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18 month old twins. . . very tired mama

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This is really hard. It seemed like as my boys got older, the twin aspect of their existence got easier and easier. They started playing together, entertaining each other. . . they could walk and communicate their needs. We were doing great.

And now we're just about at the 18-month mark and we are just DROWNING. I feel like it was easier when they were newborns. They still play together, but they fight together too. If we don't have two of any given toy, I'd rather not have one at all. I am just so exhausted. They can make mischief together so quickly (four little hands pulling everything out of a drawer, faster than my two hands can put it all back in). There is so much jealousy all the time. I feel I cannot possibly meet their needs. They want to nurse all the time, all the time, all the time.

They are still not sleeping through the night (they wake 3-4 times each)--although they are nightweaned now--and I think the sleep deprivation is really starting to get to me. I don't have the patience I want to have.

Of course there are still sweet and wonderful moments, and my boys obviously care about each other very much (they call each other "Duke" and "Jas"), but I am finding myself in that state of wishing I didn't have twins more and more and more (as you all know, this does not mean that I wish I didn't have my children, just that they had been born one at a time).

Please tell me how you survived this stage!


post #2 of 21
You know, I've felt like I needed several pep talks these past few months, from probably 19 months till now (23 months). For one thing, I "bragged" to all my friends about how great life was getting, how incredibly sweet and loving my girls were to each other, how their sleep seemed to be evening out, and then bam! all the issues you described. I had several days when I desperately wanted some sympathy or a pat on the back (which are getting fewer and further between as the twins age).


I have faith that you will be having fun with them again soon. We seem to be in another easy stage at the moment, things are mellower, sleep is easier, tempers are slower (theirs and mine).

Oh, as far as coping - I'm suprised at how often I let them duke it out. I feel my role is limited. I try to teach them workds, "no, that hurts me," or "my turn," or "sorry, kiss," but often my presence doesn't help. Yes, they end up with scratches and pulled hair, but they also find their balance. Also - GET AWAY BY YOURSELF. Even 15 minutes can make a difference. I'm sure you already know the importance of this, just a reminder. And take it easy on yourself and your kids.

Hope something helps.

best wishes!
post #3 of 21
it does get better! slowly, eventually (I've even seen moms of twins whose kids were adults, so I know it's survivable! :LOL).

You really have to take it ONE day at a time. Nap when they nap (oh goodness it killed me when they stopped napping!), be SURE to take some time ALONE each day to recharge your batteries.
post #4 of 21
Your post depressed me completely. I"m drowning already and my girls are only 6 months - though things are easier than when they were NB - but I'm still so exhausted. But then I've got a 2,3, and 5 year old also.

editing to say I'm on only a couple hours sleep and I just can't imagine things getting worse.
post #5 of 21
Just want to apologize to the OP cause my post sure wasn't supportive. I have found that the ages of about 1.5 years to 2.5 years to be the hardest to deal with. I don't get mad at fussy babies but I sure can get mad a tough to deal with toddlers. I've never had 2 at once yet - but I've also never had just ONE 18 month old and no other children. So have had to deal with bad days with fighting and helping each other get into messes and so on.
post #6 of 21
Lex, from a BTDT mom of twins emerging from the "terrible twos", you are hitting the worst of it and it WILL get a lot better actually starting around age 2 when they were really really verbal (bigger more complex sentences, etc etc, and able to do more things themselves e.g., eat very well, walk well alongside you, and most importantly have the beginnings of empathy or the comprehension of right/wrong). I honestly think all you can do is just get through it knowing you're a great mom and doing the best you can.

Dd and ds are 2 years 3 months now, and in the past 1-2 months I've noticed significant changes. Looking back here are the things we did to help, running the gamut of types of advice - to take or leave, but fwiw...

1. GO OUTSIDE!! The weather is nice and will be for a couple more months... and by the time winter hits, they'll be big enough to really be able to get into snowman making, sledding, "helping" to shovel, etc etc.. We spend 1-2 hours outside in the morning and 2-3 hours outside in the afternoon. Bring sidewalk chalk to a park. Bring 2 balls to a playground. Go in your backyard if you have one. Just get out of the house... rain or shine. If it's raining, I put on their rainboots and raincoats, and we go splashing in puddles or playing in mud. Cleaning up muddy kids is a lot easier than dealing with 2 cooped up toddlers all day long.

