Boheme & Reverie, Ten Months

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They're not walking yet but they're trying to. They're doing that thing that babies do when they pull up and let go and put their hands out like they're surfing. They crawl to me and then pull on my dress until they stand and then they stand there and bounce and bend their knees and then one falls down and knocks over the other one and then one cries and then the other cries and roll credits: welcome to Tenmonthville.
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"This is my favorite age," everyone says and it's true. They're sleeping through the night now, thank god. Bedtime at 7:30 every night, up at six = I'm more rested than I've been since before my pregnancy and I feel like I can do anything with this kind of energy wooohhoooowooooergf.

Our new house is paradise for curious kittens and we have to close all the doors during the day or else they'll split up and hide behind the doors. I almost think they get it now. Like they're quietly plotting in the night and then in the morning, "I'll go left into the bathroom, you take the kitchen. Ready? Go!"
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And then they rendezvous later with pockets full of dog hair and paper scraps and trade through the bars in their cribs.
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Revi's anxiety with strangers has improved substantially but she still needs a lot of extra love and attention so I've been spending more time with her, holding her as much as I can to make up for all the months I wasn't able to. Or, rather, felt like Bo needed it more. And there is definite guilt there. I wrote about this last month, yes? There is guilt when I see how happy and easy Bo is, how open and confident... and I wonder if Revi's fear and anxiety, jealousy stems from being shafted for the first few months of her life. When she seemed to be completely content in the bouncer as I wore Bo all day long for weeks, months at a time...
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Regardless, when they both crawl to me and put their little hands up to be held, I pick Revi up first.
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And then I feel guilt again. 
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It's tough sometimes and even though both girls are equally loved and doted on, every day I have to choose who to feed the first spoonful. Who to hug first when they're both crying. Who to change when they both wake up with dirty diapers. Every time I make a choice I feel a twinge of UGH.
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The girls are SO different which is wonderful, but it's also difficult when we go out in public and people flock to one and not the other. Especially as Bo is our extrovert, Flirty Flirtystein and Revi is much more guarded, internal. I want to tattoo Revi's face on my forehead so she knows she is just as awesome. I want to throw a parade in honor of her shyness. And then throw a parade for Bo, too (Obviously.)
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I guess I just assumed that because they only know what it's like to be a twin that they wouldn't get jealous of the other when one was being held. That they would patiently wait their turns to eat instead of screaming during feedings for MORE FOOD DO NOT FEED MY SISTER WHAT ABOUT ME!??? 
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Now I know how mother birds must feel. WHO GETS THE WORM!??? AHHHH!!
IMG_6325 IMG_6365 IMG_6255 IMG_6564 IMG_6133 "Both of you get the worm. You just have to wait your turn."
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That's the challenge having many children. Specifically, two babies at once. You love them all EXACTLY the same and yet every moment of every day you must find a way to show them how loved they are as individuals. When they're all crying for you at once you have to quickly figure out a way to organize their voices. Without, you know, losing your own.
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...And as the girls are getting older and more conscious of each other, their siblings, father, me, it can be a challenge. An amazingly wonderful challenge full of faces and fingers and voices and eyes and eyes.
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...but a challenge nonetheless. 
IMG_6645 (Just like everything else that matters.)
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GGC

46 comments:

Kim | 4:15 PM

Oh, my god. Part of me wants to do that just almost ready to walk bit again and when I see all those kids all over you, I feel your pain. It's the I love you, but could I have some part of my skin not touched for a minute?

It's the claustrophobic crawling up the back of your neck feeling.
But you know what? You are awesome. And you know what your kids will know? Patience and resilience. That they won't die from waiting for a minute. Empathy for the one who is hungrier, has a cut or an emergency. Let them cry a minute. Probably won't kill them. And it won't kill you. And give yourself a break during that 11 hour stretch of time. Off my high horse now. :)

Elizabeth | 4:17 PM

I'd never thought about how you always have to choose a baby to be "first" or "more" or whathaveyou. What a challenge!! You must have/be developing some killer instincts for knowing who needs what and when and how. (Me? I used to cry at night when I had to pick just one stuffed animal to sleep with and I thought of the other stuffed animals who were just in a basket. I would sooo suck at your job!!)

