So, the twins will be 2 soon. I'm looking for some advice from other moms who are at that age with their twins, or have been there.
I was in the store today, and a dad was there with his son, who looked to be a couple months younger than our two. The dad was so casual about letting his son wander free around the store (which is fine, it's a small down, everyone is friendly) but his son........... wow! He walked around calmly, looked at people, didn't touch a THING, and was so well behaved.
Why is it if I took ours into the store like that they would be into EVERYTHING! They are NOT allowed to get into everything at home (they try anyway, but don't get away with it). Does anyone else have to deal with this? It would be so much easier to take them out if they weren't constantly whining or screaming or getting into everything. I feel like people look at them and go "They're so spoiled. You let them do anything they want." when... they're most definitely not spoiled... at least, not to my knowledge! They don't get everything they want. They don't always get what they want when they want it.
Any suggestions or ideas? Books to read? I know this will eventually go away, but I want to make the most of now. It's so frustrating to take them anywhere, even if they're in their stroller, because they scream and cry. I look at other peoples kids and wonder how on EARTH they are so calm all the time! It can't just be their temperament, as much as I like to think "That's just the way they are" I keep thinking it HAS to be a parenting trait, and then I think "What am I doing wrong?"
I was often complimented on my kids behavior, but it took a long learning process to get there!
Some things I did (and some I still do at age 6 1/2!)...
Tell them to hold hands - makes one less hand for each that can touch anything else
Tell them to fold their hands
Tell them to put their hands on their belly
Play a silly game on the way to where you are going to get all the sillies out!
Talk about expectations on the way there. We usually play the question game, and did start that around 18-24 months even though they did not fully understand!
"Does Mommy want kids who yell?" NO!
"Does Mommy want good table manners?" Yes
"Should we sit on the floor?" No!
"Should we eat our veggies?" Yes!
Through in some silly questions....it gets all the giggles out! My kids love to ask questions and make up silly ones, but that didn't start until they were a bit older.
Most importantly, set your expectations, even if you think they do not get it, because they will. Be prepapred to leave immediately if those expectations are not met. The kids learn very quickly what is not acceptable. But it doesn't happen over night and you will have to leave more then once! LOL!
I think it is also important to remember that kids at this age are ruled by instant gratification. Their brains have not developed much beyond what is relatively primative, so delay of gratification is a concept they do not understand. That ball is pretty, I must touch it, I must roll it, I must bounce it, why are you taking it away from me? Tantrum ensues... It has nothing to do with parenting, and all to do with where they are at developmentally. Are there limits you can set? Sure. Things like: You must stay in your stroller in the store, you cannot stand in your high chair, etc.. are limits that can easily be enforced. Telling a two-year-old to keep their hands to themselves is not going to work. I think we started the hands on your belly rules when my DS was around 2 1/2 because he was better able to listen and follow those directions with prompts.
I just had to tell my husband that he had to watch the girls while I take DS to gymnastics. He was going to the gym and I was taking everyone to gymnastics. Well, it is miserable for me and the girls. They cannot run around and I get tired of policing them. They scream, they cry, they run in different directions, they play with the water fountain, and they annoy other parents. I had to retrieve nasty dirty candy out of Keira's mouth 5 times yesterday. I am so done! I cannot remove them because their is no where to go. I cannot use a stroller because the set up in this place cannot accommodate even one single stroller. So, I have no way to confine them. It is absolute torture.
As for the store, my girls actually do pretty well as long as we keep moving. I have been taking them to the store since they were newborns though. Although, I will admit we have avoided taking them recently. More for ease than because of their behavior. It is winter and we don't want to try lugging groceries and babies to the car. We do not let them roam though.
My girls do pretty well in restaurants. We have our moments, but overall, they are pretty content. We have also taken them out since they were newborns. They love to color and we often bring coloring books and extra crayons. We love places that give you things like chips or bread before the food comes out in order to keep them occupied. Once we have our food, they are usually happy to eat. We do not allow them to sit in booster seats yet though. They must be in a high chair, which has created some issues on occasion. We actually went to a Pizza Hut that only had one high chair, ONE! What the...??? Needless to say, we left the restaurant and will never go back. We found another Pizza Hut that has like 20 high chairs.
