Twins and sleep. Not an easy combo. At least it hasn’t been for us. There’s too much emotion involved. If sleep were the ultimate goal, then we probably should have split their bedrooms much earlier than their 6th birthdays. But they loved being together, and it was much more convenient for us during the waking hours. When we did initiate the split, it was because Sydney vocalized that she was ready for her own space. Taylor, on the other hand, suffered from anxiety at the thought of not sleeping in the same room with her sister. They were starting to fight during the day, however, so we decided to give it try. Fortunately we discovered it was much easier to put them to bed in separate rooms as they no longer had the distraction of each other. However this method is still far from fool-proof.
The existence of twins is comparable to a never-ending playdate with your most beloved BFF. Sleep-over after sleep-over the playdate continues, and with all the fun to be had sleep only gets in the way.
When the girls were babies, we kept them on the same schedule. Initially they appeared to be easy to put to bed, because they enjoyed the company of each other from crib to crib. Most often, though, we’d lay them down at 8:00pm only to find them still awake and babbling at 11:00pm for their next feeding. Finally I started to keep my two-year-old up until then so he would sleep later the following morning. After a long night of twin feedings, I needed that 6-9:00am morning nap.
All hell broke loose when we moved them to regular beds at 2 1/2. What’s worse than one toddler escaping from bed? Twin toddlers escaping from bed. They caused all kinds of quiet trouble. On one such night we discovered them hidden in their shared closet behind the closed door. They had cleared every shelf, stripped every hanger and emptied every drawer to create a giant mountain of disheveled clothing in the middle of their closet floor. The mess was infuriating. More importantly, though, it was dangerous for them to be scaling their closet shelves in order to be perfectly thorough in their twin mischief.
As a result, my husband started to guard their bedroom door. Night after night, he would lie on the floor in the hallway policing them to stay in their beds. It took hours for them to fall asleep. It was worth it though, because every time we made the mistake of tempting fate we paid for their disastrous ideas of twin toddler destruction.
To this day our twin daughters require very little sleep. They still sneak into each other’s rooms, always remembering to close the door so we don’t hear them. When we do catch them, we find them working cooperatively to execute their latest and greatest plan. Many books have been colored, stories have been written, pretend lessons have been taught, American Girl dolls have been dressed, etc. well past their designated bedtime. It is also more common than not to find them snuggled up together in the same twin bed the next morning.
Rarely do they succumb to sleep before 10:00pm, and they rise easily for school at 6:45am. On the weekends, they both stick to the same schedule. Thankfully, now that they’re eight, they are old enough to make their own cereal and occupy themselves, realizing that we would prefer to sleep in. When we rise between 8-8:30am, they are always cuddled up together on the couch or in front of the computer. Their daily BFF playdate is already well underway. At least now we are more rested to endure it.