Red Stethoscope | 4:23 PM

I love those last pictures of all of you dog-piled on each other. What an amazing family!

Jenifer | 4:29 PM

You write beautifully.

We just found out we're pregnant with twins. I've been obsessively reading your chronicles with a combination of joyful anticipation...and sheer terror....

Keep it coming, please! :-)

Jenny

robyn devine | 4:54 PM

owen's at the same almost-walking stage as well. i love it so much - he forgets sometimes that he can't walk yet and goes to do it and is like WAIT A MINUTE!!

also, i love Bo kissing herself in the mirror! we spend much time every day doing the exact same thing!

Christa | 5:00 PM

I have 4 kids too (though mine are a few years older) and though I totally relate to everything you wrote, the thing I probably love most about bigger families is that you aren't the only one there to give the kids what they need. They're surrounded by people there to help each other out. Even though I'm sure all siblings fight and are less enthusiastic about helping out some days than others, I love that my kids have that, and I love it a little more every year.

freckletree. | 5:04 PM

I imagine myself on my deathbed, feeling guilt over which one I'll kiss last, holy cow, this will never go away. And it's true, you do have to constantly choose who is FIRST. Mama-guilt is a persistent bitch, just always remember that you are an amazing mother and your children are just as lucky to have you as you are them. Love to all of you.

Pistols and Popcorn | 5:18 PM

I have my flirty twin, the one who smiles and waves - who lets out the cutest sounds and grins at exactly the right time. I have my more reserved guy, who I would also like to champion and make sure people know if they just give him like, 5 minutes, he'll blow their minds with the cute.

But guess what. They switch it up all the time. Within their short 20 month lives, my twin boys have gone back and forth on their twin teeter totter as to who is more social and friendly. And I've figured out it's got nothing to do with me really. It's who they are, the day they're having, and some temperament juju.

Just enjoy, relax and take in the extra good feeling of a baby clinging to you because they don't want to be handed off. It's really ok.

Twins are amazing. Mine are. Yours are. How lucky are we?

Anonymous | 5:29 PM

I thought about that a lot when reading your posts very early on in their lives. So many commenters would say they had a "favorite" - I figured that must get to you some, as it bothered me and they're not even my children. Not that the commenters meant any harm, of course. But you and Hal likely have "favorite" qualities about each of them, but neither is your "favorite" - they are both equally precious. It'll be interesting for you to watch the rest of the world respond to them uniquely as they grow, gravitating toward one and then the other given the context and so many other factors. Beautiful girls...they are both my favorite.

caryn | 5:39 PM

First -- THANK YOU for expressing so beautifully the never-ending pull mothers of multiples feel. I'm sure it is a compounding of the pull mothers of multiple children feel.

Our twins are 7 (and 1/2, if you ask them). Our older daughter will be 10 the end of August. Because of food allergy concerns, I nursed my twins exclusively (insanity, I know) until they were 13 1/2 months old. Our older daughter spent weeks of waking time snuggled in my "click spot" (knees bent, heels touching) while I nursed our twins. I used the time to talk to her, read to her and tell her stories about family photos. Even then I felt a twinge of guilt -- was I giving her something I should be giving? (My undivided attention?) Even then I realized (although I could not have articulated it), that I would constantly have to balance our children's needs.

I was raised by a step-mother (with whom I have a good relationship) and step-sisters (with whom I also have a good relationship)...but, the focus was on EQUAL.

