Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seeing Double

Snoozing in a sunbeam

Having twins brings on a unique set of circumstances.  You sleep less, you multitask more.  You learn who your friends are and how much stuff can actually fit into your house.  You rival any Time Lord with the ability to manipulate time and space.  You learn very quickly that if it isn't crying, threatening collapse, bleeding profusely or actually on fire, it can wait.

You also learn that these separate-yet-together little people are giving you a myriad of little experiences that you will never see or fully appreciate otherwise.  The snuggling.  The sharing (and then fighting) over a soother or toy.  The back and forth cooing communication. The constant awareness of the other and the attempt to touch or placate when one is upset. It is breathtakingly, mindbogglingly wondrous and will make you smile and your chest ache simultaneously.

Welcoming both the "sames" and the "differents" just comes with the territory.  My twins do share many things.  They love music.  They are both cuddlebugs.  They both hate spinach.  Wyatt and Zoe are fraternal, so there are some obvious differences too.  One is a girl, one is a boy. One has a penchant for soothers ("tookies") and one prefers their thumb.  One is very fair and blue eyed like his older brother while the other is olive with dark eyes like her mother.  One has the usual arrangement of chromosomes, the other has an extra 21st.  It is accepted that one will be whatever she sets her sights on and will get there through her own determination.  In some circles, it is still accepted that the other will not amount to anything.  (We don't belong to any of those).

My twins are a little more unique than most as I have moved from having two infants that are doing almost exactly the same things to two babies that are at different levels of development.  Both are still small for their age, but my daughter, the "typical" twin is now growing out of her 3-6 month sizes and has moved on to a larger size diaper.  She is muscular, strong and bulldozes her way around a room.  My "atypical" son is a little behind her in size, is still fitting into most of his 3-6 month clothing and is just pushing himself up on his hands and learning to roll in both directions.  She is actively shoveling finger foods in her mouth, he is still trying to accept chunkier textures.  They are still together, but are now totally different. 

We knew this time was coming... a time where the gap between their levels of development would be too great to not address it.  It was one thing when they were not completely mobile, but now one is only quasi mobile and the other is almost walking.  Play time together gets a little tricky when one is actively cruising [read: destroying] the room and the other is having tummy time.  It's hard for them, it's hard for us to watch.  It's hard for Wyatt when he is enjoying a toy and Zoe takes it and goes away with it.  However, it is things like this that give him a little push to to move more and stand up for himself.

Our "parents of twins" insanity has yet to abandon us.  We still seem to have some sort of unspoken connection to random strangers that have two or more the same age.  Our schedules have not settled down any; we seem to outgrow one thing and then find something else just as time consuming to fill it's spot.  The laundry has just gotten bigger.  We find our tempers shorter.  Meals, for example, now seem to take forever.  It's weird, but I find myself missing the days of just latching them on anywhere and then topping them up with a bottle on the go.  Now, there is furniture involved, there are "discovery appetizers" (Special K or Rice Krispies to help him with his tongue and help her with her pincer grip), a main course of at least 3 oz each of food (prepared by us), plus rice cookies (mainly for our mini-scream queen) and then a session with me or a bottle.  There is more laundry involved in the form of bibs; we can't go to the plastic ones yet as they are still too large.  There is a prerequisite hosing of them both at the end and then it's time to set them up for an activity.  It's a lot.  We don't go out much.

There is a lot of similarities between parents of twins too.  Good friends of ours have twins; their boy and girl have grown up with our eldest.  Everyone was over last Saturday for some hair-apy, kid time, baby-snuggling and football.  There was a point when all four parents were in the kitchen making dinner plans when we all realized that none of us had really eaten all day.  The final tally:  three bowls of cereal, two cups of coffee, a few chocolates (swiped from the kids) and several glasses of pop or ice tea between four grown adults.  It was pathetic.  The reason?  We had been feeding kids all day.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and now dinner. Somewhere in all the prep, serving and cleanup we had all forgotten to feed ourselves.  That wasn't the scary part;  that honour was saved for the fact that we all shrugged it off as commonplace and descended on our dinner like vultures.  The "hair-apy", by the way, was to combat one of the other hazards of twin parent-ship:  grey hair.  We get it in droves.  Thankfully, only my hairdressing girlfriend knows exactly how much I really have.    At least one of any twin pair will be the "danger baby"...   We have Zoe.  She is constantly trying to climb, constantly bashing herself on any available object and has already had one run in with the stairs.  I swear by all that is holy that I can actually feel them turn grey (or just fall out) now.  Today I heard some animated babbling and turned around to find this: 

"Whadd'ya mean this isn't made for two?!"
I'm lucky I have any hair left.

We are rapidly approaching their first birthday and moving on to exciting new stages.  There will be teeth. There will be talking.  There will be simultaneous tracking of multiple moving targets (Oy!).  There will be a lot of fun and a lot of joy... and a lot of spills and tears.  There are a lot of not-so-nice things on the horizon for my little tribe but we will see through to the other side of that.  The one thing that all of us have in common is each other.  Regardless of how ugly life may or may not get, that in itself makes us rich.  Doubly so, if you think about it...


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