Coming To Terms With Parenting Twins vs. A Singleton

by farrah on April 21, 2013 · 14 comments

My husband was in Canada all of last week and I was a wreck between keeping up with the world news (not good) and trying to come to terms with the struggles I am having with the twins. It wasn’t an easy week, it never is when one parent is the only one on call- but in addition to just trying to survive, I am now forced to accept that L and C- my two-year old twins- are not, nor will they ever be, their big brother. Coming to terms with parenting twins vs. a singleton has been an eye-opening experience.

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I know they’re different people. And I also realize that when a person becomes a parent for the first time- and that child is EASY, it might be a curse more than anything else. Especially since you don’t know how good you’ve got it until a second (or third) child comes into the mix and shatters your grandiose vision of parenting and the relationship between that parent and child. In my mind I was a great mom! A wonderful parent! Just look- look at this marvellous and well-behaved child!

Specifically L and C do not listen. They do not care. They do not want to please me or want me to be happy with their behavior- and I do not know how to deal with it. Not one bit.

Brody has been something of a dream child. From infancy to now as a big and bad 4 year old, he has remained my obedient helper. He’s my little mother hen and the one I rely upon for not making me feel like a failed mother. Because in essence- that’s how I feel when it comes to the twins. I don’t know what I’ve done so differently that has created a duo of power that crushes my resolve and confidence to what is and isn’t right when it comes to being a parent.

They’re all sweet and loving. They’re each smart, special, interesting and all that jazz too- just like all of our kids are. But these two- man. I just don’t even know where I am coming from or going to when it comes to them and their preference to do as they please and not give a damn. Because that’s exactly what it appears to be happening here- the inmates are running the asylum.

Not having that extra hand to help from my husband has really shown me what they’re capable of and what they think of me. I- they see, am a pushover. They will destroy, fight, ignore and go wild as they please knowing full well that I do not know how to handle it. Of course what ends up happening is I get angry- I yell, I try the time out, try the take the toy away game. But none of it matters. It’s one big game and I am the joke of a referee being hit with peanuts.

I’m struggling with everything from bedtime and getting them to bed without yelling (mine) and following directions like ‘pick up your toys.’ Brody is the one who jumps in and sees that a) I am nearing the end of my rope and b) I will seriously throw out their toys if they’re not picked up but he doesn’t like that. Smart kid. They’re his toys too and just because his brothers are being careless doesn’t mean he should also be punished. So he does it and they get off. That’s not fair either.

Of course we have our moments with B (I mean, he IS 4!), but compared to the Wonder Twins of Doom he’s winning the best behavior award. My husband and I agree that we need to switch up our game plan and that we’re in this together. But the question is.. where do we start? If they don’t take us seriously at 2.5 years old- how can we make them see we aren’t pushovers?

What do I have to do to teach myself that I cannot parent this team like I parented my singleton?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christie Tate April 21, 2013 at 11:27 am

I have no idea. None of my kids listen to me. My hubs travels and those weeks suck. Parenting is hard.

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2 farrah April 22, 2013 at 5:42 am

I think the fact that one of mine does (and the first one at that) has me confused. That’s the issue!

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3 Jen April 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I have the same problem with my almost 3 year old, and my older one wasn’t like that. I remember her being this age very clearly because it was when we were moving here and she was just so – portable. This guy, I can barely even take him to the grocery store because he’s going to climb out of the cart and run out in front of a car while stealing an apple.

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4 farrah April 22, 2013 at 5:43 am

Hahha. Yes. And we have stolen apples as well 🙂

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5 JMAC April 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Oh this is so going to be me in a couple of years. My 2 1/2 year old has his moments but is such a helper and hates time outs, so it’s pretty easy to get him to clean up and he listens pretty well for his age. But at 9 months I can already tell the twins will be another story. As soon as my baby girl started crawling last month she was off only to come my way when she’s hungry. We have to follow her every move and she’s not even one! Know that you are doing a great job. Parenting two or three is so much more difficult than one on one. The parents in my moms of multiples group with toddler twins tell many stories like yours. They mention separating the kids (if possible to do so safely) while discipling and making sure to praise when they do listen. I will be checking back here for suggestions a little bit on…otherwise they all might go to full time day care!!

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6 farrah April 22, 2013 at 5:45 am

I really don’t want to scare you- but we could also see a huge difference when the twins were just wee babies. Linc especially. If you see the signs now- you’re probably right!

