How I treat my firstborn now I have baby twins(11 Posts)
My gorgeous four-year-old firstborn was the absolute love of my life but now I also have seven-month-old twins, I am so tired and overwhelmed that I can barely cope with DD1 anymore. All she gets from me now is "Not now/I haven't got time/ I'm busy/just stop talking/I've got to do x,y,z for the babies, stop that/ NO/ DON'T...." etc. Basically the message she's getting from me consistently is "Your needs are hugely inconvenient/ irrelevant to me now, stop bothering me, l only care about the babies now."
This is pretty much the message I got from my Mum throughout my childhood as I was the eldest of three born close together. I still struggle to feel that my needs are of any consequence and have always suffered low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I can't bare the thought that I am starting to subject my darling eldest to the same unhappiness.
I kiss and cuddle her as often as I can, just brief snatches of time, and tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of her but I worry for her having to put herself to bed/ do without what she needs emotionally from me when she needs it etc. DP works long hours but spends time at home with her although he's often equally short with her and also very frustrated by her needs.
She seems fine but what is this doing to her?
I had a similar set up when my twins were born, although my eldest was not quite 2 years old.
What worked for me was putting everything except the children first in the daytime. I just didn't care about the housework etc and devoted my time to the children.
I guess I was lucky in that I was able to coordinate the twins nap times, so the times they slept in the day, I just did stuff with eldest. Although we had a bedtime routine, the twins went to bed first and then I had another half hour to focus on eldest.
I also set up things that were suitable for eldest's development at the big table eg play dough, where he could have fun without the twins grabbing his stuff.
I was also fortunate to have an amazing MIL who would take him somewhere fun twice a week so I knew he was getting quality time with someone.
It IS tough, I do feel for you.
Errr.....putting the children first, not everything else.
Wow Lechat, thank you so much for your reply. It's made me really think about my priorities. I focus constantly on the chaos in the house and never on what DD1 and I could do together. I rarely did that before the twins arrived either.
I'm having trouble getting the babies to settle to sleep much before ten at night, otherwise I could catch up on chores then, leaving the day free to focus on good quality time with my children. I think I will really try my utmost from now on, to get them settled much earlier in the evening . I guess it's not rocket science but I've been really blinkered, and blind to what I've been doing, and to what my eldest and I have been missing.
Lechatrouge, many many thanks - you may have just saved the day!! Xxx
Ds1 was 2.8 when our dts were born, and is 4 now, so I understand completely. I did find the dts got suddenly much easier around 6-7 months, they started being able to play on their own for short periods which gave me time with ds. I also talked to him about their needs being equally important as his, but more urgent. When I couldn't do something, I would promise to do it the next chance I got, and try very hard to keep that promise.
Since the dts turned 1 they all play together, which is lovely. It won't always be this hard, and they will grow up with each other. Hang in there.
Many thanks. MamaC for your post. Yes, it is true that they all have each other and I am looking forward to seeing those relationships develop.
I will do that from now on, making and keeping specific promises to DD1.
Thank you again for your help x
I had a DD1 who was two-and-a-half when the twins arrived. I have felt very guilty too at times. From around six-months-ish we were able to get the babies to bed before DD1 so she got time with me then. I also try to give her some attention during their naps - although not always - sometimes I need to clean/ cook/ eat then myself - so she gets a bit of telly.
There are some things I have found we can all do together - like dancing. I put on music she enjoys and will dance with her. If a baby cries I pick it up and it joins in the dance.
I have also found little craft things from the £1 shop or just drawing and gluing can be good. She does them at a table, and even if I am with the babies on the floor I can be looking up and talking to her about her creation. And if the babies cry a bit while I help her stick something it doesn't kill them.
DD1 likes making cakes and while I feel a big baking project is too much with the twins most days, I have put pride aside and bought those cake mixes so we can quickly do it together during nap time without too much weighing and mess.
Sometimes the babies quite like watching DD1 and I throw a ball to each other or catching it for a few mins.
Having said all that, remember the babies will not be babies forever. This is short term and your oldest will hardly remember it. In a couple of years the attention should get a bit more even and your oldest will have two siblings. Your firstborn is lucky. She has a mum who thinks she's gorgeous, worries about her and she has brothers/ sisters.
I am the oldest with twins two years younger. Not scarred by it. I know my Mum involved me in their care a lot and that I was allowed to stay up half an hour later for stories with my Dad. Are you on your own? Can you find half an hour that is sacrosanct for DD1 while someone else is on twin duty? That might make you feel less guilty and you can teach her the time and show her when it is her special time.
janberry, I too devote the days to my not-quite-2 year old
PFB DD and 20 week old twins. The housework is minimal. I avert my gaze from skirting boards etc and too much scrutiny anywhere. I'm lucky though, paying a cleaner for 3 hours a week so basics get done. Cannot get the dts napping at all well or in synchrony so lots of pushchair walking/ nap timed outings.
I'm also worried about less time with my eldest, but today Dh drove the babies round for an hour while I took DD swimming. I felt SO much better for our 1:1 hour. I'd second trying to get just 30 min with her, for no jobs, nothing but her. In fact, I'm sure I read if you can devote 15 min a day to.them, uninterrupted, no phone/ agenda from you but follow their lead and join in with them for just that short burst that's wonderful for a child.
But I hear you on the bedtime, hard here too, but I'm upping the ante to try and get them down ay the same time as DD for the Great Laundry Sorting to be done, my least favourite daily event...
Pink, Rose and Dreaming, many thanks for adding your ideas and experience a. You've given me lots to think about and digest. And I 'm sure you're right that even a short 15 minutes daily of pure 1:1 is going to have a powerful effect. I'll keep reading over all of the posts here over the next few weeks and put your suggestions into practice. Many thanks to all of you xxx
There was 2.5 years between my DD and my twins, I felt like you until I spoke to my HV and she said to let the twins cry as long as there was nothing wrong with them and pay attention to my DD but to make a point of telling her that the twins can wait! It worked wonders......she also suggested getting her to help me so we did things like......when it was bed time she would hold one and I would hold the other while I read a story. When it was bath time she used to sit in the bath and hold one, we would wash them together then swop. I didn't want to put on her in the beginning as I didn't want her to resent them but my HV said she would resent them if she felt left out and getting her to help is copying mummy and she would love that, best advise anyone gave me! I actually couldn't have done it without her help, as she got older she was just fantastic. Then when the twins became toddlers the three of them would play lovely together. Also once the twins got into a routine I let my DD stay up for an extra half an hour because she was mummy's big girl.........oh how I miss the days of them being so young
Try and enjoy it more as it is wonderful, try and make one room completely child friendly so you can get on and do other things. I'm with one of the other posts though and just forget housework and just concentrate on your DC. My DD would sing songs to them in their bouncy chairs while I did the washing up or the ironing then we would go to the park and we would push one each on the swing then she would have a go while I held one of twins who I would pretend was pushing her
Good luck and I hope you find away, do you not have any help? X
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