Published in the Casper Journal February 28, 2012
It’s official: I’m overwhelmed. No, I’m not just overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmingly overwhelmed, and not for the obvious reasons some might imagine. Dealing with teenagers? Easy. Handling my own business? A cinch. Staying on top of laundry? No problem. Raising toddler twins? Absolutely impossible.
I realize that at my age I should fully understand motherhood. After all, I have several children, all quite well-behaved and good mannered. In addition, I’m an adult, a relatively intelligent human being. Yet, raising twins is a whole different ball game. When they were just babies, life was hard. But now they’re toddlers, and life is CRAZY! It astounds me that two small people, both half my size and a fraction of my age, can move faster and cause more havoc than I can imagine. From the moment they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night, our house is one total whirlwind.
“You got two for one!” people often comment when they meet our twins.
“You obviously never had twins,” I want to reply. Twins is NOT two for one, but two for two, or three, or four. Twins are a perfect example of synergy. One plus one easily equals TEN ... or ONE crazy mama.
I remember the day I tried to sneak a quick shower while they played with blocks. Unfortunately, their sixth sense told them I had left the room. They followed me to my bedroom and waited patiently for me to finish. Well, sort of patiently. While I showered, they emptied my entire jewelry drawer onto the floor. After trying on everything, they pulled one necklace completely apart. When I came out of the bathroom — my hair dripping wet — there were exotic beads in every corner of the room.
My other children were calm eaters. However, whenever the twins eat, food becomes a game. There must be something enticing about having someone your own size to exchange food with. I’ve caught them passing pancakes, sharing juice cups and rubbing syrup into their hair. Cleaning up after one toddler was manageable, but two?
And don’t even get me started on diapers. Some days I keep a tally. “I changed nine diapers by ten o’clock this morning,” I reported once to my husband. “Oh honey,” he laughed casually. “It can’t be that bad.” He immediately inherited diaper duty the next weekend. “How can two toddlers go through 21 diapers in two days?” he groaned Sunday night, after taking another load outside to the garbage.
He’s now a believer.
In addition, I’ve learned that “twins” is synonymous with “toilet paper.” Wherever they go, the paper follows. Dragged out from the roll down the hall, or left in a huge tissue mountain on the bathroom floor. It seems to be their mark on the world. Toilet training twins? I’m quite sure I won’t survive.
They leave other marks, too. Despite my vigilance, nearly every wall in my house reflects crayon or pencil drawings. I hide crayons. I throw pencils away. I put everything up high, and yet they still find something to scribble with. Did my other children write on walls? No. So where did these two come from?
Whenever I try to do some housecleaning, they’re always right beside me. Four small, helping hands aren’t always so helpful. I often recite my own version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “My Shadow”: “I have two little shadows that go in and out with me. And what can be the use of them is more than I can see!”
Going to the store is a joke. Shopping carts just aren’t built for twin toddlers. One sits in the seat, one sits in the basket. As I add groceries to the cart, they open boxes, bite apples and empty my purse, not to mention their constant chatter and noise. I push my own portable zoo, entertaining everyone else on the aisle.
When it’s time to make dinner, they’re right there with me, emptying drawers, pulling dishes out of cupboards and asking for drinks. After dinner it’s time for baths. Playing in the tub is fun for one baby. It’s pure heaven for two. They play with duckies and giggle. They dump water on each other and giggle more. They pour water on the floor and giggle louder as I mop it all up. It’s crazy.
After baths, it’s pajamas and stories and bed. We read, we sing, we coo, we lullaby, we threaten, we plead ... until they’re both finally asleep.
And then I sit down. My arms ache. My back hurts. I crawl into bed, exhausted. My well-crafted motherhood theories are gone, blown out the door by these two little creatures. It’s a whole new game, and they’re winning!
Yet perhaps I’m the real winner. Pilgrim mothers built a colony in a new land. Pioneer mothers pulled handcarts across the plains. And I’m raising twins. It must be worth something. Although my life is a little “two crazy” right now, I’m sure there will come a time when these little people will hug me and say, “thank you.”
And then I’ll celebrate.