2. A toy that is fought over is put away immediately not for use for a couple of hours. I explain gently why, they seemed to understand early on, and it helped tremendously.

3. Limit clutter. I know big But I found the jealousy and fighting was signfiicantly increased when the family room (where we keep their toys) was a mess and chock full of toys.. it was just too overstimulating I think. One day I swept the room while they were down for a nap, cleared out 75% of the toys, and put them in the attic. I made sure all the toys fit in the toy bin or on the bookshelves. I actually found less is more... i.e., you'd think if twins were in a room filled with toys, why in the world would they fight over a toy, but I found the opposite was true -- I guess at least for my own kids, their inner need for order combined with the benefit of not having sensory overload was the key.

4. Babyproof to the hilt. I don't mean for safety, but for convenience. We put toilet locks and drawer/door locks everywhere we could not because I was worried abotu their safety but because I needed to know that while I was changing dd's diaper in the family room, ds wasn't picking Baggies out of the bottom drawer one by one, or emptying the just-cleaned dish cloths all over the floor. Get your baby gates back out if necessary to keep control over where they can get to.

5. If they make a mess (e.g, pulling Baggies out of the drawer - can you tell that used to be a favorite pastime here?!), THEY help clean it up. Yeah I know it's common sense but a lot of times I thought it was just easier to do it myself. I found that ended up working against me. So now if one of them takes all the wipes out of the wipes container or unrolls the toilet paper, they help me clean it up. I'm not talking scolding and "You help me or else" just kind of matter of factly saying something like "Well I see you took all the Baggies out of the drawer. Now mama's going to need your help to put them back in..." That curtailed such antics pretty swiftly. Not a lot of fun to help clean up, get down out of the booster during a meal to pick up the placemat, etc etc.

6. Hands-on crafts and imaginative play. Playing with a toy that DOES something is always more prone to squabbles than playing in a sandbox, coloring, playing wiht playdough, finger painting, etc. Go outside and use a little plastic outdoor table for finger painting on. Again, sidewalk chalk. My two rarely argue when they're doing some explorative and fun like that. I'm sure you do a ton of this already, but maybe thinking of ways to incorporate into day to break up the , like everyone gets to play with a little playdough while you make dinner or they can fingerpaint (naked of course for a quick hosing off!) while you weed outside. Whatever makes sense for everyone.

OK, I've written a ton, and hope at least a little is helpful. I so know what you're going through, and your post made me realize how far we've come. I'm sorry you're in the thick of it now. It really is "just a phase" and they'll be out of it soon.
post #7 of 21
I have 6 YO twins, and I can say that it really does get easier. When the twins were as little as yours, I found it easiest not to intervene in their squabbles, unless there was blood or broken bones You can generally tell by their tone of cry, if they are genuinly devastated, or just outraged. And I can sympathise with the dilemma of 4 little hands into mischief - parents of single children, or children of different ages just don't get it! I found it hard because they were at the same developmental level, without one older child to say 'this isn't a good idea', and not one younger unable to keep up.
I do also have a 3 YO, so I went back for more, so things must get easier! We also home educate the children, partly because we enjoy each other's company so much. So, probably not much help from me, but rest assured, it does get easier, and you will start to enjoy all aspects of life more once you start sleeping better - sleep deprivation is a killer!
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your wisdom and encouragement. Things are already starting to get a little better (though I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying that). Luke and Jaz have started to share again (not in a major way, but when I give one boy two crackers, he will once again happily deliver one to his brother. . . for a while there was no sharing going on whatsoever) on their own accord.

I put away 75% of the toys and it feels a lot less chaotic in our house. I did it because, living in one room, our whole home was always a disaster. I didn't realize the added benefit of the boys playing a lot better with what toys are available. Today they spent an hour in the loft, reading books and talking to each other. I was lying on the couch downstairs, and they never once asked for me or came looking!

