Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is it a twin thing?

"Yes, they are twins." "Yes, they are identical."
"No, I did not have fertility help" (and that's really none of your business anyway)
"Yes, twins run in my family."

Those are the answers to just a handful of questions I get when I go out with my girls.

Having twins opens a door to a whole new world of weirdness and strange questions from random strangers who think MY children are THEIR business.

And it really IS a whole world of weirdness.... identical twins, that is.
The things my husband and I witness and watch and have experienced these past five years with them is all together unique.

First, when people see you with twins, they think they're allowed to ask you all kinds of strange things.
Second, they don't care what you're in the middle of doing... they'll stop to question you anyway.

And these are really questions they'd never ask you if you had just one baby or one child with you. 
Twins is a whole different sack of potatoes!

Stranger: "Did you nurse them?" 
Me:  "Excuse me?!"

Stranger: "Did you have a vaginal birth?" 
Me: "I'm sorry, did you just say vagina to me?"

And then there are the people who need to tell all about THEIR twin experiences, as if I need to hear all about their niece, nephew, daughter, grandson, etc.... It's bizarre.

The first year of the twins' life was a total blur. The sleep deprivation was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Don't remember much at all.  I DO remember the pediatrician telling me at their 2 week appointment that I needed to refer to them by name.  I could hardly remember my OWN name...so excuse me if I referred to my babies as THIS one and THAT one. 
Promptly changed pediatricians after THAT appointment.

I took tons of pictures of the girls as babies and toddlers...in fact I still take tons of pictures..., but things like... what their first word was and who walked first?.. I have no idea.
So I've told them they both said "Da-Da" at the same time on the same day...and they both walked on the same day(which is probably fairly accurate, although I was half asleep through it, so I don't really know) I knew I should've listened to my mother and wrote some of this stuff down! Damn it!

As toddlers, I didn't have to worry about one of them running off in one direction and one in the other...like I had initially assumed would happen.  They were always, ALWAYS together. 
If they cried, they cried together. If they laughed, they both laughed.   Tantrums? You bet... together.

I have a not so fond memory of carrying two tantrum-ing twins like footballs through the Walmart parking lot in a full sweat...with a two year old scrambling behind me to keep up. Yeah, that was fun.

And if they got into mischief?... it was definitely side by side. 
They worked together to accomplish their goals... Like taking a Costco sized bottle of dish soap(that weighed more than they did) out of the hall closet and jumping on it...spraying liquid soap all over my hardwood floors. 
Ever tried to clean up soap? Right.

Or dumping an entire bag of cat food into the cat's food bowl as well as all over the laundry room floor. Awesome.

Luckily they grew out of the mischief making stage...and as with any child - just when you get one thing down pat, everything changes and you have to learn something new all over again. 

The girls are now in separate Kindergarten classes with separate homework and separate friends.  So some of their friends don't even know they have a twin. One will get invited to a birthday party and the other will not.  It's a challenge, not a big one, but one we never even THOUGHT about when they were infants and toddlers.

And as they've gotten older.. we've watched their relationship develop into what I like to call....
"An old married couple"   There is a giver and a taker.  One would give you the shirt off her back and the other would happily accept it.  And that's how they co-exist.

They are best friends. And worst enemies too.
They know each other's quirks and what buttons to push...so basically, they know how to piss each other off.  BIG TIME.
They bicker. A lot.

But they also laugh a lot and love each other a lot.

While I've had to teach my oldest daughter empathy and compassion(this doesn't seem to be an inborn thing in her...as I've seen her step over an injured and crying sibling to ask me for help with her homework) ...
My twins have had it since birth.  They're compassionate and caring because they've always had that other person to be compassionate and caring towards and about.  It's a true blessing.

I often watch my girls interact with other kids and wonder if they think they're any different from anyone else.   I wonder if they notice that people CONSTANTLY ask them,
"Which one are you?" or call them by the wrong name. 
Is it annoying? Or just a way of life for them?
When they were little-little, I would ask them if they thought they looked the same and they would respond, "Yes, because we have the same match heads."

Now if you ask them if they look the same, they shake their heads, "No"
...and yet, if you take a picture of one with your phone and turn the phone to show it to her...she'll insist that it is NOT her, that it's her sister.  So funny!

And they DO share that "twin connection".  I've heard the conversations they have where as an outsider, I can barely understand what's being talked about...and yet both of them are fully comprehending the entire exchange. 

The other day one twin asked the other,
"What is that word where you're the same thing and people can't see you?" 
I sat there thinking... "Um. What?! I have no idea what you're even asking"  
And her twin responded, "Oh. Camouflage."   Just like that.  What?! How?!?

And playing charades with them? Forget it.
One will act out something that would leave even the best charades players stumped and the twin will guess it within seconds!  It's bizarre and amazing all at the same time.

The love they have for each other..... it IS something to see, though. It's more than just a sibling love. It's a twin love.
I checked in on them the other night before I went to bed.... there was one twin bed empty. The other bed held both of the girls... both of their pillows... the two of them snuggled together sleeping soundly. 

As I closed the door to their room, I thought... "How lucky are they to have each other?"
But really...How lucky am I to have THEM?
I get to experience the twin thing through them...and as challenging as it sometimes is...with all the growing pains we have now and will continue to experience.... I really wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

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