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May 7, 2013 / Jon Ericson

Twins are only 1 1/2 as tough as singletons

So it’s been a busy few months and this blog hasn’t exactly been on the top of my list of things to do. Here are three things I’ve been taking care of:


Actually, it’s been so long I hardly recognize the twins and I can’t tell right of the bat which is Kathryn and which is Isaac. Most of that time, we’ve had only a few hours of uninterrupted sleep at night and Joy skipped her last semester of nursing school. So it’s been tough to raise twins.

But I want to reassure this guy that it hasn’t been a nightmare. It’s true I find myself coming up with excuses to stay at work so I don’t have to change diapers (my duty when I’m home) and I know that the fall is going to be a challenge when Joy goes back to school. But the good outweighs the bad.

And I don’t think twins are so much worse than a single baby that a person should be thinking this way:

As horrible as this might sound, we found ourselves wishing these twins away.

We considered a reduction for about 30 seconds. (That’s essentially an abortion of one twin, not both.) If you thought that IVF involved playing God, a reduction felt beyond brazen—Machiavellian, even. Give us a reason, we thought, as we had the twins tested for genetic anomalies. None came.

I recognize that if you had one colicy baby (as the author had) you imagine how much worse it would be with two. Twice the misery, right? I’m not so sure. For one thing, odds are you won’t have two colicy babies; it’s more likely you won’t have even one. Our oldest son had a serious problem with spitting up his food, so it was a bit frightening when Isaac started vomiting. As it turns out, Kathryn eats and digests like a champ, so it doesn’t really add up to twice as much puke. On the other hand, we can’t enjoy her sleeping through the night since her brother wakes us up for comfort feedings a few times during the night.

Each baby is different. One will be giving you a hard time just when the other starts giving you a break. Even if both are making things hard, they are likely to do it in different ways. That can be a relief actually. When one child is screaming and refusing to be comforted, it’s not so bad when the other one starts fussing—especially if it’s easy to solve her problems. To be honest, there’ve only been a few times when I wished we only had one child because two is overwhelming. And those times would probably have been just as overwhelming with only one.

But the parents of twins have a not-so-secret weapon: everybody is fascinated by multiples. It’s hard to overstate how excited people are to see our babies and how easy it is to get help. Early on, I was waiting in line at the pharmacy for some medication for them. One of the guys behind the counter saw me with two car seats and called me to the front of the line. We have constant offers for baby sitting from our friends. My mother-in-law has come up almost every Thursday and Friday since they were born. We’ve been busy, but Joy and I are also getting regular lunch dates for the first time in years. I won’t say these things wouldn’t have happened with a singleton, but I’m pretty sure having twins has helped.

For everything that really is twice as tough with twins, there’s something that is no worse because of economy of scale.

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