“This is the way we went to visit you in hospital when the babies were born, mummy,” my four year old said last week. We were on a route we hadn’t been down for a while. She was right it was the same way we would go to the hospital. I was surprised she remembered because the twins are over a year old. Recently we have gone to a friends house she hasn’t visited for about six months but which we went to a lot and she had absolutely no memory of it. So the fact she remembered showed what an impact the arrival of her sisters had in her young life.
I spent a lot of time feeling anxious during the pregnancy that we would be ruining her life. We had debated for a long time whether to have another child, let alone two. In the end the argument that she was always inconsolable when we left her friends won. She has always wanted someone to play with and doesn’t seem content on her own. Still I knew having two babies would mean having far less time to spend with her, less attention, less money, less patience. She was so used to being the centre of attention I thought it was going to be hard for her to adjust.
I had to tell my daughter we were having twins pretty early, because I was so ill with extreme morning sickness and everyone knew and kept asking her if she was looking forward to being a big sister. I would have liked to have waited until at least 6 months so it wasn’t such a long time for her to wait. I didn’t sit her down and have a big heart to heart as she was too young at 2 1/2. I would just mention it whenever we saw a pregnant lady or a baby. We involved her when we could, buying baby things, choosing baby names (no we did not go with her choice Rudolph and Goo Goo), painting the nursery and choosing them a present. She decided to give them her pink bedtime bears which she no longer played with as she has a blue one.
Our main problem was we didn’t know anyone with twins so she wasn’t familiar with seeing two babies. We tackled this with reading lots of books about twins and watching TV shows with twins. Luckily there are quite a few, here are some favourites.
I also took her to the local twins club so she would get used to seeing lots of twins. Now having two babies is so normal for her, she is always a bit surprised, and sad for anyone who only has one baby.
Having a planned c-section meant it was easy to sort out childcare and she had a lovely morning with my mum. The babies were born before lunch and so by afternoon visiting time she was able to come and meet her new sisters. It couldn’t have been smoother.
I had read so often that you have to make sure you are not holding the baby (babies!) when the older sibling arrives at the hospital that I was really worried how she would react. A family member also told me about her older child who shed a single tear at the sight of her new baby sister. I’m not sure if it was all the preparation but my daughter ran into the room so excitedly. She had only seen me that morning so was not at all interested in a hug from me, although later she did have time to wonder where my big tummy had gone. Instead she asked, “where are my sisters?” and was rushed to their cot. Although, it has not all been plain sailing from there, most of the time she loves to have them around, and cannot imagine a time before they were here.
I am so glad she can remember the day they were born, and that it is a happy memory for her and all of us.