Raising Twins - Not That Different From Raising Other Children

A Lifetime Of Great Memories...

When you are born in Hawaii, you have to have at least one "Hawaiian" picture!
When you are born in Hawaii, you have to have at least one "Hawaiian" picture! | Source
Bert and Ernie!
Bert and Ernie! | Source
Superman and Batman
Superman and Batman | Source
Keeping those trucks clean!
Keeping those trucks clean! | Source
Going for a walk in "the BEAST"!
Going for a walk in "the BEAST"! | Source
Source
Source
Helping out in New Orleans with the fraternity (Pi Kappa Alpha) after hurricane Katrina, in 2006.
Helping out in New Orleans with the fraternity (Pi Kappa Alpha) after hurricane Katrina, in 2006. | Source

The best advice is to let them be the individuals they are!

When raising twins, there are a lot of challenges, especially when they are very young. Once they get past the stages of diapers, bottles, and assorted paraphernalia that comes with twins (the twin stroller we had "back in those days" was a BEAST!) it really IS just like raising any other children who are siblings.

When you take them on outings while they are very small, twins will draw attention... and if you have "super multiples" (triplets, quads or more) they will get even MORE attention! They will adjust, and even come to enjoy the attention they bring. Most times the attention our twins attracted came from "grandmotherly types"... I remember a beautiful older lady in Hawaii telling me that because they were drooling, it was a sign that they were healthy! I thought the drooling was from teething... but who knows!

Our twins DID have an assortment of "twin words" that they would use. I had heard about "twin language," a special selection of made up words that only THEY could understand. Ours simply had several words that they understood... but later MOM came to understand them, too. Especially the word that meant "mischief"...if I remember correctly, the word was "deet-da" they'd say that code word and then proceed to yank a drawer open and empty the contents of it on the floor... it's pretty amazing how quickly a Mom picks up those words! Especially when it meant that MOM will have to help clean up a newly created mess!

We started from when they were babies dressing them differently. Sometimes we'd dress them in similar outfits, but in different colors (usually I did this on days when I was taking photo's of them). But most days, once they were old enough, they would pick out what they wanted to wear. I even remember a pair of shorts on top on one of the boys heads one time.

I remember that in school, most children WERE able to tell them apart. When we lived in North Carolina (we lived there from when the boys were a year old until they were five years old)... we had a little neighbor boy who was a year or so younger than they were. He would knock on our door, look up at me with his BIG brown eyes, and ask me "can 'the johnny's' - using one name for both of them - come out and play?" SO, not ALL children could tell them apart. Once kids got to know the boys different personalities, though, it was easy for them to tell who was who!

We always tried to encourage their interests. In our case, the boys DID have similar interests! We kept them involved in sports, or whatever their interest was in at the time. They started out in gymnastics (great for getting all that energy out!) To this day, I remember them as toddlers, taking their little shoes off as fast as they could, throwing them into those little "cubbies" and RUNNING to go join in on the gymnastics fun! They loves those gigantic rollers, and other assorted fun looking equipment. And they loved tumbling, and especially loved showing us their "tumble-saults."

Then they moved on to soccer, and t-ball (they didn't really care for either of those, but they tried them). I can still remember them standing in the outfield in t-ball, taking sticks and making pictures in the dirt with the sticks instead of paying attention to the t-ball game! They weren't exactly little Cal Ripken's in training... but that was OK. The sport simply didn't interest them!

Later in junior high school and high school, they were into roller hockey, weightlifting, and football. They did really well in weightlifting, and went on to train with a guy that had trained Olympians in the past. They went pretty far in weightlifting competitions, but lost interest once the football bug hit. They were and still are today ardent football fans and love the game! They did well in High School football, and the coach loved their work ethic. He pointed them out as an example to the other football players of what the work ethic should be in order to be a good football player.

In college, they both joined the Fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. We didn't know what to think at first about them being involved in a Fraternity. What surprised us was the time when a group of guys from the Fraternity went down to New Orleans to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The stories they had to tell after that trip and the adventures they had while there provided them with many great memories. Best of all was knowing that they were able to help people who really needed their help at the time.

Both of them even tried alligator sandwiches while they were in New Orleans! These were strictly chicken nugget, french fries and pizza guys who were normally not very adventurous at all with food, until they went to New Orleans! It broadened their horizons in many ways, including culinary ways!

The School Years

In academics, the best advice for raising twins is to stay involved and interested in what they are studying. Help them with their homework when they need it, and try to stay aware of what they are studying. I also got involved in volunteering in the classroom as a teachers aide and I went along on many field trips. I honestly think our boys appreciated the fact that Mom was there... I didn't "hover"... but I was involved in the background, especially while they were in elementary school.

Another GOOD thing you can do as their Mom, especially as a Mom of twins, is to become involved in some kind of Mother's of Multiples group... it offers a good outlet to share experiences with other Mom's who are facing the same challenges you are. When our boys were little, there was no Internet yet. We certainly didn't have a home computer. But I did belong to a Mother's of Twins group in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Today with the Internet, you can easily find various twin-related, helpful online forums to read and to become involved with. Receiving and giving advice to other Mom's makes these support groups an invaluable resource to help you along the way on your unique journey of raising multiples.

Once our boys got into college, their interests went in totally different directions, and we just supported each of them in the career choices they made. One of our sons became an accountant with a "Big Four" accounting firm, and our other son became a corrections officer at a jail! They had very different interests and made unique career choices and both of them are doing very well.

Some of their interests in college were the same. They were both in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and they did some amazing things with the other guys in the fraternity! They went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and volunteered to help people there with cleaning out their destroyed homes so they could re-build. My idea of "fraternity" prior to this was from the movie "Animal House". So, to see the really positive things being done by a fraternity was a learning experience for me. And I know that they enjoyed activities like helping out in the Special Olympics...which is an amazing organization!

The best thing you can do is to encourage each child's individuality, and always be aware that they are two entirely different people (even if they are identical and look alike!) I am a believer that cherished children grow up to be productive, valuable members of society. Cherish them always, for they WILL grow up very fast!

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