Life with my daughter was so dramatically different to the early days with my twins. I’ve gone from being a conscientious Pinterest mum to damage control! Here’s a little round up of what I did with my fist child compared to how I parented my twins.
#1 Marking milestones
First child – I carefully documented all her milestones on a calendar of her first year. I not only know when she got her first tooth, first stood up and first walked. I know the date of her first haircut, first swim and first pair of shoes. We had two professional photo shoots.
My twins – I know they must have reached milestones, they have teeth and can walk and talk. When these things happened is a complete blur. Documenting their progress went by the wayside in the battle for survival. We have lots of photos of the boys first year – all grainy camera phone shots. I have to guess who is who in the boys baby pictures.
#2 Kids activities
First child – I did lots of lovely (and expensive) baby classes like baby sign language, baby massage, baby swimming classes, soft play and weekly music group. We did lots of colouring, painting or baking everyday.
My twins – their main source of activity was going to the supermarket, doing the school run. Any mother and baby group we went to was chosen on the basis of how much free coffee was provided. Activities at home include help mummy do the washing and let’s load the dishwasher (said in a very enthusiastic voice to make doing chores sound fun).
#3 Nap time
First child – I could easily spend hours at a time letting Sofia sleep on my chest after a feed, afternoons were a snoozy, snugly time.
My twins – slept in their cots so I could spend every second of nap time running around the house like a mad woman, cooking, doing the laundry and trying to keep our lives together.
#4 Decision making
First child – I had a PhD in baby! I research every tiny decision. I would look up the sugar content of different brands of fromage frais on the internet. I read books on different parenting techniques and child development. I carefully considered other peoples opinions and ideas on Mumsnet.
My twins – over thinking was out, winging it was in. I soon realised that most parenting advice is useless for twins anyway. Most decisions were made on a trial and error basis the test of success being were my boys still alive at the end of the day.
First child – I was Annabelle Karmel’s biggest fan with a big collection of her books. I made big batches of lovingly prepared organic purees and froze them in ice cube trays in the freezer. I very slowly introduced new tastes and textures. I bought a lot of Baby Organix snacks. A typical breakfast was spelt porridge with fresh fruit.
My twins – my boys had about 2 weeks of baby food and then they fast forwarded to eating what we ate. They had massive appetites and would happily eat a plate of spaghetti Bolognese at around 8 months. We did lots more baby led weaning as it made feeding two kids at once more manageable. They had eaten crisps and biscuits before their first birthday. They consumed more play dough than I like to admit. A typical breakfast was Cheerios or cornflakes.
First child – outfits were carefully chosen, colour co-ordinated and generally cute and stylish. I spent more than I should have in Baby Gap.
My twins – the majority of my boys clothes are second hand often donated by very kind friends. I buy big job lots of clothes from eBay or nearly new sales. Everything is chosen based on how easy it is to wash. Everything ends up filthy. Things get thrown away when they are too stained to wash anymore. The boys are always wearing out the knees of their trousers.
Parenting might have got a bit more messy and chaotic as our family has got bigger but the one thing that hasn’t changed is how much I love and care for all my children. Hopefully everyone goes to bed knowing that they are special even if they are wearing mismatched pyjamas!