As I mentioned a couple of posts back, Keith and I have hired a babysitter, Tracy, to help me out with the twins a couple of days a week. The idea was that she could watch them while I get work done. But what usually ends up happening is that I run errands I can’t do with two babies, or she and I take them to do activities I can’t do alone with the boys, such as Gymboree. Sometimes I feel bad about the experiences the boys and I miss out on simply because there are two of them.
Let’s start with Gymboree, where the boys take Play and Learn classes. Gymboree requires each child to be accompanied by an adult. Even if it didn’t, there is no way on earth I’d be able to chase after both boys as they crawl and climb on everything. So, we are limited in how often we can go. When we were in New York during Keith’s deployment, my cousin Kim would make the 45-minute drive from Long Island to come with us every Friday. After Keith was injured and we returned to Colorado, he was able to come with us even though he was in pain. But now that he is back at work full time, Tracy comes with us once a week, and Keith and I take the boys on Saturdays when we can.
Many of the other moms at Gymboree take their babies to class three times a week or more. If I could, I would do the same. I’d also take them to story time at the library, to Mommy and Me yoga, and to swim lessons. I really want to give the twins more of these enriching experiences, but there are only two days on the weekends, so there is only so much Keith and I can do with them.
Now that the weather is nicer, some of my mom friends go on hikes together with their babies. Keith and I have taken Matt and Nate on a couple of hikes. We carry them in backpacks on our backs, and they absolutely love being out in nature. I wish I could hike every day with them in the gorgeous Colorado mountains, and socialize with other moms while doing so. But I am limited to taking them on walks in the double stroller around our neighborhood. That’s fun and beautiful too, but it ain’t Pikes Peak or Red Rocks.
Matt and Nate also love the park. I can probably manage to take them to the park alone right now if I really wanted to, but not for much longer: Matt is thisclose to walking, and once that happens, he’ll need an adult on top of him at all times. Who would keep an eye on Nate?
Even everyday errands are so much fun for the boys, but many of them are just impossible with two of them. The other day I ventured to Target alone with them, and by the time I did the whole song and dance of unloading their stroller from the truck, transferring them into the stroller, and making sure all the doors were closed before crossing the parking lot to the store, I was exhausted. Also, I could only buy a few items that I could rest on the front console of the stroller. (I looked around to see if Target had any double shopping carts, and I didn’t see any. But even if I had, how would I get the boys into the store to even put them in the cart?)
I even feel a twinge of jealousy when I see another mom taking a happy little stroll with her baby curled up in a Moby wrap or Baby Bjorn. I myself own two Baby Bjorns, but was never able to use them when the boys were little enough to fit in them. If I did go anywhere with them, there were two of them, so my only option was to put them in the double stroller. I would have loved that feeling of having them so close to me.
Sometimes it makes me sad to think of all of these things the boys don’t get to do that other babies can do. But then I remind myself that they have something most of us don’t—a twin. They share such a deep and special bond. They have a constant companion to navigate life with. Already, they enjoy each other so much. Sometimes when I am in the other room getting chores done, I’ll hear them laughing together. They are getting better about sharing and playing together.
Also, I know that as the boys get bigger and learn to walk, I’ll be able to do more and more with them on my own. Until then, I manage to get through the day without them getting too bored. I take them on long walks, or I’ll push them side-by-side on their ride-on cars around the block. Keith comes home for lunch most days and plays with them a bit. Tracy is here two days a week, for five hours at a time, and entertains them. They have a play date one afternoon a week with their pal from Gymboree, and his mom and I take the kids to the park or the zoo. I play with them and read to them when I can, and sometimes I even—gasp—let them watch TV. (I don’t see anything wrong with TV in moderation!) And, like I said, the boys even entertain each other!
I’d love to hear from other parents of multiples: How do you entertain your little ones? How do you get out and about with them when you’re alone with them?