Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Do Other Twin Moms Do It? (warning: long)

My last post generated one comment that put me on the defensive. She said:

Maman d'Austin said...

I am afraid of getting flamed here (I am a NYC single mom to a 7 1/2 yr old boy) but Puffer, Puffer, Puffer. You are giving time-outs to 1 year olds? I really don't think they understand cause & effect to that extent. I'd like to recommend a book "What's Going On in There?" by Lise Eliot. I feel for you but at the same time I think of all these nannies that I see in my neighborhood walking around with twins. If they can do it, you can too

This led me to my Manhattan Mother of Multiples forum where I posed this question (note-I did refer to the commenter as my 'friend' for ease of posting the question rather than go into details about my blog, etc.). I posted on the forum with my interpretation of the comment.

Discipline/Playground w/ 16 Month Old Twins--Going Crazy!

I know this topic has been covered, but I'm getting 'flamed' for not being able to handle my b/b twins by myself (at the park/playground) by a 'friend' who is a NYC single mom of a 7 year old. Her reasoning is that "if she did it and she sees all these nannies pushing twins around doing it, that I'm doing something wrong."

First, a singleton is completely different than twins. Second, if you saw me pushing my twins in the stroller, I would look totally confident (but very tired) and they would look totally calm. Outside of the stroller is a different world.

I even ran into another b/g twin mom yesterday who commented on how hard it looked with 2 BOYS. Our twins are exactly the same age. My boys--not to gender stereotype--are all 'boy'. They run in two opposite directions, they are into everything, they have no fear, they go and go and go. And they don't listen very well, because they are 16 months old.

Lately, in the last week, I have been telling them that they need to listen to me when we are outside. Whether it's going to the gate or holding my hand, etc. I give them 3 chances and then give them a 'time out' of one minute in the stroller. After 3 time outs, we pack it up and leave. My "friend" also says this is inappropriate discipline. Maybe it is? I really believe that I need to be strong with the discipline in order for them to be safe.

Any wise words from other twin moms who've been there before? I'd particularly love to hear from those of you with rambunctious boy/boy twins.

In less than 24 hours, my post had been viewed 148 times and replied to by 15 twin moms.

Here are the responses:

The only advice I can give you is to completely ignore this so called friend. Comparing you to other mothers, singleton or twin is unfair and unsupportive. She clearly has no idea what it's like to have twins.

I'm in the same boat and it's incredibly challenging with two little boys (17 months) at this age. We don't go out half as much as we should because I just can't handle it. Discipline seems almost impossible at this stage but you have to start somewhere and I think your approach so far is good. I'm not sure what is so inappropriate about it. Sounds like you're doing great to me.

I tend to stay away from playgrounds with lots of hazards and head for open grass space with balls and other toys. It's so much easier. We only do playgrounds at weekends when their dad is around. Hopefully I can go back to the playgrounds alone once they are more capable of listening and understanding me.

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I don't think you can reason with a 16 month old. Or that you can keep them from running in opposite directions just by asking them to listen to you and giving them time outs.

There is no question the playground is very, very challenging at that age, we have all been there. Not every playground will be safe for them (playgrounds with 7 year olds running wild are out of question), and not every nanny is able to handle it. Some nannies are able to take care of todder twins safely in the playground and some are not. I can attest, because when my kids were 13 months old, I had a revolving door of nannies (there was one month when I had 5 nannies), and the playground was a big, big issue.

What worked for us was safe, enclosed playgrounds, for toddlers only -there aren't many of those, but there are some- and hiring an energetic nanny who was also very conscious about safety, had good judgment, and was experienced at handling more than one child at the playground.

Good luck!

