Birthing Multiples, Raising Individuals

My Olivia is the girliest girl I have ever known. She loves to wear dresses that are big enough to fan out when she spins. She could never have enough jewelry and mani/pedis are already a favorite of hers. She already has the heart of a mom, taking care of others, wrapping her baby up in a blanket because she thinks it might get too cold. She loves to “organize” and could spend hours just moving things from one spot to the next. She is endlessly creative and can make up a game or a song at any time. She is beautiful and knows it. She is funny and sweet and likes to be in charge. She hates to nap but needs it. She is full of wonder.

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My Oliver loves to be a part of everything. He runs full steam ahead without any caution, usually crashing right into his momma. He hates wearing any shirts that have buttons and only wants to wear gym shirts and t-shirts every single day. He is my thinker – he can study a book and how blocks are arranged and then go and do the blocks just how he saw them. He’s great at puzzles. He loves to play baseball and soccer and basketball. He will laugh at the word poop 7,563 times a day. He is so funny that he can make me cry from laughing so hard. And he is definitely my negotiator. This boy knows the way to my heart.

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My twins are individuals.

When I was pregnant I started hearing all of the clichés that every twin mom inevitably hears. “You’re going to have your hands full,” “Watch out, that’s double the trouble,” “Do twins run in your family?,” “You’re going to get a daddy’s girl and a momma’s boy – two for the price of one,” “They’re going to be two peas in a pod.”

I get it – twins are a whole new world all on their own. But what if they aren’t two peas in a pod? What if my daughter prefers her mom instead? I’m sorry, you’ll never convince me that it ever was a two for one deal (ask anyone who has been pregnant with multiples and I’m sure they will agree). Somewhere in all of this conversation, even in the early stages of pregnancy, I couldn’t help but wonder about these two human beings that seemed just as much as an individual as anyone else.

It’s funny because I have such individual memories of the day my kids were born.

It wasn’t like they both arrived at the exact same time, plopped themselves into each arm and I immediately kissed each button nose and called it a day. I had a c-section so they were only a minute apart but the way I remember meeting them just brings back so many special memories of learning to bond with two very different babies. Olivia was born first – lungs in check the second she arrived. Oliver, true to form, didn’t want to be left behind so my husband literally saw his foot kick out of my stomach (still in the sac…crazy right?). Olivia was the first one I got to hold and I was so excited I sat up way too fast and immediately had to hand her over to throw up. She was my tiny baby 4lbs. 15oz., but so strong from day one. Oliver was the first one to make me have major mom worry because he still had a lot of fluid to work out of his lungs. Get the picture – so different!

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On most days, I like to think of them as teammates. If you think about the five players on a basketball team, there’s this one thing that they all have in common – basketball. But one player might also love to ride horses and dance and the other might play the violin and enjoy building things. They all, individually, have so many other things that they bring to the table. But that is what makes them a stronger team in some ways too.

The same goes for twins I think.

Yes they love each other and yes they have this incredible bond and it makes up a part of who they are. But it’s not what defines them. They have all these other amazing interests that may or may not be similar. People often ask me if they are different and they always seem surprised when I say that they couldn’t be any more different. But why would they be the same? Whether or not they look alike, they are individuals.

So when my kids turned three and we decided we were ready for them to start activities I felt like it was important for them to pick based on what they really wanted to do and not what the other one was doing. We made sure to ask them one on one, without the other in earshot. Olivia picked dance and it didn’t surprise me for one second. Neither did the fact that Oliver chose baseball. And they really loved having their moments to shine so to speak. And I loved that while Olivia danced I got to be with my Oliver and vice versa.

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These beautiful little human beings have a birthday coming up in October. I’m a planner so I start thinking about these things early. And so far they’ve always had a joint birthday party but this year I really want to try to give them a separate celebration. I want them to feel cherished and loved for all the reasons that make them unique and different and special. I love that I have twins for every reason you would think – because they always have each other and they do seem to have a built in best friend at all times. But I also need them to know that they are loved beyond measure just as they are too.

I may never get enough one on one time with each kid and I may never be able to fully make them feel like individuals all of the time, but I’m going to do my best every single day to keep trying.

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One Response to Birthing Multiples, Raising Individuals

  1. Dawn August 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    What a Lovely article!! One of my four children, a Son, has 4 year old Twin Boys! Had never had multiples on my side of the family and I am truly Amazed by their bond and how totally Unique each of them are!!! I have 15 Beautiful Grandchildren and my Heart overflows daily with the Wonder of it all!!
    Thank you and Peace and Blessings to You and Yours ❤?❤

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