or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting Multiples › Reality of twins and older siblings
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Reality of twins and older siblings

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
For those of you that twins or your multiples were not your first birth, please tell me about life with older siblings. My son is 3 and we have been preparing him for a little while. He's been around other babies so I think he grasps the idea of having a baby in the house, but obviously ones (or rather two) that don't go home is a lot different!

He is already my big helper and loves to feel like he's being useful, so I've got great ideas on how how to integrate him with their care. He's in preschool which will be helpful I'm sure.

I'm looking for the reality. How do you balance time, especially in the early months?
post #2 of 30
I am wondering this as well. I have 3 other children who will be 5, 3, and 2 when these two arrive.
post #3 of 30
Originally Posted by obxbound View Post

I'm looking for the reality. How do you balance time, especially in the early months?
i want an emoticom of someone trying to lift a rock ten times larger than themselves........AND SUCCEEDING :

giggle. it's hard, but it just happens because, like you say, the changes have started already in pregnancy. i don't personally find it harder with two than one in terms of sibling stuff. if they've been ousted, they've been ousted - the number who have dethroned them from 'baby' status is irrelevant.

(my youngest turned four a week after the babies were born)
post #4 of 30
A lot of the help we asked for was for our DS, who turned 3 just before our girls were born. A lot of people made general and vague offers to help, so I would thank them with a "That would be great! Can you take DS to his favorite park next week on Tuesday" or something like that. We also asked both sets of grandparents (each came for several days) to spend a lot of time with DS and not so much time with the babes (who just wanted to nurse all the time anyway). I think we worried more about him than we did about having two newborns (not true, probably... but it was a big worry).

This was one of the first ways I was able to start asking for help before and after my twins were born. And it made a great difference.

Good luck!
post #5 of 30
It's definitely hard. I have to make sure I'm making time for DS1 when the babies are awake, not just when they're asleep, so he knows he's not just my second choice. But I think of all the difficulties of having an older child along with the twins, finding time for him is the least of my problems. Right now the biggest is that DS1 still wakes up at night and wakes up the babies.

Somehow it just works out, that you pay attention to all of them.
post #6 of 30
I don't know if I'll be any help, since my DD was 17 months old when the boys were born. At that age, pretty much after the boys had been there for 3 weeks, it was like they'd been there forever.

The hardest thing about having multiples with older kids, especially if they're still relatively little, I think is coming to terms with the blunt fact that no, you WON'T be able to parent before the first wimper like you could with your singleton. Yet you have to lay down the guilt and get on with it, because if you wallow in it you'll just have even less emotional energy for everyone. I am pretty sure this is true for many people's 2nd child and beyond, even if they're not multiples, that you have to learn to take each kid as themselves and try not to worry too much that you can't do everything "just like" you did before, because nobody's really the same kid.

All that being said...I arranged help with DD when the babies were born. She got grandma all to herself. Some of her favorites of my friends (I was fortunate in that very few of my local friends had kids themselves yet) took her swimming and did other fun things with her while I was settling in and recovering. They kept her busy and active, the very things that I couldn't do because of my recovery and some of the complications with one of the boys, so that we could have individual cuddle time.

Everyone filled me up with how older kids just love babies and they were going to have a very close bond, ect...but really that didn't happen for awhile on her side (though the boys instantly fixated on her even as newborns). So I had to guard against uberfluffy expectations and keep it real developmentally.

The kids are all close now. We lucked out and got 3 very complementary personalities. But I was so glad to have helpers that were interested in doing fun things with DD as opposed to being baby crazy. MIL was a great pinch-hitter in that situation because she could flip flop as needed.
post #7 of 30
Well I'm at a loss too!

My son will be 3 the end of April and I think he thinks I'm going to have lambs! Seriously!!!

