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Impossible

The boys and I just went out of town for a week with my family. My hubby came for the weekend, but he had to head back for summer school (he is in the STA-21 program). Our living situation was great in that we were in a three-bedroom timeshare with lots of living space. We did have a few issues stemming from our twin two-year olds.

The toddlers would not stay in their Pack'N'Plays. Every time I put them in they would climb right out. I ended up putting them down to sleep in the king bed in their room. It was the first time they ever slept in a real bed, not a crib or Pack'N'Play. The first night took a little over an hour to get them to sleep. I tucked them in the bed, a wall of pillows on the side of the bed and piled on the floor around the bed. They climbed right out-- screaming. I went back in, tucked them back in, closed the door. They climbed out-- screaming. Over and over and over again until they finally stayed in bed. They woke up at 6 am the first night they slept in the king bed. They went right to sleep the second night in the king bed, perhaps because they refused to nap. They also slept in an hour later to 7 am. They did nap the third day in a pile right inside the door. The last day we had them in the king bed they did nap. I was so proud of them for napping in the king bed. It was really hard having them not nap while we were there. At home C naps for 4.5 hours every day. O naps for 45 minutes to 3 hours. It was a big change for them to not nap at all that caused them to be very grouchy.

And then their age. I was talking to a gentleman the other day who told me, "Trying twos, terrible threes, and fantastic fours." With my oldest, D, two was rough. There were a lot of tantrums (a lot). I mentioned in my blog post "Comments" that he was a breath holder. I liked what this gentleman said because two really was nothing compared to three with him. Three was flat out, hands down rough. I felt like it was the same tantrums as two except he had more words and more thoughts to throw tantrums about. Four was hard because he wasn't much of a self-entertainer and so he would want to play Legos or Playmobile pirates, but he wanted me to play with him-- nearly impossible to do every single time when you have twin toddlers. (Plus, self-entertaining is a skill he needed to learn!) Fours all in all have been fantastic because of how much his mind has developed. I love listening to him so much now at four that it makes me excited to watch him grow.

Presently I have two two-year olds. [Note: I'm really praying that they will entertain each other at three and maybe threes won't be so rough with twins? Fingers crossed?] Things that worked with my first don't work the same with twins. For instance, on the trip we were walking through an outside shopping area. D wanted to go in the toy store and the toddlers were running in an open square. I went to put the toddlers in the stroller and they evaded me. I tried to put C in and he was pointing at something in a store window. As I strapped him in, he was getting more and more upset that we aren't looking at what is in the store window. I tried to comment on it, but he didn't want to talk about it, he wanted to go look at it. Except O was running around like a wild man and D was getting impatient to go to the toy store. I told C that what he found was very neat and then tried to get O in the stroller. O wanted me to see the bug he had found on the ground and follow where it is going. Well, I didn't have the time to watch where the beetle was going as C was getting more and more upset in the stroller. I strapped O in and he was then angry that I put him in. I offered a bribe, "Hey, you guys are sitting in the stroller, want a piece of candy from Momma's purse?" They both threw the candy. They didn't want the candy. C wanted to look at the store window and O wanted to follow the beetle. D still wanted to go in the toy store. So I moved forward and hoped to be able to distract the toddlers with fun-to-look-at things in the toy store. They were both so worked up by then from being strapped into the stroller that they were angrily pointing at everything they saw. They cried looking at the wind up trains. They cried looking at the stuffed animals. They cried looking at the books. They then start screaming. I realized I couldn't stay in the store. Not only could I not shop when they were trying to grab everything within reach, but I couldn't think straight with the two of them screaming at the top of their lungs in such a small shop, especially as my 4.5-year old ran from toy to toy begging, "Momma, can we buy this soldier? Momma, can we buy this drum? Momma, hey, Momma, look at this, Momma!"

