When we, in turn, sought out some twin dads to get the twin dad life 101 from, lucky for us Malta-based Thomas Jezequel volunteered. As you know, we think twin dads are superdads and were excited to hear what this one had to share about raising his two adorable twin boys.
I'm a 36-year-old French guy from Brittany, married to a Hungarian woman, and I'm the father of two 3 years old fraternal twin boys, raised bilingually (FR/HU). They were born in Brussels, but we just moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta, so they will be schooled in English... I work for an EU institution.
How they can be born at the same time, educated similarly by the same parents, exposed to the same stimulus at the same time.... and be so freakily different. From the moment they were in neonatal care, we could see differences in characters. This has not changed since. It's not one size fit all, we have to adapt our behavior to each child, they're not one package.
It's easy to forget sometimes. It also fascinates me how they respond to each other behavioral change, especially in the early years. If one starts to crawl, or walk, the other follows. If one starts to talk, the other gets to it. It's not always the same "leader" / "follower", but they progress at the same rhythm because of constant exposure (24/24 7/7) to another kid going through the same phases.
Today it is really about language acquisition... they only just started to use Hungarian between themselves on a daily basis after years of French being a bit too dominant... but they respond to each other and progress at the same time now. If one clicks, the other clicks. I find it reassuring, as they can always count on each other to cope with change, and they're going through a lot of changes these past few weeks (international removal, new language, etc)
Not being able to cope financially. We both had good jobs, but we still took a hit and burned through a good part of our savings to be able to maintain the same standard of living. 2 years of private daycare (almost a second rent) have been really tough on us! But we're out of the wood now. I wonder what would have happened if we had found ourselves in a more precarious situation.
I was also afraid of not being able to cope physically (lack of sleep, having to lift things all the time, including 2 kids) so I took on weightlifting as soon as we got the news, and got considerably stronger. It's become a religion for me and I think it helped me greatly physically and mentally. My wife did the same after a while, she can still carry them at the same time and they're more than half their weight combined. She's badass!
I remember losing weight the first few months, from lack of sleep, no time to eat and constant physical effort... Still, we're quite "damaged" by the last 3 years, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health if you don't have a support system around, which we did not have. But taking care of yourself physically really helps. I did not think it would be so hard psychologically and emotionally though.
How it becomes your new normal. You have two. All the time. You think always in pair, and the first few months you always have both hands taken and you need to plan every little move (including opening a door). And when you have only one to take care of (sometimes we split to run separate errands), how EASY and relaxing it is to have only one! it's important to give them one-to-one time they really love it, they're deprived of it compared to other children.
"Haha it's double trouble": no. It's exponential, not double. It's not "twice as hard", it's multiple times as hard.
Do not listen to any advice given by single parents. Always get support and advice from parents of multiples.
Accept these very basic principles: other parents have NO idea what you are going through, even yours (especially yours). Whatever they pretend, it's not the same. Having 2 kids, even close in age, is not the same either. If they keep it at it, nod and smile, no need to offend them, they've been through tough times too, but they know nothing. Reddit's r/parentsofmultiple is a great souce of support.
Meeting with other parents of multiples is a great help as well: they'll make you understand you are not crazy and you are not failing as a parent: they're actually living through the same thing. We only did this after 6 months of being all alone, and I remember the first conversation we had with parents of twins of the exact same age as a ray of sunlight ("ah so it's not just US????")
It's going to be tough, there is absolutely no way around it. Support each other and take care of yourselves. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But don't think it will be all rosy and cute, at first it's war in the trenches. Don't think in terms of being perfect, doing everything perfectly, don't feel peer pressured by other parents, nurses, by facebook posts: it's about survival for a while, and it's important that you don't forget yourself and your well-being.
Thank you, Thomas. You are true super dad and we are so grateful for you taking the time to answer our questions.
We love getting to know to know twin parents and their journey, and this is our latest interview in our twin parent series.
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