Having twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.
Then I came across a tip from fellow twin mom and author, Cheryl Lage. In her book Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice From Pregnancy Through The First Year, Cheryl suggests reading to your twins while they’re more likely to pay attention to you, such as mealtimes. When they’re in Bumbos, bouncy seats, or high chairs, you should take advantage of your “captive audience.” The added bonus of them not being able to escape doesn’t hurt either. It’s a simple suggestion, but an excellent one, and one that’s easily incorporated.
Cheryl’s advice about exploiting the opportunity of your captive audience made sense because the only time your baby twins will pay attention to you without crawling away is when they’re strapped into chairs or seats. Even though life with immobile twins can seem difficult to new parents, life does get a hell of a lot harder once they can move.
I first tested out reading to my captive audience during lunchtime. While my twins munched in their high chairs, I read them a story librarian-style, holding the book out so both could see it. They absolutely loved it. Their little legs kicked with excitement and when the book was over they both said, “More! More!” while doing their own sign language for “more” (which they didn’t use until they could say the word, go figure.) I read another one, and noticed that my son actually ate more when listening to a story, probably because he stopped concentrating on how much he hated the texture of anything beyond a puree.
As reading during mealtimes became a regular occurrence, my twins began to memorize their favorite books, such as Brown Bear Brown Bear, and I Took the Moon For a Walk. For books like this, I’d leave out the last word or rhyme on the page and my twins loved yelling it out. That made for some cute videos too.
In Twinspiration, Cheryl points out that you’ve also got a captive audience when your twins are in their stroller. I used to take my twins shopping in their Double City Mini, and people would be amazed to see two little toddlers flipping through board books while I happily shopped. (And sure, this only lasted for 10 or so minutes, but I had back-up from Magna Doodles and cereal snack cups.)
In an awesome twist of twin-fate, I ended up writing for a website Cheryl Lage was editing a few years ago, and I was able to thank her for all the practical tips, honesty and advice she shared in Twinspiration. We’re still in touch, and I was happy to tell her recently that my first-grade twins are both reading at a second-grade level. I absolutely credit those early days of reading to my captive audience for my twins’ love of reading, and I wondered if Cheryl’s twins had similarly benefited. Sure enough, her twins are reading well above their grade level, and Cheryl noted that their ability to memorize was heightened as well. At only three years old, her daughter could “read” Curious George page by page because she’d heard it read aloud so often.
Your twins will spend a lot of time strapped into seats—car seats, bouncy seats, Bumbos and high chairs—so they might as well spend it productively. And it never hurts to have “Reading To Your Children” taken care of by lunchtime.