I raise sheep and sheep twin a lot (hopefully most of them twin every year). He's always called the lambs, "Baby sheep or babies". So when I tell him "mommy is going to have two babies" I think he thinks I'm having lambs.
post #8 of 30
Well, I'm in the middle of this right now and still trying to figure it out. My twins will be 4 months on the 6th and my DD1 will be 3 on the 25th. For those first few crazy months (even crazier for us, since we moved to a different state and my DH deployed within that time) it was helpful to always have someone else around to pay her some attention that I couldn't. Luckily, she is close with my parents so it felt special always doing something with Grandma, Pop-pop or Daddy when she usually spent every hour of every day with me. Once that continuous help was gone and everyone went back to work, I started her in preschool a few days a week for a few hours. I did this mainly because I felt like she was going a bit bonkers listening to all the crying all the time, but it's also helped get her some socialization and into doing some activities more productive than what she was doing at home while I was trying to just keep my head above water. One thing I've always done since the babies were born is to make sure I'm the one that puts her to bed at night and I spend a decent amount of time reading to her and talking about her day, etc. Sometimes that's the only special time we have together...except on the rare day that I can actually get both babies to nap at the same time!

Good luck!
post #9 of 30
Yea I'm always wondering about that too. My 6 yrs old is quite demanding and is not independent. I am really worried that shes gonna have a very hard time handling when my twins are born. I remember how so worn out I was with her during my first month. Her father said he would like to have her for a month during summer and I really hope that it will be during the time my twins are born so that my husband and I could just spent all of our time on the twins and have adjusted to them by the time my daughter comes back to us.
post #10 of 30
You have to clone yourself! Nobody told you??

Seriously, if you figure it out, let me know. I don't have enough arms and there aren't enough hours in the day. I think you just do the best you can and it will work itself out.
post #11 of 30
Make sure you pay special attention to the older kids. My son was 19 months when mine were born and he got VERY jealous. He loved them but he was overly affectionate almost agressive and then as time went by he was flat out aggressive. What worked well for us is once the girls were old enough for me to feel comfortable leaving for a few hours, I took DS out on "dates". We do special things, just him and I and it really helps his attitude. It's especially hard on older sibs because the twins get SOOOO much attention from you, dad and everyone who sees them.

It's tough for the first year but I found once they started walking at a year he stopped seeing them as mama stealers and more as playmates. They really do get along swimmingly now!
post #12 of 30
This is like the million dollar question here. It's hard. It's freakin' hard. And yet, somehow, it all works out. Lots of books. Lots of telling stories, asking DD1 to play playdough w/me while I nursed, and nursed and nursed..... My mom came to help for a month and my daughter was CRUEL to her. She would say things like "you're still here????" and glare at her. She was 3. So for us, having other people do fun things with DD1 didn't always work, but at least it gave us a *break* ha ha ha to do housework or nurse, nurse, nurse. I really had a grieving process about losing the one on one relationship with my daughter. Of course, postpartum hormones helped that a lot. But it changes things dramatically. I find great consolation in the fact that long after DH and I are gone, the three sisters will have eachother, and that will really be great for all of them. It all works out.... it always does.
post #13 of 30
Well i have twins who are 2 and when i had them my daughter was 3 and my son was 2! THEY adored the twins and everything went smoothly good luck!:
post #14 of 30
It is hard but it is what it is and you muddle through. Dd1 is 3.5 years and pretty independent. She'll do something quietly on her own if I need her to. Ds1 (6 years), not so much . Make time when you can, involve them. My two love to pick out babies clothes for the day - some great outfits there .

We're another family that found it helpful to have someone around for the older dc's when the babies were born. We actually hired a neighbour girl to come 3 mornings/week to just play with ds1 and dd1 and get them outside.
post #15 of 30
I just read that the mom who just had the octuplets has 6 children already.

I think I'll ask her for advice soon.
post #16 of 30
Like so many pps said - it is hard but you work it out. My basic approach was to acknowledge that I was making decisions for the good of the whole family, and couldn't focus on any one person too much. DS1 was almost 4 when the trio was born.

Some of the things I did only made sense because the risks with a triplet pregnancy are greater than with twins and because we had a month in the NICU, but here is what helped me. Also, breastfeeding fell apart very quickly, so I had more flexibility about who was caring for the babies early on than I would have if I had been needed for every feeding (though keeping my pumping schedule was a different challenge).

I knew there was a high likelihood that I would be put on bedrest at some point in the pregnancy, so I had DS1 in full day preschool from about 16 weeks to avoid having his schedule change if I had to be on bedrest.

