by Jennifer Landels
Q: I’m expecting my third baby and am wondering what it will be like to add a singleton to the mix. My twins are such a duo; I’m having a hard time picturing what it will be like for the little one to grow up in the twin shadow.
A: Twins do seem to garner more than their fair share of attention, whether it’s
from passersby who seem magnetically drawn to doubles, grandparents who are delighted to each have a baby to hold, or parents who feel they’re twice as busy as all their peers attending to the needs of multiples.
But remember almost all attention twins receive is divided in half. Your singleton, on the other hand will have so many benefits. You are now an experienced mother: you’ve had not one, but two older guinea pigs on whom to practise trial-and-error parenting. If we’re to feel sorry for anyone it’s for all those first-born singletons out there who have had to bear the brunt of our early tries at the parenting gig. Breast feeding a single baby will be a breeze in comparison, and you’ll be able to gaze as long as you like into those newborn eyes without feeling you have to keep switching your focus from one baby to the next. You’ll be able to practise baby-wearing full time – something you can only do with twins when your partner is home too – and you’ll be able to sit on the floor playing with your toddlers while nursing your baby in one arm.
Just imagine what a fabulous hothouse of love and sensory stimulation this new baby will be born into. Don’t worry too much about your twins either. Most older children feel some normal resentment and displacement at the birth of a new sibling, but for twins this road is so much easier to travel. They have been used to sharing your attention since birth, and going from half to a third is not nearly as hard as going from all to half. Plus, they always have each other, which is no small thing. There will of course be quandaries that come up when you have three children, only two hands, and only two parents. You will always feel you are balancing and juggling who sits where, who holds whose hand, and so on. But these are issues for any family with more than two children, regardless of birth order. Enjoy the one-baby time you’ll have with your singleton while her siblings play with each other. Just beware of periods of unusual peace and quiet in your household, perhaps punctuated by distant giggles. It usually means your twins have decided to redecorate the bathroom with wads of wet toilet paper while your attention was elsewhere!