Monday, April 25, 2011

Surviving Twins: The First Five Years

As we prepare to set off on our journey across this big country, we are also celebrating a few birthdays.

Leila and Sarah turn 5 this week. And with their fifth birthday, I'm reminded that we have also survived 5 years of parenting twins. (And nearly 3 years of parenting two sets of twins!)
When I was still pregnant with the girls, I could not even imagine what it would be like to have two babies at the same time. I heard horror stories about twins and "double trouble" and how we'd be lucky to survive the first year. I was so scared that something would go wrong that I didn't even buy two of anything until I was almost in labor. I wondered whether having four kids ages 3 and under would be the end of my sanity. (It was not. Having six kids ages 5 and under was.)
And once Leila and Sarah arrived on the scene, I was pleasantly surprised. Life was crazy, but it was crazy good. And manageable.

Holding two babies became second nature. Nursing two (or three, or four) started to feel normal. Diapers took over the laundry room. Toys took over the living room. And pink shoes, purple dresses, and princess crowns found their place among the toy cars and camouflage.
If nothing else, having twin girls has taught me patience. In fact, I suspect that just one girl would have brought a good dose of patience, but two was just what I needed.

We have weathered our share of crises over the last 5 years. Today Leila collapsed into a fit of tears over a seat on the swing in the backyard. Girls are so dramatic! The wrong color dress can bring on hysteria. The wrong sideways glance from an older brother is the end of the world. But, all in all, they are so much fun! And they really are the sweetest girls. They have the most amazing connection and they can barely keep their hands off of each other. They love each other in the most incredible, fascinating way.
Just the other day, we were discussing our trip and how we are going to visit Granddad With No Hair (my dad.) Leila said she can't wait to go see him but she does not want to go to the mountain house. I asked her why and she replied that Matthew would scare her with those "scary heads with hair sticking up." (AKA: the tiny, little Halloween toy shrunken heads that make creepy sounds and have glowing red eyes.) For some reason my dad has two of them at the mountain house and Matthew immediately discovered that the girls are terrified of them. He exploited their fears, chasing them around the house as the girls screamed, until I got them calm enough to tell me what in the world was wrong. My girls are emotional and sensitive. And so ridiculously cute!
Leila and Sarah will be spending their actual birthday in Colorado this week. This will be the first year they've not celebrated their birthday in Georgia, although we'll be arriving in Georgia very soon after. For now, we have already baked cakes, opened gifts, played dress up with friends, and partied hard in Washington.

Five years of being parents of multiples? It hardly seems possible. I'm looking forward to watching this sweet duo as they celebrate many more birthdays.

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