What would I have done there if I only had one two-year old? I would have told D that I needed to look at the store window first or follow the beetle before we go in the toy store. Sometimes I can do those things with the toddlers. Sometimes I can interest both toddlers in what one of them is interested in, "Hey, O, come and see what C found in this window!" or "Hey, C, come see where this beetle is going with us!" That doesn't always work though. I can reason with D and tell him, "I understand that you want to go in the toy store now, but I need to do this first." But the toddlers are both two and they are not always easily distracted. I also don't always have the time to play out what they want to the extent that they want it. I can't follow a bug for 10 minutes every time one of them finds a bug, especially as the other two-year old is more than likely taking off in a different direction.

Other times I just have my hands full, as I often hear. We went out shopping at an outlet mall. We planned our trip at a "good time" for the kids. First store we walked into the toddlers started screaming. I tried to let them out of the stroller in the dressing room and they went crazy-- pushing the stroller, crawling under doors, wrestling. I got them back in the stroller and they grabbed things on racks and screamed at the top of their lungs. My granny took them outside and starting walking around the mall with them. It worked, though she had to keep them moving. As soon as she stopped they would start crying again. Even more inconvenient, they couldn't see me without crying. I had to slip in and out of the stores without them seeing me in order for them to be happy. We didn't want to shop long. We weren't looking to do an all-day-shop-till-you-drop marathon. No, we wanted to meander in an outlet mall, get some lunch, see what was there. Something to do one of the days of our trip before we had to head back for an attempted naptime. For some reason, they just decided the outlet mall was a great place to have huge tantrums, forcing us to cut our outing short.

My husband and I have always said we wanted our kids to be part of our life, not be the end of our life for 18+ years. We want to go places and do things with them. I heard often when I was out pregnant with twins, "Oh! You won't be doing this [whatever it was] once those babies come!" "Better enjoy it now before those babies are born!" On and on, all these comments that our life would be over once we brought the twins home. I've written many blogs about our schedule their first year and how happy I was when I felt we finally had some flexibility (read "Light at the end of the schedule"). We did make changes once they were born, but they were not abrupt-- twin pregnancy has a way of slowing you down. At home, I do take the kids out, planned around naptime. We go to the children's museum, to the park, to friend's houses. We go to restaurants I can manage the kids at. However, this trip was one of those times where I felt like, "Whoa! This is a little crazy!" They clung to me and refused to nap. They cried nearly every time we went out. They cried through bath time. They didn't eat meals well. I just felt like they were a little all over the place.

I also feel like I was a little hard on my oldest since the toddlers were keeping me so busy. I felt like I needed him to understand and wait nearly every time whereas at home I try to balance it. Sometimes D needs to work on sharing with his brothers (building with Lego Duplos in the family room of the timeshare) and sometimes his brothers need to give him space (he's sitting on the couch watching shows and they climb on him to wrestle). I felt like every time I asked him to be understanding-- a 4.5 year old on vacation with his grandparents. He was excited to be somewhere new just as much as his brothers were yet I asked him to slow down while his brothers smashed his block tower or refused to leave him alone as he sat on the couch. Logistically, I didn't know how to separate all of them. The toddlers were tired from not napping and there wasn't a place I could pen them up as I can at home-- gating off their toddler-proof play room. There were also three children two and under (my twin two-year olds and my sister's one-year old) and only one 4.5-year old. The activities at the timeshare were much more geared to their age group than his. I felt like I didn't have a lot of options for them all and explaining to D how I needed him to behave was the most sensible solution. It was one of those times where I felt some serious Mommy guilt from not being able to do all the things I wanted to do with each of my kids as I wanted to do them. I still don't know what would have been the better option. They wouldn't stay in their Pack'N'Plays, so would sitting with them screaming in my lap so he could build a tower without their interference have been a better choice? I don't really want that to be the standard.

I am determined to get out and enjoy life. I want them to go places and vacation with their grandparents. I loved watching them play with their cousin and so enjoyed spending time with my sister. My parents were a lot of help, as was my sister. This was just one of those trips where we all collapsed on the couch after the kids went to bed and said, "Whew! That was quite a day!"

I really hope they have better dispositions on our next trip!

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