They’re Still Twins

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Categories Balance, Community, Difference, Friendships with Other Multiples, Parenting, Relationships, Special NeedsTags , , , 6 Comments

During pregnancy, my husband and I had many conversations about all the things we would do for our twins to let them know they were loved and valued as separate individuals, not just half of a set. That they cohabited in utero was only a very small part of who they would become, and we wanted them to always know that.

I dealt with all the comments during pregnancy—the “better you than me”, the “double trouble”, the “my cousin’s neighbor has twins”, the “I always wanted twins” (or, bizarrely to me once: “I almost had twins”…a story which did not result in the loss of a twin, but rather a woman who, prior to ultrasound technology, knew all along she was having twins, but never heard two distinct heartbeats and only delivered one baby). I joined twin groups, mentally prepared myself for the barrage of twin-comments we’d receive everywhere we went.

I never imagined how much it would sting to lose that.

I am luckier than many in the twin world: both my twins are alive and thriving.

But.

They do not reach developmental milestones within days of each other. Not even within months. They do not wear the same size of clothing, and haven’t since D outgrew the preemie size (while A was still a 3-pounder, outfits hanging on him like Doby’s pillowcase). They will probably not be in the same class at school (except perhaps preschool). Strangers do not ask me if they’re identical or fraternal, or even “Are they twins?” They ask me, “How far apart are they?”

The first time I got that question, the boys were 9 months. Now, D quickly outgrew the “adjusted” charts and was over 50% in height quite early, and has been slower but always on-the-charts in weight. Even so, he looked at most 11 months old. With A, who yes, (yes, believe it or not, I know), is small. But at 9 months, he looked perhaps 4 months, but probably closer to 5. Just what gestational length did these questioners have in mind, anyway??

But now, at 16 months, D could easily pass for 2. And A could be a tall-but-skinny (95th and below-zero) 9-month-old. Which is probably about where he is developmentally as well. The question is no longer absurd.

And it hurts. Selfishly, it hurts, as it is not what I imagined. It is not what “twins” entails in popular culture, mythology, anyone’s mind. But it also hurts for them. They are and always will be brothers, but I feel like they each are missing that twin-thing: the sharing of clothes, sharing of friends, sharing school books, mastering new skills together.

I rarely comment in my twin group. I feel like so much of it just does not apply.

A lot of it does, though. A lot of it applies, and then some. Feeding twins is so hard! Feeding twins when one of them has a feeding tube? Even harder. Getting any sleep with twins is hard! Getting any sleep with twins when one of them has several alarms hooked up to him, which give both real and (thankfully) not-real alerts? Harder. Dealing with extended family who plays favorites? Whoooo, boy, let me tell you. Finding time to {x}? You get the picture.

A and D will never know a different life. As brilliant as they are, I highly doubt either of them pondered the concepts of twinhood while womb-mates, probably not even recognizing that other kicky-squirmy creature with a heartbeat from my own intestines. They are twins, and this is what twinhood will mean to them, even when they understand that it may not hold true for the greater world. In some ways, they are wiser than I am.

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Wake up call

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Categories Mommy IssuesTags , , 5 Comments

To date, we have been fortunate enough to not feel the increased financial pressures having multiple babies can bring. In the beginning, they boys were exclusively breastfed so buying food was a non-issue. And as far as supplies went, we had a good start: we had half the gear in place from our first child and we were given a second crib, pack-n-play, and a DuoGlider from generous friends and family who no longer needed them. We also received our second infant car seat, Snap-n-Go, and nursing pillow(s) as gifts. Not to mention the clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. Even diapers were plentiful back in the day.

Yes, the beginning was filled with generousity and kindness and we are eternally grateful. But I now realize, we became incredibly spoiled! This week has been a real wake-up call to the reality of paying for multiple children.

It started with Easter shopping. One little Easter outfit (shirt, vest, pants, hat, shoes) is a splurge I am alright with. Double that purchase and I wonder, do they really need those things for just one day? I gave in and bought the stuff. It was all just too cute. I justified it by setting up a photo session for them the following weekend. They will wear the outfits then and I will be able to see the cuteness hanging on my living room wall forever.

It was when I got home and started putting those cute new outfits away that I realized: OMG, we have finally run through that seemingly never-ending supply of cute little boy clothes. 9-months appears to have been the magic cut-off age. So, back out to the stores I went. Even shopping the sales, I was crushed when I heard my total at the cash register. Two of everything sure adds up QUICKLY.

Then there was the crushing blow at daycare.  On back to back to back days this week, the boys’ daily reports requested me to refill their supply of…something. First, diapers. Then formula. Finally, wipes. WTF – am I supplying the whole infant room? Didn’t I just bring in all this stuff last week. I am already buying these things by the case. Do I need to start buying TWO cases at once? Yikes!

I guess it was just a matter of time. I have been living in a delusional world where having two babies didn’t cost me too much more than the first one did. I count my blessings for the past 8 1/2 months. I also count my pennies a little more closely. I just hope these children are prepared to support ME in my old age in return… :-) 

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