Surviving Toddler Twins

When I was going through the really exhausting days of infancy with my twins, I remember thinking to myself, Boy, I can’t wait until they can walk and talk. Once they’re a little more independent, it will be so much easier!! Now that my twins are toddlers, I feel like a complete idiot! How could I have thought it would be easier? They went straight from walking to running—in opposite directions! They have no fear of anything. One may be climbing out of bed as the other is scaling the floor lamp. They throw everything. They have tantrums. They say “No!” to every request. They completely ignore me when I tell them not to do something. I don’t mean to sound discouraging, but life is tough!

Take this morning, for instance. I decided to take the boys to K-Mart to shop for shoes and diapers. Caleb refused to get into his car seat until I promised to play their Winnie-the-Pooh movie on the portable DVD player. Once we arrived at the store’s parking lot, it took me fifteen minutes to drag the stroller out of the back of the van, roll it around to each side of the car and place each boy in the stroller. (I also double-checked to make sure I had my purse as I was so distracted on two previous trips that I left it in the car!) Once we got inside, there was no way we could bypass the Halloween display smack-dab in the front of the store, so we spent ten minutes there with the twins handling each of the toys and then me trying to pry them out of their hands without making them scream so that we could move on. I hurriedly made our way over to the shoe department to look for shoes for the twins. The toy department is unwisely situated on one end of the shoe department, so I attempted to stay on the opposite end to avoid having the twins glimpse the toys. Wouldn’t you know, the rack of shoes I needed just happened to be on an end cap facing the toys!! So, in order to get the boys to cooperate in trying on shoes, I had to promise them we’d visit the toy aisles next. Finally, we had the shoes and headed over to the toy section. That was another twenty minutes as I again wrestled with them over toys (while a store employee hovered over me, no doubt making sure we didn’t break anything . . . Why is it that I can never find a store employee when I actually need help?). A few tears later (from me, not the twins), we were ready to head over to the diaper section to get that big box of diapers to juggle along with the double stroller. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of being lured in by the sign that said, “Boys’ outfits, $6.” Every time we got close to a rack of clothes, Austen’s little hand slipped out like lightning, pulling items from hangers and sweeping entire stacks of shirts from shelves. (Why do stores make their aisles so narrow? Even my one-seat-behind-the-other double stroller is too wide!) Then both boys decided they’d had enough of looking at clothes. They started to engage in an all-out fight! They were biting and hitting each other. What could I do? I couldn’t yell in the store or put them in time-out. They’re too big for me to carry one, plus manage a double stroller and a box of diapers. If I let them both out, they’d run in different directions. I had to keep placing my hand between them and fiercely whispering, “NO!” in the hopes that no one would notice their naughtiness. Meanwhile, Austen acquired five angry red bite marks on his arm from his brother, which I was certain that everyone would notice. In desperation, I abandoned my quest for clothes (which they really didn’t need anyway) and headed for the check-out aisles. Naturally, only two lines were open and I picked the slowest. When we reached the cashier, Austen instantly spied the candy conveniently displayed by the register and swiped several candy bars to the ground. The aisle was too narrow for me to move the boys away from the candy, so I had to wedge myself between the stroller and the candy while they hit me in the gut trying to reach the candy. At last, we made it out to the car (where Caleb again fought being returned to his car seat) and headed for home (with the DVD playing, of course).

So, what was I saying about life being easier after the twins leave babyhood? Okay, toddlerhood isn’t all bad. I certainly love their sweet little kisses and cuddles, the way they like to wrap a blanket around themselves like a cape and play “Super Baby,” their sweet little voices as they say “Mama” and “Dada,” and the excited look they get on their faces when I agree to let them watch Caillou. But when the toys start flying and the fighting begins, I find myself whimpering, Surely things will get easier when they reach school-age… Just a few short years away!


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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.

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  1. Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your article on twins in toddlerhood. I have twin boys, 21 months, and have just been searching the net for some consolation. These days seem to be really hard and I just need to know I’m not alone. Thanks.

  2. Susan Heim says:

    Hi Renee, I’m glad that my story was of some comfort to you. You are definitely not alone! Toddlerhood can be a really tough time with twins. Take one day at a time and keep hanging in there! Try to get a few breaks, even if someone else watches the boys for just an hour now and then. It’s amazing how refreshing a little time to yourself can be. I wish you all the best. Susan

  3. Me too, I know I’m not alone, but sometimes it feels like that. My girls are 25 months old and WOW. Just putting them to sleep is an ordeal in this house. I can’t just let them cry it out, if one falls asleep, the other one wakes her. Anyway, one day at at time is right. We can do it! thanks

  4. It’s comforting to know that other moms struggle with their twins. I’m a single mom of 20 month old twin boys and they are crazy!! Somedays I just don’t think I can take it anymore. Everything is a fight, diaper changes, dressing them, feeding them, putting them in the car seats, etc etc etc! They are constantly beating me up!! Is it a boy thing??