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At this age, I found it very difficult to go to the playground by myself. I always brought a sitter. My twins are b/g and now 4 but at 16 months, they would run all over the place in opposite directions. It's impossible to redirect two toddlers at a crowded playground too. I didn't do time outs yet at this age, it was more about the redirection but again, hard to do at a big park when they are off doing their own thing. If I didn't have a sitter with me, I'd go with another twin mom so there were 2 adults watching 4 and we could help each other out. I know people do it without a problem but I really think it's highly dependent on your babies, mine were extremely active and did not listen, running away at any opportunity. I also did playspaces if I was by myself as it was a bit more contained. I also scouted out those hidden little playgrounds that were gated and more manageable. I'd put both in the swings at once. Then I'd try to have them play in the sandbox together which would keep them occupied. Sprinklers were a huge hit in the summer as they'd want to do that for awhile too. My third child (singleton) sticks with me at the park, he has never run away and listens. It totally depends on the individual child and X2 is much much harder! Hang in there, it will get better.
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I am soooooo right there with you. I just had a conversation with my nanny this morning, asking her to please let me know when it seems too difficult or unsafe for her to take them alone, because maybe I'll try to find someone to help her for a few hours during the week for playground trips. I can't really afford additional help, but keeping them locked in the house is not an option! They need to have fun, and to run around to tire themselves out, but its just so hard to be out with them. Even though I know its not rational, it makes me feel like such a failure.

My nanny doesn't seem concerned or overwhelmed at this point, and I love that about her, though I might not love seeing exactly what goes on when she does take them out. I'm sure they are not in danger, but it is probably slightly less controlled than when I'm with them. I bought the monkey backpacks with tails/leashes and she has used them to go for short walks. Must be quite a sight! But she said the boys had fun. I know some people have issues with putting leashes on children, but I don't care what people think. If they're smart, they'll think think, "oh, that makes sense because its safe." And I agree with the previous poster who said DO NOT LISTEN to any disparraging remarks, especially from someone who only has 1 child. That is ridiculous and not very kind.

My guys are 17 months tomorrow and completely uncontainable, in my opinion. I mean, on one hand I love watching their joy as they explore and test their abilities, but I am overcome by the stress of trying to keep them from hurting themselves or getting too far away from me.

Anyway, clearly I have no answers for you, but I know exactly how you feel. Unfortunately I think they're too young to understand how to behave the way we want them to, though I don't think you're doing the wrong thing by trying to set limits. Who knows, maybe it does help them to develop an understanding of consequences.

Good luck and remember to pat yourself on the back every now and then. I'm sure that your boys are wonderful, exactly how they are!

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I have boy/boy 27 month twins and I still can't take them to the playground by myself. I don't care what anyone thinks about it. My boys are wild, don't listen, go in completely opposite directions and climb on everything they see. I will only go with another adult. Every set of twins is different and every parent is different. One does what's safest for the child(ren) and comfortable for the parent. I am in the playground all the time and watch all the other twin nannies, many of whom do not have control of their charges or keep constant eye contact, something I insist on. In a crowded playground it is VERY difficult to keep track of two children running in completely different directions. No one has any business telling you what is possible with your children. Ignore them. You are not alone!

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I have 12 month old b/g twins and just said to my husband this weekend, "in the last 2 weeks, the playground is no longer fun." I feel so much "better" reading your post and the replies so far as it gives me hope that a) I'm not alone b) it will get better c) there are options (wide open grass with a ball). In my case, my son is happy as can be swinging...could do it all day. My daughter, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the swing all of a sudden and has to be "exploring" which is just not possible safely with just me. Comparing myself to my nanny is not fair because she has all the other nannies to help her if one of them needs a simple push on the swing and the other needs to explore. The "nanny network" is a very powerful thing and, unfortunantely I don't have that same network at the playground. Unless my husband is with us, I will be sticking to the open space plan for the foreseeable future as having my daughter meltdown and then my son get short changed with a 3 minute push on the swing is a lose lose for all of us!

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I am in the same boat. My boys turned 18 months last week, and I feel like running a half-marathon is easier than 30 minutes on the playground... I was wondering if any of you would be interested in meeting up to go to the playground. We would probably still be outnumbered by our kids, but we could pool all the twin mom skills.

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I have girl/girl twins but wanted to voice support. When my girls were 18 months, I stopped taking them to the park/playground alone because they were impossible to handle, didn't listen, & ran in separate directions (and very quickly!). Just last month, they started listening, and more actively playing with other kids, staying on the slide or the swing, turning when I call them -- and I can take them to the playground by myself. But that was at 2 years, 3 months.

During the time when I couldn't handle out-of-the-stroller trips, I hired a neighborhood teenager to work as a mother's helper and back me up on park & playground trips. She also helped me get the girls dressed and the stroller out of the apartment. On rainy & snowy days, we stayed home. The other thing I could do on my own was our neighborhood playspace (because it's essentially an enclosed big room).

