Twins Turned 2 and I'm SO Overwhelmed!

Updated on December 05, 2011
K.U. asks from Fort Worth, TX
12 answers

Hi Moms, this might just be a vent but please feel free to throw in your suggestions or share your own stories so I don't feel so alone in this!

My boy/girl twins turned 2 last month and it seems they woke up on their birthday morning as kids I don't even recognize anymore! My son is constantly climbing everything, breaking through the baby locks into the cabinets, crying, whining, or running away from me. My daughter is easier than him, but likes to copy and/or provoke him even further. I'm assuming this is just a phase that we all have to adjust to since they are realizing their new abilities and independence, but wow am I overwhelmed!! This is the hardest it's ever been with them, even more so than having 2 newborns with reflux.

I feel so lost on how to handle the constant climbing and getting into everything, I feel like all I do is tell them "No!" all day and that's not the message I want to teach them. I love to praise them for good behavior, but honestly I feel so "on edge" chasing them all the time that I forget to appreciate the good stuff.

My oldest is 8 and was the easiest toddler! We never had tantrums, he never climbed out of his crib, or got into anything! I guess I feel so unprepared for this since he was such a laid back toddler.

Any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear your stories to, maybe it would be like a support group, LOL. My husband is a wonderful father and partner to me, but works a lot of overtime. So having all the kids on my own a lot is probably making me feel more overwhelmed. Thank you for reading :))

ADDED: We do close off a lot of the house with door knob covers or baby gates to keep them out of bedrooms without us. We have an indoor slide and indoor ride-on toys so they have physical activities while the weather isn't great. We are part of a playgroup and interact with them several times per week. And like Meg B, mine will find things to use as stools to reach whatever it is they want! Thank you for the answers so far, it really does help to hear other Mom' stories :)

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answers from Detroit on

I have 4 year old b/g twins and they started this at 16 months. It started getting better around their third birthday and even better at 4. I don't know how else to say this, but that you will have to ride out this phase. This is the dynamics of having two the same age. They feed off of each other. If you can get out on date nights, take up a hobby, etc it will help even just a little bit. You will need something to look forward to, so you still enjoy life as tiny toddlers tend to suck the life out of you sometimes, lol.

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answers from Houston on

I don't have multiples BUT I was a preschool teacher for a year for 2 yo's. What I suggest is to keep them on a schedule. Structure can always alleviate boredom, whining and tame some energy, as well as helping them learn and discover. "Idle hands are the devil's playthings"!

Try this: After bfast, have them help you clean. Give them a wipey or damp paper towel and have them "wipe" things down while you clear the table and put things away. After that, spend 15-20 doing each: puzzles, color, reading, even put on some music and sing and dance. After that give them some sort of art project like playdoh or finger painting w/pudding or playing w/popsicle sticks. Make a big deal about putting things away - it'll not only teach them how to help put things away but they'll learn the art stuff is special and will look forward it again and maybe encourage good behavior.

Give them a snack and then let them have some free play/independent play so you can have a break..if they'll let you have one.

If you are doing housework, involve them. Let them put the clothes in the washer/dryer. Let them "help" you fold clothes. Get them each a dustpan and they can sweep their own little spots while you clean the floors. Give them a wipey and let them "dust" something like a window while you dust (dry feather dusters or swiffers might make them sneeze). My personal favorite chore I gave my 2 yo was to have him "dust" the baseboards. When I was emptying the dishwasher, I filled the sink w/a little water and soap and let my kid "wash" some plastic tupperware.

I suggest letting them play with only a few toys at a time, and then rotate every 10-15 mins. It might just buy you a few mins here and there of peace and quiet.

I'm assuming they take naps after lunch...give them a snack and have them do a light reflection of the morning's schedule - puzzles, music, reading. After that is when we played outside and let them run around.

At home, when I kept this schedule for my son, video time was saved for when I started dinner and straightened up the house.

You might want to develop a little schedule of things they could do after dinner, like helping put away toys, put their clothes in the laundry basket, stuff like that.

Keep them busy! It'll be more work/planning for you but at least it will be to their benefit, instead of everyone being bad, stressed and frustrated.


