Friday, November 4, 2011

A Reflection on Twins

Recently a family friend of ours told us that if he could have laid out his life plan knowing how hard it would be to have twin babies, he would still choose to have two at once. Even if he had the choice to have the same exact children but not at the same time, he would CHOOSE the experience of having twins.  I nodded politely but in my head I was thinking there is no way in hell I would go through that again.  

It is well-documented in this blog that my twins were a huge surprise.  I had a few weeks to prepare for the baby I was expecting and the bonus I was also getting.  I was frantic with the idea that I was going to have three children under the age of three and little help.  To say that we were overwhelmed for the first year of their lives hardly conveys the extreme amount of exhaustion, stress, and misery we endured.  It was brutal and if given the option of all things being equal, I absolutely would NOT choose to do it again.

I think.

It is abundantly clear to me that the world is fascinated by multiples but I knew before the Turtles' birth that I would never feel comfortable emphasizing their twin identity.  The matching outfits, similar names, and other twin markers draw attention to this person as a twin and not as an individual.  It can seem like twin children can be treated more like a commodity or cool party trick than as individuals with differing needs, desires, and, in the case of many twins, faces.  First and foremost, I wanted my girls to be treated as individuals.  The fact that they are twins is part of their identity but not who they are entirely.

Yet, despite everything I do, Jude and Elie are "the twins" in our community and an extension of the other to themselves. Jude needs to cuddle Ellie when she's upset.  Ellie loves to "babysit" Jude's baby and call Jude on the phone to see how she is.  They go to bed together.  They use the potty together.  They feed each other their dinner.  They both climb into bed with me in the morning, hold hands across my chest, and tell me I am the "best mama ever."  They are fascinating as a set but  adored individually.  Jude and Elie are themselves but they are also part of each other.  


So, when they both want to wear a ruffle dress with sparkle shoes, now I say okay.  Ultimately, it is up to them to figure out who they are.

2 comments:

  1. I love this post.
    I struggle with what I want for my girls too, and I think it's ok, healthy even to admit to wanting things to play out a certain way. I love that you are letting go and letting them figure out who they are by themselves.

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  2. I feel the same way. When people tell me they've always wanted twins, I tend to think they ought to be careful what they wish for. However, at the same time, I love being a mother of twins. It's very special and my family feels like it is they way it was meant to be. :)

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