Guest Author - Julixa Newman
As a parent we see having children as a blessing. Some of us wanted a big family and having twins just makes this goal so much more reachable. From the moment that we find out that we are expecting multiples everything changes. The way we take care of ourselves, the way we are more cautious about what we do or how we do it, even the way we look at others that we pass by that are currently parents of twins. We can get so overwhelmed by the whole situation that we forget one small little detail. The older sibling. This older sibling is affected from day one as well. The mother that was once energetic and a great multi-tasker is now a sleepy, sick woman. The play times that they had with mom are now gone because she’s not able to bend down or run after them. Everything changes and although we keep telling them “ This is just temporary”, it seems like forever to them. These great tips will make sure it is a smooth transition for everyone!
Letting the older sibling have some input is always a good thing. Whether it is picking a name, a room color or just the pajamas to take to the hospital it is always important that you look down and ask what they think. Not only will it make them feel important but it will give you a sense of what’s going through their heads. I’m not saying you should let them name the twins Tinker and Fluffy, but you get the drift.
During your pregnancy you might run into the dreaded bed rest phase. This is not a simple task when little Tommy wants to play hide and go seek. Find creative ways of playing. Maybe you can’t go hide but you certainly can tell him to hide an object around the room and you can guess where it is. Renting a movie and snuggling together is also a great way to bond and pass a couple of hours. An easy board game is also a great option.
“We are a team.” Those are words that I kept saying over and over to my four year old when I was pregnant. I wanted her to know that she was part of my team and that sometimes I would need her help with the babies. I wanted her to feel a part of this change that was soon going to happen. Go ahead and say it once to the older sibling and you’ll get the same little smile that I got. It’s so worth it.
When you are setting up your hospital bag make sure to add a little gift for the older sibling from the multiples. It can be very stressful to hear that your mother is in the hospital and even more stressful that the babies have arrived. Once the older sibling meets his/her twin siblings, hand over the gift and say “The twins and I got you a little present." We know that the birth of your twins is something spectacular but in the eyes of this child this is the day that mommy’s lap is no longer theirs.
Once home with the twins it can become a little overwhelming for everyone. Don’t expect the older sibling to have developed a great sense of patience. Especially if this child is a toddler themselves. Make sure that before you pick up the mop or vacuum you ask yourself this question: “What have I done with older sibling today?” If the answer is nothing then pick up a coloring book or Barbie because that comes before anything else.
Gradually everyone will get used to life with multiples. Just keep in mind that some people do not take well to change and that goes for children as well. Once the twins are running around and able to play with the older sibling things will just fall into place. One day at a time, right?