We have also moved the boys into their own beds (they were sleeping with us). So far, I am still flip flopping back and forth between their beds all night long, but tonight I will begin to transistion to comforting them without lying down next to them. I hope it works! I think more sleep would really help a lot right now.

I generally don't intervene in my boys' squabbles unless one or the other is getting squashed or screams that scream that would make anyone intervene. The only trouble is that 95% of the time, it is Luke grabbing a toy away from Jaz. I don't want to get involved, but I do feel bad that Jaz is always the underdog in those situations. I would honestly feel a lot better about it if he were grabbing toys from Luke every once in a while as well. Oh well.

Thanks again! I'm sure I'll be back with more questions before too long. . .

post #9 of 21
19 month old b/g twins here. I also put up about half the toys. My house looks like a cyclone went through on most of the days.

magpie, I'm glad to here it does get easier. I have a 12 yearold dd and we also homeschool.

lexbeach, we have fighting also, but if I see one child rip a toy from another one I always make the offender give it back. I don't do anything if I don't see what is going on. Please get some sleep. Sleep makes the world get better. Mine sleep through the night and a good nights sleep will make the next day seem much better.
post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by CherylE
Just want to apologize to the OP cause my post sure wasn't supportive.
hi cheryl, just wanted to let you know i thought the same thing when i read the op, only mine are 13 months (you know, the previous owners of the pink old navy outfits :LOL )

and op...i'm sorry i hijacked.

and i'm sorry things are so rough. our challenge of the week is getting them both out of the fridge .
post #11 of 21
Just wanted to bump this one - fantastic thread! My twins are 15.5 mos & just starting to be a handful. So thanks for the ideas on how to deal w/the coming months!
post #12 of 21
By far the most helpful (emotionally) thing anyone told me was this: Karen Gromada (author of Mothering Multiples) is on the apmultiples yahoo group that I'm on. Several of us were having a conversation similar to this about how hard the early toddler phase seems with twins & she told us that, while she loved the early toddler phase with all of her singltons (she has a total of 5 children if I remember right), it was the HARDEST phase w/ her twins. That just made me feel SO much better! One of the things that I was having a hard time dealing with was SO many people (friends, family, strangers in a store . . .) would tallk about how FUN this stage was because they're learning so much, yadda yadda and all I could think was, no this isn't fun, it's HARD! I'm not being a good mom most days & I just can't cope! Having someone whose twins are now adults (& who AP'd them) validate that this IS an incredibly hard stage and that it's different w/ multiples really helped me cope!

One comment on the having them help clean up messes, be careful with this one, my kids think "cleaning" is great fun so the one time I used that as a natural consequence they turned around & dumped whatever it was out again so they could "clean" it again. At that point I decided it IS easier to clean it myself until they get over that particular game, although they're getting old enough now to have a better understanding of "no".

Another thing that has been invaluable to us is, starting around a year, when they started occasionally fighting over a toy (early on it was a spring horse that they could only ride if someone was holding them on it & there was only one since there's no way we have room for two of those in our house), we would use the ABC song (counting to 10 is another option) as a sign of when we would trade. So, Lexie's riding the horsey, Ashlyn comes over & wants to ride, we sing ABC & when we get to the end Lexie comes off & Ashlyn gets on. Then we sing again & switch again and keep doing that until one or both of them get tired of that toy (or adult for whatever reason decides we need to move on to other things). We use that for all KINDS of things, from toys they both want (but they have to ask for the ABC thing first, if Lexie just grabs the toy it goes back to Ashlyn and Ashlyn can choose to give it up when she's done. If I can't tell who had it first the toy goes into timeout). The ABC thing has been great for all kinds of transitions "we're going to sing ABC & then it's time to . . . leave the park, get dressed, change diaper, stop nursing, etc etc etc) doesn't always work (as in, sometimes we still have a tantrum) but definately cuts down on them.

post #13 of 21

So glad to hear others' experiences...

