Bo & Revi, A Year of Words and Photos

This morning at 8:44am Boheme Shalom turned one year old. And then one minute later, Reverie Lux did, too. So last night (tonight, too) I went back through the last year of photos and words and pulled together some of my favorite moments, amassing quite possibly the longest post of all time, which wasn't really my intention, but sometimes sitting in a room surrounded by photographs and paragraphs in a house where everyone is sleeping is the only way to make sense of time and the passing of it. 

Like putting a period at the end of this year's sentence, behold our family yearbook September 12, 2011 - September 13, 2012
The Night Before
Outside, the sprinklers were still on, a broken pipe was shooting a geyser into the air, and our entire yard was flooded. In our mad dash to the hospital, we barely noticed. I pressed the towel between my legs and waded through our swamp of a front yard on my way to the car. By the time we got to the hospital I was on towel five and Hal was on the phone with the water company trying to figure out how to turn the fucking water off. "This break is going to cost us a fortune!" he said. I told him we'd bill the full moon...  - 9/12/11


MONTH ONE


They brought the babies to me one by one. Rubbed Boheme's nose against mine and then took her away. Rubbed Reverie's nose against mine and then took her, too. Hal went with the babies as the doctor sewed me up. I was empty and alone, paralyzed from the neck down, puking all over my neck and go figure, very sad. I was prepared for a different birth experience this time around but not for the detachment I felt in that moment. - 9/13/11
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...That's been the hardest part, I think. Having this giant family seemingly overnight and all of us being separated. Bo and Rev (what we're calling them for short) aren't even in the same NICU room anymore so every time I'm with one I feel terrible that I can't be with the other and then I burst into tears and then die on the floor because my C-section is fucking killing me. And then I laugh because I'm so emotional and then I cry again because my C-section and then everyone's like, "are you okay?" and I'm like, "YES! I'm fine! And then I make a joke about Boheme and Reverie being the Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J of the NICU ward. Except instead of wielding guns and fighting crime, they rock Bilirubin glasses and receiving blankets. - 9/14/11
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I'll never forget the look on Archer's face when he met Fable for the first time, and I'll never forget the expressions Fable and Archer wore today - faces I did not recognize, new expressions for the sisters they'd been waiting for, pacing the house wondering aloud what they'd look like and how small their hands would be. New looks with new eyes on new faces. And just like that, we were six. - 9/16/11
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...Our first night together as a family working through our first challenge. Laughing between tears, cursing and then apologizing to the kids for bad language, rocking babies and hugging each other and thinking that someday we'll remember this night as the night we all came home, not to our "house" but to each other.

