Just yesterday, I was managing two toddlers while they managed to climb on anything and break things like.... my first camcorder. I remember how small they were when they were first born; 4.10 and 4.15 ounces. Even the smallest sleepers were still way too big for them, and they didn't fit them until they were almost three months old.
Just yesterday, my boobs belonged to them and no one else as they fed constantly 24/7 until I gave it up when someone actually thought I was a guy with my short hair and flat chest.
When I had just gotten over the fact I that they were no longer wearing diapers or that I no longer had to pre-chew their food for them in public restaurants while people gawked open-mouth at us, they were suddenly starting their first day of kindergarten as little people.
It just seems like yesterday that I was holding their little hands while helping them to maneuver down the long halls towards their first day in kindergarten. Their eyes were full of wide-eyed wonderment, excitement, and being scared all wrapped into one... or two. I was crying like a baby, like all the other kindergarten moms, as I guided them into their first institutionalized public classroom.
I remember that they were the only set of twins in their class and their teacher, Ms. Butakis, was very pessimistic about having twins in her class. She was soon won over by their motivation to absorb themselves in her teachings, and also by their charm. She was also amazed that on almost every single test they took, they answered almost identical.... but their fraternal, and this confuses me a bit.
I spent my days missing having them around. Their little voices, their cute little fights about who got the "fancy" spoon with their cereal in the morning. I even overlooked the event in which they started a radical water fight in the bathroom that resulted in Julian locating the bottle of Greased Lightning and accidentally squirting Nadia in the eye which resulted in her going to the hospital and having her eye flushed for two hours.
As they were in school, I missed watching them dig endless amounts of holes in the yard during the day. I quietly went behind them and tried to place the plants back in their original spots, and cover the bigger holes so that the lawnmower and my husband wouldn't fall in while he groomed our lawn on the weekends. I missed them so.
I remember how small they looked when I drove up to pick them up from school each day. Their little legs couldn't reach the ground as they sat with their newly made friends on the shaded bench in the hot Florida sun. Nadia with her blonde bobbed hair, and Julian with his hair combed back like a movie star. Every since he saw part of an Elvis movie, he would always comb his hair back and make sure all his clothes were clean and pressed. He was a little neurotic about it back when he was six.
But anyway, they were always full of excitement about their day, and as full with the many stories to tell. And there are many moments I'm gonna miss - or not - Like.......
The days where I am asked the following:
"Are they twins?"
"Were they natural?" (No - I ordered them from Plastics-R-Us idiot!)
"Are they yours?" (stupid freaking moron asked that one one day)
"Girls or boys?" (Well damn lady, doesn't the one in a dress and the one in blue jeans give it away?)
"Did you do fertility druuuuugs?"
"Was it hard to give birth?" (I think I hit the person who asked this)
"How long was labor?" (I think I told one woman it was three painful days!)
"Were they planned?"
"Do twins run in your family?" (No, usually they start off crawling, then walking)
"Mine were born so close together, it's like raising twins!" (Uh, no lady IT'S NOT LIKE RAISING TWINS! You do NOT have two stuck to your boobs at 2 am sucking the lifeforce out of you!)
"Better you than me!" (I bitch slapped this one too)
"You must be soooo busy." (I won't be if you come and do everything for me. Wanna breastfeed while you're at it?)
"Do you breastfeed them BOTH?" (Does the fact that my boobs are shooting off like fire hoses as we speak give it away?)
AND my favorite:
"Which one is the evil twin?"
MY response was: "We are raising them both to be evil so that no one like you can ever tell the difference."
I no longer have to concern myself with how I will make my twins look like twins by putting them in cutesy-fartsey outfits. They now make their own decisions about what to wear without my dragging around 3-4 matching bargain-basement priced, haute couture outfits, in TWO diaper bags full of other supplies just so that I would be ready in the event that breakfast, lunch, or dinner would end up being worn instead of eaten. They now carry their own Tide-To-Go sticks in the event that school lunch turns into a free-for-all slinging match.
Gone are the days where I had to hang valuables up on the ceiling so the twins would not think they were cool, glossy playthings that would soon go flying across the room like a Teletubbie on steriods. There are no more days where I have to wake up only to find that the twins were practicing "Twingenius" in the kitchen. This resulted in Nadia helping Julian to climb to the tippy top of the kitchen cabinets in order for him to down three bananas and two double-sized moon pies before breakfast that day. Today I don't have to worry about their climbing the cabinets at all. I only worry about just how fast they can pick the cabinets clean of anything recently purchased at the grocery store.
I no longer am concerned with bodily functions like poopie diapers and jokes with pee in them. I no longer have to be surprised by what I thought was dirt on the wall, which actually turned out to be one of the twin's buggar smearing projects. Or let's not forget about the time that one of the twins forgot to request more toilet paper and used the shower curtain instead. Or when Julian, before he moved up to reading magazines while sitting on the porcelain throne, figured that using his fingernail to make drawings on the wall by scraping the paint off was a much better way to "pass the time". I never did get around to painting that part of the wall.
