I have a serious question for every parent of multiples. Is it just me, or are twins insane? But really. From now on, when someone tells me they are expecting multiples, I’m just going to buy them helmets and bubble wrap. Take no chances with your precious cargo. Bolt everything to the wall. Pad the rooms. Lock the windows. Seriously. Despite your best efforts, your “twinados” will still find a way to hurt themselves.
Case in point. We noticed our little ones love to climb. So we are extremely careful about not having any step stools near our staircase. It’s an open space so if they were to crawl over the rail it would be a worse case scenario. Oh, but low and behold, our tiny tots have figured out how to crawl up the banister using their hands and feet. I mean seriously. Jesus, take the wheel.
Sound familiar? I’ll do my best to share five tips to keep your sanity while parenting daredevil twins.
Take a deep breath
Into a paper bag. Joking. Sort of. I know how stressful twin parenting is, and I hate it when people tell me to relax, but sometimes I need someone to tell me to relax. The positive side of having kids that love adventure and get a kick out of our rising blood pressure? They are going to be world changers. Truly. And they may also participate in the X Games. Hard to tell at this point, but regardless, encouraging them to be brave and curious about the world around them is truly a gift we can give them.
Resist the urge to helicopter parent
I’m writing this for myself. Nearly every day my husband tells me to go inside so he and the girls can have #donttellmom adventures. Those adventures include jumping off the picnic table, the fire pit, and other daredevil shenanigans that have taken years off my life.
I said I would be the cool mom who just watches from the kitchen, but really I’m the nervous mom who freaks out when they decide to jump off the swings or scale the fence. So I’m working on my chill and letting my husband take on the adventures that cause me to crack.
Teach safe commands
Someone actually suggested I get my children leashes – that’s how bad they are at listening. And I’m not going to lie, I considered this. But then I also decided it was time for me to teach some healthy boundaries, so we are now “working” on safe commands.
What do I mean? When we’re in a parking lot it’s a no-running zone and they must hold my hands at all times. When we’re playing outside they have to stay on the grass and not run into the street. Do they always do this? No, but they are making progress and it’s definitely helped me enforce rules and alleviate some of the stress of leaving the house with twin Evel Knievels.
The easiest way I have been able to get my kids out of harm’s way? Redirect. Trying to jump into moving traffic? Here’s a gummy! Pushing each other on top of the big slide? First one down gets a piggyback ride! Scaling the walls? Hey look, there’s a squirrel outside! (There’s not really a squirrel outside.)
Call it bribery, trickery, whatever you want, but it works. Rather than work myself up into a panic, which they somehow read as additional attention, I try to change the subject and get them to focus on something less dangerous. It works for tots so here’s hoping I can carry this into the elementary years.
Remember kids are resilient
I read all of those European parenting books and swore I was going to be a French mother and not bother with all the little worries, but I can’t. So when I assess the bouncy castle situation at a birthday party and map out 17 different ways they can incur a brain injury, I have to take a step back and remind myself that kids are resilient.
How many times have my kids fallen, bumped their heads, and so forth? I don’t know. I never had time to keep track of a baby book and I’m currently trying to NOT remember the toddler years, so it’s anyone’s guess. We only had to go the ER once and that was because one of them wouldn’t poop, so I’m trying to take it day by day, worry less, and laugh in the face of fear.
At the end of the day? Let’s champion our little daredevils and encourage them to live bold, adventurous lives. After all, it’s the ones who aren’t afraid of failing that go off and soar. (I feel like that’s a meme quote? Also a bit cheesy? But after yesterday’s attempt to crawl into a sewer I need cheesy.)
Stefani Zimmerman Drake is a wife, twin mom, and lover of rescue dogs. As a strategic communications consultant who runs her own business in Charleston, South Carolina, Stefani and her husband spend their time capturing all the sweet moments of their girls, while always dreaming about their next big adventure. You can follow their adventures online or via Instagram stories.