And Archer will laugh and say, "remember how I asked for stairs?" and Fable will hold her sisters hands in a new hallway, be it blocks or miles away from here and we'll all just be... somewhere else. And even though it doesn't feel like it right now, that will be okay. Because we'll all be there together. - 9/27/11
Boheme Shalom & Reverie Lux
Tomorrow Fable turns three and I keep thinking, wasn't I just here? Up at all hours with her in my arms. Tiny Fable in the same floral pajamas now slightly stained... Three years ago I was in labor. Eighteen days ago my water broke. Time moves at warp speed and then drags its heels on all-night feeding rounds. I rock one to sleep and then the other. Watch their lips suck invisible nipples, their ears twitch, stroke wisps of black and blonde, inhale their tiny sounds as they sleep against my chest. Hold onto these moments until they pass. Remember until I forget. Fall asleep eventually. Wake up tomorrow to new children with new numbers attached to their clocks. Do it again. For as long as Babyland will have me, I'll be here. - 10/1/11
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I still can't believe that there are two of them. It's a completely different experience, caring for infantS. Like navigating a new planet with double-vision and not nearly enough arms to go around. Luckily love is not an appendage. - 10/14
Hi. I have four children. HOW IN THE WHAT!? Bo & Rev, one month
MONTH TWO: 
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In the kitchen there's an assembly line of of pre-measured formula powder and clean Dr. Browns. My mom worked in a biology lab in college and has her bottle prep down to a science. She kisses me goodnight and away we go. Someday all of this will be a blur. I know that because I've been down this road before. And even though it's after 4am and I'm typing this through glazed eyes, surrounded by two dueling three-hour alarm clocks, I'm kind of enjoying these first weeks. Because for every two tiny babies keeping me up all night are two seemingly humongous children standing over them in the morning. - 10/21 
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...Reverie is our zen baby. She is exactly as ner name suggests, wide-eyed and dreamy, her face full of light. She is as easy as they come. Serene and quiet, delicate - like the Debussy song she was named after. A dream. I don't even believe she's real half the time. She's more doll than human, blinking away in her bouncy chair, happily alive.
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Bo is our OPERA! She is strong and mighty and ROARS! She ARRIVES, our feisty little fire-cracker. Loving and attached, she is, with eyes that connect and refuse to let go. She is more intense than any child I've ever met. She is dramatic! (And perhaps a little colicky.) Intense and beautiful and strong! As demanding as her sister is acquiescent. Even now as I type this post with my right hand I'm rocking a (finally!) sleeping Bo in my left, her little hand clinging to my ponytail. -11/3
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Archer calls it "lifeguarding", the need to look after and teach, to sing and rock and sit with. He told me the other day, as we stood rocking the babies to sleep side by side, a bottle in his lap and one in mine that he "had it under control", that I could go back to work if I needed to because he had this. I almost believed him. When the babies finally dozed off I put them in their crib side by side and left the room. Not Archer. Archer pushed his stool to the side of their bed and watched. "A lifeguard doesn't leave," he said.
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As an older sister, it took having children of my own to understand my role, my influence and responsibility. But now, watching our four together, it's like watching miniature adults redefining what it means to be "big". And even on the days I feel lost, trying to recognize myself in the reflection of all these eyes, I am found because of them. Because somehow they always know to come to my rescue. Before I even think to ask, they are here.
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In Archer's Thankful Book at school, he wrote about being thankful for "his twins". Because as much as they are mine and Hal's, they are his. Fable's too. How lucky Bo and Rev are to have such doting lifeguards. How lucky I am to have them too. - 11/23
***
I don't want to jinx anything and maybe I already have by typing such words, but last night Bo slept a whopping seven hours and I was able to get a much needed five hour sleep, which is more rest than I've had since my mom left. Five hours is everything right now and I woke up feeling tremendously different than I have these last few weeks, an emotional time bomb in a perpetual state of fog. 
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One of the greatest life lessons I've learned from having twins thus far: if spit up isn't happening from one source...
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...it's happening from another. - 12/12
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MONTH THREE
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When I was pregnant, one of the things I was most looking forward to was THIS. Being home with my family and all four of our babies, listening to music and consuming large quantities of delicious food and just, you know, EXISTING together. I had a picture in my head of what all of this would look like and the reality is even more beautiful than that. - 12/19
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Boheme and Reverie's first Christmas has come and gone and tonight is the last night of Hanukkah. We celebrate both holidays, always have, and between Hanukkah dinners and gingerbread house decorating parties, this last week has been one giant celebration of friends and family and babies everywhere. I don't think either baby has NOT donned a pair of arms since we've been here, both of them being passed around like peace pipes. 
Eyes (Bo) Meerrrrrry Christmas! (Revi) P1015463
***
When I open the door she is screaming. Every morning she screams. She is afraid of arms that aren't mine. Terrified. So I strap her to my body, tell her over and over that it's okay. The world is safe. You don't need me. Just ask your twin sister. The quiet one who in four months has cried once.

The world is safe.

Hal says the one thing that gives him solace in moments of panic or stress is: "everything is absurd." He tells me to try it sometime so I do and he's right. This sentence is absurd. So is this sentence. And this.

A. It's a wonderful feeing, to be needed.
B. It's a terrifying feeling, to be needed.
C. All of the above  - 1/12

MONTH FOUR:
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Every month, when it comes time to take their pictures, write a few words on all that's changed, I marvel that anything actually does. These days go by so slowly but somehow, the months seem to fly. Four months are faster than four days. I don't even remember what it felt like to hold them in the hospital, to dress them in the white newborn onesies long retired. In the beginning I fed Revi through a tube in her nose. Poured the bottle into a a syringe and let it drain down her throat into her belly. Two ounces on a good day. Now she drinks six. They both drink six in the tall bottles. No more preemie flow nipples for these girls.
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Boheme and Reverie had their four-month check-up last week, weighing in at twelve and a half pounds (Revi) and fourteen and a half pounds (Bo) respectively. It was the first time I took them to the doctor alone, and between shots, comforting after shots and feedings took three hours from start to finish. But we did it! We survived. I think I might even be getting the hang of this, manybabybusiness. Kind of. 1/23
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The girls started grabbing for each other's faces and hands and while Reverie has ditched the paci in place of her thumb (which, regardless of its orthodontiacussions is the cutest thing of all time) and Bo has taken to sucking her sister's hands because they're ... there. 1/30
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We planned to take the kids downtown on Saturday for a super awesome afternoon of family, fun and family fun but we (once again) never made it out the door. Which is what happens every weekend and then I spend the day apologizing to Fable for not making it to the public library downtown and Archer for not making it to the grassy knoll outside the public library downtown (where he likes to watch the traffic lights). Instead, we camped out on our grassy... knoll and Archer drew his own roads with sidewalk chalk and the kids biked around on the pavement while Bo and Revi watched from across the lawn. -2/6
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***
MONTH FIVE
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***