Perhaps because of this, we have chosen to go for FAIR. Many things in life that are not equal are fair -- our oldest is at overnight camp (she's older, the camp is a perfect fit for her -- including her food allergies -- she went last summer, etc.). Our twins will be able to go to overnight camp when the time is right. My father-in-law covered travel-soccer costs for our son and our older daughter (our other daughter would much rather swim competitively). I'm sure he'll help with her swim team costs when the time comes.

I don't know if this is a perfect solution, but, we try hard -- oh so hard -- to meet everyone's needs as they arise. We talk about needs -- sometimes our son (who has a harder time going to sleep at night and often wakes slowly in the morning) needs some extra snuggle time in the morning. Our daughters have come to understand this...and when they are raring to go, they'll leave our bedroom to give our son a few extra minutes to wake up.

While it is heartbreaking at times to not be able to meet each and every need as it arises, I do believe that we are teaching our children to appreciate the needs of others...and to take care of others when they can.

About a month ago I had a 24-hour stomach bug...I was sick after dinner and things got progressively worse. By the morning I had turned a corner, but, I was totally wrung out. My husband had an important meeting and went when he was sure I was well enough to manage. Our older daughter helped with breakfast and our younger daughter helped her twin pick out his clothing for the day. I like that they know they can count on each other if need be. We are trying to raise connected children...and this tells me maybe we are...

Kim | 5:46 PM

Beautiful! And you know, when they are older, and they invariably say that the other was the favorite or got more attention, show them these posts.

I don't have twins, but I have many children and the guilt is always there. And since it is obvious that you are doing everything you can to give equal attention, then don't worry too much about it.

Amy K | 5:54 PM

Your kids are all so adorable and awesome, but good lord, that picture of Bo's fat little knee rolls in the bathroom makes me want another baby RIGHT NOW. Or at least to borrow someone else's to nibble on and squish and hug for a few hours.

glenda | 6:39 PM

Beautiful family! I only have 2. A son and a daughter. I can relate. I think if you have more than one as a mother you want to do enough be enough for their needs.

Bo & Revi are equally gorgeous. X2
Archer & Fable too ;)

Jen | 6:55 PM

love this post! if it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure I gave my twin boys equal "arms" time as newborns (since their temperaments were similar) and I have one very similar to Revi in his approach to people (even familiar) and one who is more laid back, extroverted. Even the look in Revi's eyes reminds me of my Henry! love how you articulated the guilt-- I feel like mine both missed so much cuddle time- after nursing their older brother for a year, these 2 were often fed bottles together in a boppy, not even in my arms...now I'll even leave them there to feed themselves, just so I can change big bros diaper! (but feel guilty as hell!!) maybe that's why there such independent little guys that won't even let me rock them.

As a twin myself, I think, in time, they'll both (or all 4) realize you gave them what they needed at the time.

Anonymous | 6:56 PM

I'm the second to the youngest of five kids & I have no memories of anyone getting more attention/time than anyone else. I just remember all the love & fun, just like all four of yours will. You have a beautiful family.

Amber S | 7:07 PM

TOTALLY. One of my 8 mo old twins is smaller and more pitiful, so I sort of feel sorry for him. His twin sister is bigger but much more shy. I'm constantly hoping I'm meeting both of their individual needs (while my 2 year old is doing something like playing ukulele by herself with a cowboy hat and no pants on).

Maybe I just need to remember that we all are learning to take turns in this house?

Love your words on the dilemma, thanks for sharing!

Angelica | 7:10 PM

Your honesty and words always bring me back to your blog. Favorite. Your girls are so gorgeous and different in a perfect way. Its so crazy to think of all the little things that come with having twins, funny and awesome.

Write Softly | 7:10 PM

I'm sobbing.

Because you're so right. With the guilt and the choosing and the parades.

Because you write goddamned beautifully.

Because your children. All forty-six of them. Heart-stoppingly beautiful.

Because you're amazing.

And most of all, because they know. They know now, they've always known, and they always WILL know how magically you love each of them with all of you. They may not ACT like it all the time, but they know.

