Guest Author - Julixa Newman
In all my years of receiving questions on raising twins, the issue that worries parents the most has to be when one twin doesn’t proceed (developmentally) as quickly as the other. I could sit here and write that I never had to share any concerns like that with my husband because I knew better, but I would be lying through my tired teeth. It almost steals the joy of those growing milestones that all babies achieve. Instead of just rooting for your children and taking one hundred pictures at each turn-like you would if they were growing up alone, you can’t help looking over at the other twin during that moment and thinking, “Well, what’s with you then?”
Let me say that during our many visits to the obstetrician while pregnant, it was estimated that our baby “B” was approximately 2 weeks behind our baby “A” developmentally. As a matter of fact, while they were both born healthy enough to come home with us at 36 weeks, there was a time when we were worried that baby “B” would need to return to the hospital because she would not let us feed her nearly enough to maintain her weight. While it may seem contradictory that I am about to instruct you to stop worrying, I understand that yes, there are obvious and /or extreme circumstances where it becomes unavoidable.
It’s almost like a cruel, intrusive alarm clock that you cannot turn off when you could otherwise be sleeping; why do we need to instantly detract from our joy by having to concern ourselves with the twin sister or brother that hasn’t started sitting up, crawling, talking or even holding a bottle by themselves? I would venture to say that every doctor handling a parent of twins has answered at least a question or two regarding this phenomenon. After all, they were conceived at the same time, why wouldn’t they develop equally?
I am here to say one thing to all of you in those early stages: STOP WORRYING. You are the cliché parents; you are asking the same questions as everyone else, and anyway, the answer is that there is no way to tell why these learned abilities are being picked up at different times! They say a mother’s mind is like a computer screen with 20 tabs open at once. Well, if this is keeping you up at night, allow me to close a few of the tabs and assure you that their twin brother/sister will get it shortly, to be brief. It may be two weeks, maybe even a month, but they are both going to be crawling, walking, holding, talking and yes, soon throwing probably in a few weeks at the most. Don’t rob yourself of the joy of discovery when you see a new skill. As it turns out, four years later, when all they do is talk, ask for snacks, hide together, and write their first initial ALL over the walls (sorry, venting here), you are 100% going to long for the old days when they crawled everywhere, and you hadn’t yet gotten rid of all those gates and swinging hairs with the built-in blankets and seatbelts.
I hope that if nothing else, thousands of twin parents read this article, breathe a sigh of relief, and some pediatricians worldwide get to take a coffee break now and then with the extra few minutes. At best, I get to calm hundreds of thousands of parents who are going through the same experiences I did a few years back and stop comparing one to the other when it comes to every little detail. So, ignore the extra work and the inevitable compulsion to compare one child to another. Raising twins is most definitely twice the pleasure if you focus on the parts that matter!