Note: In anticipation of a mentally and physically exhausting week for me, I begged and pleaded with fellow twin parent, Dave, to whip up a guest post for me this Twin Tuesday. Eh, no big deal–he just poured his daddy heart out into a well-crafted essay about watching his babies grow up before his very eyes, that’s all. Read, enjoy, and remark!
I’m finding, over time, that one of the things I am enjoying the most about being the parent to twins is watching the personalities of these two little characters unfold before my eyes. It all moves so fast. Often times, it’s feel like I’m watching one of those time-lapse movies of a flower blooming…it starts off as a seed, the stem quickly grows, sprouts up. Then the little bud slowly opens, and then explodes into this brilliant flower, all color and life. Right about now, I think – who am I trying to fool, I’m just guessing really – that I’m watching what is the portion where the buds begin to rise up, of the little flowers that are these, my, little girls: Emma and Maddie, 22 months old. I say ‘guessing’ because who knows of what they’re going to do next or of how much of their personalities at this moment will remain and be part of their more permanent personalities in a week, or a month…or forever. It’s interesting to see these pieces of their character come to life and expand, or shed from them…and to wonder as they’re presenting to me, “will this stay with her?”.
When their big sister Sydney, now 5, was their age, I didn’t notice it as readily as I do with the twins. Not that I wasn’t paying attention, I was, and very much so. At the time, it was all just so overwhelming and so new, as a new parent later realizes. Syd was our first child, which my inexperience and fear that I’d break her if I held her to tightly. I think I was too worried about making sure she was perfectly safe and perfectly happy and perfectly-diaper-changed-the-very-moment-she-soiled-it, that I didn’t have time or situational awareness to enjoy the nuances of what was happening.
With the twins, I’m much more relaxed, and am really aware of the very minute changes happening in them daily (Another benefit of being the stay-at-home-dad right now). They’re so visibly happy all the time, you’d think they just smile non-stop, as is the opinion of family and friends who see them frequently, but don’t get the full measure of their personalities. I try to explain that, although they’re very smiley, they should see Maddie when she’s balking at doing something she thinks might be dangerous, or Emma as she’s trying to spread-eagle dive off the arm of the couch like a midget daredevil…or how they both break out the funny and the sarcasm as if they’re not a year and a half old, but teenagers in tiny little bodies. It’s this the other stuff that is becoming the most interesting for me…. also the most scary at times too, but definitely the most interesting
It’s been pretty amazing how that unfolding is revealing three completely different personalities, with slight overlaps. Sydney, the oldest, the Princess, at first couldn’t be bothered with spending time with her sisters. They were just interlopers that came along, uninvited by her, to mess up her room and take her Mommy and Daddy’s attention away. Now, the first thing she does in the morning is to go give her “sissies” a kiss and hug, and they now seek her out too, to do the same. The excitement is palpable when they see each other after being apart for a while, which is maybe the most amazing thing to watch of all of their interactions. But, really, the sweetness, although genuine, lasts only a few minutes and then the dynamics of these three little fireballs really comes into play. Sydney: sweet, outgoing and becoming much like a teenager than a 5 year old… a teenager in training. Then there’s Emma: sarcastic, funny, a total goofball…she’ll do just about anything to get a laugh out of you. She’s the daredevil of the three. Finally, the youngest, Maddie: She’s the most reserved, cautious, has the sharpest claws of the three when it comes down to it, and most definitely the loudest scream. The girl can clear a room like no other. These three, well, it’s like a non-stop comedy troupe performance, with the occasional foray into high drama… Giggle and Screams, Hugs and Fights.
As they continue to change and grow into themselves, their personalities seem to get even bigger. At our YMCA branch, I frequently drop the girls off to play in their Child Care area while I go on to my regular ‘getting worked over by the treadmill, crunch machine or any other number of torture devices’, where they’re starting to form their first friendships as individuals. Both of the twins frequently playing with their own new friends separate of each other, outside of their own little clique of two. It’s fun to see what sort of kids they’re individually drawn to, and how different they are from each other. They’re still very much there for each other when needed, though. They’re each other’s ‘security blanket’, always having each other there in case they’re needed, and for the occasional introducing of the other by saying “Sissy” and then putting their hand on the others arm as to say “this is her”. When I see these things happening, I wonder why I wasn’t paying as much attention to these things when Sydney was a toddler…maybe it’s that the twins do a volume business and it’s hard to ignore it because they just don’t give you a moment’s time to NOT notice them.
The developing of all of this personality in my girls, as well as all of the ways they’re changing daily, I’m finding, is most fun for me to share with other parents of twins. It’s like a little fraternal organization, the “United Parents of Twins, Local 602”. You’ll meet parents of twins at the zoo, or park, or mall, and it’s almost as if you’re comrades in some society that only parents of multiples really understands or gets admittance to. As a parent of twins, talking to another parent of twins, I love to find out what unique experiences that they’re going through with them now, as well as the funny anecdotes from their travels. I think I find, in those times when I’m wondering if I’m doing this right, that those shared stories and funny asides brings me around to the realization that most of us worry about that too….
So, as a parents of multiples, or, heck, even as an observant parent of a singleton, what do you see in your children that makes you pause and take it all in? Do you see traits in them that remind you of yourself or your spouse? How do you feel about them? Are they good traits, or traits you’d prefer they didn’t have?
Tell us about your twins and their unique personality quirks…I’m pretty sure we could always use the reassurance hearing those stories brings. We’re the United Parents of Twins Union Local chapter, come join us.