My twins are turning 7 this week which means I'm turning 85 because there is nothing like having twins to warp-speed the aging process. I used to think of myself as one of those sprightly, energetic, fashionable moms who did crafts with her children everyday. These days I'm more like a withered old crone dragging her worn-out uterus behind her. Crafts, I shake my arthritic fist at thee! The good book says children are a blessing from God but it forgets to mention that children are also full-time janitor duty. Yesterday while folding a bazillionth load of their laundry I found myself muttering: "Only ten more years, ten more years, maybe eleven."
But then this morning, my twins came barreling down the stairs AT THE CRACK OF DAWN, pulled out boxes of markers, canisters of crayons, reams of paper and camped at my feet to draw and draw and draw. I mean, I wish they would sleep longer so I could drink my coffee and journal in peace but they were so adorable that I was like: "Awwww, can you please just live with me forever??"
This morning I went back and read-through the posts I've written over the last seven years and I found myself laughing aloud and tearing up, so happy that I'd chronicled these memories.
Here are a few funny and entertaining highlights from raising twins:
..."You really must break into song because children are easily distracted by the sound of music. Granted, your middle-schoolers might skedaddle to the produce section while you yodel through the meat department but your little ones will gape at you with shining eyes. Your heart will suddenly explode with the unabashed epiphany that nobody —NOBODY—can be The Best Parent to your child except you."
“We wanna look like each other because we’re twins!” “But girls! How about we give your teachers a break and make it easy for them to tell you apart?” Blank stares. Matching bobs and bangs for all. Plus lollipops.
The twins have entered the tattling stage and come running to me with various tales of woe. “You know! You know! You know Jorie marked on the wall!” Before they figured out tattling, they bit each other. I think tattling is an improvement.
Five little heads all bowed in prayer and Daddy nursing his gouty ankle and Mommy scratching at her psoriatic foot, that’s when I realize: the twins gave me the gift of letting go. Being free. Embracing imperfection. And truly knowing, for the first time in my life, that love really is just like the Energizer Bunny. It goes on and on.
The other night I was jolted awake by Something Sinister breathing near my face. I sprang from the bed doing my best battle-ready, Kung Fu kick. HI-YA! It turned out to be nothing more than a blanket-draped toddler, standing in silent vigil next to my bed. Weirder still, my war yell did nothing to startle her. This is the Phantom Baby who has made a game of getting up at night: Look at me hiding behind the toilet in the pitch dark! Look at me crouched up like a tiny ball on my sister's bed! Look at me breathing in your face at 2 a.m.!
The twins are 2.5 years old. To celebrate, they decided to dip my hairbrush into the toilet bowl the better to smooth each other's curls. They were also thirsty. And apparently, toilet water tastes mighty fine, thank you very much. At this point, I fully expect to be awakened at 3 am by a police officer at our front door saying our toddlers were found at the local sushi bar, chatting it up and throwing back shots of apple juice.
Things hit a new low a few days after Barf Week when I realized I'd been stepping over the same spot of dried puke for 10 days. I'd been cleaning up vomit for so many days that I'd lost track of everything. I'd forgotten how many days since I last showered. I couldn't remember when I'd last brushed my teeth. My scalp ached from being in a permanent pony-tail-bun.
You haven't truly parented until you go out to eat and your twin toddlers start yelling: "F$#k! F$#k!" in unison while you try to explain to the waitress: "FORK! They mean FORK! You know...TO EAT WITH!"
I'm just gonna quit buying actual toys. Turns out all kids really want is a drawer full of tupperware, some twigs, a few rocks and an armful of hair accessories. Oh, and shelves full of books—for pulling off the shelf, of course.
Having twins forced me to let go of lotsa things I once believed were necessary to our happiness. In many ways, we live a much simpler life now. I mother my children and I write. My kids go to school and maybe play one sport a year. To my great surprise, life is better this way.
Problem: no swim diapers. So, the twins wore regular diapers under their bathing suits. It worked fine for the first ten minutes until we noticed they were staggering around, screeching and slipping like like half-drunken sailors. The sodden weight of their soaked diapers were like anchors strapped around their waists. Joss kept slapping her bulging belly and shouting: "BUTT! BUTT!"
The twins began walking this month. Until I bought them their first pair of shoes. This confused them, like Mom, why did you put blocks on my feet? They started walking like high-stepping horses, lifting each foot really high and setting it down with a huge CLOMP!
When I think about the ordeal of premature labor, emergency C-section, NICU, leaving the hospital without my babies, bringing my twins home and the first year of their lives….I'm amazed at what we've been through. There were times this past year when I was completely overwhelmed. It all started the day I had my C-section and the babies had been whisked away from me. I lay awake the entire night, worrying about my babies, feeling so empty. I had grown so accustomed to feeling the babies move inside me. That whole night I cried, threw-up, prayed and cried some more. I'm so thankful that the NICU was not the end of our story. There were other precious babies in that NICU–so many with weeping mothers like me–and some of them did not survive. Today, I remember and say a prayer for these mothers and their children.