As a parent of twins, people gravitate to you. Especially parents of younger twins. They want to ask questions, to be reassured. Especially the ones with the really young babies, deep in the sleep deprived world of that first year.
They look at you with that very sleep deprived sort of desperation that only twin parents know. “It gets easier, right?”
What do I tell them? The truth?
Sure. It gets easier, in some ways.
And in some ways it gets harder.
Their needs become fewer, you are not constantly making sure they are breathing, and regulating their temperature, and getting enough calories. No more worrying about how many minutes of tummy time, or whether you breastfed enough, or the guilt over the c-section and the formula. No more checking the monitor at all hours, wondering if you should turn them back to their tummy when they’ve rolled over, no more counting milestones.
It gets easier. Their needs are fewer.
But there are new needs. They aren’t so obvious. They aren’t so much about keeping them clothed and clean and fed. Fewer needs, but bigger needs.
The needs become about their mental health, their emotions, their education, their social adjustment. Fewer. But so much bigger. So much harder to solve.
With a baby, when he cries, he's either communicating discomfort - he's hungry, or cold, or wet, or he doesn't feel well - or he's tired. All of these things usually have straightforward solutions.
But with an older child, or tween, or teen, their problems are so much hard to unravel and diagnose and solve. The challenges are so much bigger. But so are the triumphs and achievements. They give back, they communicate, they affirm that you're doing it right.
I think most of us delude ourselves that if we can just live through the sleepless baby stage, then we've made it, we're home free. And so that's why some of the other stages can come as such a shock. Everybody talks about babies, there is so much advice out there about sleep and feeding and such. But with each year of age, comes less advice. You are more on your own to navigate and figure it out.
Parenting is a challenge, a learning curve, and a reward.