Managing Multiples

Toddler Years

At this stage, twins tend to entertain each other. "As my sons move into the toddler years, they're definitely each other's playmate," Swan says. But twin solidarity can go too far. Parents of toddler twins often feel their kids are "ganging up" on them, Friedman says. "For example, if one twin refuses to eat his dinner, the other will often do the same -- he feels power in joining the protest, testing the boundaries and vying for control, toddler style."

So how should you handle the demands, tantrums, and mood swings of two toddlers who sometimes act like a unit and, at other times, run in opposite directions? "Often the twins are craving individual attention, and their parents might not recognize this need," Friedman says. In fact, parents sometimes worry that spending time alone with one toddler will cause tremendous separation anxiety for the other. But Friedman predicts that while your twins may protest at first, they'll eventually adapt and look forward to spending their special time alone with you.

Aside from individual time with Mom and Dad, multiples also need separate playdates and the opportunity to develop their own interests. Sign one up for, say, a gym course and the other for a finger-painting class. Friedman did this for her sons when they were small, and none of the kids in either class even knew that the son she brought was a twin.

Bowers says that raising her twins is the best thing she's ever done: "Parents of twins have double the challenges -- but double the love, hugs, and kisses too."

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