Limits to my superpowers

I tend to pride myself on the variety of activities I undertake with two 13-month-olds in tow.  I take them grocery shopping, I take them out to lunch, I take them to classes.  All by myself, no biggie.  I mean, yeah, it’s more complicated than it would be with one kid, but I’ve got my strategies and my double stroller.  I am pretty confident in my abilities.

But, in truth, there are some things better not done solo.  Today’s case-in-point: taking them to the playground by myself.  This is a nice one.  Fenced in, relatively compact, and shredded recycled tires that make a pretty soft surface in case of falls.  Has some baby swings, and some less-steep slides.  But the fact of the matter is that I have two mobile-but-not-steady kids who don’t take direction and haven’t entirely figured out that you can’t crawl straight off of surfaces 3 (or 6 or 10) feet above the ground.

I mean, we did OK.  No one was in any way injured.  They were a big hit with a couple of five-year-old girls.  But at this age, it’s just a really tricky outing to do by myself.  Lots of chasing, lots of pulling off of high places (and ensuing proto-tantrums), lots of lifting that’s causing my lower back to grumble menacingly at me right now.  And none of the other moms are particularly able (even if they were hypothetically willing) to help me, because they obviously have their own kids to watch and prevent from falling.  It’s just one of those things that, at this age, is better done with a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio.

We really needed an outing this afternoon. They skipped the afternoon nap again, a nap that currently has only about a 60-70% success rate.  The trouble is that they really seem to still need it, and are often hysterical when they don’t get it.  And when they’re hysterical because they haven’t napped, and I haven’t had any break because they haven’t napped, it’s best if we all get the hell out of the house.  So, off we went.  Stopped at the Starbucks drive-thru for a mommy pick-me-up, and off we went two towns over to the park. (Yeah, my sucky town doesn’t have much by way of playgrounds… boo.)

Naturally, they both passed out by the time we arrived.  Hrm.  So, there I am, the weirdo sitting in her car at the playground.  Hope no one thought I was a stalker.  I let them sleep for a few and tried to relax and listen to the radio and check my email on my enabler iPhone.  Then I got out of the car, and opened the sliding doors.  They didn’t wake up.  I put on their shoes.  Didn’t even twitch.  I unbuckled their carseats, called their names, stroked their heads.  Nothing.  See what I mean about needing the sleep?  Anyways, just when I was going to give up and go back home, they stirred.  Great, brought them over to the playground.  We stayed for about half an hour until Rebecca lost it when I pulled her away from the slide so another kid could go down without kicking her in the head.  Let’s just say it was an ugly afternoon and an early bedtime.

I recognize that this is the beginning of the dreaded switch to one nap, but as much of a struggle as the afternoon nap is right now, I honestly don’t believe it’s time for it to go. Plus, they’re still completely ready for the AM nap at 9:00, and that’s obviously way too early to be the only one for the day.  But they only seem to really take the afternoon one if I do something that involves a lot of running around in between the naps.  Easier said than done, for sure, especially with Daniel not yet walking and the weather hinting that we won’t be able to play outside forever.  My buddy Dr. Weissbluth seems to agree that’s the way to go: “intense stimulation” after the AM nap, but then “extra long and relaxing soothing to sleep for the midday nap.”  I’m not sure what on earth the latter should look like with two kids who just want to climb on me, but I suppose I’ll give it a shot.  I suspect there will be a lot of back-and-forth on this one until the day comes when we just go to the one nap.  Wohoo.



Filed under Child Development, Out and about, Toddlers

13 responses to “Limits to my superpowers

  1. I know that playground. It’s great for toddlers, but I know a few that are even better for twin toddlers in our area. Let me know if you want some recommendations. Also, I’ve found going with other moms of toddler twins in helpful. A 2 to 4 ration doesn’t sound like it would be better but it really is.

  2. Rebecca

    Um, I want the recommendations, even if Goddess doesn’t!!! Post away! I second the go with other moms idea, although I would NOT go with moms of one baby. Oddly, I have not found that improving the ratio in that way is as helpful to me as it should be.

  3. You are seriously living my life…..or I’m living your life….whatever. I met my Twin’s Club at a playground this Monday and we had to leave after complete meltdowns because I wouldn’t let them climb up to the big slides. Other twin moms were letting their two climb up the stairs and would send them each down the slide alone (as young as 13 months!). Mine just aren’t ready for that yet. I took my daughter up once and slid down in my lap. By the time I got back to my son, he had a mouth full of mulch. They don’t yet know how to come DOWN stairs, so I spend my time frantically pulling one down off of of whatever they are attempting to climb and running back to get the other one, hoping that they haven’t taken a dive down the stairs. Exhausting!