In no way would I ever think that my girls would do well without being confined. If they were allowed to roam in a store or in a restaurant, they would run and scream, grab stuff off shelves, throw stuff around, etc. That is just the age. They are not atypical nor are they misbehaving. I just bring plenty of snacks, sippy cups, books, coloring books, crayons, a lovey, etc. with me wherever we go. Rarely do we have to remove them from a situation, but we do it.
Thanks for your replies.
It's nice to hear I'm not alone. They don't get "yes" or "no" yet, so questions won't work. They are barely talking at all. Spark understands a lot more than she can say, which is good, but like you said, Mel, it's pretty pointless right now to try to teach them not to grab everything in sight. lol
We do set boundaries, but they constantly, CONstantly do what they are not allowed. And yes, I'm aware this is what they're supposed to do. I suppose it's just me being tired of this tiny apartment, and them being bored, and worrying about their development, etc. Robb keeps saying I'm a great mom, but I feel like it's my fault they can't talk very well (if at all) yet, or my fault that they get bored so easily, or are behind on their motor skills. I guess this whole thing is just me feeling guilty about thinking I don't know how to be a good mom.
I guess it's something I have to work on. Stop beating myself up about things and just take it in stride, knowing my babies are healthy and happy, and that they'll learn things eventually.
It's just.... argh! Am I ever going to be able to take them out?? Are they going to be this age FOREVER?? lol
I found that the more I took them out by myself, the better they did. Its hard to do, but the only way they will learn is to practice. Like Heather said, it will take a while to get there but you will. I would go on short trips to the mall and just walk around during the day when most people were at work. That age is very tough - they used to seem to feed off each other! One would push the boundaries and then the other would follow. I would keep them in the stroller for trips when I needed to get something done or when crowds were an issue. I didn't really let them walk freely too much until they were closer to 3. I had to keep my sanity lol
Sean and Emma 10/24/06
Kim - I have no doubt that you are a great mother. All kids develop differently. Milestone averages are just that. Almost all kids will have things that they are ahead of behind with at some point. I question myself a lot with the girls. They don't get enough time with us really. I work full-time, and by the time we get home, it is time to cook dinner, etc. and I don't really get to play with them much. I feel so guilty. It drives me nuts. My oldest really gets the short end of the stick and we are paying for it this year. He is in counseling and we are trying to help him with his anxiety and such, but it has been really hard. I go round and round with quitting my job, but we have to think about retirement...after all none of us will get any social security benefits...and my job requires continuous continuing education and it is rapidly changing. If I get out of the field for even 5 years, I will likely not be able to find a job when I want to return to work. So, it is a horrible catch-22. I often go to bed in tears because I feel like I am not doing enough for my kids. I guess what I am trying to say is that your feelings are normal.
Sarafina still cannot walk up and down our stairs. She is so petite that she has to almost sit on the step as she moves to the next step. It scares her so much. So, we try to get her to hold our hands, but she has phases where she insists we carry her. Technically, that is a delayed milestone for physical development. She cannot jump yet. She is hard to understand with some language, but she does talk. Neither of my girls know any letters or the ABC song. They are starting to learn colors and they attempt to count. My son knew almost all of his letters, all of his colors, and he could count to 20 at their age. I try not to worry, but I do.
Anyway, The thing about being a mother is that we are constantly told what we should and should not be doing with our kids, and what our kids should be doing. When we are not feeling like we, as mothers, or our kids are up to par, we feel like we are somehow deficient. The thing is that we are all good parents. We love our kids and we do what we can to help them grow. That is all that really matters.
I really echo the need to talk about expectations, firmly. I do this with my boys, prior to arriving anywhere (or doing anything, really, LOL!). Just last night we took them to our older daughter's swimming lessons to sit pool side in chairs, and watch. It was the first time we had taken them. In the afternoon, well ahead of time, I told them they would be coming to swimming lessons, and were going to watch Ava. They were going to sit quietly in the chairs, and watch her. I repeated this 2 or 3 times in the van on the way there. And they did great!!! Now, I do not have quiet, particularly calm little boys. They are active, and stubborn, and everything else toddlers are. But in short stints, with a lot of talk ahead of time, they are starting to do really really well.
