Dressed, undressed, sleeping or awake, there is no hiding the fact that my two babies are very different people. For starters, one is male, one female. My boy is much taller than my girl. My daughter is petite everywhere except her pudgy tummy. My son? He is shaped like a mini-shrek. They sleep differently, eat differently, have different tolerance levels. My son likes people indiscriminately, my daughter is a bit more reserved. I could type until my fingers were raw and red, listing and highlighting the ways in which they are different.
Honestly, in my mind, they aren’t twins. They are my son and daughter. Sure, I use the magic phrase “I have twins,” but mainly as an excuse. “Sorry my house is a mess,” or “Sorry that I forgot your birthday, the twins are sapping all of my brain power!”
When out and about with both kiddos, I am often surprised that people ask me questions about them as if they are a unit. “Which one is the loud one?” or “Why is he bigger than her?” I often respond that they were simply womb-mates, and are just siblings to each-other, not 1/2 of a whole person.
Granted, they likely will have a close bond, as they have never been without a sibling. There is no such thing in my house as the first child. Delivered by cesarean, they are 1 minute apart. Hardly enough time to make one the “older” sibling.
I had a couple of opportunities this week to spend time with just my son, and then just my daughter. Mainly it was due to a fluke in the cherished nap schedule, but it sure was fun to focus all of my attention onto one child at a time. I believe that this is a very real stressor, especially early on, when parents of multiples wonder how in the world they will ever get to be with each of their children individually to cultivate their relationship. Lets face it, in the beginning it is about survival. When you are feeding 2 (or more) infants10-12 times a day, it makes sense to feed them both at the same time. Assembly line parenting can become a way of life. But in our home, the fog of newborns has passed, and we are enjoying a bit more flexibility. And I truly believe the kids enjoy having mama all to themselves.
For sanities sake (and time), I bathe the kids together. But occassionally I will sneak them into the bath without their sibling, and it must be so nice for them to not have to share the tub, or the toys, or have someone splashing water into their faces. This one on one time is also great for cuddling. I can easily snuggle and read to one baby on the couch. But if I have both of them, it is a disaster waiting to happen to try and corral both of their wiggling bodies and keep the books intact.
This weekend, the hubster and I took the kids to the mall in two single strollers. It was the most peaceful outing I have had in a long time. Each kid had space, a new perspective on their surroundings and a parent all to themselves. It is so nice that we can split them up occasionally, and really enjoy them as individuals.
I was thinking about all of this “twin stuff,” and realized that it is a lot like marriage. When you get married, you are one of two. You are part of the whole unit. You function as a team, yet you are still an individual. I know I rebelled a bit when people started treating me just as a Mrs., when I was still Krissy.
It is my hope to raise my son and daughter as siblings with a special start to what hopefully will be a life-long friendship. And I want to be free to take my son someplace special while my daughter is with one of the grandmas. I want to buy my daughter pretty rain boots, without feeling compelled to buy a boy-pair for my son.
I think Valentine’s day might be a great day for my hubby and I to “date” our kids, and have lunch out with just one of them. I can envision myself holding my son’s chubby hand, walking into a restaurant after dropping off my girl at her daddy’s workplace, and helping him order off of the big-kid menu, and taking time to listen to him and his heart.
Of course, we first need to master walking, eating without choking, keeping public scream-fests to a minimum, and sitting still for more than 30 seconds, but I have no doubt that one day in the future, I will proudly be out in restaurant with my son, and won’t feel compelled to tell the passers-by that he has a twin sister!