And if they ever have a second of doubt, they can find your heart right here, spilled out on the interwebz, forever declaring it to each of them.

Please never stop writing. I'm like a junking for GGC stories.

Thank you for writing, too, between the guilt and the choosing and the parades. How the hell, dude. I only have two children, non-twins, and my own writing projects are barely existing on long-term life support.

Thank you.

Unknown | 7:30 PM
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Unknown | 7:32 PM

I've followed you through your twin pregnancy and mine (my boys are six months), and though I haven't posted before, I just had to thank you for articulating the guilt. OMG the guilt. My 'easy' baby also didn't get held much for the first couple months, then he became the not-so-easy baby and I wondered the exact same thing. Did I ruin him? Does he go straight from fussing to level 10 screaming now because he learned to not trust that I would be there for him? Ugh. It is so hard, but knowing others feel the same pull makes it a little easier.

Kate | 7:45 PM

Oh my word, they are both so gorgeous I can't take it!

Try to banish the mama guilt - at least about the Revi separation anxiety if you can. If it makes you feel any better, when I had only 1 child, and was available to dote on her all the time, she still developed MAJOR separation anxiety issues. Now, I certainly hope Revi's wears off faster than my daughter's, but whatever happens, just know that you did not cause it! She is just going to be whoever she is going to be.

E | 10:54 PM

I love how Rev really looks like her older siblings, but Bo REALLY reminds me of Damien from OK GO. Like, secret love child omg. It hits me every time and then cracks me up. You have such beautiful children!

Kriszti | 1:39 AM

This is who I dreamed to be when I was your/my age. 4 kids in a pile. Now, I'm 30 and jobless, relationshipless but not hopeless and not dreamless. Your words help me believe I can get there, even if I'll be a little late to the party and maybe I'll bring just one kid or two, but I will get there.
Thank you for keeping my dream alive.

Mama Smith | 4:37 AM

One of the big reasons we haven't gone for a second kid yet is my fear of this guilt, of splitting my time. I know there are a million benefits to having siblings and your gorgeous family shows it, but I'm so connected to my one and a half year old and I don't want to let go of that. I know in a few years he will let go for me :)

Your babies are both adorable- and I have to admit that it is so hard not to have a favorite! Why is that? I think we just respond to what connects with our own lives, for me Revi's reserved personality, smaller size, and quirkier look feel more like me and my own kid so I immediately get her. Bo is the gorgeous Gerber baby and that is awesome too- just not familiar to me :)

Beautiful family and beautiful juggling!

Rosie | 6:00 AM

You have a scrumptious and amazing little family! Or maybe not so little, after all! I taught a class of little ones in my last teaching job, and so can sympathise in part with the "WHO GETS THE WORM?!" thing. Because when there are five plaintive little voices seeking help, there is a pecking order. Who needs it most? Is it right to put off helping the little one who normally completes his sums without a trouble, compared with the little one who scratches his head all day and doesn't know where to begin? Should it be the other way around, when the unlikely child actually needs assistance? MY GOODNESS, guilt would defeat us all if we let it.

However, I love that you end by stating how all good things in life have challenges. YES. You ooze wisdom.

Gwen | 11:34 AM

First, OMG that picture with all of you in a pile and Bo biting/sucking Archer's knee??..that kills me.

Also...yes, the guilt. Twins are hard, man. Awesome, but hard. Mine are five, and when I'm giving them lunch and I think that there might, maybe, be a tiny bit more spaghetti in one dish than the other one, even though I tried to even it out...I still think as I'm putting it down, "Which one should get more? Which one seems hungrier? DId I give her more last time too? Am I being unfair?" And it goes on and on. And now my youngest is two, she's a singleton. And she seems so happy and well-adjusted and I think, "Is that because she's so secure? I wore her all day, nursed her easily, never had to leave her in a NICU and walk away, etc.." And then I feel guilty all over again about the early years with my twins.

