We are now the proud parents of Morgan and Gemma, 2.5 years old, Oliver, 7 months old and Audrie, 10 years old, from my first marriage. We have had our hands full but feel fortunate to have had the twins first. The regimen we set up for them and learning how to stay with a schedule or plan has been a tremendous help with our newborn.
It has been much more difficult than we imagined and there are times when we feel we are going to go crazy. Of course, the joy of holding Oliver or seeing him cuddle with the girls makes it all worthwhile. Following are several tips that may help if you are in the process of having a singleton after your twins:
- Choose to potty train either well before or well after the baby arrives. It’s not something you can worry about during the first 6- 8 weeks of having a newborn.
- Have the twins sleeping, eating, and playing schedules down to a science. It will be much easier to integrate the newborn into an existing system or schedule than to still be tinkering with times or juggling schedules during the baby’s arrival.
- Let your twins be a part of the process but be very careful not to leave the baby unsupervised with them. Give them small, manageable tasks and let them feel that they are “helping” you.
- Get help before the baby arrives. Start a schedule for your In-laws, sitters, and nannies as early as possible. If your family is not close by and you are not in need of full-time help, it can be difficult to find qualified part-time help - so start looking now.
- Utilize available “big kids” to help out with your toddlers. Our 10 year old, Audrie, has been a huge help with the girls. If you have neighbors or cousins that are older, enlist them to come over and play!
- Dads - help out at specific times everyday. With us, it has been easier for me to do the morning shift. That is, breakfast, getting them dressed and ready, and more. The girls are usually up WELL before I need to go to work. After dinner, Lisa can count on a huge Dad play-break and then we both work the bedtime routine. If your wife has a set time she can count on (and look forward to) she can maintain her sanity!
We feel extremely blessed and love the feeling of having a little baby again! Oliver is sweet, cuddly and very low maintenance compared to the twins. Honestly though, I think the workload increase shocked us as we thought having just one more would be easy! Keep your perspective, stay organized and have a plan – you will need one.
Original Mad About Multiples blog post by Larry P.