13 month twins and playgroups(19 Posts)
After a year of feeling like I'm doing alright as a twin mum the last month has been a bit of a shocker. I had the idea that my b/g twins would start to self wean from b/feeding, esp at night and that I might start to get a decent stretch if sleep (no sign of this yet...).
But, also, I thought that now my nct friends have gone back to work I should get out there and go to groups to meet new mums and give my dts a chance to play with new toys and make friends.
What I hadn't really thought about was:
1) Getting dts from buggy into library, church hall, children's centres etc is a bloody nightmare. As is getting them back in at the end.
2) A lot of these groups seem really cliquey (not all, I have met some lovely parents/ minders)
3) The stress of trying to keep an eye on 2 at once (and they're not walking yet) makes me very sweaty and sometimes a bit weepy too.
4)all the time spent needing a wee/drink/tissue but not having a chance to do or get anything without fear of dts either hurting or getting hurt.
5) I can't actually have a conversation with anyone so am not making any friends.
I think that I need to be a bit more assertive and ask people for help - I'm working on this but does anyone have any tips on how to do groups with twins?
I don't have twins myself but I've seen staff at the local children's centres help out with twins, holding one while the mum puts a coat on the other, for example. Can you ask the staff at the centres to help out more? They're usually happy to help, from my experience.
I always find the baby sections of the rooms are a bit more gentle, you could have the babies in there and let them do their thing and let you chat to another mum of a young baby?
I'm sure the other parents and playgroup staff would help out by holding one child while you dress the other/go for a wee etc, and in my experience, everyone keeps an eye on everyone else's children as well as their own. Could you bring yourself to just ask? It might be the conversation opener you are looking for, and lead to more play dates etc. Then you could ask people round to your house occasionally, so you have to travel less.
Kids are pretty resilient, there's really not much chance of them getting hurt in a space specially designed for kids to play in.
Personally I would just wait a few more months. Then they will be at the age you can put those little rucksack reins on and walk there easier, can do things by themsleves and won't wander off so much as will understand waiting etc
Try a scheduled class ie music. That way everyone is sat in a circle and entertained by teacher not just wandering around
Spend time in open spaces like the park/ woods etc. that way they can crawl/ run freer and you don't have to worry about hurting others/ buggy logistics etc. can you invite a friend/ neighbour to join
Make visits to library etc when it's quiet at first ie not story time. Then they will get used to getting there/ in/ out/ staying in children's section. Then go to story times once you feel confident about the first bit.
I don't have twins but x2 very close. I found I did just have to set some rules sometimes to make it easier. Ie at a group I would say eldest had to stay in say craft area until we all moved to say ride on cars or whatever. I couldn't just let him wander as if I was trying to feed youngest it wouldn't have been practical
Have you got a local twins club? You can look on TAMBA's website to find out. I'd go there. The relief of being with other parents who understand is enormous. Mine are at school now, but when they were that age it was an oasis of calm to go every week...hope you find something
thanks, some useful suggestions here. I have found that it's easier to get help with getting them in and out etc at children's centre groups than the church hall type ones.
I think I'll pick a couple of groups that we've enjoyed the most and stick with those - and start asking for help more. I must admit I have a tendency to expect people to be able to read my mind...
Artandco, I like your idea about music classes, I will look into this and I'm going to get some backpack reins soon so DTW can (hopefully
fall in love with get used to them).
heritagewarrior, there is a local twins group that I've tried but have found it the least enjoyable of all tbh.
Thanks again, my first post on mumsnet, it's really nice to have had such quick and helpful responses.
Yes would echo some of the good suggestions already made, although less confident about the trying open spaces one! That was always my worse nightmare, with one running one way, and the other running the other. At least in groups they were contained. My suggestion would be to ask if you can bring the buggy right into the group or as near as possible so that the transfer hassle is minimised. Plus see if staff or volunteers can help/keep an eye. Personally, whilst I found other mums of single babies nice to chat too, they were often (I know this is a generalisation) rather more taken up with their own child than being able to keep an eye out for one of mine. I was sorry to read of your unfortunate experience at the twins group, as this was my absolute lifeline. I found these mums much more able to keep an eye on any wayward youngster, having already trained themselves to watch two or more. Is it worth trying again? If you can identify even just a couple of mums at similar age, you could make a little group and do things together at each other's houses. One good thing about having twins is that you only need to have another couple of twin friends and you've got your own little play group anyway! And yes, also now they are mobile insisting right from the start on clear boundaries- not running off etc was (still is) non negotiable for us. We had those twin reigns, which were helpful, but probably no more so than the little backpacks.
Good luck. Hope it gets better for you
The best thing about those rucksacks.. They can gradually start carrying their own rubbish!! Ha
( they are actually good as my two still use theirs now at 2 and 4 without the leash bit but just to carry some water, toy cars, snack to park for example)
Mine are the same age and we don't really do playgroups. Just wanted to say I can sympathise with the breastfeeding and sleep issues though! Having a read a bit more about it recently, it seems babies often don't self wean for a long time after 1, mine are nowhere near ready and still like to feed a few times in the night - more when teething/ill/whatever the reason is. Mostly I share a bed with them as it's the only way I get enough sleep to function in the daytime. I hope it gets a bit easier soon for you to get out and about.
