It was harmless enough. The babes (not yet four years old) and I were driving back from Woodfield Mall 3 days before Christmas (yes, I lost my damn mind), and as we made the 40 minute drive I was pummeled by relentless questioning starting with:
"How do you make two babies?"
"Well when two people love each other very much.....JUST KIDDING. A doctor took some parts of daddy and some parts of mommy and mixed them up with science and then put them back inside me and we hoped so much for two babies. And it worked! Then you grew grew grew in mommy's tummy and you did somersaults and had hiccups at the same time and held hands and then you were like, WE WANT TO COME OUT!"
"And then they cut us out of you? That must have hurt. I wish we could still live inside you."
"OOOOOF. That would hurt a heck of a lot more than when they cut you out of me."
My boy then said, "but you still have all the bones you need now, right mama? After they took your bones out to make us?"
Moral of this story is, I'm playing the music louder next time so they stop asking me so many questions.
This questioning went on for a solid 40 minutes I swear. And the funny thing is I didn't really mind so much. I don't really know how else to do this except to be honest with them. I'm not creative enough to make stuff up. I mean, the sex talk and where babies come from is coming, but we will save that for another day. For now, telling them that love, hope, and science made them works for us, because it's the truth.
Four years ago at this time I was so pregnant with twins I thought my body would literally spit open and I would've been fine with that because it would mean I wouldn't have to be so pregnant any more.
Now I'm here with two almost 4 year olds and thinking, GET BACK IN MY BELLY SO I CAN KEEP YOU SAFE.
Four years ago they weren't here. Everything was spoken with the "when they get here" tone of expectation and excitement.
And since then, we've been through four years of high highs and low lows:
This year, when asked what theme they wanted for their birthday party, they chose STAR WARS. My husband came up with the clever tag line for the invitations, "MAY THE FOURS BE WITH YOU."
This was my conversation yesterday on the phone:
Me: I want it to say, "MAY THE FOURS BE WITH YOU".
Her: "May the force be with you?"
Me: "No, it's actually may the fours be with you. Because they're turning four."
Her: "Right. May the force be with you."
Me: "May the FOURS be with you. Like in the movie Star Wars? Because they are turning four. MAY THE FOURS BE WITH YOU."
Man, that poor woman at the bakery is regretting her decision to come into work this day.
I keep a journal so I can jot down all the funny and sweet things they do and say. It's LONG. As I've done in past years, I'll share some of the highlights from the past year - the year of 3 - with you here.
- We go to the library a lot. Watching my boy muster up the courage to approach the Librarian and ask for the trains to play with was HUGE. Then saying thank you and returning them afterwards. PROUD BEAMS LIKE RAINBOWS WERE SHOOTING OFF MY FACE.
- I walked in after naps one day and he asked DO WE GET NUTS and I said yes because you calmed down and took a nap. He says, "we tried to be our best selfs and go to sleep. I USED MY MUSCLES AND MY IMAGINATION ON THE INSIDE". I said, "Oh so your imagination and muscles work together? That's so cool." He says, "Yeah like in my imagination me and Bebe are best friends, oh but we are best friend twins all the time anyway so that's good."
- In bathroom early morning, "GAH you are the best brother anybody could ever have."
"Can you help me put on my jammies now?"
- "Are those your unders? They sure are big ones. I love your unders mama."
- "Why do you still have boobies if you don't have babies to feed?"
- When one of them needs help from their bedroom, the other yells down to us. One morning it was, "GAH FROWED UP!" Then when I got up there and cleaned him all up (eating toothpaste is delicious), he said, "Thank you for cleaning up the throw up mama. You would always clean up the throw up. It's no big deal. It's ok because you would always clean it up." He's not wrong.
- My girl getting so mad at me and saying "DAMMIT" totally in the right context with that little smile on her face. She knows things.
- "You're really coo Bebe. I would walk past all the other sisters in the world until I found you."
"Can you tell mama to come wipe my bottom now please?"
- One of my favorite things about parenting to date is when they're both so tired - clearly screaming and yelling I don't like you mama I am not tired I don't want you to be our mama anymore - then they fall right to sleep and at one point she wakes up and has to poop so we quietly go in the bathroom and she's pooping and mid-poop reaches out hold my hand and says I'm sorry mama I love you so much. This is the good stuff. And then I wash my hands.
- They get the mail each day and immediately say, "WE GOT THE RECYCLING" and put it in the bin immediately.
- "MAMA YOU SHOULD GO TO THE DOLLAR STORE AND BUY 100 MORE BABIES FOR YOUR BELLY."
- Reading library books every night before bed. The way they pick their favorites and memorize them. Robot Zombie Frankenstein and all the Todd Parr books were the clear winners this year. Although there have been hundreds others. LONG LIVE THE LIBRARY!
- The way my girl has fallen in love with singing and dancing and really, performing. My boy too. But she goes deep into the zone. It's precious beyond belief.
- "Bebe cheats when we're racing with my fire truck she tries to win by cheating. But I like to race fair and square."
- The night the realized we stay up after they go to bed. 9/15/16 "You and dada stay up a little bit? That's nice for you two."
