Mayberry Mom (channeling Captain Obvious) posted a series of reminders about things not to ask a woman of childbearing age. My personal favorite -- "are you planning on having any more children?" -- is something I have heard a lot in the past 3 months. Even if we didn't just have twins, it is kind of a weird question to ask people who have just had a child. No one getting up 3 times a night really wants to think much about doing it all over again with another kid.
Mayberry's list of things not to ask got me thinking about the things Chris and I have been repeatedly asked since Ian and Mira were born three months ago. A sampling:
Do twins run in your family? (They do now.)
Was it a surprise? (Yes, we were expecting puppies.)
Are the natural? (actually, we had them crafted from an advanced polymer.)
Are they identical? (Wow, seriously? One is a boy, the other a girl.)
People also ask us how we can tell them apart. Usually this question indicates not so much that the person is an idiot but that he or she has not actually looked at both kids. After the first week or two, when they both looked liked, well, babies, they have developed very distinct facial features. Take a peek:
She has these huge cheeks (much like Ada did) while he has a longer face. Plus, about everything else is different: their hairlines; eyes, eyebrows, amount of chub; and how easily they smile. In many ways Mira looks a lot like Ada did at this age, while Ian is already his own man, so to speak.
Ok, moving on.
Now that Ian and Mira are 12 weeks things are changing. Sadly for me, I don't mean that they are sleeping through the night or writing their first novels. Now that the summer is ending, Chris will be returning to work and I will be going solo.
And I am scared shitless.
I am so scared I am rethinking the wisdom of taking 6 months off from work. If I went back to work I'd be able to hand off my bundles of (crying, fussing, hungry, wet) joy to someone else while I talked about Important Things(tm) all day. Then someone else could deal with the crying that will inevitably result from one adult caring for two small babies. I am really feeling at a loss about how this will work. Amazingly enough, neither Chris nor I have been alone with both babies for more than a few hours at a time. While this has been great in so many ways, it means that I have had a lot of time to build up a scary image of what the alone-with-twins future will bring. I am constantly asking myself: how do I do this? I know how to feed them together, and generally how to entertain them, but what do I do with them when they get tired? Will all naps be walks with the stroller? (Seriously, I need some advice. Sarah? Rebecca? Anyone?)
Oh, and all that hand-wringing over breastfeeding may be moot, as Mira is showing signs of rejecting my breasts. (how's that for solidarity among females?) It is too early to say for sure, but the past couple of days have included episodes of rejection of (and tears in response to proffered) milk-engorged breasts. I know mine don't rival Salma Hayek's, but still, there is milk there, for the taking.
I need to keep staring at the above photo to remind myself that this has not all been drudgery and torturous sleeplessness (though it certainly has been the latter). The twins gave us one glorious night this month, which happened to be our anniversary. When Ada was an infant, I was determined to celebrate our anniversary. It seemed very important not to ignore "us" while we were so wrapped up in her. I saw that the jazz trio that had played at our wedding was giving a free outdoor concert in Washington Park, and we decided to pick up picnic supplies from a favorite restaurant so that we could sit on the grass enjoying the music. Somehow it did not occur to me that driving across town to the restaurant (at rush hour) might be a bit dicey with a colicky infant. She cried the whole time. As she did during the drive across the river to the park. However, I don't remember her crying during the concert. Maybe she did, but more likely I nursed her and we bounced her and everyone had a good time. Mostly I remember how stressful each red light of the trip was, as Ada's crying started the moment the car stopped.
This year we made no such plans. Chris and I know we love one another, and one year without a dinner out won't wreck us. Still, it was nice to get that little present of sleep from the babies. It has not happened again since, but it is good to know they care.