Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What is it like to have twins? (10 things we have learned)

This is a question I hear quite frequently. I have wanted to do this post since I started blogging and so now I have had a chance to look through some older pictures of the babies (I had a hard time narrowing it down- be ready for lots of pictures!) and finally did it. We have nearly survived the first 18 months already! They were born Jan 4, 2007 and I just don't know where the time has gone. Everyday, they look more like little girls and it is so fun to watch them develop into the little people that they are.

Just for fun, I thought I would list some things that describe what it is like to have twins. This will no doubt be a continuing list that I will add to as they grow bigger and move into different developmental phases. Here are some things we have learned about what it is like to have twins.

1) Things are different from the very beginning. I remember saying (before the girls) that I never wanted twins. When Kenny was a baby, I babysat another little girl the same age and I remember saying, "Wow- this is what it would be like to have twins- I am so glad one goes home at the end of the day!" When the doctor said there was two (I was 7 1/2 weeks along...) I was in shock. But, from that moment, I knew I wanted them both. I was thrilled....terrified... but thrilled! (I was a bit reluctant to post this photo...obviously not very flattering....) The end of the pregnancy was way harder than my other pregnancies. I was HUGE!!!! I was physically unable to sleep in my own bed. I slept in a recliner. While I was fortunate to never be on bedrest, it hurt just to walk to walk around. But, hey- I was carrying 15 lbs. of baby in there!2) From the first moment that I held them both, I completely understood how someone could have sextuplets and love them all the same . (Not that I would want to...)
3)There is truly a bond from the very beginning. This is my all time favorite picture of them and it was taken just minutes after they were born.I feel like they are "venting" to each other about what they just went through. I also like this one, taken Easter 2007, when they were about 3 mos old.4)They seem to naturally need to be close. When they were first born, I tried putting them in a crib together, but they would not sleep. A wise friend, who has twin granddaughters told me they probably had too much space and to try a bassinet. I thought they couldn't possibly fit. But I tried and was so glad I did. They did not sleep well until I did this:
They slept this way for more than two months until they just wouldn't fit anymore. This was another favorite napping position (laying on each other- on daddy!)
5) Everything takes longer. When they were newborns and I was nursing them, I figured out I spent more than 4 hours a day,everyday, just nursing babies. That is just feeding time and doesn't include burping, changing, etc. Also, I used to be early everywhere I went. When the boys were born, I could usually be on time. Now, I get there eventually.....

6) They often get sick together. This is a given, since they share pacifiers, sippy cups, toys, nursed from the same mom, etc. When they were two weeks old, they both contracted RSV and were hospitalized for 3 days. (these pictures are sad...)
Yet, I have also learned that just because one gets sick, it doesn't guarantee the other will. There have been a couple times when one got sick, but the other never did.

7) Their little personalities are obvious from the beginning. Meghan has always been the sillier, outgoing, adventurous one. Ellie is more laid back, reserved and cuddly. You can see here, that when they were 10 months old and we went to the beach, Meghan loved the sand and Ellie wasn't so sure...This one says it all (about 16 mos old).....
Despite the close bond, they do have very distinct personalities, wants and needs. These clash and sometimes result in fights as bad as between any siblings. This always seems to surprise people. This also makes outing to the park or other open places difficult, as they usually run in two opposite directions. So, who do I chase after first?

8) Bath time is much more fun with two
9) You can't leave the house without someone saying, "Wow- you sure have your hands full, don't you?" (thank you Captain Obvious.....) If I had a dollar for every time I heard that one...

Other stupid questions I am asked on a daily basis include: "Are they twins?" (hmmm, they are wearing the same outfit, and look the same twins at all...just born 8 min. apart!) Or "are they identical?" (that would imply they would look exactly the same...look closer!) Or, my personal favorite..."Oh, so you have one boy and one girl?" (Despite the fact that they are both wearing pink shirts and pink sandals. I always want to ask them- which one do you think is the boy?)

