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Pausing, Observing the Twins and Trying to Understand how they are Feeling and What they Want

"When you do embrace this fully, it’s incredible how much you see them understanding and trying to communicate even as tiny new-borns, which would be so easy to miss if we hadn’t really taken the time to observe."

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1. By pausing and taking time to observe the twins, where they were at, and what they might want, we believed we would make better decisions as parents and avoid the twins being frustrated as often.

2. When we embraced this fully, it was incredible how much we noticed and learnt about the twins, and how much they could communicate, even as new-borns.

3. Getting into the habit was a little tough to begin with, especially with things like time pressure and tiredness coming into play, but once the discipline was there, it was so rewarding and really didn't take that much extra time or effort.

4. The pause also helped with other practices such as involving them in what we were doing, giving them options and tied in with good sleep hygiene.

(TG = Twin Girl, TB = Twin Boy)

The idea here was to pause and really take the time to observe the twins, and base what we did and said on where they were at, not just on what we thought needed to happen. This probably felt the most natural practice in terms of alignment with “traditional” parenting, but I certainly noticed how easy it was to just make an arbitrary decision that I thought was in everyone's best interest without taking time to really look at the twins, check their mood and properly assess their needs before just cracking on.

This went hand in hand with narrating and giving options, as taking a pause enabled us to think about what we might narrate, and what sensible and acceptable (given what we observed during the pause) options we might give the twins.


This is essentially the same principle as the "take a pause" rule for sleeping, and by doing this in the day, we built the discipline and learnt to better distinguish cry's and the baby's mood, which helped us have more confidence what to do at night.


What went well?

When you do embrace this fully, it’s incredible how much you see them understanding and trying to communicate even as tiny new-borns, which would be so easy to miss if we hadn’t really taken the time to observe.


Getting into the habit of pausing was so rewarding, and once we had the discipline, it usually only took a few extra seconds, so was no major hardship. We learned so much about them that we might have missed otherwise, and we saw much sooner changes in their personalities as they grew up. This allowed us to be better prepared as parents to make changes to things like routine or how we were parenting to better align with where they seemed to be at developmentally. Of course it’s not an exact science, but it certainly made things less stressful for us as we had more confidence that we were doing right by the twins, and I also hope and believe the twins had a better experience!


As the twins get older and more engaging, this is becoming easier to do, as you can naturally build pauses into your interactions with them by asking lots of questions and leaving them to respond.


What was hard and what would we do differently?

Pausing, (especially for an impatient mofo like me) was a challenge in and of itself, let alone when you have the pressure of trying to keep twins alive and happy, work responsibilities, and a never ending list of chores and life admin to catch up on! Add in the need to actually be open to changing, or at least reassessing, your plans based on what you saw, it could be, in the moment, frustrating and a momentum break. The rewards though, as per above are totally worth it, and as soon as you get into the habit, it just becomes second nature.

As with everything when the Twins were upset or frustrated, adding a pause was hard, as we just wanted to dive in and make them feel better by any means necessary.  But by giving them, and you, an extra second or two to understand what was going on, not only did they have little more time to process what was happening (and quite often, to our surprise, cheer up and carry on what they were doing!), but also meant that we more frequently responded in a way that dealt with the actual frustration or issue, not just a kneejerk reaction, which might have led to more frustration.  It also meant we got a second to think about how we could help them to help themselves, before we took over, intentionally or otherwise, which may have missed a learning opportunity for them.

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