By Jessica T
TwinspeakUploaded: Jun 10, 2014
Lord Byron has a quote, "Happiness was born a twin." It rings truer than I might have imagined. Our eldest child is ten years older than our twins, so the news of their arrival came as a shock as well as a blessing. We had friends with twins and knew how much work it was - so much so that the idea of having twins never appealed to us. During our struggle with infertility, we took pains to avoid procedures that increased the likelihood of twins. But it's been such a tremendous journey that I wouldn't change it for the world. A year ago I walked down the maternity ward pushing two bassinets, feeling so proud to have brought two babies into the world simultaneously and knowing that they would never be alone. Our twins would have each other, even when our older daughter headed to college.
The wonder of twins has only deepened. Something amazing happened after their first birthday. They still don't call each other by name (though they can say the name of every other member of our household), but they are communicating with each other. They call to each other between rooms and have nonsense words that they babble at one another. If one starts repeating a common word, for example, "giggle," the other begins chanting "giggle" as well. I had heard about twins communicating in a secret language, but it's exciting to see it in action.
Though it really is twice the work, in some respects raising twins is easier. If you've ever seen how kids behave in a daycare or preschool setting, you know that routine and herd mentality are key to making kids behave predictably and feel secure in their environment. Twins have this herd mentality and peer pressure built in: they've never known anything else.
If it's time to eat, they chow down. They seem to know that their parents are too exhausted to prepare a second meal, especially for them. It's now or never - there won't be another opportunity to eat until the next snack or mealtime. And if one of them doesn't finish his or her meal, it may be stolen by the other! Bedtime goes off without a hitch, too. With another baby in a crib nearby, there's no need to manipulate their parents for attention and comfort. If my brother is going to bed, so shall I! If one is tired and cuddles up, the other is bound to give it a try.
And they play together - somewhat asynchronously now, but in close proximity, with plenty of chatter. They dance together and smile when the other is laughing or being tickled. They steal toys and pacifiers from each other and wail inconsolably if they hurt the other's feelings. They shove each other and sometimes bite, yet they are true companions. Over the weekend we constructed tricycles (a birthday present from their grandparents) and a hand-me down playhouse in the backyard. When my son woke up early from a nap, I whisked him outdoors to check out his new toys. He was shy and tentative until his sister woke up. Only after she joined him was he emboldened to explore.
I wonder if this closeness will remain as they grow older, especially because they are opposite-sex twins. I hope it does. I hope they will always benefit from the shared experience of growing up together with an older sister. They are unique; in fact, they couldn't be more different - my son is a bruiser with almond-shaped brown eyes, my daughter, petite with blue eyes. Every morning I pinch myself and count my blessings for finally having the family I always wanted - but never realized I did.