People seem to have a very limited number of one-liners they deliver when they see us carting around two babies.
Are they twins?
Well, they’re not kumquats.
Are they identical?
They’re a boy and a girl.
Yes, but are they identical?
Do twins run in your family?
Well, they do now.
Were you trying for twins?
*Chokes back a number of snarky replies about what, precisely, we were trying for*
And then there’s the one I really hate…
It’s not just well-meaning strangers, either. Throughout my pregnancy, I heard story upon story about how horrible the first year with twins is, how I wouldn’t remember the first six months, how all my ideas about breastfeeding and crying it out were going to have to fly out the window.
The babies are six-months-old today and I can honestly say that it has been an absolute joy and privilege to be their mama. I won’t lie and say it’s been nothing but joy– there’s the whole heart failure thing for one, and sleep deprivation for another, but that’s something every new mom has to deal with (lack of sleep, not heart failure!). But this idea that all the bad parts of the first year were going to be exponentially increased just hasn’t been true, at least in my case.
I love that I have a boy and a girl. I can see, first hand, how differently boys and girls develop… or maybe it’s just how differently my girl and boy develop. But I can see that Matthew is typically 2 to 4 weeks behind Ms. Molly on the physical stuff.
And then there is the joy of seeing their different personalities. Matthew is our “Mellow Fellow”. He smiles all the time– when he wakes up, when he’s sleeping, when he’s being changed, when he’s hanging out. He loves his baby sister and his big sister and brothers. He’s our talker, and has been known to wake us up in the middle of the night with a cooing soliloquy. For all that he gave us trouble with breastfeeding in the beginning, he’s now a champion nurser. Breastfeeding is about the only thing he does with a serious look on his face. He loves chewing on blankets and his rainbow playsilk. When he does cry, we either get a Great Big Noisy Fuss or a really pathetic “ning” sound, which has earned him the nickname “Ningboy.” When people used to ask us when we would stop having kids, we would joke “When we get an easy one.” Well, it took six tries, but we finally got our wish!
Molly, on the other hand, is anything but mellow. She has more nicknames than fat rolls– and that’s a lot! Molly Dolly, Pudding Pop, Pork Chop, Mary Bea, Mollywobbles, Edie Stoltzfus (don’t ask)… the list goes on and on. She’s a little more stingy with her smiles, but when she graces you with one, it lights up the room. She’s more renowned for her scowls though. She treats everyone and everything to the same serious expression until she gets to know you. And even then it might take some time! She also loves her big brothers and sister, and likes to play shy with them, ducking her head into their chest when they give her kisses. She’s our “good” sleeper, who you can move from one spot to another without waking up, and she nurses less at night than Matty. She has a little more trouble with breastfeeding, despite being the twin who took to it more easily in the beginning. She tends to choke and sputter and yell and get offended, but that doesn’t stop her from trying again. She loves to grab anything and chew it, including fingers, which she does with a little growl. She also likes to steal her brother’s blue elephant. She glares, she stares, she yells, and she screams, but we love her all the more for her little baby shows of temper. She reminds me a lot of me!
And I know how incredibly blessed I am.
I have older children who just adore their babies. Both Michael and Katie Grace love holding the babies, reading to them, comforting them when they fuss. I can count on one hand the number of times a baby has had to cry because no one was available to help. Katie Grace can even change a diaper or an outfit! And even my “middlers,” Nicholas and Daniel, have found ways to help as well. I have a husband who gives me a break when I feel desperate and is on board with co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and baby wearing. I have friends, a homeschool community, and a church family, all of whom have showed a willingness to open their hearts and arms to my family. And most of all, I have these two amazing little miracles.
And if anything has been doubled–heck, quadrupled– it hasn’t been trouble. All the very best parts of having a baby– the giggles, the coos, the snuggles, the joy, the love– have been multiplied, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,” (Luke 6:38).