When the LOs were in the NICU, I *always* came home for dinner and bedtime with DS1. We encouraged DS1 to draw pictures and decorate name tags for the isolettes.

When the little ones still had the palm grasp reflex, I made a point of getting DS1 to stimulate it and saying "Look, s/he loves her/his big brother" when they grabbed his finger.

I bought little gifts for DS1 "from" the LOs.

We set up as many playdates and times out for DS1 with grandparents as we could.

For the first year, I had help every day when DS1 came home from school and I focused on DS1 and had the babysitting caring for the babies.

It wasn't ideal in any way, but it was practical and we all survived and are happily attached now.

post #17 of 30
It's hard. That's no lie; and I only have one older kid. DD was 2.5 and at a very difficult time of her life when the twins came, and we had some very rough spots. We dealt with fear and anxiety from her-- what if I need mama, and mama can't help me because she's busy with the babies? We dealt with jealousy, and acting out from jealousy. She acquired a few nervous habits that we had to be patient in dealing with. And once the twins got mobile, we dealt with bickering and fighting and constant battles over somebody "messing up" somebody else's game or toy. Also, DD had to learn to do a lot of things for herself, and she resisted that a LOT.

I think you just have to take it minute by minute, take care of the one who needs you most urgently first, and every so often step back and take stock and see if there are any needs you're not addressing. Arranging a special time of day for the older child to be alone with each parent is nice if you can manage it-- even 15 minutes is the WORLD to a small child. When you can't, you just do the best you can. I remember teaching DD1 to hold her own book open while I read, because I had my hands full of nursing twins and couldn't hold the book.

The hardest part is the sleep. If you have just infant twins, you can nap when they sleep, but with an older kid, you can't just go to sleep in the middle of the day, and the lack of sleep can REALLY wear you down. Preschool is great for that, as is a helpful grandma or neighbor or friend who'll come and play with the child for a few hours so you can take a snooze with the babies.

And yeah, preschool helped a LOT. It was time for me to bond with the twins, so that I felt okay about spending more time with DD while she was home. It was something DD could do that was JUST FOR HER. And it was a chance for her to escape the general level of anxiety that sometimes exists in a house with multiple newborns in it!

It also really helps to be careful about the relationship you have with your partner. When DS was colicky right in the middle of DD's potty training, and all of us were not sleeping at all, it was easy for me and DH to lapse into being short with each other and bickering, and it was THAT that stressed DD out more than anything directly related to the babies. Watch your general anxiety level and the way you and your partner are dealing with it! Make sure that if you wind up arguing or something in front of the older kid, that you "make up" the argument in front of your child too, so that he can see that his family really is safe and stable.
post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 
Ladies you are amazing! What great advice. In my heart I know it will all work out and we will make it work, but the planner in me wants to plan. This is very helpful.

Thank you!
post #19 of 30
My daughter who was 4 at the time, had a very difficult time. We tried to get her involved with the boys, but she wanted none of it. She was actually mean to them. I felt *so* bad because we had 2 newborns and a lot of our time was taken up by them. My mom did take her but she also had to work. It was just really difficult the first few months.

After some of the chaos died down, I implemented "Mommy and Kalynn Time", where we go somewhere for lunch, go to the park, wherever, just me and her. That seemed to help her.

Now my boys are 2, and it's gotten SO much better. She loves her brothers, and is very good with them. Just those first few months were really difficult.
post #20 of 30
Originally Posted by DeannaK View Post
My son will be 3 the end of April and I think he thinks I'm going to have lambs! Seriously!!!
Oh my!!!

Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I just read that the mom who just had the octuplets has 6 children already.
Seriously! Holy cow!!!!! That puts the Cheaper by the Dozen movie to shame.

What I'm worried about is the fact that the twins will be more bonded to one another than to my DD. She'll be a little over 4.5 when they're born, and I just worry about her being the odd one out. She'll be a great big sis, but I also just worry that she's gonna have a LOT more responsibility because of the twins. Poor little girl. But she is so super excited about the babies. She can't wait to teach them how to play her Kung Fu Panda game.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting Multiples
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting Multiples › Reality of twins and older siblings