It’s been a while since I wrote up one of these, and we’re settled into a schedule that we’ll be keeping until probably September or so, at least, so it seems like a good time. The twins are now almost two (at the end of the month), so I’m calling this our two-year schedule. Since the last time I wrote one of these, we’ve committed to being more active; PB’s diagnosed social delays have all but vanished now that we’re regularly going to meetups, playdates, and other social exercises where he can interact with other kids. It seems his issue was mostly lack of experience combined with a bit of innate introvertedness (the poor boy is overshadowed by the rest of us violent extroverts around here). So he can sometimes get a little overwhelmed by crowds, but he self-manages really well and (so far) hasn’t ever really melted down. He just finds a quiet corner to decompress for a few minutes and then throws himself back into the fray. (Previously, he spent most of the time at any gathering playing by himself in a corner and didn’t interact with other children. Now he loves other kids, especially big kids.)
So. Here’s how we spend our day. And yes, we still have a firm schedule! Another twin parent recently said to us, “You don’t mess with the twin schedule. People just don’t understand.” I laughed, because it’s true. (To be fair, it’s not JUST twins – but every twin parent I know has learned to love the schedule!) This is primarily our weekday schedule – weekends can be a little different depending on what we have planned, but we still generally hit all the same benchmarks.
8:30 AM: I get the kids up (change diapers, put on clothes, etc.) and we head downstairs. A lot of people are shocked to hear that our children sleep this late (sorry, 5 AMers). In truth, they usually wake up between 7:30 and 8, but are happy to play in their cribs until 8:30. The earliest I ever go and get them is 8 – and that’s generally if one of them has woken up earlier than the other and is getting bored. I’ll bring whoever woke up first over to our room to hang out and let the other one finish sleeping. Usually, they wake up around the same time, though.
8:45-9 AM: Breakfast. We recently discovered that giving the kids a significant protein at breakfast really helps them to stay happy throughout the morning; when we were giving them toaster waffles and fruit, they would get pretty crotchety in the midmorning and start to whine for snacks. So now I make an effort to make them scrambled eggs or something similar. We buy eggs in bulk – between them, they’ll eat three (and we’re currently in a slump – it used to be four, but we’re in a period of eating less right now. It’ll be four again soon!).
10 AM: Most mornings, we have some kind of activity scheduled. It’s usually a meetup with other kids around their age – we joined a local toddler playgroup as well as the local moms of multiples club. We go to other people’s houses, or meet up at one of the various toddler-friendly places in town (there’s a place full of inflatable bouncy houses, and one of the libraries has a giant children’s village, and there’s an under-5 activity place that has a cover charge, plus a few other things). We generally stay at any given activity until about 11:30, giving us time to get back home before lunch.
12 PM: Lunch. Usually leftovers. Sometimes a quesadilla, because let’s be real, I always have tortillas and cheese in the fridge. Sometimes I eat with them, sometimes I don’t – it depends on what they’re having and whether I want it or not, I admit. I am not exactly the queen of leftover eating, although I’m trying to be better about it. If I don’t eat with them, I generally make myself a salad after they’ve gone down for their nap (today doesn’t count. I ate cake for lunch. But it was a leftover!).
1 PM: Nap time. At about ten til, I chase them down and change their diapers, and engage our Official Precautionary Measures: a strip of duct tape across the flaps of their diapers. This became a standard preventative after the infamous Poop Painting Incident a few months ago, wherein Miss Z removed her clothes and her diaper during naptime and engaged her artistic tendencies all over her window, crib, and wall. Now, she can get her clothes off if she’s bored but the diaper stays on. And I bring the monitor downstairs with me to keep an ear out for any major shenanigans. We go upstairs at 1; they run into the guest room and climb onto the guest bed and giggle until I pick them up and carry them into their own room and put them in their cribs.
1-3 PM: Glorious freedom. Or rather, time to do the laundry, dishes, fill out doctor forms, pay bills, check email, and oh, yes, try to have a writing career. (I’m currently stalled out in a carriage on the way to London, in case you were wondering about the current book’s status.)
3-4 PM: They wake up anywhere between three and four, depending on how exciting the morning was. If I managed to wear them out enough, I get that extra hour of work time. When they get up, it’s another diaper change and then back downstairs for a snack – usually something like graham crackers or goldfish crackers or fruit. Then it’s playtime. (We have ventured out post-nap once or twice, but it’s a risky proposition. It all depends on what the dinner plans are and how much time they require.)
5 PM: I start cooking dinner and hope that the children will occupy themselves playing in the living room and not come and be underfoot. This is generally a vain hope. Most of the time, they come into the kitchen and help me cook. Which is to say, steal raw potatoes off of the cutting board and eat them.
6 PM: Dinner. I should probably note here that I do a lot of meal planning – I plan out the week’s meals in my planner on the weekend, and then generally do the grocery shopping on Sunday unless something else is going on. If I’m lucky, I can go out during nap time on Sunday and hit Costco and the grocery store all in one trip. If not, I wind up going to the grocery on Sunday night after baby bedtime, and then take them with me to Costco during the week. (Because, yes, we go to Costco once a week. You would too, if you were feeding two bottomless pits and a triathlete [and also me, cake-eater].)
6:30 PM: Dinner is over, and I clean up the kitchen while Daddy and kids clean up the living room. This is a new paradigm, and one I’m really grateful for – it used to be that I cleaned up everything while the kids sort of stared at me or tried to cuddle while I was picking up toys. We determined that if their father cleans up their toys, they’re willing to help – the problem factor was apparently me! So now, before we turn on the TV for evening cuddle time, the living room has to get cleaned up. They’re starting to get the hang of it, and it winds up taking us all about the same amount of time to get everything cleaned up.
7 PM: They get a cup of whole milk, and we all cuddle on the couch while they drink it and we watch something on TV. Usually Sofia the First. My husband gets really fired up about the socio-economic improbabilities of this show. I just want to know who Sofia’s dad was.
7:30 PM: Bath time! This is not my responsibility. Daddy does bath time and is much better at it than I am, because he’s more fun. On nights when I have to give the kids a bath, they’re clearly disappointed. (Most of the time, if my husband isn’t going to be home in the evening, we just skip a bath for that night, to be honest.) While they’re having bathtime fun, I generally fold and put away laundry. After both of them are out, I head into the bathroom and help with brushing teeth to give my husband and his aching knees some time to get up off the floor.
8 PM: Bed. We shepherd everyone from the bathroom to the bedroom, and Daddy gets them into PJs and then reads them stories and tucks them in. (I should note that they are generally not 100% asleep when story time is over – in fact, often they are jumping up and down in their cribs. But they know the routine, and after he leaves the room they calm down and go to sleep very quickly.)
8:30 PM: Quality marital time. We binge-watch old episodes of NCIS on Netflix until it’s time for us to go to bed (usually around 11).