We received one complimentary copy of Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween years in exchange for this review.
In June we reviewed the first installment of Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories & Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets & More, and we’re thrilled to now be telling you about the follow up anthology, Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years.
Being a twin mom myself, I can tell you two things for sure: our parenting lives are hectic from day one, and few of us would have survived without our communities. Like NICU parents (a category in which many parents of multiples also fall), parents of multiples need to know they are not alone in their journeys.
I will never forget a trip to the pool with my girls, then ages 5, 5, and 3. Each hour our pool took a “shade break,” and each hour it was a struggle to get them out of the pool. A nearby dad eyed us as I practically dragged them from the water.
He stared a beat more, and I was sure he was judging me for my inability to control my children and probably taking it one step further to wonder why I had another child after twins.
“What a blessing.”
His reflective tone gave me pause, but I can tell you, it certainly did not feel like a blessing as I wrangled towels and flip flops and tried to comfort my youngest while also trying to suppress the wails of my twins. They were just so damn loud!
Since my girls, now age nine and much easier to manage at the pool, have officially started their tween years, I related to so many of the stories in this installment. The toddler years are distant, but still emblazoned in my brain. The middle years and the start of school are still fresh on my mind. I feel a kinship with these parents. We’ve walked down this road before. Few things provide more relief than confessing your children’s latest antics that your singleton parent friends don’t understand, and having another parent of multiples say, “Oh, girl, mine do that too.” It’s a strange sort of validation to hear you’re not the only one dealing with two children who are so close, they literally will not allow themselves to be apart, even when they’re fighting. And when they’re fighting? They have already made up by the time you, the parent, make your way over to help referee. (That was when I just stopped refereeing altogether.)
While this installment of Multiples Illuminated doesn’t have stories that directly take place in the NICU, parents of multiples will all be able to relate. And parents of special needs children will also find something to connect with. Here are just a few excerpts from the book:
Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D, writes in the forward:
More often than not, the non-twin world lumps twins together and sees them as ‘identical’—even when they are a boy and a girl!
Friedman is psychotherapist who specializes in educating twins and their families about twins’ emotional needs. And she’s also a twin herself!
In “Are You Ready to be a Parent of Multiples?” Jackie Pick creates a hilarious quiz for parents-to-be, where part of the physical fitness test is to “Choreograph a dance called ‘Taking Multiples to Swim Class’ to the tune of ‘Mission Impossible.’” I can tell you that I have been there, done that, and almost cried with relief when it was over.
And I had to laugh when I also read in Gina Granter’s “Three’s a Crowd,”
In swim class, the teacher said we’d need to put them in separate groups: there was no way to teach them together, and their antics made them a drowning hazard.
Apparently we parents of multiples have some trauma when it comes to swim lessons.
But while the book certainly highlights the hectic pace of life with twins or triplets, there is no shortage of reflection on the special bond shared by these siblings and the joy of parenting them.
In “Five Years In,” Rebecca Borger writes,
In those early days, the familiar motto, “Take it one day at a time” became my mantra. Looking too far ahead was overwhelming. As the years go by, I have found this is a precious gift. Having twins has taught me to slow down and be fully present in each moment.
Shelley Stolaroff Segal’s essay, “Mommy, I Want to be with My Brother,” tells of the unbreakable bond between two fraternal twins, one with autism.
I’ll never forget how she handled the sight of her brother after his surgeries. When Jordan ran to greet him, her mouth flew open and she cried a little. She wasn’t scared, though, just sad. “Joshie, let me hold your hand. Let me make you feel better!” She gripped him as we wheeled him through the airport. Two parts, one whole.
I learned never to separate the kids again when I discovered that Jordan wasn’t frightened of anything medical or anything Josh.
Like the first anthology, the second installment of Multiples Illuminated is about connection, community, and sometimes commiseration. It’s a great addition to the bookshelves of any parent of multiples.