I also react immediately to infractions, physically. Meaning I don't keep sitting down and just call out to them. I immediately get up and in front of them, at eye level.
Does it always work? Heck no. At home sometimes James is a complete maniac. But he is really starting to behave quite well when we are out and about.
I think having high expectations at all times helps behavior in situations when you are in public.
Ava 6 years
James and Eric, born November 2009
Kim- I have been thinking about you over the past day. So, I wanted to offer this. It is important to remember how the brain develops. A toddler's prefrontal cortex is not at all developed. That is the area of the brain that helps control attention, concentration, planning, and assists with emotional regulation. Is it any wonder that two-year-olds cannot inhibit impulses, sit for long periods of time, or even plan their behaviors? I think it is important to just provide ways to help your toddlers stay within a structure while you are out and about. I try to plan ahead when I can. For example, Isaiah had his birthday party last Saturday. I bought the girls a special Mickey coloring book pack for 97 cents at Walmart. We took that with us as well as plenty of books, a snack, two sippy cups, and their stuffed animals. Keira had two tantrums because she was hungry while we were waiting for pizza. Other than that, my girls did fantastic. I just made sure they had plenty to keep them busy. You do these things.
The other thing to remember is that I know you are struggling with their language development. Language is a two-way street. There is receptive language and expressive language. So, it is important to know how much your twins are understanding you as well as knowing what they can express. If they cannot understand some of what you say, setting expectations is rather hard. If a child does not know what "sit down" means, how can they do what you ask? In addition, if they cannot tell you what they want, need, etc... how do you think they are going to communicate? They are going to point, walk over to what they want, grab what they want, yell, scream, throw themselves on the floor, knock things out of your hand, etc. Yes, we need to let them know that some behaviors are unacceptable, like tantrums. However, don't feel like you are not a good mother because of those behaviors. Recognize them for what they are...attempts at communication.
Remind me again what services they receive for speech? Is there concern about receptive language as well as expressive language? Will they point to objects in books?
Its hard, toddlers are difficult, twin toddlers, even more difficult. My boys are getting better as I take them out more and as they are getting older. I sometimes let them walk freely, depending on the store, but if they start to run away from me, its in the cart they go. They have figured out fairly quickly mommy's expectations. But I am not super brave and take them out by myself maybe once a week or less. lol. It still intimidates me, and then when they do have a public tantrum or what not, I'm so embarrassed. lol
And they are complete little destroyers at home. I have been so frustrated this week, they have unshelved all their books about 3 times this week, so I was attempting to move the shelf out of their room (ya know, remove the tempation) and the entire hunk of walmart junk fell apart. Grrrr! Then they take all the movies out of the cupboard and refuse to clean it up (I put them in time out until they are ready, they kept repeating time out, but no cleaning--which usually is the opposite, it works for us), so I put them in their room for 5minutes so I could have a break, I was losing my cool. They then overturned their toy bin for the second time that week. I was soooo frustrated. It wasn't quite naptime, but we did it anyhow. I sat in their room until they fell asleep saying in the sternest voice-"Lay down!". It took Wyatt all of 4 times and 10 min, but my sweet Abram 20+ times and 40 minutes. I have sat in their room the last two days, and it is getting much faster. Before I was refusing to sit in their room and waste my time, but I couldn't handle the destruction every nap time, and they really do need a nap, especially since they are sleeping longer now that I go in there until they fall asleep, and sleeping better at night). Maybe I should go out more, I think they behave better in public than at home. lol
Anyhow, not to postjack, just to sympathize, 2 is terrible and terrific! (that is 2 for twins and years!)
Rachel, momma to 4
dd 9, ds 7, twin boys Dec 09
I nursed my twins for 2years and 2 weeks! A little sad to be all done now.