Our boy/girl twins just turned two-years-old, and the fated “terrible two’s” have descended onto our home like a category 5 hurricane, with its howling screams and life-sucking force, angrily throwing objects in protest, spitting out food in displeasure, and destroying our walls and furniture just for the fun of it. Times two, of course. If you have twin toddlers, or any two kiddies under age two, read on…
So, how do we survive this god-forsaken natural disaster, I mean, natural beauty?
1. Bribe and Threaten – I’d like to call it “the art of negotiation.” When one of the toddlers adamantly refuses to eat (which he/she does so by screaming “NOOOOOO!”, or turning his/her head away, or throwing the food on the floor, or all three, for that matter), I simply say, “If you eat a few more bites, mommy will give you this toy.” All of sudden, the seemingly satiated child is ravenously double-fisting food into his/her mouth. Okay, let’s be real. It’s not negotiation. It’s bribery. Whatever. It works. I need these tiny preemies to eat up, especially when we’re running late for pre-school and I just don’t have the time for a ridiculous hour-long breakfast. With twins, you’ve got to quell any angry situation fast, otherwise the other one will immediately follow suit and now you’re doubly screwed. What works even better than bribery? Threats. Oh yeah, that’s right. Instead of offering up that nice shiny toy, threaten to take it away. Hahaha!
2. Like Dogs, They Need to Go Outside – Remember when the twins were babies and how that stroller walk or car ride were the only things that could pacify your fussy, colicky newborns? Well, the outdoors still has that same magical spell on toddlers. In my opinion, toddlers are definitely more susceptible to “cabin fever” than adults. They start to lose their minds if kept indoors too long. So, the next time they’re fussy, bored, or fighting over the same toy, get those buggers outside. Get them to run around because, also like dogs, they need to release their insane amount of energy. Throw a ball and have them fetch it. Or chase them. If you haven’t figured it out yet, toddlers loved to be chased. That’s why they pick up objects that you tell them not to and then run away from you. Ah, the thrill of the chase. What if it’s raining? Create a safe, covered outdoor space for them. Our twins love playing on the lanai more than anywhere else, even if they’re playing with the exact same toys they’d be playing with inside. Fresh air calms the crazies.
3. It’s Okay to Lie to Them – Yes, sometimes my children are rational and mature little humans and understand when I tell them “no” to something and explain why. Other times, they’re downright bat-shit crazy. For example, when they catch me hiding in the pantry quietly stuffing my face with Dorito’s and they want to have some, they’re not going to understand the explanation that they’re not allowed to eat chips because they’re unhealthy. So, I lie and tell them, “There’s no more. All gone.” When they plead to go to the playground and I can’t take them for whatever reason which they won’t understand, I lie. I tell them the playground is closed. Sure, these lies won’t work when they’re older, but they definitely work right now in the midst of double tantrums. Take advantage of the gullibility of toddlers. Don’t feel bad. Little White Lies are okay. Remember, you need to keep your sanity.
4. Fool Them Into Cleaning – As much as you clean and pick-up, your house is likely to be in a constant state of disarray. So, get those little squirts to help clean up their mess by making it a fun activity. That’s the one sweet blessing of naïve toddlers – they love to be helpful, want to be copy whatever mom or dad do, and can be fooled into believing chores are fun. Putting away toys becomes a game. Which toys go into which boxes? How fast can they do it? Cheer them on! And if you want to get any actual cleaning done around the house, get them involved. If I’m vacuuming, dusting, or doing laundry, I give them soft rags and have them follow me around the house to help “clean”, or have them help me put away their clothes (after they’ve first tried to put them all on, of course). Sure, they’re really not doing any effective cleaning, but it keeps them occupied just long enough so that I get some damn work done.
5. Split up the twins! – Hands down, this is the most sanity-saving tactic. If you were a fly on the wall, you’d observe that most of the crying that goes on all day in our home stems from two reasons – the twins are fighting over a toy, book, or any ridiculous object for that matter (and you’ve already realized that buying two of everything doesn’t solve the problem), or they’re vying for your attention. If I pick one up, the other one wants to be held as well. If I let one sit in my lap to read a book, the other comes along and pushes the first one out. And it doesn’t matter if both parents are home. If my husband takes one and I take the other, the competitive energy is still omnipresent and their cries for attention only amplify when we’re both around. Only recently did my husband and I have the “Ah- ha” moment when we realized that if we occasionally split our family up for a few hours on the weekend, everyone would be a lot happier! I take one with me to the store or run errands, and he stays home and plays with the other. Instantaneous magic!!! Happy toddler, happy parent. Even if they’re getting only one parent at a time, they are getting our full and undivided attention, which is what they wanted the whole time. The other sibling is also not there to steal from them or hit them. And I think to myself, “Oh my gosh, this is how it must feel to have just a singleton!”
Thank you for stopping by!
Please leave a comment and share what you to do to survive!