10) The reason moms of twins often dress their twins the same has nothing to do with denying them their individuality. This is a common misperception. Now I understand. In the beginning, everyone buys you matching outfits. It makes sense to have them wear them at the same time. Or, like these unbelievably gorgeous dresses Aaron's mom made for their blessing day... But, as they get bigger, there is two reasons why we frequently dress them the same. First is just a matter of convenience- when you are shopping for two and you have 4 kids in tow, it is just easier and faster to buy two of the same thing. You know you have two babies, you need a shirt for each, so you grab two shirts. Second, there is this underlying fear of people thinking you dress one cuter than the other. This can be avoided by just dressing them the same, or at least coordinating. Their distinct personalities shine through regardless of clothing. When they are old enough to choose their own clothes, they are welcome to do so.

I can honestly say that having twins has been the hardest, most blessed, most tiring, most fun time of my life. Even though I would never have chosen to have twins, I can't imagine my life without them both. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Another mom with twins said, of what it is like to have twins, "We never would have asked for it, but love it, and we would never wish it on anyone!" That is pretty accurate. Except, maybe I would wish it on others because the blessings exceed the trials. To conclude this post, I will add a poem that says it all. It came with a photo frame I received as a welcoming gift from one of the twins clubs I am in:

There's two to wash, there's two to dry,
there's two who argue, there's two who cry.

One's in the mud having a ball,
the other holds a crayon...another marked wall.
Some days seem endless, my patience grows thin.
Why was I chosen to be a mother of twins?

The answer comes clear at the end of each day.
As I tuck them in bed and to myself I say,
there's two to kiss, there's two to hug,
and best of all there's two to love.
Ellen & Meghan, Valentine's Day, 2007


trentnjeanmorello said...

What a precious post! The girls are SO adorable and I have always thought that you were such a great Mom. The girls are so lucky! you and Aaron are so lucky too!

Very cute pictures!!!

Emilee said...

how cute! They are so cute and funny and adorable so r the boys. i love ur kids!

Kelly said...

That was so great!! I so loved the pictures and words of wisdom! I bet you get bombarded with dumb comments on a daily basis- but I know you handle them with ease! You are an amazing mom, and not too many of us could do twins- I always think and know that Heavenly Father never gives us more than we can handle, so you must be up for the task!!
Thanks for sharing, and I love the belly picture- it is hard to believe how our tummies grow and expand and then somehow make it to some normal shape again!
You look terrific!

Valarie said...

Soo much fun to read!! I always wanted twins. I would have loved it. I watch my niece, Devyn, for 11 hours a day and I say it is as close as I will ever get to having twins, but Devyn goes home and I only have to deal with trying to get one to sleep at night, so not the same. :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture of the girls sleeping together on the lap. So adorable. It's so great to hear tht you enjoy them and that you know them so well. Thanks for sharing!!

Abbey said...
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Abbey said...

I loved this blog so much. I cannot believe that poeple would ask you if they were boy and girl twins. They are always dressed like cute little girls. But hey people always thought my brother and I were boy twins, even when I was wearing a dress and earings. They are beautiful, you have two precious blessings.

Lauri said...

There was a time when I thought I'd like to have twins. Actually, they run in the family and it was time for them to show up again so I was convinced that I would be the one. As it turns out, I'm so glad that didn't happen to me. I don't think I could have done it.

You're amazing!!!

Kimberly said...

You are amazing. The thing I've always been most impressed with about you is that, no matter what, you go with the flow. Whenever people feel the need to take their 6-8 week maternity leave after having a child I remember you coming right back with both babies in tow. You come to playgroup instead of using the twins as an excuse and are WAY more prepared than I am with my one toddler. You're just so real about it. You don't pretend to be supermom but you don't wuss out on life b/c you have four kids now :)

Autumn said...

What a terrific way to summarize twins!!!! I LOVE this and could read more and more about your experiences. The sand and couch pictures are probably my favorite because they show how different they are. I just love that. And the blessing dresses and edible shoes---toooo cute. I will never ever ever not be amazed at how long you carried them and that you were never on bed rest. You are wonder woman. I think you should submit this to a magazine. I just love it.