Revi, five months Bo, five months
***
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I'm pretty sure there is a secret handshake to the bookends among us, an indistinguishable call between engine and caboose. A wink and a wag between head and tail. He came first and she came last and it's all part of the plan they made when they were back behind the scenes. Rock, paper, scissors, Archer's turn. And then Fable's. And then Boheme and Reverie tied and both got scissors at the same time. And then rock. And then paper. They tied so they both came through the curtain together, and then at the last moment, Bo picked paper and Revi picked rock and their birth order was decided. Six years and four months separate first from last. Three dozen inches. Thirty something pounds. Archer's the tallest and Revi's the smallest but lying down they're all the same height. -2/24
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Bo continues to maintain her A+ in intensity and Reverie continues to pursue a PHD in sun beams. Not that Bo isn't also a light Her giggle fits are unmatched by anyone in the history of life and when she's happy she's THRILLED, but her lows are loooow and when she's mad she's PISSED. Perhaps it's seeing them side by side that further exacerbates their differences. Maybe Archer and Fable were the same kind of opposites, like complementary colors, her sand to his sea. But they weren't babies at the same time so the contrast wasn't as so. 
Every day all of this becomes easier. Every night the girls sleep a little longer and our mornings run a little smoother and at the end of each eve, I feel a little more alive. Myself. In the beginning, we were all in survival mode. 
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But that has passed, thank god. Maybe it's because Bo is slowly able to manage without me or the girls are becoming more self sufficient, establishing a bond to each other that keeps them (Bo) from screaming to be held all the time. Or maybe it's just what time does to the family dynamic. Like pressure building and building until finally a hole emerges. A hole for all of the guilt and worry and breathlessness to escape. Like cracking the car window to hawk a loogie instead of, you know, swallowing it. -2/27
***

SIX MONTHS
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Part of me is like, "OH GOD! I can't leave my children! I can't leave my babies when they're so small and who will carry them around in the Ergo and ohhhhh..." And the other part of me is doing The Roger Rabbit followed by The Jessica followed by an encore presentation of The Running Man. Because freedom is tasty and I want to eat it all! - 3/26
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six months
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SEVEN MONTHS
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These posts always feel a little sad. Every month that passes seems to be a reminder that... another month is passing. (I am a rocket scientist, clearly.) I feel the same sting on the second and twenty-third of every month. I don't know that that will ever change. And now, at seven months, the girls are rounding second, headed for their first birthdays, creeping, literally creeping, knees bending spastically as they pull their little bodies around the nursery with their dimpled elbows, faces planted in one another's spit up. 
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The last month has revealed their most significant changes. Not only are they more mobile, playful, grabby, alive, but Bo has transformed into a mild-mannered and permanently happy little girl. Always giggling, she smiles at every face she sees. Revi has become extremely sensitive. Fearful. Cries when she meets strangers, needs to be held at all times. Bo sleeps through the night. Revi wakes up two to three times, always ends up in our bed, only naps in the Ergo. At their last check-up two weeks ago, (14 lbs & 16 lbs) Bo didn't even cry when she had her shots. Revi screamed and didn't stop for nearly an hour. I held her and rocked her and sang to her while Bo slept soundly... snoring. - 4/17
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I love my babies more than anything but their inability to nap and sleep through the night is taking its toll. I assumed they'd be sleeping through by now but OH NO THEY DI'INT. Oh no they don't. Last night Bo and Revi kept waking each other up and I kept tripping on the same pile of books, half-asleep, running back and forth between them and then to the kitchen to make a bottle that then leaked all over the bed I barely slept in. -4/23
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The babies are crawling. They're crawling! Well, Revi is crawling (army) and Bo sits on all fours and then army crawls except Revi is a thousand times faster than Bo AKA she always gets to the good toys first and then Bo cries and then we have to have a conversation about sharing and then eventually Revi drops the little ball with the face on it and Bo gets so excited she bangs herself in the face and then she cries and then Revi cries and this is pretty much our life. -4/30
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Revi climbed her first stair over the weekend. She's been following me around the house like a snake and yesterday I went up a stair so she went and pulled herself up and BAM, was suddenly... up... a stair. I cheered, "hooray!" before thinking, oh fuck, because, oh fuck... 5/7
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EIGHT MONTHS
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The babies are eight months old now which means they've been in the world as long as they were inside me, which in the past served as a reflective time. There's something poetic about the shift, when the time between conception and birth becomes shorter than the months they've been on the outside, growing toward a new kind of sun. -5/15
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The other day, when (under miraculous circumstances) both babies were asleep at the same time, Archer looked around at the four of us and said, "Remember when this was our family? That was so weird." I knew what he meant because it was kind of... weird. I can't even begin to remember life without them. And for all my nostalgic craziness lately, my sleepless nights and whackadoo-ness, I have zero desire to imagine life without them. Our four were meant to be siblings and Hal and I were meant to be their parents. That is perhaps the only thing I have ever in my life been completely sure of. -5/21
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The girls will be nine-months on Wednesday so they decided to spend the last week preparing for college.  Their army crawl is dunzo, replaced with an impressive and sturdy crawl that allows for upward stair climb. (Downward? Not so much. And both babies have the forehead bruises to prove it.) They're also standing. -6/11
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NINE MONTHS
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It's funny, reading back on the previous monthly posts. I thought I knew Rev in the beginning. I thought I had her all sorted out. I don't. I don't have either of them anything. They keep swapping personalities. And for all their distinct differences there's something inexplicable about twins, a sort of symmetrical chaos. They're like two different cars changing lanes at the same time. And suddenly you're like, "That's Bo screaming, right? No. It's Revi. Bo's over there laughing at the wall with Revi's voice." AHHHH I'm so confused this is awesome. - 6/14
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Samurai Bo - nine months
I want them here and involved in this. I want my kids to know that we're doing this move together. That they aren't only along for the ride. That this is OUR adventure. This is OUR house. And as I've learned thus far in my (albeit short) tenure as a mother of four, everyone HAS to pitch in. What I've also learned is that everyone, when given the chance, wants to. Hell, even the babies have been helping pack. (We put them in charge of CDs, matchbox cars and paper shredding.) - 6/25
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Everything around us may be changing but everything inside us stays the same. Even when we grow up. Even when we move on. -6/26
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TEN MONTHS
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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. -7/13
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IMG_7554 Red fish, blue fish
"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!"

