Got Twins? Lynette Patterson on the Unique Experience of Parenting Twins! by Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Twins are a wonderful and amazing occurrence in life, though they do present unique challenges and misconceptions. 30Second Mom contributor Lynette Patterson, a CPA and mom to three boys, including twins, and author of the blog My Momism Moments, shares her twin tips, experiences and insight with the 30Second Mom community. She’s been there, done that and can let you know how to handle the questions that might arise from curious conversations!
Q: A lot of people assume twins look alike, dress alike or have similar names. Can you break it down for us?
A: Twins are identical or fraternal, and boy/girl twins can never be identical. Fraternal means two eggs + two sperm, like regular siblings, just born at the same time. It’s not unusual for fraternal twins to look very different, such as one with brown hair and one with blonde.
Q: Do you dress your twins alike or did you give them similar names?
A: The only time I coordinate clothes is at picture time, so the family picture looks decent. Daily, my boys pick their own clothes now (age 6) based on personal preference for comfort and style. We named each of the boys after a grandpa. We had a legacy, Archie IV, and the other grandpa didn’t feel left out either. I think when having twins, it is easier to include more sides of the family when choosing names. More babies equal more names!
Q: When in public with your twins, what kind of remarks do you get in public and how do they make you feel?
A: Many ask, “Which one is the shy/outgoing/good one?” Kids are labeled enough without feeling they are half of a whole person. I also hear, “Double trouble.” My response: “Nope, double the fun!” Another common statement: “My babies are 17 months apart, that’s just like twins.” Nope, it’s very different with its own challenges.
Q: What kinds of questions do you get asked, and how do you handle them?
A: I’m still bad at this – WHY do people think they can ask if I had C-section, IVF or breastfed? I smile politely and shift the conversation. It doesn’t always work.
Q: What baby gear/equipment/toys/products did you find extremely helpful in the first year or fifth year?
A: In the first year, I purchased fuzzy footed pajamas and double stroller. Without a stroller, I never would have gotten out of the house. Six months and up, the Johnny Jump was wonderful. I could wash one baby in the tub while the other one bounced, then switch. Years 2-5, we would go to a big park with room to run down their energy. I bought one crib and slept the twins together and later in the same full-size bed till they were 3 or so. At age 6, they still sometimes prefer to sleep together, though it’s a tighter fit in a twin bed!
Q: What was the best advice you got when pregnant?
A: Ask for help. Use twin groups (NOMOTC, local groups etc.) as a resource. Sleep when babies sleep – laundry can wait, unless it’s diapers. You can never have too many diapers. Freezer meals! Prep as much as you can when pregnant. The assembly line process works really well for a lot of daily activities like bath time and feeding.
Q: How do you communicate to schools, peers and the general public that your kids are individuals, not just one of a set?
A: Instead of asking, “Which one are you?” it is better to ask: “What is your name?” Once twins can speak, they can tell you their name, just ask! Twins are self-aware and have a highly developed sense of self, maybe because they’re blamed for things their sibling does.
Q: How do you balance the “twinship” and need to have their own identity/interests?
A: We’ve asked that the boys have separate cubbies at daycare or tables in Kindergarten. On birthdays, we don’t give only matching toys. They ask for different things and each get something unique from their list.
Q: What is the best part of being a mom?
A: The best part of being a mom is seeing my little guys’ eyes light up with understanding something new, or sharing a childhood delight with them. I love that they are so innocent in the ways of the world right now, and while I know that will change, I guard it jealously. Call me crazy, but I’m kind of OK that they like to watch “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” vs something “older.”
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got about being a mother?
A: The best mom advice I ever got was, “Hold them for as long as possible when they are little. They won’t be little forever, and they won’t always want you around.” When I get frustrated or ache for a little “me-time,” I remember this and think how lonely I will be when they grow up and move away. That usually cures it.
Q: What’s your favorite recipe?
A: My favorite recipe is my roast chicken. It is the base of many other recipes and soups that I make, so I frequently do two at a time. It is yummy and so easy to do!