Wow, yes, it's hard. And you're not the only one. I hope that's a comfort. Reading your post, and all these comments, is comforting me some.

Arnebya | 3:16 PM

Guilt is such a lying bitch. It happens even if you have one child and want some time to yourself. What matters is that you are always trying to combat it, always aware of how they may be feeling. The final shot is absolutely gorgeous and I imagine Esteban is happy with such vibrance inside him.

SisterSister | 5:01 PM

Just when I think your kids couldn't be more cute (all 4 of them) you go and post more pics that are even awesomer (not exactly a word I know)

Adorable family :)

IvyBee | 9:20 PM

I've been following your blog since you found out you were pregnant with twins. I have so enjoyed all of your thoughts and insights about parenthood and twins. i felt like you had read me mind from when I was pregnant with two a summer earlier :) I have fraternal twin boys who were born in September 2010 and a daughter who is 4.5. Our first year and a half is a blur, and your photos and words have helped remind me of some of the crazy stages that we somehow survived. Loved this post. Especially the photos of you covered in children because that is so real, so often. This post reminded me of the book One and the Same written by Abigail Pogrebin (an identical twin herself ). If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. I found it to be a fascinating window into the experience of being a twin. Keep up the good work Rebecca! Loved Childstyle too. Very fun!

Sara | 10:04 PM

You look so much like your beautiful mother in those last couple of photos.

My Bottle's Up! | 5:44 AM

lady, you are the mother of all mothers.

Grandp Norm | 9:29 AM

Being a grandfather was an unknown designation to me and had only an abstract connection to any reality. But now... you and Hal have provided me with a reality that is filled with pleasure.
I thank you both !

Tanya | 10:03 PM

I just love how you dress the 2!! Where do you buy their stuff? My little girl is 9 and a half months so it's great reading your monthly updates for a sneak peak of what's to come :)

Anonymous | 12:05 AM

funny! i've been having the same situation with my son and daughter (8 months). i've been calling it "sophie's choice" because either way you feel screwed. LOVE that dreamcatcher too, overthetop. ps. i wanted to comment on your bathing suit post. esther williams suits are awesome (i bought the red gingham). go directly to her website tho because it's slightly cheaper.

Emma @ The Blooming Times | 3:44 AM

Oh my gosh, those girls of yours. Makes me beam with happiness that I'm having a girl. Just been on my first shopping trip with Mum and actually went a bit crazy...went into a hazy whirl of pink....I love these pictures and love to hear what it's like having twins, you lucky thing :o) lots of love from Blighty xxx

Heather Sullivan | 7:23 AM

Your ability to juggle the girls with your other kiddos. The fact that you have a bit of guilt over it all just shows what a great mommy you are. :)

skradebaby | 7:31 AM

I don't know if this will make you feel better, but the "who's first?" guilt isn't just a twin-mom thing. I have three kids (1, 3, 5) and feel guilty all the time! Someone always needs something and the other two have to wait. We were in a huge rush one morning - I got to work and realized I hadn't hugged my oldest before my husband took her to school, because I had been getting smaller kids ready and she knows how to dress herself. Wrecked my whole day.

Unknown | 8:33 AM

I know that guilt all too well. An old teacher once told me that her mother "loved most whomever needed it most that day"- I try to go by that with my two sons. If both wake up with dirty diapers, I take turns who gets 1st each day- and talk/engage one while I change the others diaper.

Karah | 8:47 AM

I have thre kids (7,5 and 1.5) and the guilt is there. This week especially when my middle cried to my husband that she wanted to go with him to work because he is the only one who wants her. My youngest is extremely clingy and always needing mommy for something so she is feeling shafted. I totally get it. I've been making more of an effort to spend extra time and cuddle more with her. I know she needs it but she is a sweet girl who will just go off on her own and won't let me know what she needs on a daily basis. My other two (who are boys) demand it when they want it and let me know when they don't. I feel pulled in so many directions right now. I know though that in the end it will be ok. As the oldest of five I felt the same as my daughter but now as an adult looking back I see my parents did the best they could. I don't feel resentment towards them (or my siblings for that matter) and I hope that when my children look back they will be able to see the effort we put into helping them grow. We aren't perfect people so we aren't going to be perfect parents but the effort is always there.