    Anyway, good luck and I feel your pain! 🙂

  4. liz, i do not know if this will help, but we started the switch to one by limiting their a.m. nap. initially i woke them at one hour, then 45 minutes, then 30 until they started to protest the p.m. nap if they even so much as closed their eyes. this seemed to make sure that they went down for their p.m. much more consistently.

    the park thing is so tricky. i have scoped out parks and found which ones are safer vs too crazy for toddlers. sounds like rhonda knows a few. good luck.

  5. Funny, when I read your whole post, the part that stood out to me was “until the day comes when we just go to one nap.” It was not a one day process for us! The boys were on one nap at day care much earlier than they were on one nap at home. And the road from 2 to 1 was long and hard with missed naps, tantrums, and craziness.

    I wish I could say going to playgrounds gets easier as they get more mobile, but they just get faster. I am pretty great at picking up one boy and running to chase the other!

  6. Crap, I just realized my comment was a downer. Kind of like people telling me the 3s are so much harder than the 2s.

    I will say it is awesome to be able to take two kids to the playground and have them play!

    And I love the post title. I’ve got lots of limits to my twin mom superpowers too. (I have to finish grocery shopping in the time it takes two toddlers to devour the free cookies).

  7. Mamie: yeah, I’ve started waking them from the AM nap if it goes longer than 1 1/2 hours. But I know I’m going to have to start making that time even shorter. Or, at least, that’s the plan. I sure do hate waking them up from a good nap!! Alas.

  8. Eva

    I thought the park thing got easier for us around 18 months — it seems like Laura didn’t feel the same, but her boys are a lot more physical than mine — mine don’t jump yet, for instance. When they were littler I would sometimes keep one in the stroller/wagon for part of the time while I followed one around, then switch (I still do this if they want to go down the giant slide with me). They don’t love just watching, but they deal.

    Also, huge open fields worked well when they were too young to handle playground equipment. If you have any, you might want to try that.

  9. As a mother of three, I too know what it’s like to struggle with naptime issues. However, you are actually amazingly blessed that they’ve taken two naps this long as they have. If I may suggest, it sounds like you should make the switch to one nap from 11:30 – 1pm or longer if they’ll go. Then move their bedtime at night up if they show signs of being exhausted.

    I think you’ll find, after the adjustment of course, that this will work for them until they head off to Kindergarten.

    Hope this helps.

  10. I remember that the best thing about the switch to 1 nap was how long that nap was, usually right after lunch. I often napped too. What heaven.

  11. you know my trials with the one nap switch, so i’m not going to even go there! all i’ll say is that transition is both liberating and terrifying all at once.

    as far as the playgrounds, i feel like i’m on much more solid ground (isn’t that funny?!). we have two amazing parks within walking distance to our house, so i’ve been taking the boys to the closer one since they were 3 mo. old. i feel totally confident when i go to this park, almost like it’s as good as plopping my kids in the living room with their favorite toys and getting an hour to just chit-chat on the phone. because we are all so familiar with it, it works. there were only a few moments when the boys were in the transition to walking when it got pretty hairy. being able to climb up to the big slide, but not able to go down it safely, or climb DOWN the steps. there were a few mad dashes up the jungle gym for sure. all in all, though, easy-peasy.

    and then i took them to the other park today, where there were a million kids running around, new equipment to explore and traverse, etc. i felt like mad moody in harry potter with my eyes constantly darting around. i had a headache by the end of it!

    so my advice…try and find a playground close enough to home, with a variety of equipment for different ages/stages, and stick to it. you’ll find people go to the park at the same time, usually, and you’ll befriend them and they’ll keep an eye out for your guys and you’ll keep an eye out for their guys. and d and r will get comfy with the environment, learn the limits and boundaries, and will be safe and have a great time. oh, and maybe you’ll get some time to just sit on the bench, relax and chat with some other parents!

  12. I feel your pain, Goddess! While on vacation, Brook got really sick and was totally out of commission for 2 1/2 days. Seeing as that time encompassed 50% of our vacation, I was not about to not take the boys to the pool. So, I did it by myself. It was very scary and very exhausting and, honestly, I was not comfortable with it AT ALL!

    Two water slides in the kiddy area that went in different directions +multiple feet of water at the end of the slide + 2 kids – 1 parent +1 freaked out parent = hell.

    I was very lucky that after several mishaps (although nothing too major), a few parents realized “hey! she’s alone with 2 kids!”, and they helped me out.

    Let’s just say I was VERY happy when Brook returned for the last day of our vacation to help out!

    I hope that you find a few places around town where there are other parents (perhaps ones of singleton older-kids?) that can help you out!

    As far as the naps are concerned…it’s a long process! With daycare, they were transitioned slowly, but on weekends, it still took awhile for them to go down to one nap…I felt like I was trying to give them some “catch up” sleep after all of the crappy naps. I’ve got to give the boys props though because they eventually figured it out!

    Good luck!! My thoughts are with you. 🙂

  13. Here’s our playground review blog for our area and I’m welcome anyone who wants to contribute.

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