Don't at all let your friend's criticism get to you -- it's simply not the same with a singleton. (I got plenty of the same from friends/acquaintances who were taking their one child on solo museum and restaurant trips and on the subway.)

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My boys are 19 months and also "all boy". We are fortunate to live in a building with a playroom. I can not manage the park alone right now and I do not expect my Nanny to either. I know some can, good for them, and, pardon the expression, they need to shut up.

I do have a "mothers helper" who is about 12. She's great. I give her the mellower of the two and she follows him around, keeps him off the bigger kid parts and bounces/swings/etc with him.

It's actually gotten easier in the past couple months but I don't expect to be able to do this alone for at least another 6 months or so.

I personally think that the time out discipline you describe is totally okay and your friends needs to shove it. People who don't have twins have no concept.

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I so completely understand. My b/g twins will be 3 in July and this spring has been the first time I've felt somewhat comfortable at the playground. Previously, I would start at the swings and try to make that last a long time. Then I would strap one in the Ergo and let the other run around, then switch. Not the ideal situation, especially for my back, but better than going to the ER with a broken bone. Your "friend" isn't helping at all by criticizing you. A real friend would try to help, not make you second guess your mothering. Jeez. I agree with a previous poster who said that it gets better when the sprinklers are turned on. I always made sure I had many different water toys and bubble makers to keep them focused on the same part of the playground. I live in Williamsburg and the waterfront was a life saver for me. It was always fairly empty and running around with a beach ball was heaven. I still went to the playground regularly because I knew they needed to climb and slide and swing. Btw, if the time out thing is working for you, continue to do it! Your friend just simply cannot grasp the stress a mother of multiples has. There really is no comparison.

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I have b/g twins and when they were that age, I experienced the same issues at the playground (my girl was, and still is, fearless). One thing I did at that age to help them learn the "rules' of the playground and to help me stay sane while taking them to the playground was to go to a smaller, gated playground in the off hours. Like 7 in the morning before anyone else was there (or whenever the gates were opened, its been a while). When it got crowded, I'd corral them onto the swings or in the sandbox. But if it got too crowded, I'd leave with them. I was really good at the "2-armed potato sack carry" when I had to scoop up one in order to run to rescue the other. As we all got better at playing safely, I'd plan to meet my singleton mommy friends (who were helpful, unlike your "friend") and since they had only one to look after, they were more than willing to lend an eye and a hand. Good luck!

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There have been a lot of good comments. For me, taking my boys to the playground was a necessity because there are super active and were pretty much destroying my apartment. Last spring/summer, I would take them out usually twice a day. It was quite difficult though. As posters above have mentioned the key was to pick an playground with a good gate and very simple amenities (small or no climbing structures), a sandbox, some swings and a water feature.

One of my favorite places was essentially a playground with a sandbox, a small fountain and two swings.

My nanny also did it alone with the boys (I work part time so I'm alone with them two day and she alone with them the other three days) and she is super cautious.

My boys also went through a huge hitting stage last summer which was no fun, and there were definitely days I went to playgrounds that essentially had no other kids!

The most important thing is to have a good pair of sneakers and wear clothes you don't mind getting totally flithy, when you have to run over and retrieve one of your kids!

Now at 2 years and 4 months it is so much easier!

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My twins are 10 months old so I am not in your position yet, but just reading your post made me mad! Who is this "friend" to be judging your parenting? Would she like being judged for being a single mom, or for choices that she makes bc of her situation? I doubt it. She has not been in your shoes and has no business making such pronouncements. Women need to stop judging each other's parenting choices, every child is different and every family is different.

In any event (not that it is any of MY business either!) I think time outs, combined with leaving the playground if the time outs don't work, sounds completely appropriate and I can't even imagine what anyone could think is problematic with this approach.

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Lastly, Chicken chimed in with a debut comment. If you didn't catch it here is what she said:

This is Chicken. I never post but I'd just like to put a plug in for my wife. First of all let me say that I respect everyone's opinion and input but in my opinion, dealing with twins is not the same as a singleton or even a singleton with another sibbling. Twins are going through the same challenging developmental milestones AT THE SAME TIME. They are both learning to walk and love their new found freedom and ability to run into TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS from their caregiver. This makes watching them outside by yourself VERY challenging to say the least.

