Amber wrote a really good post over at How Do You Do It? about the differences in raising boys and girls. She brought up the subject of climbing. Kason and Cohen are most definitely climbers. They climb on everything they possibly can – into cupboards, onto chairs, coffee tables, up drawers, onto the windowsills. There is just no stopping them, so we do our best to make it safe for them and just keep an eye on them while they explore. Their favourite game at the moment is climbing up the end of the 3-seater couch, face-planting their way along it, rolling off onto strategically placed (by themselves) cushions and repeating. Over and over and over again! They have even figured out how to take turns doing it.
This afternoon, I took the boys to a big wooden adventure playground not far from us. Simon has come with us all the other times we've been. There is a decent sized area for under-5s, and a HUGE area for the bigger kids. For the first 10-minutes or so, both Cohen and Kason were happy to stay in the little kids' area. But then Kase remembered he was missing out on the huge structures he could climb on in the other area. There isn't a gate between the two, so he was off like a shot! Of course Cohen was close behind him. I figured it would be easier to just let them go for it, it wasn't worth the fight to keep in the under-5s area. I pretty much used the same strategy as when I flew alone with them – I kept one within reach, and watched the other. All well and good until Kason wanted to climb up to the top of the playground on one side and Cohen wanted to climb something on the other side. Yeah...wasn't going to happen. It made me feel so bad that I had to stop Kason climbing what he wanted to, purely because there were two of them and one of me.
I really do try my best to not let that imbalance of parent:child stop us doing things that other Mums do with their children. I think that with two babies it can be hard to get out and get involved with things, as the logistics are often more difficult than if there was only one baby. When I have to 'duck to the shops' to grab a couple of things, where most mothers can just carry their child in, I have to get the double stroller out and put the boys in there. They are now getting to the age where they don't particularly want to be in the stroller – they would much rather walk, but I just can't let two 17-month olds walk in the shops when there is just one of me! There are plenty of examples of situations where the logistics just don't work, or are made more complicated, but there are still many things we can do.
Right from the time we got them home from hospital when they were just shy of a month old, I have been taking them out for walks, to Mothers Group, to twins group, to several playgroups, to the library, to the shops. I often worry about how things will work when we go somewhere new, but I figure it will all work out, and if it doesn't, we can leave. We haven't had to leave something yet. Although, one thing which I absolutely will not attempt without a second adult is taking Cohen and Kason to the beach or pools. There is just no chance. I've had to remind some of the girls in my Mothers Group a couple of times, but they know now, and on the super hot days when we want to catch up, we go to someone's house and get the paddling pool out J
It can be so tempting to stay at home when you have small twins, but I find that getting out and doing things in those early days really does give you more confidence to try other things when they get a bit older. And if you are really uncertain about something, I'm all for scoping it out beforehand with someone there to help!