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answers from Sioux City on

I don't have twins but I have had my share of two year olds. I end up reduce the space that I have to watch by shutting down parts of my house. Then I decide what behavior is causing me the most grief and I lay in wait for it. Every time I see that behavior I time out. If they get out of time out I put them back in. Time out last until I see that they don't care for it but are accepting it and then I let them up. I am vigilant on all undesirable behaviors but I concentrate on one at a time until I get them all in check. I make sure that I have a daily schedule and we try really hard to keep to it. When I see good behaviors I make sure they know that I am pleased. You have to look for what works with each child. I had one that I had to swat every once in awhile just to keep them from hurting themselves. I am not big on spanking but when I found that a child of mine sitting on top of the refrigerator, I swat. There are some behaviors that need to be dealt with quickly and I cannot tolerate them occurring over and over again. Two year old are supper helpers. I have them help me empty the dishwasher, dust, pick up toys, help push the vacuum, put wash in the washing machine, fold washcloths, scrub the floor with a washcloth, carry laundry to rooms, etc. If they are busy helping they aren't getting themselves in trouble.

hope this helps.

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answers from Lancaster on

Wow - I was just thinking the same thing!! My daughter will be 2 at the end of this month and I don't recognize her anymore. She used to be so sweet, easy going and eager to please. It was like she knew the boundaries and never went outside of them, but lately I feel like my entire vocabulary has been reduced to "no and stop it." That's not the kind of mom I want to.

You're right about the climbing - she pulls the kitchen chairs over to the sink and the light switches. I put the chairs on top of the table to stop it and you know what she did? Opened the one cabinet I keep unlocked, took out the metal mixing bowl, flipped it over and stood on that so she could reach the sink!!!

She is hitting and throwing and biting(and the whining , crying, running away like you mentioned. Like you, the hubs works ALOT although he is great when he is here, so I am with them alone most of the time.(I have a 8 month old too -who never sleeps by the way).

Two year olds were always my favorite age until I had one! For the first time, I understand why people love babies so much. They are so easy compared to a 2 year old!

No advice for you, just empathy and sending positive vibes your way. Sometimes when she is really driving me insane, I pause for a moment and ask God to grant me patience.

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answers from Chicago on

My boy/girl twins were the same way. I did anything to keep them busy ,the library reading groups, shopping , childrens museums,any thing to have them strapped in the stroller or car seats =) Also, you need a break or you will go crazy ! Join a mom of multiples group, lots of playdates,get out of the house at least once a day. The change of scenery helps. Buy the book 123 magic and get reading=) It really helps. When you want them to do something /not do something look in their eyes and get down to their level. Yes, it is very hard to not be constantly telling them what to do/not to do. At least once a day they will say something thet melts your heart. Keep them busy and laughing. Literally chase them around the house pretending you will tickle them to get them in a good mood. It helps really .hang in there. It will get easier=)


answers from New York on

Have you read The Happiest Toddler on the Block by H. Karp, It really helped me get through the 2-4 yr old stages with little problems. Since they like to climb what do they have to climb on? I dont care how small or crowded your house/yard is find a space for climbing toys and get a FEW from Craigs list or freecycle, they need lots of time to move and explore, can you find a gymnastics type class? I never had twins but I can guess it would be very diff trying to deal with two two yr olds! can you hire a mother's helper, a neighborhood child around 9-14 who is cheap and can walk to your house after school to give you a hand? They often enjoy little kids at that age and are less busy than older teens. Maybe you could even get one to go with you to a Mommy and Me type class. I like Dana K's advice shutting down rooms in your house to confine them!



answers from Los Angeles on

Aw you poor thing!
Okay, you have the baby gates, indoor big toys (boys, in general, seem to be more active), baby stool so they can reach something they need on the counter.

Can you have your 8yr old help more?

Can you have anyone come & help you a few times a week or daily?
A family memeber is ideal.
Maybe a trusted friend w/an older child in school.

Can you maybe have your dear daughter entertained on the floor w/a plastic tea set so you have a little more wiggle room to attend to (chase) the more crazy active boy?

Try to get him tired out being active indoors.

Don't worry, this too shall pass but you need to get creative in finding ways to deal w/things in the moment.

Can you pay someone to help you for 1/2 a day while you're there?

