Out on the playground, parents will observe twins playing and say to each other, “that must be exhausting. Double Trouble.” To outsiders it looks like twice the work, twice the clean up and twice the discipline.
And truth be told, that is sometimes the case, but parents of twins will also tell you that having two at a time solves some problems too. “You are already doing it for one baby,” a mother of identical girls explained. “And now we don’t have to think about another pregnancy, another birth, another sex. It solves the sibling problem.”
Yes, there are more diapers, there are two sets of needs that don’t always correspond, but by the same token, developing side-by-side, twins can also adapt easier, they can socialize faster, learn how to share, feel empathy and communicate. Once they get the hang of the sleeping thing, they are more likely to sleep through the night because they have a buddy.
And whether or not twins are close together in terms of personality, size and physical appearance, their individual natures will emerge and often complement each other. In fact, often twins bond so fiercely that entertaining them is not such an issue. They have a built in playmate!
As far as learning goes, there is some overlap; it’s not like parents have to relay two sets of instructions all the time and there is some sharing of information because twins really delight in teaching each other. It’s an amazing experience to watch their unique preferences and personalities form in tandem.
If you are a first time parent, there is leverage in raising two at a time. You have a sort of “control group” where you can experiment with certain foods, the bouncy chair, and the nightlight. You can see what is working without the feeling of failure that goes along with having no comparison. One kid may love it, the other, not so much. It lightens the load.
Twins also elicit help from other people at the grocery or DMV where single babies may not. When someone sees a mother struggling to get two carriers through the door, they feel duty bound to help.
Children are hard work but it may be the most rewarding work in the world and twins are no different. If you are lucky enough to have them, you really do get a double dose of parenting wonder.