At fifteen months, Sheppard and Smith have hopefully reached the apex of their cuteness. The truth is if they continue on this ascent of topping the previous day’s likability factor, Anson may walk in from work one day to find that I have exploded into a pile of goo. It’s hard to have all this adorable behavior wasted on me. I feel like I should somehow let them know that I get it, guys. You are freaking adorable. You coo and giggle and interact with each other in ways that should go viral on YouTube about a million times per day. I’m sold. So you can kick back and relax and save the routines for when we have company.
But they continue on, doing things that make me film them. Exhibit 1,600,985,843,734:
You see the problem, right? They’re doing things like this and it cancels out the fact that one raced for a pile of poop while the other was racing for the street on our morning walk, which made me feel like a war hero when we returned home. A little haggard and martyred, exhaling with purpose, and feeling that I deserved of the chorus of “I don’t know how you do it” ‘s that I receive from strangers re: having twins.
Then they get all cute, super cute, unbearably cute on me and I think it’s all true. I don’t deserve this. It’s much too good for me. It’s too fun. It’s too much energy I expend laughing, hugging, kissing, contorting my face into shapes for the screams of delight. I don’t know how I get to be the one to watch this every single day.
Full disclosure: it’s not always great. It’s not even always good. There are times where the clock cannot tickity-tock quickly enough towards bedtime or nap time or really any time where I get a break from the Little Imp and the Little General. (This is how I see them this week – Smith is an Imp, playful and mischievous. Shep is a General, focused on projects of putting things in, then out, then in, then out. Next week they will have new personalities. Next week they will have new nicknames.) There are times where I feel like if I read one more board book for the thirteenth time in a row, my brain is going to give me notice that it’s shutting down in a permanent way. There are times that when they exercise their new skill of using their high-pitched loud voices I do not melt with love, I simply melt like the witch who had water thrown on her in a pile of over-it steam. And yes, there are times when I wish I had more help, because I am not sure that I can do this.
But then, this:
Then afterwards they poop rainbow-flavored baby kittens covered in glitter.
So. What is it like to have toddler twins?
It’s amazing. They sleep through the night, and eat pretty much all the same things we eat. They can play independently, and many times will play with each other. They love their mama and da da da da da da, and clearly worship their big bro. They shake their head “no” when they’re doing something they’re not supposed to. They still tempt fate daily by teetering on tables, chairs, staircases etc., ignoring the lessons of previous shenanigans. They seem almost combustible, what with all the switches being turned on inside their little brains. Synapsis firing and connecting and giving them new awareness which words will never be able to describe the magic of witnessing. For every hurdle cleared, a new one pops up. They give sloppy disgusting kisses. But not enough of them. They cry for me and reach for me and arch their back screaming to get away from me. They are happy to put sticks, dirt, and pigeon feathers in their mouths, but they are suspicious of broccoli.
They look out for each other. They look for each other. They fight with each other, but they are a team. Having twin toddlers is much like having a single toddler, except there is comfort in knowing that there is more than one. They were born knowing they are connected, and that connection grows every day. They hold hands and poke each other in the eye. I believe they will always have each other to rely on.
They exhaust me in the most fulfilling way. Being a mother of twins is a thing I can probably never explain thoroughly. The love is bigger, the love is more complicated; the needs are bigger, the needs are more complicated. They are the best example of true balance I can think of. Equal parts love and challenge.