Let a lot of the housework (laundry, heavy cleaning etc) go until you can find a time to do it (like when hubby is home).

Rest when they rest.

Instead of saying "no", try "so-and-so, don't climb on that or you will get hurt". Sometimes expaining the why to my 2 1/2 year old toddler works way better than just a "no". He is afraid of getting hurt and having to go to the hospital w/o me. He makes sure he knows where I'm at every single min of the day and tries to keep me in his "line of sight". :)

And when it gets super duper exhausting, think of Kate plus 8? Yikes.
It doesn't really help but it does puts things into perspective and calms me down for the moment.

Take a deep breath and only do what you MUST to. The house does not have to be spic and span.

Hang in there. This too shall pass. Just get through day by day, minute by minute. Sending you hugs. :)



answers from Detroit on

this is a hard age.. when my kids were this age.. I played with them.. got down on the floor and did blocks or puzzles.. or cars... whatever .. if you play with them they have a longer attention span with an activity..

If you are just letting them play.. they are going to choose to do bad things like climb..

have a sort of schedule.. after breakfast read to them.. then get out the blocks and do blocks.. if you have a basement play area.. go down itn he basement and play there for a while.. then come up for snack.. then do playdoh..

get out of the house most every day to keep your sanity.


answers from Williamsport on

With two 2 year olds at once, you -more than anyone- need to be effective with discipline. You CAN have them behaving well and getting praised lots of the time and form positive relationships IF YOU can be effective at teaching them not to do certain things 1)TANTRUMS and 2)anything else causing danger, destruction and chaos. All those things take discipline to solve and leave a much happier child once they're stopped. You can have energetic, exploring, independent kids who DON'T climb around and break stuff and have tantrums if you ask them not to. It takes discipline. For example, when you tell them not to move a stool up to a counter and do something, and they do it anyway, what is their firm immediate consequence? If there isn't one, you need an overhaul. It's actually very easy for 2 year olds to learn not to do those things, but yelling "no" will never stop it UNTIL they learn to heed "no" which takes enforcement at first. If you use discipline diligently from ages 1 thru 3 it will be smooth sailing after that. And you can have major improvement very soon if you start now.

We didn't child proof and never had those battles in toddlerhood, because we headed everything off at the pass with calm, firm, clear consequences starting around 18 months. Same with my aunt with 10 kids (including one set of twins) and my step sister with 7 kids. If you're gonna have multiples, you need to keep discipline concise, to the point and firm, and you need to be in charge so you can be the calm, loving, nice mom most of the time and keep discipline to a minimum. Your 2s are already in full swing, and if you don't want 3s and 4s to be even worse-take CHARGE and get dad majorly on board too. This book is great: Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson. You can scan before you buy.



answers from Dallas on

Baby Proof Baby Proof and Baby Proof, its the only way you can relax! I mean REALLY put everything they can harm themselves with out of reach, put the gates up, put on the baby proof door handles, the lock on the fridge. Then you can relax a little and know they can't get into anything bad! This is for sure only a phase they are going through, But they need to be able to explore and get into stuff, so I think as long as the harmful stuff is out of reach...let them get into the pots and pans, or the bowls and lids, or the tub with the bath toys it it. And learn to pick your battles. And being on a schedule(if u already aren't) is a definate must! So they have a schedule that they are familiar with and won't seem so unruly all the time. Use songs to associate with each phase of the day. Breakfast, morning play, pick up, lunch nap, etc. Good luck, also if your not already involved with one, try joining a moms play group, or church where you can get an hour or two where someone watches or plays w/the kids. My church does a lot of classes and bible studies and usually offers daycare with them. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

When my first 3 (triplets) were this age, the doc would always ask how things were at home and what they were getting into. She would remind me that it is not so much that they are worse or into more stuff than a single child, it is all of them getting into it at one time. It can be extremely overwhelming. It does get easier as they get older. I now have 2 "singletons", one 3 1/2 yr old and one newborn. It was easier with the 3 because as they got older, they entertained each other. But on the way to that point...oh my. and yes, kids can get incredibly creative when they want to use someting to climb up or get into something.



answers from Honolulu on

I know this isn't a solution... but just that, there is always worse.

ie: my friend, has TRIPLETS!

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