Monday, April 25, 2011

Routine is King

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past two years of raising twins, it’s that routine is king. It’s what makes our world go ‘round. Actually, it’s what keeps our world of double blessings from spinning violently off its precariously balanced axis.

When it comes to managing everything in twos, a consistent schedule has been my best friend. This hasn’t been easy for a girl who, to an extent, prefers to be flexible and to dwell in an environment where every day is different. That’s what keeps life exciting, right?

I learned quickly that twins, by their very nature, keep life exciting and different—especially once they hit that lovely age of two. This is why I always fall back on our daily routine to manage the demands of double the diaper changes, double the feedings, double the bathing, double the laundry, double the meltdowns and double the fun.

I first took this cue from Marc Weissbluth, M.D., author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins.” There are so many wonderful books out there that offer great advice on managing multiples. This one happened to strike a chord with me, and it’s become somewhat of a survival guide for our little family. When talking about sleep training your twins, he writes: “In the beginning, one down, both down.”

I turned this into a mantra and, especially in the all-critical first year, lived by this rule. It’s easier said than accomplished. Actually, it’s WAY easier said than accomplished, and it takes the consistency and patience of a saint (not that I’m calling myself a saint, I’m just saying it’s challenging.) But, in the end, it’s worth the work.

I’ve found that having a routine helps me identify the boys’ best times of day so I can take them out with minimal meltdowns. It also helps me identify when one of the boys may not be feeling well, because sickness always throws them off their typical “game.” Most of all, the schedule promotes good, synchronized (this is key with twins) sleeping habits so that I get at least one precious hour in the afternoon to catch my breath and my husband and I get much needed time together in the evening to rest and recharge for the inevitable excitement the next day will bring.

My borrowed advice to all mom-of-multiples-to-be on developing a synchronized schedule and daily routine, particularly in the early months:

One baby sleeps, both babies sleep. One baby wakes, both babies are awake. One baby eats, both babies eat.

And, if you are in the early days with twin babies where fitting a shower into your daily schedule is about as challenging as climbing Mt. Everest, take a deep breath. I promise it gets better.

Ashley Antle spends her days managing the adventures of her two-year-old twin boys Nathan and Caden, and feels blessed to have the constant support of her husband Sean.

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