Yesterday, in fact- we did follow through with a ‘punishment’ only for Linc because he fooled around and refused his nap- he couldn’t go to the store with dad and stayed home with me. He was hysterical and missing out. Do 2.5 year olds learn lessons like that you think?

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7 Laura April 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

My 2.5 year old is SO just like this. He was such an easy baby and so happy, and while he is still happy now , he is WILD and strong willed. He does not mind, or follow directions regardless of spankings time outs etc. I have tried every trick in the book and have determined this is just a phase and I shall wait it out. He is all over the place and keeping up with him right now while pregnant is a STRUGGLE

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8 farrah April 22, 2013 at 5:47 am

Yikes!!! In my opinion anything while pregnant is a struggle and the days before bedrest I really had a hard time with B. I actually really did like the book ‘No Cry Discipline Solution’ but I just don’t know about it with L. He is just SO stubborn.

No idea where he got that from 🙂

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9 Solon April 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I wish I had a magic wand or something I could send you. But please, please don’t take all the blame of their behavior solely upon yourself. You spend the majority of your waking hours dealing with three very young boys, almost completely by yourself, in a foreign country with no family or close friends to lend a hand, while your husband is gone.

I’m still trying to digest your moving from a lovely two-story home in America to a smaller place in the Netherlands? I can only assume that this was a move made for the advancement of your husband’s career, but I’m still struggling with understanding what you gained from it except isolation.

Sounds to me like this huge advancement in your husband’s career should result in being able to afford a full time Nanny so you can have 5 minutes to yourself to take a breath. I know you used to go away for weekends with girl friends, outings to dude ranches and that sort of thing, but sounds like you have absolutely no time for yourself at all anymore. You might be able to come up with some solutions if you had a moment alone just to think. Just taking a step back could go a long way toward gaining a new perspective on what you need to do. It’s like you’re trying to read a book while sitting in the middle of football stadium during a playoff game, in a snow storm. You, Dear, need some peace and quiet.

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10 farrah April 22, 2013 at 5:49 am

Oh Solon! It’s not so bad. Really. In fact I felt guilty posting this as just the weekend before I was in Italy by myself for two glorious days. Not every mom gets to do even that!
We love being here- and actually for me it’s easier because we can walk where we need to go- eat healthier, and have more to do. I love the size of the house, albeit smaller- and actually want something more in this size when we come back. Less for me to clean! And, less time in the house. I want to get out there more 🙂 xoxo thanks as always for thinking of me though.

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11 Shannon April 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

First of all, I can totally relate to having children with different personalities. I “only” have the twins, but my son is a pleaser & my daughter is the tester. They are 5 now & behavior is much better, but a year ago was a different story. I truly felt bullied by my daughter. If I chose to put MYSELF in time out for a break, she would follow me upstairs & bang on the bedroom door, calling me names. I would blame myself, but then see my son & think “how could these 2 be raised in the same environment at the exact same time & be so different?”. A method we used that helped was to have a candy jar. They’d earn candies for good behaviors & lose candies for bad behavior. They could eat what they had left at the end of the day, or save them up for bigger prize. You could try adapting for your twins’ age. The main areas we focused on were good listening @ school & staying in bed at night. We were able to phase this out after a while as the behavior improved. Good luck!

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12 farrah April 22, 2013 at 6:58 am

Thanks Shannon! And ‘only’ twins always makes me laugh, because oy vey! Twins alone is a force!

I like that idea of a method. We do something a little similar- and Brody kind of made it up himself (of course) with the ‘Best Behavior Award’. There’s really no award- just the saying that so and so got it for whatever. It’s silly but sometimes works.

I am just so baffled at how different these two are from B- they’re similar to each other in the sense that they CAN be the ‘bully’ like you said. I find myself wondering what the years ahead will be like- but then again I do not want to rush to them.

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13 Leighann April 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

my daughter is a great little girl and well behaved which makes me worry we we have in store for us the next time around

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14 Cynthia April 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Farrah – you just wrote my thoughts about my twins. Lately I have felt like “3” is actually the terrible 2s. I have one who is a bit more sensitive to discipline and another who smiles when discipline is handed out. My two have started plotting things. Bed time went to hell in a hand basket probably 6 months ago when they switched up their nap schedule. There are days when I think possibly my marbles have fallen out of my head and I am slipping on them on the floor. My husband has been going out of town recently for work and those days of 24 hour parenting are hard. What keeps me going … is bedtime daily…haha. When I sit back and look at the day after they are in bed…it was better than I thought when in the trenches, so try to just focus on reviewing the day and seeing those good moments and maybe it will all fall into place. At least that is my hope most evenings.

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