Saturday, February 2, 2013

Twins: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Well, it has been two years since the so-called “BOGOs” came into our lives and made us a family. Since then, we’ve seen a lot. I was tempted to say that we had seen it all but then I thought about things like school, homework, friends, and even *shudder* boyfriends. So I decided to stick with “a lot”. Twins are a different animal. We get a variety of responses when we tell people that we have twins. We get everything from the awe-struck “Wow, I don’t know how you survived!”, the inappropriate “Are they natural?”, the insensitive “Better you than me!”, to the connection making “I’m a twin!” or “I have twins!” No matter the comment, they almost always cause a reaction. So, I thought I would be real with you and give you the skinny on what it’s like to live with our toddling little phenomena.

Many times in an attempt to make an emotional connection, I’ve had moms tell me, “My kids are only ___ months/years apart. It was pretty much like having twins.” I’m going to let you in on a little secret: No, it wasn’t. There is no such thing as “pretty much” twins. Either they are twins, or they aren’t. Now, I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense at all. I honestly think that there are many things that are more difficult about having kids at two different ages than two at the same age. For me, when it is nap time, it is nap time. For both kids. I don’t have to worry about keeping one quiet so the other can sleep and I get a break at the same time every day. When they were infants, I only had one schedule to keep (and yes, I kept to it. Ask anyone who was around me for the first year of the twins’ lives).There are no “older child toys” and “younger child toys”. We don’t have to worry about the toddler being upset about the baby breaking a favorite doll or the baby swallowing a Lego meant for a toddler. Remember, I was only pregnant once, gave birth once, went through one infancy stage. Hence: BOGO (buy one get one free).

But, I’m not going to lie. There are things that are more difficult with twins. Breastfeeding. I think that is all that needs to be said on that topic. Soothing little babies when all they want is their mother’s full attention and it has to be divided between the two of them. Sometimes I look at new moms and I think to myself, “How is she looking so normal? How is she coping with this new little being so well? I was a MESS at this time!” I have to comfort myself with the thought that I had two and they were a double dose of game-changer. Or it is also quite possible that they just are coping better than I did... or at least hiding it better. Even now when I get home from work, all these two little girls want to do is to be held and played with and, frankly, all I want to do is hold them and play with them. But, I’m home at 4:00 and dinner is at 5:00 (yep, still a schedule freak).  So that means figuring out how to stir spaghetti noodles with no hands. I’ve figured out a few creative solutions but mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that this, just like infancy, is a phase that I need to embrace and that it will get easier.

On the other hand, there are some simply amazing things about twins. They will share a connection that will be impossible for me to understand. They will never remember life without the other. There is no greater gift to a parent than having your kids love each other. People often ask us if they fight and the answer is that yes, they do. I think that sibling rivalry is inevitable no matter what the age similarity/difference is. But they also love each other and enjoy being around each other. Even at this young age, they show empathy, “Uh-oh, sissy is sad!” or concern, “Oh no, sissy is in time out.” They frequently ask to hug and kiss each other, they dance together and hold hands. Just one interaction like that and any of the difficulty we’ve had with them that day melts away and we are once again enthralled with the miracle of these two little girls.

So, there you have it. Twins: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just remember, unless you had twins, you didn’t have twins.


Jen said...

I love this post. I seriously want to know the inside scoop to having twins-- especially abroad. :) You are my hero, friend! Happy birthday BOGOS!

ginger said...

I loved this Ashley. I was considering the "my kids are really close so it was like having twins" mindset. It seems that the underlying message is "my life is impossibly hard and since you have twins, yours must be impossible we're going through the same thing."

Is that Harrison with a baby in one of your pictures too? How fun.

We're loving life back in CO and all of the 60 degree days that pepper our winter.