Playing with two at the same time

Michelle - posted on 06/21/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Hi, so far I love this community.. I've been lurking for a couple of days, but I'm looking for input on a twin dilemma I'm having.

I have 2 three month old boys (2 months when age adjusted). I'm by myself for most of the day and have managed to get a lot down pat: decent sleeping schedule (at night anyway), feeding routine (I bottle feed them simultaneously -- learning that was a feat!), getting around town, etc. What I'm really struggling with is playtime.

It seems like they're rarely in the same mood -- one wants to play and the other is crying. I hate watching the playful twin sit there with no one to play because I need to comfort his brother. Even when they are both in playful moods, I seem to lose them quickly because my time, eye contact, attention is split, and they get frustrated. They're too young to really hold onto any toys and amuse themselves. They're big smilers right now and both want all of mommy's attention.

I'm pretty new at this, so maybe their natural attention spans would be very short, but I'm already very aware of how much less they get held and how much less one on one time they get, so there's the twin guilt there.

How has everyone else played with two babies at once? At any age?

Thanks

M

10 Comments

View replies by

Choy - posted on 06/27/2011

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I didnt have that much dilema when my twins were still young, bcoz I am at work and I have nannies to take care of the two. But I feel for you...you seem to be very eager to know the formula...but there is no formula. My twins are 3yo now and I also dont know how to catch up if both have the same moods or both have different moods. I guess the best thing is to be with them regardless of moods. You're the mom and for sure you know the mother's instinct. your twins will feel your love no matter what.

Michelle - posted on 06/26/2011

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Wow! Everyone, so many amazing responses, and every single one had something that made me feel better! ;-)

It does seem to get easier and less overwhelming with each passing week, and some days go really well (and the bad days seem less harsh).

But in a way I needed to be reminded (reassured) that it's mostly in how I handle it, and the boys are going to just go with the flow. They're smiley, laughing happy boys (most of the time), so I must be doing something right!

Tomorrow I'm sure I'll find something else to stress about....

M

Mindy - posted on 06/25/2011

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Hi Michelle,
Reading your message really brought back some memories for me. I am the mother of twin boys too. My boys just turned 14 on Wednesday. OMG! Did it go by fast! I remember having the same problem with my boys and still do. It seems to me that they have opposite moods or behaviors at times. One day one is happy while his brother is miserable and the next day he is upset and his brother is happy! Crazy isn't it? As a mother of twins, your time is split and you are right at this age they don't understand. I wrote a little children's book about this very issue because I was pulled in two different directions like you. It is challenging, but rewarding being a mother of twins. Just the fact that you are thinking about and trying to give them equal play time shows what a wonderful. mother you are. Play is so important for language development (I am a speech-language pathologist). Here is an article I wrote on play http://www.toddlerstoday.com/articles/pl... I wrote one for Twins Magazine a long time ago, but it is not available on the internet (newsstand only). Another idea could be to put your crying twin in a snuggly/baby carrier close to you so your hands are free, but he is close to you. This way with your hands free you can be spending time playing with your happy playful twin, while comforting your upset baby. I am not sure how it will work, but it may be worth the chance. Good luck to you and enjoy your beautiful babies!
Mindy H.

Julie - posted on 06/24/2011

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Twin guilt? Honestly, this is the first time I've heard this phrase. But I don't spend a lot of time on message boards or reading parenting magazines. I think that it's all in your attitude and your feelings rub off on them. If you feel guilty about splitting time between them they will start to feel shorted. I have never felt this, I just play with whomever is closest at the time when playfulness strikes and 90% of the time when I look over at the other twin he is smiling and laughing too (as if I am playing with him!). Mine are both boys and are 2 years old. Anyone who has more than one child could in essence feel guilty about splitting time between their children. I don't even think this is a twin issue.

