The Messy Reality of What It’s Like Having Twin Toddlers

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Daily life at home with my twin toddler girls is great!  They are super cute and have been playing and interacting with each other more than ever before.  It’s great.  It’s cute.  It’s awesome.  But, I’m not going to lie… having 17 month old twin toddlers is just hard some days!  Here’s an honest look at what it’s like having twin toddlers, and some of the fun things I am dealing with every day:Wow! This is a bit of an eye opener! Parenting and raising twin toddlers is not an easy job - that's for sure!

Nap Times

We’re down to one nap a day, but the start time of the nap varies from day to day and baby to baby.  Some days 10:30AM is the perfect time.  Other days one (Lisa) or both play for an hour or more while in their cribs, giggling and jumping, before finally passing out.  However, some times they only pass out for an hour and a half, and when it’s the only nap they’re getting, that is not enough. Ideally it would be 2.5-3 hours.  Some days they refuse to nap at the designated nap time altogether… those days can be especially challenging.

Nakey Nap Times.

My daughter Lisa is gifted.  Since about 13 months she’s been able to undo the Velcro on her diaper.  So, we have made sure she’s always wearing pants.  Well, at about 15 months she learned how to take off her pants and then her diaper.  Some pants/skirts are harder than others to get off and Onesies can be hard for her too.  However, lately nothing seems impossible for Lisa.

A Onesie is often removed from the top, as she’ll get her shoulders and arms out.  Other times she just reaches up the leg opening of the Onesie and undoes the Velcro and/or completely removes the diaper from underneath it.  Even when we put pants on underneath her Onesie one day, she not only managed to get her pants off(!) but keep her onesie and diaper on, and still get poop everywhere.

I think the only clear explanation for the poop everywhere is that Lisa is a digger. (Gross! Sorry!) So even if she keeps a diaper on (and we started using duct tape today), she will just reach in and pull out the “goodies” from within.  Needless to say, this is hard. She’s been getting a lot of baths and I’ve been washing a lot of sheets.  Thankfully Lisa enjoys scrubbing her crib rails with me, and it’s all a little comical (I mean waking up to a child patiently and gleefully sitting up in her crib, legs sticking out between the rails, buck-naked is pretty funny and adorable, even with the mess).

{Check out “How to Prevent a Baby From Taking Their Diaper Off” to read all about the fun adventure we had and what eventually worked (and what didn’t)!}

Wow! Parenting and raising twins is  hard, especially when they are twin toddlers.  But, I do love this mom's attitude about how best to handle all the craziness!

Teething.

When Alison teethes, she doesn’t get too fussy.  No.  She just gets wicked diarrhea.  It oozes down her pants and legs.  It shoots up her back and out the bottom.  Combine the daily diarrhea with Lisa’s above diaper removing happenings, and you can gather that I have been doing a lot of laundry, bathing, and cleaning. It’s a lot of sheet.

Communication.

My twin girls don’t talk much.  Lisa says more words than her sister Alison, but I still feel like much of their communication is in the forms of grunts, whines, and cries.  It’s frustrating not knowing what they want. Thankfully someone lent us “Baby Signing Time” videos.  Alison has taken to the sign language really well!  She’ll sign more, eat, please, thank you, all done, and other signs!  It’s actually helped a lot.  So, when I ask if they are hungry or thirsty, they often sign “eat” to let me know they are.  But, I still long for the days of spoken communication.  Thankfully, they seem to understand just about everything we say to them.

Listening.

However, they don’t always listen, especially Alison.  Telling Alison to “Come here” means she will back away or run into a corner.  Sometimes asking her to do something will result in the opposite happening.  This is especially hard when I need her to listen to me, in say, the parking lot.

Walking.

My girls run, tumble, walk up and down stairs, jump, somersault, and more!  They are very capable at moving.  But, trying to get two toddlers to walk in a straight line while holding Mommy’s hand is near impossible.  Seriously.  As I said before, it is literally impossible for one person to hold both of their hands and walk in a straight line, or walk much at all.  Trust me. I’ve tried many times.  One will plop down on the ground, causing the other one to swing in front of me and plop down on the ground too.  So then I’m stuck pulling babies off the ground, who for some reason have forgotten how to stand/walk.  It’s only slightly frustrating.

