871 Days: A Twin Dad’s Perspective {Guest Post}

Ever wish you could get your husband to express his feelings about raising children alongside you? I do, and Derrick does share how proud he is of our family. But if he would write a blog about his adventures, that would be awesome! More men should. Mike Crider does. Meet the voice behind Twin Dad Talks…

Hello, everyone.  My name is Mike, and I’ve been asked to write a guest post for Steffany, who’s probably living it up somewhere in the Caribbean while I remain in the US, watching it get dark way too soon.  Even though I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, I hope by the end of the post you will like some of what you read and will take an opportunity to check out my blog Twin Dad Talks: Thoughts on Raising Twins, and Everything Else.  Ultimately, I hope I do Steffany’s blog justice, because mine is not this colorful.

The thing that Steffany and I share in common is that we are twin parents.  I have been blessed with fraternal twin girls, who were born 871 days ago.  Why did I choose to give their age in days?  Simply put, every day is a new adventure.  What have I learned over this span of 2+ years? 

I learned that men can be parents, too.  Regardless of what society or sitcoms will have you believe, dads can actually be effective parents.  Yes, select things come more naturally than others to a guy, but realistically, men don’t just “watch kids” when they are left alone with them.  I read, I play, I chase, I serve as a jungle gym, I speak, and most importantly, I listen and love.  I’m not afraid to be alone with the girls for several hours at a time.  Do I have the patience to take them someplace for a long stretch…no, but most people don’t.  

I learned that it really does take a village.  I never put much stock into this saying prior to having children.  After all, it’s pretty much your family who has an influence on you, right?  Um, not quite.  Think about the experiences you had in high school or college and the people that influenced you to make the decisions you did.  No one forced you to, but socialization played a role in helping determine your decision (possibly why good people act stupid at sporting events).  To continue with the thought, when a couple has twins, they need help.  We surely did, and we accepted help from many different people.  We didn’t turn down people’s requests to make us something, or to bring us diapers, or to watch the girls while we took a much needed two-hour nap.  Your family, friends, community, preschool, place of worship…all of those and more factor into the well-being of your children. 

I learned that super heroes don’t have to be perfect.  In one of Steffany’s favorite posts, her husband discusses how having twins is kind of like having super powers (click hereto read it, it’s great).  As a guy, when you tote two babies around, you are the man.  At the same time, you feel as though you have to be perfect all the time.  The reality is, I made plenty of mistakes.  I mixed up formulas when the girls were newborns (M needed preemie formula, N did not), and was worried I hurt N.  Instead, all I did was give her the equivalent of a protein shake for one meal.  To this day, I only know two hairstyles: bedhead and ponytails.  On future picture days, my wife will probably take care of that.  But I work hard to love the girls.  And let’s face it, there’s nothing more macho than pulling a red wagon with two girls in it. 

I learned that twins are individuals.  It’s really easy to lose sight of this last point, but the girls have unique personalities, characteristics, and even physical features.  Heck, in our case, N is three inches taller than her “older” sister, M.  I struggled with comparing the girls, and if you are a twin parent, you know what I’m talking about.  Why did M crawl at 7 months and N at 9?  But, why did N walk at 13 months and M walk at 15.5?  Why will M eat everything (including paper and stickers), but N won’t even try macaroni and cheese (you heard me correctly)?  They even argue over television, with Dora vs. Bubble Guppies as the prevailing choices between the two.  But, it’s also important for parents, myself included, to spend time with our individual daughters, because they won’t go through life forever as “the twins”.  That’s an unfair reality, but they have their own lives and will go on to do their own things. 

I’m a school administrator by trade.  I see kids that come from all different walks of life, ethnicities, family structures, communities, and income levels.  The one constant is that kids that do well in school and beyond had support early in their lives.  They had the structure in place, and they learned things by reading, listening and speaking.  Having twins has been difficult at times, but it has also been a rewarding experience to this point, and I can’t wait to see what they will do next (hopefully learn to potty).    

If you enjoyed what you read and would like to read more from a twin dad’s point of view, whether you are in the mood for comedic relief (like the story behind the family photo) or something more serious ( “Daddy, Turn on the Stars”), check out my blog at http://www.twindadtalks.com.  You can also find my Twin Dad Talks page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @TwinDadTalks.  Thanks so much to Steffany for the opportunity to write for a slightly different audience, although I hope it won’t be the last time you stumble across a post of mine.  As always, peace and love, y’all.