The Twins turned three last month.
And let me tell you what having twins has taught me.
Three is significant to me because:
a. They are no longer toddlers or babies.
b. This is the time that all of our other boys magically became “daddy’s boys” and left my side to follow him around everywhere.
c. Life just got easier.
It makes me sound like a horrible mom, I know.
My twins – my youngest two boys – my babies – just turned three, and I’m thrilled.
I should be sad, I know. I should be missing the smell of that sweet baby shampoo (I don’t, because I still use it, even on my five year old!) and their coos and giggles.
But I don’t.
Those two bouncing little bundles of joy skidded in to our world – my world – picked it up, flipped it upside down and dumped all the pieces out.
Parts of my life flew around everywhere. Some of it landed pretty close to the right place and some of it fell scattered, only to be stomped on and shattered. What remained, often unrecognizable and tattered, are pieces I have slowly, painstakingly picked up for the last three years, trying to sort it out and put it all back together.
And it is finally falling in to place.
(Only to be dumped back out again, I’m sure, at whatever is lying right around the corner!)
I used to look at all the people I know who have twins (and there are a lot of them!) and wonder why it seemed so easy for them. They were just glowing with love and pride. And it’s not that I don’t love my babies; I do, fiercely.
I just wanted it to be easier.
Raising my older boys wasn’t exactly hard for me.
And now I have two three-year-olds and a Kindergartener.
My three-year-olds play together, without me. For extended periods of time. And the Kindergartener goes to school. This leaves quiet, unrecognizable moments in our house.
It gives me time to think.
And what I realized is, having twins has taught me a lot about being a mom.
Probably more than their oldest three brothers ever did.
These were some tough lessons to learn. And they weren’t learned without a fight! I did not want to give up my old way of doing things. But, out of a sheer will to survive, I did.
And the lessons I have learned are invaluable.
My hope is that you won’t need to have twins in order to learn these as well!
1. Showering every day is not necessary for survival. It used to be that I was incredibly crabby if I could not shower immediately after waking up. Not only did I learn how to shower at all odd hours of the day, but I also learned that I will live if I don’t get to shower for a day or two.
2. Likewise, make-up and made-up-hair is not necessary before stepping out the door. Pony-tails are perfectly acceptable in all situations. Not only would I never go anywhere without being “made up”, but I also would not let people in to my home if I wasn’t cleaned up and made-up! I’d simply pretend I wasn’t home (or make my husband answer the door). I quickly learned that those who know me know I can look better, and those who don’t know me most likely will never see me again, so it doesn’t matter.
3. I don’t need to look good in every picture. I never used to allow my family to take my picture if I wasn’t “made-up”. But then I discovered I was never in the pictures, because I was never all-put-together! I quickly let that go, and even started posting pictures of me with my boys on Facebook, with no make-up on! (gasp!)
4. You can brush your teeth just once a day – and it doesn’t matter when – and still not get cavities! I went from brushing, flossing and using mouthwash twice a day to brushing my teeth around ten in the morning. And no cavities!
5. Ignorance really is bliss. If you can’t hear your kids, don’t go check on them!! Because you know they are doing something naughty, and if you see them in the act, then you have to correct their behavior! Let them “get by with something” while you enjoy a quiet moment!
6. I can survive in chaos. I used to clean before leaving for the weekend, and then come home, unpack, and clean again. (I also used to wash my walls and clean out all of my kitchen cabinets on a regular basis.) Now I just step over the mess, and get to it when it really grosses me out.
7. A wet spot can be “patched” up with towels and blankets. Especially if it’s in the middle of the night. Especially if the wet spot is in your bed. It is not necessary to rouse everyone to change the sheets. Just put a body pillow between you and the sleeping child, so that you don’t accidentally roll in to the wet spot!
8. I can pee and hold a small child on my lap at the same time! (Need I say more?
9. I can still manage my day if the first thing I do does not involve peeing and putting my bra on. You have no idea what a luxury it is to get to take care of your human moments right when you wake up. I have learned that my day will be okay if I have to answer to a crying baby or fill a sippy cup with orange juice before I can even put my bra on.
10. My skin will not shrivel up and die if I didn’t have time to lotion. Seriously. Those who know me know this. I lotion every time I get wet. Every time. I also used to lotion first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night.
11. Silence really is loud. There is so much noise in my life. I never realized it until my husband and l left for a weekend alone. We were in the car. No kids. No radio. Not talking. And the silence was roaring in my ears. My husband whispers, “Do you hear that?” and I said “Yes, it’s too loud!” (So he turned the radio on.)
12. I can operate on one hour of sleep. I might be functioning a little sub-par, but I can function!
13. Everything can be blamed on a lack of sleep and hormones! And I don’t feel guilty about this at all.
14. A thought interrupted is not worth trying to remember. You cannot complete a sentence at my house – just ask my sixteen year old – the poor thing can never get a word in. It used to drive me insane. But now I know that if I get interrupted, and forget what I was going to say, it will either come back to me later (most likely at an inopportune time) or it never needed to be said in the first place.
15. I don’t need a diet plan. Kids – boys in particular – are good at keeping my portions under control. I always have to share my food with my little birdies, and I always give up my portion (of meat in particular!) to the big boys.
16. It’s easier to buy a bigger bed than to kick the kids out. You think a king-sized bed is a luxury? Not in my house.
17. Alcohol is a coping skill. My husband lists it as ‘therapy’ in our budget.
18. I will not die of dehydration. I drink a lot of water. And the water coming out of my refrigerator door is agonizingly slow! I don’t have time for that!
19. Music is meant for teenagers. Seriously. I laugh when someone tries to turn the music on in the car. I laugh even harder when they try to turn it up so they can hear it! And… I smile smugly when they finally give up and turn it off.
20. Malcom in the Middle is not a joke. I find solace in a family, even a fictional one, who is slightly more dysfunctional than mine.
The most important thing the twins have taught me:
How did having kids (or – gasp! – twins) change your life? What did you have to give up?