Even our Nanny (who has 10 years of experience with twins) can no longer take them to the playground by herself SAFELY. So yes, you may see Nanny's out pushing the twins around, but the key word there is PUSHING. If you were to watch that Nanny in the playground running after those twins, especially two boys, it would be a totally different story. And I don't think it would be SAFE, which is really the most important thing.

Our boys are active and all over the place, and I do think that a modified version of time out can work fine on them. I think we don't give enough credit to children and they can understand much more than what we think. This is also what our pediatrician (consistently rated one of the top pediatricians in the country) told us. The best way to deal with them at this point is to tell them "no" calmly and then put them by themselves without interaction for a few minutes. We want to keep our boys safe and putting them in the stroller alone for a few minutes to teach them to listen to their mommies seems like a fair tradeoff to me.

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And finally, the original commenter left another clarifying comment this morning that read:

Maman d'Austin said...

I reread my post & see how the last sentence fails to convey my intent. FWIW it is meant in the spirit of encouragement and my strong belief that barring exceptions a mother will do better by her kids than a nanny who comes to work to pay her bills. So Puffer, I know you can do it!

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Thank you all for the encouragement. From others who have gone before me, it looks like we are in for a long and bumpy ride ahead!

23 comments:

Nadine said...

Nothing rots my socks more then a mom of a singleton lecturing me about "how easy it is". You. HAVE ONE. IT is NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING bloody NOTHING like having 2 of the same age, yet imagine those of us with triplets.
Having 2 of different ages is NOTHING LIke twins, one will be younger, at a different stage then the other, they will not be going through the same thing at the same time.

I would do, exactly as you did. Putting them back in the stroller, is removing them from interaction so they can learn. It's not punishment, what would be the right thing to do from the OH SO WISE parent of JUST ONE KID do? Take that kid away from the park? And what about the well behaved other twin?

Mine are only 1, so no wandering around the park, we take them to our back yard where they can explore, or take them to the swings. I know it will get harder as they get older, but, you are doing great!

PS - sorry for ranting on your blog, it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine, people talking out of their butts.

Kathryn said...

As a former nanny of many sets of twins, and now as a child psychologist, I can tell you that you are doing exactly the right thing. You are doing what it takes to keep your boys safe, you are teaching them the expectations of their world, and you are patient and gentle with yourself, knowing that you have a long road ahead and not expecting miracles today or even tomorrow. Discipline is not a bad word! So many parents today are afraid of discipline, when really it just means parents teaching children the expectations of their world. It is up to you to set the boundaries, and your boys will slowly but surely learn that you have their best interest and safety at heart. While it's true that they are young, it's also true that they are not stupid. Babies can learn repetitive behaviors, and while it may take a while for them to recognize and expect what is going to happen, there's no other way for them to learn but through practice.
Keep up the good work, be kind to yourself on bad days, and enjoy the good days!

Jaime said...

I am the mom of a singleton - and I can only imagine how difficult twins are! Just from reading your blog, it seems like you and Chicken are doing an amazing job raising them.

I just wanted to chime in and say that I give my 14 month old son time outs - and while he may not fully comprehend what a time out is, it sure does work to give him some time to calm down and stop doing the "bad behavior". I am ALL FOR time outs - your kids are not too young for it...and anyone that believes so has never given it a try. Our kids are smarter than we think.

Strawberry said...

"I think we don't give enough credit to children and they can understand much more than what we think." - Chicken

THIS. This is what I was thinking as well. Time outs are perfectly fine for children 1 year and older. Even if they don't 'get' it, what happens is, it removes them from the bad situation and helps them "re-set." Plus, it instills in them the foundation for understanding that this is the way things will continue to go in the future when they misbehave. It's a simple act of cause and effect- if you don't listen to me or stop doing that, you get a time out. If Skinner's rats could understand such a concept, certainly our children can.

It is so easy to judge others, but the fact of the matter is, no one can possibly know what you're going through unless they're living it. Even other twin moms who have a much better idea...their twins are going to be different than yours. What works for some might not work for all and it's a matter of doing what's best for your family.

