Friday, August 22, 2008

Tired and Grateful

In many ways, life, as I currently know it, began on a sunny, Friday afternoon of June 29, 2007. The days of business meetings, conference calls, cocktails after work, high heels and make-up seem like a bleary memory of the past, replaced by play dates and trips to the park, a myriad of visits to the pediatrician’s office for the umpteenth cold and ear infection that month, and countless diaper changes. Our beautiful identical twin girls, Anna Sophia and Margaret Katherine, made their entrance in this world at a robust and healthy 6 lbs 11 oz and 5 lbs 15 oz.

I breezed through a twin pregnancy, with, to our great blessing, no complications, bedrest, or even a break in my work schedule – and also with the naïveté of a first time parent, unaware of the challenge ahead of us.

Surely, if a high-risk pregnancy were this easy, taking care of 2 infants would be piece of cake, right? My naïveté also told me that because I’m a relatively laid back person who was told, by my very proud mother, that I was an excellent sleeper as a child, that I would give birth to 2 easygoing children who slept and giggled and cooed and smiled their way through infancy.

Boy was I wrong. I firmly believe that I gave birth to the world’s worst sleepers. My husband and I slogged our way through 10 weeks of extreme baby colic and some serious bouts of acid reflux that made our girls extra cranky between the hours of 6 and 10 p.m., and so our lifesaver family members spent night after night with us, pacing the halls with 2 screaming little girls, taking long, destination-less car rides to desperately induce sleep, and bouncing, rocking, shushing, swaddling, sweating, and attempting to maintain our sanity.

The nights were even harder – night after night, I spent, on my own, trying to calm 2 screaming babies at 12, 2, 3, 4 and 6 a.m., and often would just cry along with them. I found myself praying for daylight – the only time of the day in which they’d sleep. Despite feeling like it would never end, it did – they turned 6 months in the blink of an eye and life was easier, sunnier, and full of laughter.

Anna and Margaret continue to be challenging, headstrong, defiant, and extremely active. One minute they're throwing a tantrum, the next, they're twirling and giggling. Along with that personality has come a determination on their part to hit physical milestones early – crawling by 6 ½ months, and walking at 11 months.
At almost 14 months, they tear through our house like little hurricanes, emptying the tupperware cabinet, climbing the chairs and sofa with death-defying stunts, upending cereal boxes and frantically pulling clothes out of their dresser drawers faster than I could ever keep up with them. Going out in public with them by myself is almost impossible if they are not strapped into a stroller, as they inevitably attempt to play “come chase me” by running in opposite directions from each other. This behavior is admittedly not different from most toddlers their age - but when dealing with 2 at the same time, life gets exponentially hectic.

But they have such a soft, loving, affectionate side as well. They adore each other, make each other giggle on a daily basis, and remind me of just how wonderful and amazing it is to have twins.
Taking care of multiples is hard. The physical, emotional, and financial toll of having a child is magnified – and the guilt and worries are amplified. The constant fear of not giving one or the other enough attention, providing them with enough opportunities to grow and learn, and experience things that singletons can easily experience are always there. As a stay at home mom, I find myself constantly declining invitations to play dates because one or both of the girls are sick, opting out of taking them to public places like the pool because of the logistical difficulties of taking 2 fearless, active toddlers to a place in which they could get hurt. I always feel sad that they miss out on so much.

But if you saw my girls acted together – how they often wrestle each other to the ground, giggling hysterically; how they play peek-a-boo with each other behind corners and chairs; and how they sometimes hold hands while sitting in their highchairs or their carseats – you’d see how having twins is life’s greatest blessing. They are the best things that ever happened to my husband and me, and I’m so very happy that they will have each other as lifelong friends.
Our little girls have recently learned how to hug and kiss both each other as well as every one we encounter. Yesterday morning, I went into their nursery to get them up for the day, scooped Margaret out of her crib, and she held on to my neck as tight as possible, nuzzled her sweet little face into my cheek, and gave me the sloppiest open mouth kiss you’d ever experience. You know what? I’d go through infancy with twins 1,000 times over to just experience one more morning of that. I’m so very blessed.

1 comment:

ZMCooley said...

Ugh...the end brought me to tears! Your girls are so sweet and they are lucky to have such a great mama! (~missuscooley)