Amanda - posted on 06/24/2011

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I have 2 1/2 year old twin girls. Mine were pretty much on the same schedule (and still are). I would lay them both on the floor for tummy time and smile and laugh with both of them and tickle. You have to alternate between them so they each get equal time, but its not hurting them at all. Dont worry. Mine would play and fight over the items in their floor gym at around 6 months. Once they are mobile and hit about 1 year old is when they will start to play together more. That will give you a break for a minute - plus this is where they start to play with their own things, so each sometimes wants to do something different. It does help if dad can take one and you can have one to spend some one on one time together and switch kids they next time around. You will get it - I tell people with twins "you just wing it" everyday is a new experience to figure out.

Kelly - posted on 06/24/2011

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Please know that I am saying this is a very nice way, "You are worrying about nothing." They are only three months old. There is really not alot of playing that they can do. I thought it was fun to lay them both on a blanket, stand over them singing a song and dancing and then tickle both of them. My kids loved it. If one is cranky then hold him while you play with his brother. More then anything all they need is to hear your voice and feel your touch at that age. In some ways it will get easier as they get older and learn to play together, but that is also when the fighting begins. Please just try and enjoy these months because it will not be long and they will have you running every which way!! Again, I hope this is not comming across the wrong way. I am a mother of 5 year old b/g twins, a 4 year old boy and 2 year old twin boys and looking back I wish I would not have worried so much when my first set was little. Do the best that you can and most importantly have fun!!!

Justine - posted on 06/24/2011

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Hi Michelle, I think constantly having to work out how to split yourself in half is one of the biggest challenges of having twins. But mine are now 3 1/2 (I know that seems like ages away now!) and one thing I found is that although it's hard now so long as you continue to be as firm and fair as possible then twins actually just learn to share and take turns a LOT sooner than single babies do!!! I also tried from time to time to give them each some proper one on one time - this is easier when they are younger as they just go with the flow - so maybe at the weekend if you can have dad look after one while you take the other out with you - also gives both you and dad the opportunity to experience some good one on one time (and see how easy it is to go out with just one baby - lol!) ... and more good news, as they get older it is actually EASIER to have twins that one child or children of different ages, as they have a constant companion of the same age who is broadly interested in the same things and is at the same level (sure they fight and argue too, but all siblings do). So, in short, yes it's tough and there's no real answer, you just can't play with both of them one-on-one at the same time, but it does work out, and it does get easier, and there are so many rewards, for you and them, of having twins, that these sort of problems just aren't so bad in the grand scheme of things!
Good luck! :-)

Michelle - posted on 06/22/2011

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Thanks Leanne and Dana, you've helped me put it into perspective quite a bit... they need to learn patience (and so do I!) The crying does seem to be less and less every day, and I'm getting to the point where I usually know what's causing the crying. The boys were on totally different schedules today (sigh), but it gave me some one-on-one time I usually don't get.

I'm actually very lucky in that my husband helps out a great deal when he gets home. He tries to give me a break, but many nights there's just too much to do.

Thanks again to both of you!

M

Dana - posted on 06/22/2011

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Hi there..
i'm a mother of twin boys, they are 3 now..
all that i can say is be patient! after they turn 1, things will get better and more enjoyable for you..
your babies are still very young, you have to get them used to the fact that they have to wait for their turn in playing with momy.. but not a long wait! for example: you tickle one baby and laugh with him for a minute or two, then you turn the second baby and do the same! if you were consistent and give both the same amount of attention by turn they will eventually get used to it and know for sure that each will never miss his turn :)
but in a few months you should try your best to ask their father for help on his weekends at least, because its better for your kids if you take them on a one on one outing at least once every other week..

Leanne - posted on 06/22/2011

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Hiya Michelle,

I have twins boy and girl 16 months now, and i remember when they were younger it was really difficult for me give attention to both of them at the same as Jacob was constantly wanting my attention, most of time i held him and left Lily to occupy herself, luckily for me she was very happy to let me look after him than her, I used to and still do hold them both, very heavy now and kills my back but they now both want my attention, im alone most of the day too and ive moved miles from my family and friends so i dont get any help with their care,as their dad works long hours... i just cope, as many mums do and in time you will find a routine or a way to give attention to both your boys whether you play with them together or seperate.

Hope this helps and it will get better :)

Leanne

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