I am so thrilled to have found this board, and can't tell you how much I appreciate hearing about the 'challenges' that you each are having with your toddler twins! I have 5 and 4 year old girls, and they never seemed to have the 'terrible twos' that everyone talks about. However, now I also have 20 month old twin BOYS, and I am finding myself beginning to go a little nutty! What someone else said about 4 hands getting into everything could not be more true, and those with one toddler just don't seem to understand! The only thing that has worked lately was being able to gate off our kitchen. They were emptying every cabinet (even though they all had latches!), running the dishwasher, getting food out of the refrigerator, and even climbing up the drawers to the counter! I come out from changing James, and John is proudly standing on top of the kitchen counter, poised to jump off because he's been caught! And I can definitely relate to the increased fighting/jealousy. I never know whether to intervene or just let them go at it! Never having had boys before, I am amazed at how physical they are with each other, and how each toy needs to be flight tested!

Anyway, so glad to know that others have been through this stage, and that it does get easier. Thanks so much for sharing!
post #14 of 21
Wow! Thanks for that advice. This is the part of having twins that truly does terrify me! I'm 34, will be 37 by the time the twins turn 2 and wow! I'm starting to feel my age.

I'm hoping you lovely women will be here to help me when the time comes!


Christy S inTX
Due Nov 2005
1st time momma to B/G twins
post #15 of 21
Hey BodoGirl - I'm 40 and my twins are 18 months old, and yes it's tough. But I'm much better at this now than I would've been a decade ago.

You mentioned relying on MDC - I agree, collaboration really helps. All those relatives who want to cuddle and kitchy-koo in the early months? Let 'em! And keep those people on speed dial as the kids get older and their activity level heats up!

Good luck to you!
post #16 of 21
wow, great advice in this thread....

I have nothing really useful to offer, you mamas have advice handled!

We are in the midst of spirited children at 28 months, and learning day by day...I can say the cuddles and laughing between one another really has triplefolded since 18 months..

ok, done with the thread interruption...lol
post #17 of 21
My 22 month old twins have a babyproofed playroom with a gate. (converted garage) and a 3 year old brother.
They have free roam of the house when I can give them my undivided attention or when both DH and I are home. But sometimes I cant. So I put the gate up while they play (truth is they rarely notice) and that way they come to teh gate and call me when they need something and I still take care of their needs right away, but it really keeps the clutter down (all the toys are in one room) and it really helps me take a breather because they are safe and the house is safe. There is no destruction to be had. I am not constantly putting out fires. I play in there with them too.
When they were born my ds1 was only 16 months so there have always been 3 toddlers running in 3 directions and me without enough eyes and arms to keep them safe if they constantly had full run of the place.
This may not be a viable solution for families without the room or for families committed to having 100% cage free kids.
But they are happy and I am happy and sane too.
Oh and they just started sleeping through the night most nights maybe a month ago. So for the first time in over 3 years I no longer feel chronically sleep deprived.
post #18 of 21
I have to say, even though it is very hard, I am really enjoying my 25 month old twins right now. They are really fun at this age! I get to spend time just playing with them and they can walk up the stairs on their own and eat themselves and it is much easier for me now physically. Yes, they make a mess, but they are now learning that at night it's time to clean up and they help me do it. I did some drastic things like take all the doors off the bathroom cabinets in 2 bathrooms b/c they kept hurting each others fingers in them by slamming the doors when the other one still had his/her hand inside. But, hey, I didn't like those doors anyhow. I am very happy about how they are turning out! They fight a bit, but not too much and I only intervene if they have an extended screamfest. Then I take the toy away from both of them. I loved the suggestions here! I'm going to visit this thread more often. I still have to rock my babes to sleep each night, btw. But, I don't mind it and really really will miss it when they finally put themselves to sleep. We co-sleep still too. I sort of wish I had my dh back in the bed, but I can't bring myself to kick out the babes just yet. And I'm 40 years old and TIRED and OLD and feeling every bit 40. It's definitely the sleep deprivation and the extra weight I never lost from the pg.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
*bumping* this up for TripMom (and anyone else).

Lex (now the not-nearly-so-tired mama of 41-month-old twins)
post #20 of 21
Awww this takes me back!

Off to post about tearing my hair out with 4 year old twins....
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