N said...

I don't think n understands time-outs yet, but we certainly do use them. (Granted it's usually then her trying to get up from the step and crying for 60 seconds, oy.) It is important to start somewhere, and it is important to keep them safe. I'm a sort of laissez-faire mom, but even I have my limits, and I think it's good to put structure and limits down for our kids.

And n is crazy enough that I don't like taking her to the park by myself, and she's just one kid. I can't imagine two of her by myself. Not unless it was in a play room that had walls and closed doors.

And I just wanted to add that, as somebody who watched kids for a long long time, sometimes twins and often siblings, I find it's actually EASIER to keep a close eye on somebody else's kids because at the end of the day you get to go home and relax, so you can be more intense with your care while you're with them. Being with them 24/7 is much more draining, and I find it harder to give n all the attention that I'm used to giving children in my charge, because I just don't have it - it's spread out over 24 hours, instead of over 8.

Anonymous said...

regarding your original post (which I did not see)discipline is up to you, keeping your children safe is the most important thing you can do. As for living in NYC, we did it with b/g twins until they were 2 1/2 and we now live in the NJ 'burbs -the space just did not work for us anymore. I never had help after they were two weeks old (still don't). I found enclosed age-appropriate playgrounds, and took lots of wipes with me.

Don't know where you are, but we went to 48th and 10th, and 45th btwn 9th and 10th. We walked a lot along the river, and they wore their backbacks with tails (one of my favorite tools). They were happy, and they were outside for hours everyday. When you go to the same playgrounds on a regular schedule, I found the same moms there, and we were always keeping an eye on all the kids. good luck.

Rachel said...

If time outs are working for you (either by calming the boys down or just giving you a break) than I'm all for it. But a little bit of the tone here bothers me. I am not at all sure that my 2.5 year old understands a time out as "punishment" for "not listening." She usually says she "doesn't want us to be mad at her anymore" and 99% of the time phrases it in terms of "mama is mad/sad/grumpy" rather than anything about her own behavior (as a result we do time outs very, very rarely but if I am really frustrated or need a moment to do something like move boiling pump parts, than she is occasionally removed from the room). Just because you and the boys understand the matter differently doesn't mean that it's not a good solution for both of you but that does not also mean that there isn't some truth in the developmental books which suggest that this is not an appropriate punishment.

I know that twins are hard (really, I was a live-in nanny for b/g twins when they were toddlers) but all of this rhetoric about "twins are harder than anything else" is a bit puzzling. At least 50% of the time that we are at the playground I am nursing. Yes, I can rip baby off the breast, throw him in the sling and then chase after my toddler, but no, it's not all that much "easier" than twins. And I certainly cannot so much as close the bathroom door because the newborn is entirely defenseless from his big sister.

I really think that the tricks to surviving in NYC are finding the right playgrounds (both for safety and vibe) and talking to people who have done it well. I have a friend with 4 children 6 and under. Yes, it's hard to meet up with her and always a bit chaotic but she has oodles of wisdom to impart about restaurants and playgrounds and traveling alone.

Amy said...

Oh dear. My boys are now 11 months, and the park is finally getting fun. Only one baby is a good crawler though. There are no gated parks in my neighborhood. Sigh.

I also have friends who underestimate how hard twins are. They see me on days when I'm showered and dressed, and have managed to get the boys out. I have one friend of a singleton who always one-ups me on the hard difficult scale. I try not to listen to these people. They do not have to deal with one boy sneaking up behind his brother and slamming his head in the floor.

Keep posting. Keeps me grounded! I am now considering the timeouts.... A minute in the playpen might keep them from killing each other.

Next in Line said...

Omg puffer and twin moms out there. Playgrounds sounds hard and i know staying inside all day is no fun either. Woozers. Gates,helpers and mamas banding together sound like it will help, but this also sounds like one of the toughest times to get out.

K J and the kids said...

