The twins’ big brother
With twins on the way, here’s how we helped our oldest feel special.
When we found out our second pregnancy was twins my first thought was ‘Yay!’  My second thought was ’My poor sweet little boy’.

I spent most of my pregnancy trying to absorb as much of my son Daniel as possible as I found it almost unbearably sad to think how radically his life would change with not one, but 2 little sisters invading his space.

I didn’t want him to get lost in the furore over the new babies and end up resenting them as he was only 22 months old when they were born.

Now, almost 3 years down the line I cannot imagine our life any other way, but it would not have been possible if we didn’t have all the advice, love and help from so many people.

Keeping older siblings in focus

Here are some of the things that worked for us:

1. My lovely clinic lady suggested we keep 3 boxes with different activities in the baby room just for him.  It would give him a little ‘space’ of his own and keep him busy whilst you are busy with the babies.  It worked really, really well and we picked activities that you can be involved with without putting babies down (colouring in and discussion of colours and shapes etc).

2. We told him all about his sisters and encouraged him to touch them and cuddle them.  (I had to just close my eyes and suck up my motherly fears. Luckily they were very sturdy babies).

3. We made a big fuss about taking photos of the three of them when they arrived. (See the picture above left, can you see how proud he looks?).

4. In the early days there was always a granny or a nanny or a daddy around to give him an extra cuddle and spend much needed one-on-one time with him.  And make a fuss about him.

5. We reminded our families and visitors how proud he was of his little sisters so that he never NEVER felt excluded as people tend to make a fuss over babies in general and twins in particular.

6. We stuck to our routine and even though we had a limited social life for the first year it was worth it.  He felt safe in his routine and it helped us limit tired tantrums and additional change that would stress him out unnecessarily.

7. My husband and I took turns in the early days to do little trips with him by ourselves to the shops and he loved it.  Even if it was just going to do a quick Pick n Pay shop, we would spend that time chatting with him alone.

8. We ate dinner together every night at the dining room table.  It wasn’t always fun and it wasn’t pretty most of the time and many nights there were colicky twins being shushed in a pram, but by dammit, we would have supper together as a family.  Today we always eat together and the result is that they peer pressure each to eat their food. It’s beautiful!

9. I am extremely lucky that we had a wonderful nanny and both my husband and I don’t travel or work strange hours, which made it a lot easier to maintain a routine.

Is my family perfect?  Absolutely not. We have had our fair share of biting, shoving and pushing, but I firmly believe we made Daniel feel included and loved and wanted.  And that was a good start for me.

How do you help older siblings adapt to a new baby (or two)?

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