Maya | 12:03 PM
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Maya | 2:07 PM

YES. The guilt. With my first two kids I just don't remember feeling this way. But with my twins (mine are 13 months), the guilt is constant. It can eat you up if you let it. Everyone needs so much, all the time and the babies? They just don't get the same kind of attention that a singleton gets. There's no doubt that they are loved but that one on one time you have with a singleton is just not possible. I know it will come with time.

I also feel like I don't "know" my twins as well as I knew my others as babies. Not sure if that's a twin thing or if it's a having a lot of kids thing. Anyway.

My mantra, and the thing that gets me through every day is simple: I'm doing the best I can and that's all I can do. Your kids know that you love them and they reside in a house full of love and life and boisterous energy. My dad calls it "Life-y Chaos." What more could a kid want/need?

PS. I really like what the commenter "Unknown" said: "Love most whomever needed it most that day." That might have to be my second mantra. :-)

Eva | 7:08 AM

I feel exactly the same way about my introverted four and a half year old daughter - like I need to tattoo her on me to show her importance! Especially when I KNOW she is smart, then see her friends get all the attention because they are so extroverted. Keep cuddling Revi first and remember that, rightly or wrongly, blondes get a lot of attention from the outside world. A friend of mine said about her own child the other day "she's so quiet but she's got the blonde curly hair down her back so the teachers love her." Yeah. That. Sorry to go on a tangent, just wanted to mention this in case in all your analysis you'd overlooked it. I'm quite certain that you did not scar Revi forever in those early months - each girl asked for what she needed to thrive in her own way, and as a responsive and aware mom, you gave it to her:)

Anna | 10:17 AM

Your beautiful brood brought me to tears. Congratulations on such a lovely, lovely family.

Kristin Davis | 3:36 PM

Hi there. I'm a twin myself (we turned 31 this week- yikes) and I can tell you that the competition for attention I felt towards my twin was not at all different than I felt towards our older 2 brothers. I was the twin who always wanted to be hugged first, fed first, asked a question first...you get it. But my parents couldn't do that and they divided attention and it aint no thing. We're all happy, nice adults who love our parents and each other. In fact, we're all better for knowing that we can't always be first or most or best. That's some good stuff to learn. And my guess is that it's easier to "learn" it intuitively as a baby who shares space and attention with another baby from day 1. Don't you worry too much-- the mere fact that you are worried about it seems a sure sign that those twins are getting all the love and attention they need!

And you know what else- being born a twin is probably the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me. Being born already a part of something is awesome. We've always existed together. That's just a nice bonus. So when you feel bummed that you can't go to both of them first, take some comfort in the fact that they have each other.

Elaine A. | 7:41 PM

So many amazing photos of your girls. They are beautiful individuals, that is for sure. And funny that you mentioned eyes there at the end because I just kept thinking what beautiful eyes they both have.

Lancely | 10:48 AM

I am currently having that with my 2 girls at the moment. One is really pushy and demanding and always wants things first while the other is abit shyer and reserved and doesn't mind waiting....as long as she gets it tho! Haha and I have often thought now how do I do this coz I want to be fair and not come across like I am favoring one over the other just because I gave it to her first! And all I could come up with is alternating who gets it first and reminding them you got it first last time now it's your sisters turn! I still struggle with that concept because I feel guilty no matter who gets it first haha but like you said throughout the day you have to give abit more to let them know they are loved individually. I really enjoyed reading I am going to continue reading your blog! Thank you! #A Happy Reader