Just joining in for fun :)
The thing to remember here is
A) not all children are created equally. One mother who says she "can" control her kids and "can" make it right with some cheerios, positive redirecting and a good attitude....has kids that might not run different directions, that are easily redirected or even redirectable at this age...She doesn't have kids that are more interested in what's outside of the playground than the playground itself and whose child might not take the opportunity to run and check this out when his twin brother/sister gets hurt and needs a big hug. or is about to plummet 10 feet to his/her death if mom doesn't stand just so below the slide of the 2nd child.
Kids are so opportunistic.

and B) knowing that all kids are not created equally. embracing it. lets now understand it and just be supportive.

My advice is and to join in above. Find a park that has a gate around it. with preferrably one entrance/exit. You can then spend your time manning the only way to get out and just let them explore.
What I've had to do with my kids.....is to really interract with them. Which means that I play dinosaurs, Batman, bad guys good guys which all means....chase.
If I'm playing with them.....I usually only get one who tries to stray everyonce in a while and I'll just sweep him up and carry him back to the game.
It's exhausting. We all sleep better :)

I would also recommend finding another mother or friend that you can playdate with. It helps to have someone there....which I know is not the advice you want seeings how this is about you taking them to the park by yourself.

OH. and I would try taking them to an open grassy area. WIDE OPEN lots of space. Nobody around. Let them run. 2 different directions if they want. See how far they'll go (and yes.....my kids would go all the way home if I would have let them) but sometimes they'll realize they aren't being chased and can just run and will come back.
Start practicing picking up your stuff....telling them that you are going a different way and slowly walking away from them...letting them follow you on their own terms.
Give them a little slack to be independent. in of course a safe place.
Even if the one doesn't immediately follow. keep trying to encourage him.
No time outs for not listening. Just experiment.
They will figure it out. When they are 4.
Hopefully.

Good luck to you girl ! Twins are hard. Listen to the positive....because raising little people is fucking impossible most days and encouragement is what we should be getting. We should all be encouraging each other.
(in my opinion having had a singleton and twins....twins are WAAAA-AAAAY harder) Which is why there are so many support groups for twin moms :) ha ha

Sorry for taking up so much space !

Marcia (123 blog) said...

This is why I don't go anywhere where the babies are free without D.

My friend sent me a text about that infertility support group meeting with all the babies, "so is D going with you or is that a stupid question?" LOL - yes, stupid question. I'm not crazy. I need a 2nd pair of hands, or those leashes. The MINUTE I see them somewhere I am buying some.

I only have 1 boy and he is WILD!!!!!!!!!! He doesn't stop so I can only imagine your two.

Crazy times.

Jen said...

I have to admit that I didn't read all of the twin mom responses, but honestly puffer, you are an amazing mom and I don't know how you do it full time. I have ONE boy, who is also all boy and I am exhausted on weekends! I agree that boys and girls are quite different (although to not totally stereotype!) and I cannot imagine two toddler boys. You deserve a metal. Chunk also gets time-outs and he DOES understand. Children are SMART, smarter than what most adults give them credit for, and we have done time-outs since he turned one. Somedays they don't work as well, because again, he is a toddler who is pushing limits and defining boundries, but it does work in general. I HATE people how act high and mighty and think they know how to parent better than the actual parent! Ahhhhhh....

Tui said...

Honestly, my hat is off to you.We are having enough hard work with two of us running after one 5 week old boy in our own home, let alone two rambunctious toddlers in the playground! You sound like your doing an amazing job, and yes it is tough, but you are working your way through in the best way you can for your family. As others have said, every child is different, and you can take all the advice and assvice you like but at the end of the day it's up to you to find what works and what doesn't. Keep up the good work, it's tough but you and Chicken have the best instincts for your children so trust them.

Finch and Wren said...

Love, love, LOVE your blog! I need to start back at the very beginning to see what great tips you gave when you were pregnant and they were babies - what twins blog group do you belong to? We want to sign up and get connected now so we can find out some answers about breastpumps and breastfeeding twins - any tips is more than welcome!!

e said...

NYC, mom of b/b twins, now three. You are doing great. Playgrounds will get easier again once they realize that there is such a thing as danger. Back then, I specialized in doing the "zone defense" - basically, just trying to keep them penned into one corner or spot. There are a few good toddler playgrounds out there that are much more manageable. I'm not sure where you are, but there's a very easy one in Washington Square Park, for one. And seriously, at three, they play together so sweetly, and can go their own way on the playground, and it's great. It really does get easier.

cindyhoo2 said...

