”Sufficient unto the day is one baby. As long as you are in your right mind don’t you ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there ain’t any real difference between triplets and an insurrection.” – Mark Twain
This week I stumbled upon the above quote, thanks to twin mom Lisa Mazzio. I’d never heard it before, and immediately shared it with a triplet mom I know.
Like many little girls, I dreamed of having twins. What’s cuter than a matched set of babies? Even more, I wanted to be twins. I wanted a built-in soul mate.
When our second baby was discovered at our 20-week ultrasound, people told me about how they’d always wanted twins. Once the babies were born, a coworker with three children close in age told me he and his wife were considering fertility treatment because she really wanted twins. He asked what I thought.
My twins are nearly 6 and there have been very few times I’ve been out looking cute with a matched set of babies. I’ve always gotten a lot less “Awwww!” and a lot more “Oh my!” I know this has a lot to do with my twins being bookended by sisters only 26 months older and younger, and I appreciate that my crew is as visually overwhelming to bystanders as they are mentally overwhelming to me. It sets the bar low, and I like it that way.
The reality of my precious matched set of babies is a little different than what I envisioned as a kid. The reality of my first year with the twins was that someone was always crying. My 2-year-old was neglected. She watched more “Caillou” that year than anyone should endure in a lifetime. The babies took turns crying in my lap and in their bouncy seats. The guilt of being unable to comfort both of them and unable to do anything at all for my toddler was crushing.
No, I wouldn’t advise anyone to seek this out. I wouldn’t pray to be given twins. Don’t get me wrong – I feel lucky. I feel like, for whatever reason, God shone His face upon me and sent this curveball my way. “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12:48) I’ve been given a lot, and a lot is required of me. And I feel guilty that so much has been required of my oldest, by me and just by life. She’s a really intense kid – she always has been, but my mother guilt nags at me, suggesting she might be better able to cope if she’d gotten just one sibling at a time, or if she’d been a little older when they were born, or if I’d been better equipped to handle three under 3, or if I had been a stay-at-home mom instead of a work-at-home mom.
And while my boys have their built-in soul mates and I no longer feel as though I’m neglecting them, they must overcome challenges related to looking alike and each being perceived as only half a person among extended family, neighbors, teachers and classmates. My boys love being twins but I think it’s a disadvantage for them, socially.
I don’t know how to wrap this up. It’s been an intense 24 hours in my household and my boys start kindergarten in three weeks, and I’m a little blue. Aside: The boys have requested (demanded, actually) that I take them to the Twinsburg festival this Friday. Should make for an interesting post in a couple weeks!
Jen is a work-from-home mom of 5-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 3 and 8. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine, where she examines the finer points of potty training failure.