And thank God I no longer have to look across the kitchen table only to find the two of them sticking broccoli or paper wads up their noses and blowing them out to mimicking buggars flying across my medium rare rib-eye. No more double food helpings flying to and fro across that same kitchen table either. It still sits in my kitchen with the many scratches, dit-dot's, and etchings carved out by silverware from bygone day's of toddlerhood. I just look at that table and remember that this is where their art career's began.
Gone are the days of lay on the floor tantrums that erupted mostly over nothing but which one of the twins got more crackers than the other. No more days of having to leave a full basket of un-bought groceries at the store and head their butts home because the twins refused to behave, or thought that having the latest Barbie or Rescue Heroes was far more important that eating that week. Now they help with managing meltdowns by their younger sisters when we are in public.
No more giving 3 minute time-outs that lasted two hours instead. See, my - then -three year old Julian refused to sit in the time-out spot and decided to get somewhat physical instead. I kept putting him back in the time-out spot and told him he could resume playing once he finished his time-out. He thought it better to protest the time-out by throwing shoes at me and spewing his first dirty word-laden phrase at me: "Your full of shit mom!". It was a fun day - I video taped it for his 18th birthday "surprise".
I relish in the fact that my children have graduated to books and hobbies of interest. Gone too, are those cheap plastic, crappy toys that all parents feel guilty if their children are not left with an ample supply in which to play with one minute and see how fast they can crush them the next. Plus, I'm so glad that I am not stepping on mounds of Lego's at 3 am in the morning while trying not to scream and wake up my side of the neighborhood. All that is left are the pictures of the twins having more fun with the container the toys laid in, rather than the toys themselves.
No more affixing Barbie's head back on when all parents know, but girl's refuse to accept, that once Barbie's head comes off, it does not go back on like before. She will permanently have that "no neck" look until the day all her hair gets cut off during that beauty stylist phase, and then the child decides that some "other" child should have it; i.e., your trash can named "Susie".
No longer do I have to worry about the twins running in two different directions when I could only run in one. Unfortunately, moms are unable to clone ourselves into the amount that equals the litter we just gave birth to. So who to decide to go after first was extremely stressful and often resulted in my being paralyzed in one spot and screaming like a ninnie in heat for both to come to me. Nope, the twins now walk beside me when we go out. I never seem to have to look back anymore to see if they are skipping close behind me, while chasing each others shadows.
My bed - my sweet king size bed. It's almost my own now. I am no longer completely kicked out of my bed by twins who think it's better to sleep sideways AND on top of mommy and daddy, than to just sleep in a normal vertical direction. I no longer have to sleep with the twins AND Barney, BoBo the Bunny, Buzz Lightyear (who constantly "talked" in his sleep), Woody (I'm tired of hearing about HIS snake in his boot in the middle of the night), and a host of other pointy, plastic things that became permanently lodged in my hip or back. No longer will I wake up to the sweet smell of my first born daughter's and son's hair as the sun broke through our bedroom window.
Speaking of Buzz Lightyear; I no longer have to constantly sew up that costume that my son wore religiously throughout his third and fourth years of life. It had so many holes in it that even sewing it back together was beginning to destroy the fragile fabric it had become from after so many flights, falls, and washes. We lost the costume to the garbage man because my husband had a male chromosome go awry that made him think my son was too "old" for it. To this day it brings a tear to my son's eye when he thinks of the loss. But I kept his baby blanket securely hidden away and that, everyone once in awhile, Julian will ask if it is still there even though I won't ever again see him drag it with him every where he goes.
Gone are the days when the twins were each other's best and only friend. But though the amount of their friends increase, they will forever be connected as the moment they were when they were conceived side by side. They have been each other's best buddy, or worst enemy (usually over stupid toys of course). As I watched them receive their certificates yesterday, I shed a tear both for the past gone, and for a future yet unborn. I shed a tear when I saw the picture of Nadia and her best friend, Emily, during a pictorial tribute for the 5th graders. I knew that this was what is was all about; growth and learning to fly with one's own wings.
It was a day that was hard, yet joyful, for every parent in that auditorium. It was a day marked by milestones, and anticipation for what the next few years would bring. Of course in my half-demented mind, I kept looking at some of the kids walking across the podium to get the certificates and wondering to myself: lawyer, doctor, scientist, jailbird, closet gay, embezzler, nurse, veterinarian, etc.
Don't tell me YOU haven't wondered some of that stuff when you look at some of your child's classmates!
So I bid goodbye - officially - to my twins "baby" years with much hesitancy. I look excitedly, yet nervously, to their futures ahead and realized that these last few years that I have them with me are gonna fly like the wind. I reminded my husband the other night that these are the last few years we will have with the twins. They are not little anymore, and we don't have much more time left with them.
They will soon be walking hand-in-hand together - not towards - but away from us. To a life they will soon be carving out for themselves....
to their own destinies.