Expecting twins, we prepared for the worst. Now we're making up the rules as we go.
When I first learned I was having twins, I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I panicked. I also scoured the Internet for advice, war stories — anything that would help my husband and I survive becoming first-time parents to, not one, but two newborns. The information I found wasn't terribly reassuring.
The book Babyproofing Your Marriage suggests that having a baby is like throwing a grenade into the middle of your marriage. So two babies meant two grenades. Great. I warned my husband about this impending explosion, but he just shrugged it off. While I appreciated his faith in the strength of our two-year marriage, I couldn't help but feel that he didn't quite get it.
Luckily, the message boards on BabyCenter.com did. They were chock full of advice for moms-to-be of multiples. "Don't be afraid to ask for help." "Nothing said at 2am should be held against you." And the crown jewel: "Don't consider divorce until after the babies' first birthday. If you can survive the first year, it does get easier."
When I brought that gem home to my husband, he paused. He thought. And I think he realized for the first time that the year ahead might not be too fun for us. We joked about the Divorce Rule, but it really helped us prepare mentally for what was ahead. And I think because we had this worst-case scenario in our heads, nothing has seemed as bad as we expected.
It doesn't hurt that we wound up with two seriously adorable and relatively well-behaved babies (a boy and a girl!). They started sleeping from 11pm to 4am around three months old, allowing us parents to get a solid five hours of sleep, which, as any parent of a newborn knows, is a godsend. Dirty pans in the sink, overflowing trashcans, and cluttered dining room tables don’t seem like such a big deal after five hours of sleep. These things still annoy us, of course, but it's nothing to fight about. I'll hear my husband muttering in frustration as he cleans up the kitchen, and I'll try to guilt him into giving the kids their baths for once. But minutes later we'll be snuggled on the couch, each holding a dozing baby, marveling at our luck.
Now, it's not just the twins that threw us into a tailspin. Right off the bat, it was mayhem. Four days after the babies were born, Hurricane Sandy hit. We lost power at our house and spent nearly two weeks living as refugees with family members. Our daughter was in the NICU, we had to battle gas lines when we could find an open gas station at all, and then -- for fun -- a snowstorm hit, nearly stranding my husband at work. Those pre-baby catastrophes showed us that things would happen, out of our control, and it wouldn't be the end of the world. We'd survived some major stressors in the twins' first two weeks of life, so we’d be able to survive double 2am feedings, simultaneous poo-splosions, and having two babies screaming in stereo. Keep reading ...
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