One day not long ago my husband and I spent the day babysitting my brother and sister-in-law’s twins. They were six months old at the time, and we had our four-year-old and our (then) three-month-old with us. They’re all boys. You can imagine how quickly it became a circus.
My first thought when my brother announced they were having twins was, “Better you than me!” (Actually, that was my second thought. My first included a four-letter word that I probably shouldn’t repeat.) They were overwhelmed at the thought, of course, but we pointed out—and they agreed—that since they’d never had just one baby they wouldn’t know any different.
Me? I know different.
At six months, my twin nephews were past some of the really challenging stuff from when they were newborns, thank goodness. But one thing I now know for sure: You need more than two hands when taking care of two babies.
Around 11 a.m. the boys were due to have bottles. By that point my husband had run out to take our older son to school so I was on my own. He did take our little guy with him, though, figuring both that it would be easier for me and that Ethan might sleep in the car. (We’re smart like that.) But it was still two to one, so I adopted a zone defence strategy.
I made sure both boys were happily playing and then ducked into the kitchen to heat up the bottles. Once they were ready I followed my sister-in-law’s instructions for easy feeding and put them both into their bouncy chairs. I rolled up two towels lengthwise and put one across each baby. With a bottle balanced on each towel, angled in just such a way as to be perfectly placed for consumption, it was game on.
One drank. The other chugged. Then the first one dropped his bottle and when I picked it up the other got curious and turned to watch. Then there were two bottles on the floor. I picked both up and placed them back in mouths. The second one decided I was terribly interesting and wasn’t really paying attention to the bottle. Cue milk all down the front. The mellow baby had been drinking quite nicely at that point, and then he lost his bottle again. Cue milk all down the front.
With a receiving blanket in hand, I made a pass at each chin and wiped up the milk. Then I replaced both bottles again. Then it was a back-and-forth dance to keep the right bottle in the right mouth while two babies kicked and wiggled, flapped and flirted. (Apparently I’m so entertaining milk becomes more of an annoyance and less of a life-giving substance.)
Then they both pooped.
It was a good thing there was no one there to witness my attempts to feed these children, because I’m sure I looked like a clown doing it.
I will admit, however, that it was a relatively easy way to feed two babies at once. And knowing my sister-in-law, she’s probably much more ringmaster than clown when it comes to this stuff. But I least I put on a good show.