Eating. 

Feeding twin toddlers is one messy ordeal!! My girls drop a lot of food on the ground while eating.  We’ve laid a plastic tablecloth underneath their chairs, to prevent staining the carpet and make for easier cleaning, but I still find the mess annoying, especially when I know most of it is on purpose.  If they don’t like something, they spit it out and drop it on the ground.  If they don’t like the food in front of them, they drop it on the ground.  If they are bored of eating or are full, they drop or scatter food onto the floor.Twins are SO MESSY!! Oh my gosh. Twin toddlers are a lot of work.

I’m tired of the shenanigans, so I’ve been trying to immediately remove them from their high chairs as soon as it begins, and then have them pick up (at least some) of the food they dropped on the ground telling them that “If you make a mess, you clean it up.”  I also find it fascinating that some days the girls love a certain food and then the next day they don’t.  They also don’t seem too interesting in eating much of a dinner, but drink a lot in the evenings instead, especially Lisa.

How I’m Handling It

While I complain of these challenges, I try hard not to let them get me upset.  I’ve been working hard on staying calm and patient with them, even though I sometimes want to smack Lisa’s bare little bum for being bare yet again!  But, either I try to find the humor in the situations, or just sigh and let it go.

It’s not the end of the world to change the sheets again.  It’s okay that I am bathing my child for the second time that day.  It’s okay that the girls made a mess–most of it was on the tablecloth. It’s okay if they don’t like certain foods all the time.

What is important is that they have a mother and father who shower them with love; that they are learning right from wrong; that they are understanding more of what we teach them; that they share and play nice; that they are happy and content.

The things I complained about are just the facts of my life.  Every mother will go through the daily challenges of raising a toddler.  However, how a mother chooses to react to them can often set the tone in the home.  I don’t want my children growing up thinking I resent them because I complain about the daily grind of mothering or keeping house.  I don’t want my husband thinking I hate being home all day.  I want them all to know that they are more important than the things I do for them. The joy that my twins Lisa and Alison, and my husband Josh, bring into my daily life greatly outweighs the hard.

So, what have been your greatest challenges and triumphs of raising toddlers? 

Be sure to check out my follow-up post of 9 Parenting Tactics for Toddlers that Really Work!

Here are 9 parenting tips and tactics for raising toddlers. Good toddler discipline advice from a twin mom!

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh, boy, do I remember the days of toddler twin feeding. It seemed our dining area was just constantly dirty. For a while, I tried to sweep after every meal. Eventually, I gave up on that, and unless it was an extremely messy meal, I only swept after everyone was in bed for the night! Having twins was a huge lesson in lowering my perfectionist standards and enjoying life a little more. 🙂
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

    • says

      You were better than me with once a day sweeping! The problem was once they hit the toddler age, we moved to an apartment with a carpeted dining area! WHY?! Anyway, I totally agree twins help lower any perfectionist standards you may have.

  2. says

    Yeah, count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms. I’m a bit sensitive because my brother and SIL had twins and lost one when she was 8m old….watching her struggle for the past few years over that loss has been hard. You’re certainly entitled to your own feelings and frustrations, just know that there are moms out there who would love to have those struggles.

    • says

      I understand. But, my struggle was dealing with twin toddlers. I can’t ignore what I felt at the time (this was years ago now), as that was my reality then. I don’t think other people’s struggles that are different or more serious than mine should negate the struggles that I face, even if they aren’t as difficult. I do think understanding others’ challenges can help you be more grateful for what you have, for sure. But, there will always be someone who has it worse. This post wasn’t written to hurt people who’ve lost a twin, or whatever. It was written to show what struggles you do go through during those toddler years with twins, or at least, what I experienced, in the hopes that other twin moms could relate with their own struggles during these years.

  3. says

    My twins are 8 months old and we’re into the messy eating and mobile phase. I love toddlers, so I’m really looking forward to this stage, but I definitely think it’s going to be a challenge wrangling my boys and their older sister. Already it’s hard! Thanks for sharing your struggles.

  4. says

    So so true! Toddler times two, I can’t even imagine!
    Have you tried harnesses on them? When I was on a walker, I used one with my 18 month grand baby. She thought it was wonderful fun!

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