoyingly upbeat about the joys of raising twins I have got to say – having experienced it very briefly this week – that having just one child is SO BLOODY EASY by comparison.
Now before any of you with only one little lovely at home start wanting to throw things at me, don’t think for a second that I don’t know this is all relative. Having only one child at home with me for a few hours everyday this week has been amazing, but it’s only because it’s a novelty for me that I am even aware of it. I absolutely know that it wouldn’t be the same if I only had one child from the beginning. Or one at a time. Like normal people.
It’s just that this week, I’ve had a little taste of how things might have been if I’d not been greedy and had my babies all at once and I want to bask in it because it’s been so unbelievably lovely.
For example, today, I had the time and patience to let Sábha bake muffins, from scratch, all by herself. I supervised, of course, but I didn’t lose my reason when she spilled the flour and started to ‘lick the bowl’ before dishing out the mixture into the paper cases. Baking is usually a bit of a war zone with twins. I usually play the role of the crazy General who gets all bug-eyed and twitchy whilst barking orders at his unruly troupe (that’s so not an army word) – but not today!
Lile has benefited this week, too. I left Sábha at home with her Dad for an entire afternoon while Lile and I went for lunch, for a browse around some shops and it was an absolute pleasure. Having only one child with me meant it was so much easier to relax in the café without worrying if one was going to spill the milk while I was getting the other out from under the table. I only had chase one child out from under clothes rails in the shops and having only one child to battle into a car seat cut my travel time significantly. I will remember that day fondly.
I’ve now discovered that parenting only one child when you have twins is just so… manageable!
You might tell me that having an only child has it’s downsides, too. But, for this week at least, I don’t believe you. Maybe only children get bored or lonely. But kids with siblings do too and it’s way worse when you’ve got more than one little voice whining for something to do. Perhaps only children need their parents as their playmates constantly so that you don’t ever get a break. But at least there’s only one child to choose the games and you get to skip all of the negotiation and compromise stuff that comes with having multiple children.
I may LOVE having twins and I’ll probably always be annoyingly upbeat about how great life with my girls is, but even so, I do think I’ll try to factor in a little more regular one-on-one time with each of them. Just so I can remind myself of how easy this parenting business can be.
Related post: 10 Reasons It’s Awesome Having Twins