Oh yeah, they're a riot.

‎”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.

8 thoughts on “Oh yeah, they're a riot.

  1. Great post! I love the Mark Twain quote and will be posting it into my Facebook status after I finish writing this comment.

    I never wished for twins. I always thought I would like to BE a twin, but never in my whole life did I think that I wanted to have twins myself…but apparently the universe thought differently and here I am with almost-3-year-old twin boys.

    For me, the “I always wanted twins” comment, drives me insane. My boys were born 10 weeks premature and had a rough NICU stay due to it. One of my twins has CP…and I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I could have had them ONE AT A TIME.

    Ah well…all that said, I do feel blessed to have them and I love watching the twin bond develop. It’s a pretty cool thing.

  2. Yeah…I’m totally one of those people who would see you and say, “Oh, my!” Then I’d ask if all of them were yours. Now I wonder just how many moms I offended asking that.

  3. After both my sisters got pregnant with twins, I knew the possibility was high for me as well. The hubby and I even joked about it up until I started to show at just 9 weeks, and then confirmed at my first ultrasound. I had always told my husband that I only wanted one…so I’ve just gotten used to telling people that God saw the potential for me to be SuperMom, so let’s see if I can rise to the occasion.

  4. I love that Mark Twain quote AND the biblical one. Great reminder that I must rise to the occasion. I don’t think I knew that your twins were a late discovery or maybe I did but forgot? Mine were too…I do feel very lucky with my embaressment of riches in the kid department, but I have so many of the same guilt pangs you describe, mostly surrounding my older child. You’ve been such a beacon for me throughout this journey and I so appreciate that.

  5. You couldn’t have described my situation more perfectly! As someone whose mother is a twin and whose father has twin sisters and whose great grandparents happened to be twins, I also thought it would be great to be a mother of twins. That’s when I was 12. When I got my twins at 33, I thought, “Why the %*&$ does it have to be me?”

    Emphasis on the #*$#&!

    Thanks for the quote. My parents’ used Mark Twain as an inspiration for my own name so this post comes full circle for me!

  6. such a good post. before i had my first i thought twins would be an efficient way to get a family going and not have to be pregnant more than once. I quickly figured out that one was plenty to keep me busy!

  7. I love your quote and will definitely share it with my aunt who has triplets! I love when people tell me that they always wanted twins because I tell them they are crazy. I luckily had lots of time to prepare myself for twins since we knew at 8 weeks they were coming. I am grateful for my sweet babies (who are now 2 1/2) but wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

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