- The mole on my chin. He touches it and says, "I never want to stop touching it mama" and grabs my face to kiss over and over again. "Don't leave me." And I can barely tear myself away for a night.
- Baby Gum, Baby Mikey, Baby Don Don, Mr. Star, Baby Ducky, Efa the Veterinarian -- All the baby doll names circa 2016
- "Does mermaids eat fish?" Bebe
- "What does a fern have in their house? Furniture!" - Bubby's first joke
- They don't know what angry birds are so each time they see them they call them grumpy bears.
- What I said as we were dancing in their room before bed: "You can't even handle these sick beats."
What I am hearing on the monitor as they call out to each other from their beds: "YOU CAN'T EVER HAVE ANY OF THESE FRESH BEANS."
- First haircut for my boy happened this year! I still cut my girl's bangs.
- "I know! We could put donuts in smoovies. Dat would be so delicious. Thumbs up."
- "Our bottoms both need air. That's why we're running around with no pants on."
- "We like different things. We like some same but some different. Because we are twins."
- "Ma. I miss being a baby. What did we eat when we were babies. Mushed peas? What did we watch when we were babies. Sesame Street. I miss being baby. What happens when we get bigger? We get bigger bikes! And we can eat grown-up cereal. I gonna get a purple bike WIF a baby seat on the back and I can drive baby gum everywhere."
- "I just love you so much mama. You love being our mama. You're gonna be our mama forever and ever because you love us so much. That's what grown ups do. They are your mommy and daddy forever because they just love their kids so much."
- "Easter 2016. Bub still wearing diapers for poop at night. That day was Constipation Day. “I’M TRYING TO HELP MYSELF” and then he pooped on the potty. Four more times on potty that day. "WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS BEFORE?" That was it. He was poop trained.
- Separate twin outings and all the feelings that go along with them.
- "I WANT TO GO TO A CUBS GAME. I WOULD SAY GO CUBS GO. YOU CAN DO IT. I want to go to a Cubs game I wear my cubs hat and my Cubs shirt and I say go Cubs go when I'm big that will be awesome."
- When they think no one is watching. The monitor stuff or playing in their room or basement. "It's ok Bebe. It's ok gah. I will help you." And they do.
- They can actually brush their teeth now. Who knew rinsing and spitting would be so hard to teach/learn. Things I never thought about until them.
- All their art. Art with Nikki and art at school and art on their own. We are drowning in art and it's magnificent.
One morning last Summer we were at the store looking at underpants and we couldn't find the right size for both of them, because you know if you can't find one for one kid you can't get it for the other kid with twins - at least not this young.
Well Bubby found three kinds that he wanted Superhero, Star Wars, and Lego. He couldn't decide was having a really hard time deciding between all three of them so he set them on the floor and he and Bebe were having a long discussion about which one to pick because they could only get one pack each.
My girl had an easy choice because we all know the choices for girls are garbage (DO NOT GET ME STARTED). She picked superheros.
A woman was standing next to me looking for undies for her little girl kind of listening and watching all this go down and my boy kept coming up to me saying, "I can't decide. This is a really hard decision". I said, "Well which one of the three do you not want the most? Take that one out first and then you'll only choose between two". He said, "Well I already have superhero undies so we can take those out". And then I said "Do you want me to put them behind my back and you can just choose one?" He said, "Well I already have Star Wars T-shirts so I think I should take those out. I don't have anything that's Lego so I think that's my decision. Lego, yes that's my decision".
The woman next to us said in a whisper, "You know, that's amazing, good job, mama." I beamed and thanked her profusely because I need to hear that. I need to hear, "you are doing a good job with them". Doesn't everybody? But these kids, man.
On January 7th, they turn 4 years old.
He wants to be a construction worker, but "on the days it's really cold we just won't go to the construction site and I will go to work every day but still come home and sleep here with you guys ok mama?"
She wants to be an animal doctor and help Grammy's dog Sophie.
All I know is, they are shaping up to be strong, independent yet entirely connected, loving, funny as hell, kind, smart, compassionate, capable kids. I am more thankful than ever that I get to be their mama.
They are making friends at school and in the neighborhood. They LOVE school. They love their Nikki. They love us. Hard. They know their family. They get our humor. Most of the time. They are catching on and it's pretty incredible to watch. They are thinking of others before themselves. Sometimes. They are learning what disappointment feels like and how to handle that. Same with anger. Not to stuff those feelings, but how to deal with them in healthy ways. They are learning how good it feels when they are complimented and how it can feel even better to say something nice to others.
How do you make two babies? Love, hope, and science worked 4 years ago and it's been the ride of our lives ever since. May I never ever forget how fortunate we are and not take them for granted for one second. I have hope for our collective futures because of these kids. Not just ours, but all of our kids. So many of us teaching kindness and mindfulness and acceptance is what is going to change the world. I thank you for all your efforts and I'll continue with mine.
These moments we have while they are little are everything good. I've absolutely loved and enjoyed having 3 year olds. But as with each phase, each milestone, each year, I say, TODAY IS MY FAVORITE. Because it absolutely is.
Happy Birthday to Bebe and Gah. May the fours be with you!
I wrote this piece for Twiniversity this year, extolling the virtues of three year old twins:
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