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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Reverie Lux Isaacson, 10 months
Up, let go, fall down BAM. Up, let go, BAM. BAM. BAM. A THOUSAND BAMS!

BAM and their eyes go shrug.

They accept their fate with grace and the knowledge that if they keep going, keep moving, keep trying, something extraordinary will happen. And they're totally right. - 9/10
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ELEVEN MONTHS
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"They're one," I'll say even when they're one and three days and one and three months. "They're one and a half."

It's funny because everyone keeps telling us, "they were just born!" but I feel like they were born a thousand years ago. I don't even remember what those first few weeks felt like. Those first few months.  I was trying to remember how it was in the beginning, when my mom was here and I was up all night with my girls watching Rachel Zoe and crying for no reason. All of the twin parents I've talked to have told me that the first year is a total blur and without record of it here it absolutely would be. And even still I refuse to believe that Bo was ever anything but a bubble of sweetness and light. -8/14
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This right here is the mile marker. This is when the tails fall off the tadpoles and the wood fills with frogs and somewhere, in a clearing far away, an empty pond. 
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ONE YEAR (TODAY)
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We're here. We made it. We're happy. We're one!
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photo-1 photo (Thank you all for your love and support this past year. It's meant everything.)
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GGC

4 comments:

Aussiemum | 5:34 PM

Bec (can I call you Bec? I feel like I've known you for so long that it would be OK), it's a bit of a milestone for me too. I started reading this blog when it was linked to on an Australian site just under a year ago, and I savour every post. It's my cup-a-tea moment of the week, even if I don't actually take time out for the tea.
In the light of your reflections I watch my own family grow, from my little girl who's now a biiig nearly 3-year-old, to the baby I'll give birth to in three weeks time.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions and everything else!!!

katylux | 8:34 PM

I've been reading for years. I can't even believe those girls are one. You lie! :) I remember when they were born, and I had a one-year-old and I was 4.5 months pregnant. Now I have a 2-year-old and a 6 month old. Time is such a funny thing. I love reading your thoughts, as I am right there with you--the days dragging but the months and years flying. Thank you for sharing.

L.L. | 7:25 PM

I love this post, I love those cupcake hats - please share where they came from! Would love to have for my "twins" - they are the Irish kind though :)

inthemiddle | 7:28 PM

I had my daughter 11 days after you had the twins and I am both happy and sad to see her turn 1 next week. Your beautiful words made me teary knowing that this wonderful chaotic year is over. And yet it is just the beginning....many birthday wishes to Bo and Revi. They are sweet souls that are so fortunate to join your family, and vice versa.