My friend deals with this by her mother staying over once a week and they do a group with the DTs on the following day. You really need a one-one adult to child ratio I fear until you get the hang of it. Do you have any friends or relatives who might help now and again?
My twins are 14 months & we go to one or two playgroups a week. It has taken a while to find ones that are suitable for us but we these ones are okay.
People don't offer to help me either, even friends that I arrange to meet. They sit, usually with their one baby & watch me running around after my twins & toddler & make comments like "It's exhausting just watching you"! Or strangers start conversations about twins as if I'm not there - as in "I'd hate to have twins, it would be my worst nightmare" You are not alone in feeling weepy at times.
Having said that, I still feel a real sense of achievement when we manage to get out & they do all enjoy it. To start with only about half our outings were successful & the others just left me feeling worse, but it us getting easier with practice. I am going to buy hi-vis vests for my children though, as you are right, it is totally exhausting to constantly look for them. People might think I am odd for that but I don't care
Twins Club was a saviour for me when DTs were toddlers. I found the other mums were so much more understanding than groups full of mums with their PFBs. I got some funny reactions from singleton mums when I mentioned Twins Club. Like we were being elitist or something. It's not that at all, just that everyone is in the same boat in a multiples club. Someone with older twins would always offer to help carrying babies to and from the car and if there was a fall or an argument over a toy other mums would be much quicker to step in and lend a hand, knowing you were probably dealing with the other twin.
Also, a friend of mine found a great pool with a crèche. The staff would look after a twin while you swam with the other and then change them and swap so you could swim with both.
Pick where you go and it'll get easier.
This is why I only go to twins clubs. Mums of singletons just do NOT get it and I always end up feeling depressed when I hang out with them. I much prefer twins groups because the other mums are so much more understanding and helpful.
I also find mums of singletons to be quite overwhelming in terms of the stupid stuff they worry about and I am forever having to bite my tongue, thinking 'gosh if only I had the time to worry about minor details like that'!
feesh YY to singleton mothers tending to be a bit PFB! Not all of them of course, but there's nothing like having to find the fastest, most efficient way of getting a job done to teach you that the difference between ideal and satisfactory is really not that important.
Although there wasn't a twins group in my town when I started, we did form an unofficial one. Originally as there was only one shopping trolley in the only supermarket that had a two infant seat set-up, so we all exchanged phone numbers so we could 'book' the trolley! We did have a very pro-active Health Visitor who ran a baby course for six weeks, encouraging us to keep going under our own steam afterwards.
I had to develop the art of asking for help nicely, without coming over as 'entitled'. It was a bit scary at first, but since most of the singleton parents I met at that time still seem to be happy to talk to me fifteen years later, I must have managed it
I had our first successful soft play session the other day (baby area attached to standard soft play - DTs are 9 months, one crawling) and only because I had a friend with me who has a 4 year old so is basically pretty independent at soft play now. She didn't really help all that much and very sweetly kept saying "tell me to do something!" but it gave me a lot more confidence to know I had someone with me. Maybe you know someone similar? Good luck.
You have definitely inspired me to give twins group another try. The low adult to child ratio is surely worth it to spend some time with parents who get it and also I won't get any silly questions/comments like 'are they (my boy girl twins) identical?' or 'aren't they tiny'.
While I'm having a moan I was also recently annoyed by someone in my nct group (first time, singleton mums) who, on the news that one of the group was expecting again, said something along the lines of - you'll be able to tell us what it's like to have 2... I nearly choked on my cake.
I have two older dcs and twins. A couple of thoughts. First of all, try different groups and see which one you like the best. When I had DC1 I was anxious and lonely and too eager to compare myself to other mums (from NCT etc) and feeling unconfident in my abilities. I tried a couple of toddler groups, some were just plain unfriendly and cliquey, til I found some which were friendly and older ladies happy to cuddle a baby whilst I went to loo etc.
With twins, see if you can ask one of the toddler group helpers to help you. You will find that there is often an eldery lady who is gagging for a cuddle given half an opportunity! Cam quite forward in asking for help whereever I am, is anyone going to refuse a struggling twin mum?!
If not, take a friend, relative etc who can help you out?
Or take a buggy into the room with you (allowances have to be given to mums of twins) and swap babies over from being strapped in and cuddled every 20 mins.
Tbh I found twins club the least helpful as everyone had their hands full with their own twins so limited chances to get help, and so manic that a proper conversation could not be had with anyone, but appreciate all clubs are not the same.
Firstly - take it easy. These kind of groups just didn't work for me for all the reasons you say. I eventually found a tiny, one-room drop in playroom and just used that. The making friends thing comes on over time too. I did do structured activities - swimming and baby massage actually - but always took a second adult. I found childless friends were amazing, really ready to do stuff like that with me. I am now friends with people I met back then but it takes time, like any friendship base. But these early connections to local communities have got stronger and syronger in time to "best friends" status. Allow time to do its work.
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