“I just don’t know how you can handle twins so well,” she says to me while I am breast feeding one baby and gripping the footy pajamas of the baby who decided she was done eating early. The baby is sitting on my knee and if she decides to get excited and wiggle around she would fall… If I didn’t have a hold of her jammies.
Looking at the baby perched on my knee I answer, “The secret to having twins, is that there are a lot of calculated risks.”
Parenting a singleton has plenty of risks! Taking the stroller out next to cars, between rocks and pollution there are risks we rarely pay attention to. Are we taking Jr to grandma’s even though she has 50 cats and smokes? Are we going to have that third glass of wine while breast feeding? Are we going to a walk even though there is a 50% chance of rain? Normal every day risks. But with twins, things that have zero risk involved, suddenly have a chance for some one to get hurt because we turned our backs for two minutes.
I love both of my girls so very much, and I would absolutely never do any thing to hurt them. But in order to care for both of them, you have to set one down. Perhaps some where you wouldn’t leave a baby if you only had one. Like changing diapers I have one on my couch in front of me. And the other? On the couch to the side of me so I can see her. Doesn’t sound like a huge deal right? They have been rolling well since they were three weeks. THREE WEEKS. No easy newborns for me! And the baby I’m not changing? She’s rolling around like mad until I move her just so she can start again.
But it’s merely that you are turning your back to one baby or the other for seconds. Got a baby on the changing table? Stick the other in a bouncer! Now, are you leaving the one on the changing table long enough to buckle the other baby into their bouncer, or risking the baby buckled in the bouncer for the safety of the baby on the changing table. Going to wear your babies to the store? While it’s the only way to travel with twins. It’s pretty hard to get them back into the car. So do you leave one in an unbuckled car seat for a minute? Or buckle them in one handed while trying to make sure the other doesn’t lean back quickly in the wrap. I generally (at least right now) leave one in the car seat unbuckled with the car door shut. It’s a calculated risk.
This will get worse as they get more independent! When I leave them on the tummy time mat to make dinner I often find they have found a way to roll, about six times. It always amazes me where they are. Some times they are on each other. But hey, kitties and puppies pile on each other and they’re okay right?
Our jobs as twin parents is to care for both babies the best we can. Calculate the risks involved every day. Weigh the risks. Keep the babies alive, while still functioning and getting things done.
By the way… a pair of zippered or snapped footy pajamas are strong enough pick up a baby by their middle back. And so are overalls.