9 Ways to Survive Twin 3 year olds (or How Twin 3 year old are like Gremlins)

Meet Max and Kate, my twin 3 year olds. Sure, they look cute, but if you give them :30 unsupervised seconds they’ll turn your home into a scene from (insert post apocolypse movie title here: think explosions, chaos, floods, perhaps walking zombies). Max is my shadow and Kate knows how to turn on the charm, or the tears, to get whatever she wants from me.

They share a bond that makes them hopelessly devoted to each other. Max protects and serves Kate’s every whim. Kate often serves as a distraction for Max’s mischief. When they’re really desperate to defeat us they both turn on the tantrums simultaneously. They’re hard to keep up with.

Karen and I need help surviving this age, so I’m hoping to generate some discussion from you twin/multiple parents out there with this post.

Since nothing we’re doing seems to be working, I want your tips.

Here are 5 twin 3 year old survival tips that don’t work:

1. Put a TV in their room – I’d hoped this would cause them to want to stay in their beds at bed time. Insert 2 hour Dora DVD and go to bed. What this results in is two hours later I hear “Daddy, start Dora again. Daddy! Da! DDY! Start Dora! Daddy!”

2. Push their beds together – We bought them twin size mattresses once they started climbing out of their cribs. These two are cuddlers though. They want to be in “Daddy’s bed”, so I figured I’d push their beds together and let them cuddle each other – like in the womb, right? Nope. I created a giant trampoline with a hole in the middle. Max jumps until one of them gets hurt, while Kate chants his name: “Max. Max. Max. Max.”

3. Potty train them by using stickers as a reward: It worked with Izzy when she was young, but there was just one of her. Each time she’d use the potty she’d earn a sticker. Once she’d collected enough we bought her a prize (a tree house/swing set). This approach isn’t working with the twins. Two things happen: 1. they find the stickers on their own. 2. They scream until we give them to them. Either way, those stickers get stuck on walls, furniture, and in hair. Where else would you put stickers?

4. Let them play outside until they’re worn out; seems logical. Works for me. I train hard or work hard and then I pass out. With twin 3 olds it back fires. The more tired they get the worse their behavior. Rule of twin parenting: don’t let them get overtired. Ever. It’s like getting a Gremlin wet. Just don’t.

5. Let them stay up until they get tired on their own: Wrong. They get a 2nd wind somewhere around 8:50pm and start bouncing off of the walls. Once the 2nd wind kicks in you’re destined to be up until 10:45 begging them to go to bed. Again with the Gremlins thing. Don’t let them stay up past midnight.

Bonus Tips:

6. Let them sleep with you if all else fails: Um, no. There is no sleep. Not for the adults at least. My friend Charlie at Howtobeadad.com nicely diagrams how this works out.

7. Arts and Crafts time!: Also known as paint the furniture and walls primary colors time or glue your eyes shut time! No thanks.

8. Disrobe them at dinner so that they don’t ruin their clothes; unless naked butts on the dinner table is your thing, this isn’t an appealing way to enjoy a meal.

9. Let someone keep them overnight for you!: this sounds great in theory. You get to spend time with your spouse, sleep in, enjoy peace and quiet. It works for the evening. But picture Wyatt Earp in Tombstone “you tell them I’m comin! And Hell’s comin’ with me. Hell’s comin’ with me!” Now picture your kids thinking that about their return trip the next day. Mine always come home with a vendetta.

It seems an appropriate title for this post would be “How Twin 3 year olds are Like Gremlins”.So, let’s hear it from you parents of multiples. We need help getting our kids to bed, getting them potty trained, and getting them to keep their naked bodies off of the kitchen table during meals. Help.


Swam 2000 yards at 5:15am as: 150 warm up / 7 x 50 drill-swim / 400 / 2 x 200 / 400 / 3 x 100

Ran: 5.3 miles in 47 minutes