We just returned from a 10-day east coast vacation. Did I actually say “vacation”? Traveling with two toddlers was not necessarily relaxing. Two big challenges for me were the 5 hour flights between Los Angles and the East Coast(we flew in Newark, NJ and flew out of Washington D.C.) and getting them to sleep at night in an environment different from home. Upon our return home they seemed happy being able to sleep in their own beds. This is not to say that we didn’t have fun while traveling – we got to meet and spend quality time with my parents, my husband’s relatives, and our friends. We explored New York and Washington D.C. Our sons enjoyed the experiences of riding planes, and various types of trains and subways. Despite the full schedule, time difference and weather changes, no one got seriously sick during our trip. I wouldn’t want to take another trip like this for a long time, but it was well worth it. The biggest reward for me was that I was able to be with my kids straight for 10 days. As tiring as it was, it was also fun to watch them from the moment they wake up till they fall asleep in their “pack ‘n play” (temporary bed). I could see the sibling dynamics first hand for extended period of time, which I don’t get to do unless we are on vacation.
As I wrote before, my two sons are very close in age, which bring on certain challenges. For example, my older one is old enough to understand that he shouldn’t hit someone or throw toys, but the younger one is still working on mastering those rules. The younger one still chooses to hit or throw toys sometimes, and that tempts the older one to do the same. I often wonder if it would have been easier if they were twins. Prior to having my first child, I had dreams about having twins. I thought it would be an efficient way to have two kids in one delivery, and get it over with. It didn’t happen for me so I got the next best thing: two children only 16 months apart. I realize that it is highly debatable if it really is the next best thing. I wonder which is more “challenging”: to have twins or two children close-in-age. Apparently, whether you have a set of boys or girls, or one of each, plays a big part, according to some parents I have met. Also, whether you have other siblings besides the twins adds a complexity to the equation as well. Needless to say, each child is different and their temperament will make it “easy” or “challenging” for the parents or caregiver to handle multiple kids in certain situations. Whatever the case may be, I will not fully know or understand what it takes to be a parent to the multiples. However, I believe that the Redirecting Children’s Behavior(RCB)’s philosophy will still be highly effective in handling twins or multiples, because RCB does not claim that your child will change completely and start “behaving better” – but rather, parents with RCB skill sets will be able to step back and figure out the ways to redirect them more effectively. I am invited to speak to a group of mothers with multiples this coming week in San Jose, CA. The group is called Gemini Crickets Parents of Multiples of Silicon Valley. You can read more about the meeting on their blog post. I’ll do a workshop on “Turning Terrible Twos into Terrific Twos” and “Handling Sibling Rivalry”, and report back how the mothers of the multiples respond to the idea of the RCB philosophy.