It’s been five months since Michael and James (formerly Baby A and Baby B) arrived. I’ve heard people say that once you have kids, it is hard to remember life without them. Well, I still remember life pre-babies, but I wouldn’t want to go back. Since having them, I feel like my life has been split in two: the first 41 years without the boys, and now, everything else after.
One of my least favorite sayings is, ‘Where does the time go?’, so, without actually saying it, I do find myself wondering the same thing. There have been many times when I’ve looked at my boys and insisted they stop getting big. Just stop. Right now. I promised them I would rock them and feed them and take care of them forever if they would just stay little.
It hasn’t worked so far.
It’s a bit of a blur, these past 5 months, but truly (and not just for public appearance’s sake), a happy blur. Yes, there have been screaming fits, meltdowns (mine and theirs), tears (mostly theirs), severe sleep deprivation, round-the-clock-feedings-times-two and double-duty-dirty-diapers, but in spite of all that, I can say with all honesty that every day with them so far has been a happy one. Really. I know that won’t last forever, but I am riding this out as long as I can.
So we are five months in – let me introduce you to my boys. I do this intentionally. I easily refer to them as ‘the twins,’ ‘the boys,’ and if I’m feeling a little sassy, ‘my sons.’ But there actually are two individual, distinct little men that I’m getting to know and love more and more every day.
Michael is Baby A, beating his brother out by seconds (they were both actually born the same minute). The first time I saw Michael in the NICU, I reached in the incubator to touch him, and he started screaming. I was devastated – I was sure he hated me. Thankfully (and as any sane person would have realized), that wasn’t the case and we’ve since patched things up.
In fact, I’ve come to discover that Michael is my little lover. He just LOVES personal contact – he loves to be held, he loves to make eye contact, he loves interacting and playing. He will stare at me until I acknowledge him. And when I do, I get this enormous smile that is so precious that it literally hurts my heart. Michael is a little more sensitive – cries a little more easily. He’s a good sleeper, not the greatest napper. I go into his room to see what’s going on, and instead of sleeping, he flashes that smile and giggles, like naptime is a joke Mommy is making. Impossible to keep a straight face. If you were to meet Michael, he would have a huge, happy smile to give you.
And his thighs. Oh, his thighs. I could just eat them up.
Then there’s James (formerly, Baby B).
James is my easy-going, silly baby. He has always been super-observant and aware of his environment, taking in all the details. I often wonder what James is thinking. Sometimes he will look at me with a quizzical look on his face, his eyebrows furrowed in a question or raised in surprise (especially if Michael is crying) – and then we both just start cracking up. He is always ready to give a huge, open-mouthed grin to anyone who comes up to him. James is my good napper, but he doesn’t sleep quite as well at night. For the first few months, James would wake up around 5:30 am and would not go back to sleep. I would bring him on the couch with me and let him fall asleep on my chest for the next hour or so. Those are some of my sweetest memories. It was bittersweet for me when he started sleeping through the night and we were done with that phase.
So for the twin similarities and idiosyncrasies. Here are some things I get asked most:
In general, both boys are great eaters, great sleepers, and very happy babies (I prayed very diligently when I was pregnant for those 3 things).
Yes, they are aware of each other (mostly by the noises they make back and forth).
No, they don’t really interact much yet. Any physical contact is usually accidental.
No, they don’t sleep in the same crib. But what is interesting is that they usually are either exactly in the same position when they sleep (both arms up, both arms out) or mirror image (Mike’s facing left, James facing right, Mike’s right arm is out, James’ left arm is out).
Yes, they are sleeping through the night (since 3 months).
Sometimes they can sleep right through the other one’s crying without a peep. Other times, we have sympathy cries. If one hears the other crying, he will join in. And that might go on for quite a while. If one stops, the other usually stops.
No, I don’t dress them alike. For their monthly pictures, I usually do. Sometimes, I might dress them similarly if we are venturing out beyond the living room (similar outfits, different colors or same colors, different outfits).
No, I don’t have anyone helping me at home. Yes, I take them out solo. They are generally easy-going and content wherever we are. No meltdowns in the store where I had to leave in a rush. Yet.
Yes, I breastfeed. Yes, I tandem-breastfeed sometimes. Yes, I use formula. Yes to all of it at one time or another. They didn’t gain weight their first week from just breast-feeding, so I had to add formula. I’ve been doing all of it.
Yes, they are identical, and yes, I can tell them apart. I was worried about that before they were born, but since birth, they looked different enough for me to know who was who – never had to paint a toenail. Although, when they are sleeping, or if I look at pictures, I can get confused for a minute.
I’m not sure who they look like. I think they look like my baby pictures; some people say they look like my husband.
Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I have my hands full. But I love being a mom. I really, really do. Apart from saving me, it’s the best thing that God has ever done for me.
My husband and I were taking a walk with the boys the other night, and I mentioned that this past year has been the happiest of my life. It was a year ago we found out we were pregnant, then found out we were having twins, and everything after that was just good report after good report, just so joyful as we anticipated the arrival of our babies. And since their arrival, the joy still just keeps coming.
I know I’ve just barely scratched the surface on this motherhood thing. I know I will have those days where I want to pull my hair out. But they haven’t happened in the first 150 days.