Seven Ways to Overcome the Insanity of Grandparenting Twins
The throbbing headaches, ringing in our ears, tired feet, aching backs and multiple arguments haven’t stopped Little T. from screaming for two hours straight. His twin sister Little J. was perfectly content to sleep the whole time. Their Mom comes home, Little T. stops crying and Little J. wakes and starts crying. Insanity settles in.
Is this a sign of bad grandparenting?
Will our daughter ever let us babysit again?
Do you see yourself in this picture?
Would you like some solid answers?
These seven ways to overcome this insanity will work for you, forever.
1.Who is the dominant twin?
Little T. was born 15 minutes before his twin sister. Calm, cool, relaxed, and looking around. Little J. scared us all not breathing on her entry into the world. Once the pediatricians got her breathing and kicking a little frown developed between her little eyebrows.
In all mammal packs, troops, tribes there is an alpha standout. The one allowed to control the quieter less aggressive members. Not following them gives rise to a very bad day for everyone.
Little J. was the alpha twin. She guided their sleep time, the breastfeeding sessions, sleeping on her brother’s shoulder but making him scream when he didn’t follow her silent but real instructions.
2. Realize they are individuals.
Many people like to dress twins in the same outfits. Even fraternal twins. The thinking seems to be that they are the same since they were birthed together and share the same womb.
Little J. was very particular about how and when she ate. She would think about breastfeeding while Little T. wasted no time in savoring the sweet breastmilk. Their appetites still run the same way.
Treat twins as their own person. One may like a soft blanket to sleep with the other one selectively blocks out noise and screams from their twin or joins in the crying fest.
3. They act like any other siblings.
Watching over the twins while their Mom was away, scary. Will you parent the way their Mom does? Little T. and Little J. had many an argument with fussing and fighting. We allowed them to roll around on the ground tussling back and forth. Ten minutes earlier they were walking down the street holding hands.
All siblings will enjoy spending time together. Other times they will need personal space just like a singleton with their siblings. It’s okay if they fuss, fight, argue, and then hug and kiss each other five minutes later. It’s normal.
4. Play to their Strengths and Weaknesses.
Little J. alpha always wanted her twin to follow her instructions. If he didn’t, she would take one of his toys and walk away. (She started walking first) She starting memorizing stories read to her by the time she was two years old.
Little T. went along obediently with everything his sister wanted to do. Even if he ended up in trouble. He was calm and happy. He was able to complete complicated mazes by the time he was two years old.
Techniques of distraction work well with younger twins to help calm them down. Help them to stay in their own personal space when their twin sibling doesn’t want to be bothered. Encourage the talents that emerge on a regular basis as they grow.
5. Here’s how Twinning comes into play.
Twins have womb history. Spending nine months side-by-side gives them a special connection. They are listening to each other’s heartbeats as well as their Mom’s. Kicking, stretching and growing present space issues for them. They learn to communicate with little sounds bouncing off each other and their mother.
She didn’t realize that her twins were developing their own language. After twins are born the connection between them deepens. Little T. and Little J. would look at each other and one would laugh and then you see this silent laugh factory repeat itself over and over to their delight.
Twins may be sitting next to each other in their little rocker seats. One twin will take the other’s blanket but when the twin cries the blanket is given back to sooth their brother. Twins will always enjoy their own private twin language for the rest of their lives. We’ll shake our heads puzzled but they’ll know that we don’t know. Fascinating to watch.
6. Understanding double trouble.
Little T. and Little J. were supposed to be taking a nap. My daughter kept running into their room when they would cry. On her last tired trip upstairs to find out what was upsetting them she hears one twin say, “Now you cry.” Their plan was to keep their Mom running to the room. Napping wasn’t part of that plan. Finally, Mom would give up and get them out of their cribs.
Twins will always find a common enemy. Whether it’s not wanting to take a nap, going to bed at night, finding a way to get another drink of water, more snacks, a longer walk or anything of their choosing.
Always know that two minds are working in tandem and are always plotting the next escapade. They’ll laugh whole heartedly while running in opposite directions. One may distract you while the other one is grabbing food off your plate. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
7. Results of Using these ways: Become twins trusted confidant.
“Mom, Mom oh sorry I mean Grandma.” Becoming a trusted confidant takes time, patience and lots of love. Sharing a secret that only the three of you know is priceless. (Only share with parents if detrimental to their health).
Be a good listener. Sometimes all they need is a shoulder to cry on or an ear to bend complaining about life in general. This is your special time with your twin grandchildren. You’re that person they can count on in times of tears and times of exaltations. This is when they let you into their world of twinning.
The Return of Your Sanity
Now you can take a deep cleansing breath. Imagine your insanity fading away.
Now you know how to identify who is the alpha twin. They are individuals with their own personalities. You’ll know that they are going to act like any other normal siblings. You have learned how to work with each twin’s strength and weakness through observations, patience and love. Using distractions works wonders. You don’t have to be puzzled by twinning language.
Visualize handling anything these two may throw at you because your prepared to expect the unexpected from those clever minds. You’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you share that special conversation with them that you know only you are privy to. The trusted confidant.
You’ve got this!