Oh good lOrd, your critic has lost her everlOvin mind! I am a children's therapist and I teach time out--- and to start sooner rather than later. Time out in the way you are doing it is great-- no psychological damage either. And really when did teaching children to listen become something bad?? keep it up Puff!!

reproducinggenius said...

As a mother of a singleton one-year-old, I often wonder how you twin moms manage to wrangle two. There are plenty of days I can barely keep up with mine alone. The fact that you have been brave enough to take both of your boys into public places and let them run around is something I find downright heroic, woman!

As for timeouts, they work. We started doing them around 15 months, and our son really does understand that when he has his timeouts, they are a result of a negative behavior. He is learning. It really is the perfect age to start.

In other words, you seem to be doing an incredible job with your boys. Hell, we're all feeling our ways through this, some of us better than others. I'd say you're part of that "better than others" group by far!

H2 said...

I agree with Chicken about us underestimating our children. My kids are not twins, but 10 months apart. We've always spoken to them in regular adult words and not baby talk. We use words like inappropriate behavior not "You're being bad". It might seem like it's too high a standard or that they wouldn't understand, but they did at 1 and 2 and they still do. I can't imagine going to a crowded playground with twins. Do you have the opportunity to have open grass area to just let them run? I guess fields aren't in abundance in NYC. Good luck Mama!

Gayby Rabies said...

I think what's most important to keep in mind is that all kids are different. Some respond well to one thing, some respond to another. If you have found something that seems to work for your kids, that's great. I don't think your boys are too young for time outs. It sounds like you are doing them in a way that is age appropriate, and can easily be adapted as they start to understand more. I can't imagine what it's like to have twins running in two different directions in the park- it's enough for me to have them crawling in different directions in the house!

Kar y Ro said...

I think mommies know best. I can see that you're raising a couple of healthy beautiful boys, so keep doing whatever you think it works as long as you can!

For the Long Haul said...

As a mom of two singletons I have no comment on the twin thing--can't possibly understand. (Although my hats off to you twin moms; I seriously can't even imagine...) But I will say this...the original comment left to you is why I am glad I don't have huge readership on my blog. People who feel the need to leave you a comment about HOW you are parenting YOUR children should seriously shut the eff up. You and Chicken get to make these decisions; no one else.

And for what it's worth, I have been using "time out" (like you...a minute in the stroller, or on her older brother's time out stool) on my now two year old for over a year and she totally gets it. And she has for a very long time. I commend you actually trying to set consistent boundaries for your children. A lot of people just let them run crazy wild because "they're too young to understand that." Like Chicken said, give your kids a little more credit than that.

And I swear, if I had twins I would NEVER leave the house. So every time you set foot out that door you are receiving kudos from me! Hang in there!

inlocoparentis said...

I think it's cool how civilized everyone is being here, but that comment is some serious b.s. First, C is exactly the same age as your boys and I find it hard for TWO of us to take ONE of him to the playground. They are just so fearless and so unaware of danger at this age. It's terrifying and exhausting. Second, the judgement about the time out is just ridiculous. I bribed my 16 month old today with a popsicle so he would stop screaming when I wouldn't let him eat the dog's food. I'm sure your critic was perfect, but the rest of us are just doing our best. Argh.

Laurie said...

I didn't read through all the comments you posted, but I have to step in and give you and chicken a high-5 for using time outs. There is no doubt in my mind that Ryan (and your boys) understand what a time out is.

We use time outs super-nanny style. He gets a warning, at eye level. "Ryan, throwing toys is not nice. If you throw your toy again, you are going to time out. This is your warning." Usually he will proclaim "NO!" and stop the bad behavior. If he doesn't, we tell him "you threw your toy again so you are going to time out" and we sit him on the floor in his time out spot. He sits there for a full minute, sometimes crying, sometimes not. After the minute, we squat down and explain why he was in time out, what we expect him to do (pick up the toys, eat lunch, etc) and then hugs and kisses. 9 times out of 10 he corrects the behavior.

I think children are very, very smart, just as chicken said. I wonder what type of discipline the original commenter would think would be appropriate if time outs aren't?? Our pedi had actually suggested we use time outs before Ryan was even a year old! Keep up the good work, you two!