This holiday season was truly jam-packed for us! Nearly every day, from Thanksgiving through the end of December was filled to the brim with work, travel, holidays, a wedding, friends, and family. Every day was fun, but crazy busy. Crazy busy tends to bit a bit stressful for me, no matter how much fun I’m having. Which is why, at the end of every December, I find myself longing for normalcy, for routine, and for simplicity.
This year, more than ever, I could see that need reflected back at me in my girls. Every day was full for them this year, too. So many new experiences, sights, sounds, and tastes. It was just magical to see them exploring, but I could also see that they were wearing down and needing to return to their norm. Their simple little world needed to be restored just like mine did.
We began our new year by packing away our Christmas decorations, deep cleaning the house, purging the things we no longer need, and finally folding and putting away the mountains of laundry we never seemed to find the time to deal with during all the chaos of the holidays. It felt deeply restorative, getting back to routine and simplicity. The girls began to sleep better (which was a HUGE issue the whole month, due to erratic bedtimes), there were fewer tantrums, and they were just back to their normal happy selves.
I think that’s the thing with simplicity, sometimes it takes a bit of chaos to really appreciate it. The simple things are quiet and subtle, easily eclipsed by the shiny, loud, and chaotic times in life. But it’s those times that are exactly what it takes to remind us how much the simple and peaceful things in our lives, like quiet evenings at home, daily tasks, and routines matter and make us happy.
Now, I’m making a point to really try enjoy and relax in my daily routines, big and small. Remembering how much I miss my simple life and simple routines when they’re not there.
Don’t take simplicity for granted. It’s the best!
Taking the girls out to the pumpkin patch and trick-or-treating got me thinking about how much things have changed in the past year.
I remember taking the girls to get pumpkins last year, really wanting to go and make those memories, but being so nervous to take them out of the house in the evening. We were just coming off of 12 or so brutal weeks of double colic and the 10 hour screaming sessions every night. Things had been improving, but J and I were both SO gunshy. Things went ok, only one bought of screaming in the car, but I remember feeling the strain of wondering if/when the real screaming would start.
Halloween night was much the same. We took the girls for a little “trick-or-treating” at the mall, which the girls mostly slept through, but there was still the looming threat of colic screaming.
That’s the thing with colic. It comes out of nowhere, for no particular reason, and lasts for weeks. In the great scope of things, it’s not that long a time, but it’s so stressful and nerve wracking. It can make you feel like a failure. It can test your sanity. I remember walking the girls in their stroller for HOURS every night, trying to get them to sleep, just for a little while, so that I could sleep and so that my mind could rest. I cried almost as much as they did. But then, just as mysteriously as it started, it stopped.
Things are so vastly different now, a year later. My once colicky new borne are happy, energetic toddlers who snuggle in their beds and tell us, “night night” when they go to sleep at night. They still cry, obviously, but briefly, and for clear reasons like skinned knees or stolen sippy cups. They ran around the pumpkin patch this year laughing, and loved going out trick-or-treating and wearing their costumes.
Having twins is so overwhelming during their first year. Everyone told me it would be, but there’s just no way to understand the intensity of it unless you’ve lived it. But it gets better and easier and infinitely more fun. If you’re sitting there reading this shell shocked from parenting colicky babies, you have my deepest sympathies. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
I am about to share something that may shock you. My life is kind of chaotic. Oh wait. That’s not actually shocking, is it?
I have twins. Toddler twins. Chaos comes with the territory. I think chaos pretty much comes with toddlers no matter how many you have, but it is definitely a numbers game* when it comes to containing all the crazy. Two toddlers means two little crazies who are climbing and running and dancing all over the place (often in opposite directions), not very good at using their words yet, and prone to epic mood swings. It is enormous fun, but also extremely exhausting.
Some days are easier than others. Everyone naps at the same time, there are no injuries (see above…climbing, running, dancing…), I get to shower and drink my coffee before noon. Other days, not so much. Those days are full of skinned knees and tears, the floors begin to resemble a mine field of toys and books and Cheerios, and I end the day utterly depleted. Most days fall in the middle of those extremes, though. A little tiring, a lot of fun, but always full of crazy and chaos.
That’s what I’m getting at here. Chaos isn’t a bad thing, neither is crazy. It just is, and it’s a part of life, especially with twins. Containing all the chaos has required some recalibration in my life. New versions of normal, new and always changing expectations for myself, my home, my life. It always requires help. Repeat after me, “Chaos is ok. Chaos is normal.” Because it is. Some days it’s just better contained than others. And, hey, at least they haven’t burned the place down yet, right?
*Speaking of numbers games, I am always grateful to have a 1:1 ratio of adult to toddler in my home. Together, J and I tag-team this twin thing pretty well, I think. Toy mine field and all.
Z and R are obsessed with the Minions in Despicable Me. Their reaction is nothing short of delight, with lots of squeals and laughter, so when they brought out the Despicable Me DVD tonight, my husband decided to set up a little movie night for us. He brought out one of their mattresses and some blankets. I set the girls up with some Cheerios and we settled in to enjoy the Minions.
We laughed and played and ran around a little (let’s face it, 16 month olds don’t sit still. Ever.) . We had a blast.
I love nights like this, when the four of us can hang out and goof off together. I love that we can make memories like this together. Some of my favorite memories as a child are simple nights spend at home with my parents and brother, so I’m more than excited to create the same types of experiences for my daughters. I spend every day looking forward to more wonderfully fun times together.
I love my family
Parenting twins can be a tricky business. It comes with a unique challenges and concerns, and it can often be tough to find help and wisdom from people who have been there because, frankly, there aren’t nearly as many parents of multiples as there are parents of singletons. That’s why it’s so important for all of us twin parents to band together and pool our support and information resources. That’s also why I’m immensely proud and excited to have been given the opportunity to blog for an amazing new podcast called Twin Talks. I’ve been given the chance to join this fantastic team of twin parent bloggers to share our experiences, encourage, and support each other and all the other twin parents out there, so be sure to check it out!