11 Months + 1 Year

Twins 11 months

I took this picture on May 19th last year, the boys’ 11 month birthday (back when a turn of the calendar constituted a new milestone). As I recall, they were just beginning to take first steps and I spent my days watching them step and fall, get up and repeat.

Step, fall, get up, repeat.

They slipped, bumped heads, hits corners, and collided when momentum took on speed without brakes, but still they would get up and do it all again. Perhaps knowing that if they just kept trying, kept putting one foot in front of the other, something miraculous would happen.

Now they charge ahead without caution or boundaries, unaware of danger or perpetrators or objects moving at a speed capable of ripping apart our world in seconds.

I both love and fear this stage.

twin boys

I feel like I’ve spent the last 11 months + one year in survival mode, and on what is metaphorically the eve of their second birthday, I’m wondering when exactly my babies became little boys.

I’ve been wandering into their room late at night to watch them sleep. I put my hand close to their noses or gently rest it on their bellies to be sure of their breathing, just as I did when they were infants. Once upon a time, one crib held them both with room to spare but now they look like giants stretched across separate beds.

The thing about raising twins is that rituals and routines become more like assembly lines, which causes everything to happen lightning fast, and this has maybe been the most difficult part for me — the surrendering of a sense of authenticity, of an organic flow to our days, always having to choose who needs me more in that moment. There’s a kind of freedom, a sense of luxury, that comes with a singleton that I didn’t even notice until I had twins.

But then there’s something else too.

These boys speak their own language, something secret and exclusive (or maybe it’s Turkish). They converse mostly in gestures and laughs but every now and then I catch them chitchatting in their native Turkish and it catches my breath, knowing the moment is rare and fleeting. The other day our new neighbors came over with their two year old boy. As we were talking grown up talk, I turned around to see Wyatt and this little boy engaged in a back-and-forth conversation (turns out he speaks Turkish too). Pretty soon Luke wandered over and joined their conversation. And it really was a conversation. The little boy would say something and my boys would wait until he was finished before responding. And the more I watched, the more it became clear to me what my boys were saying: “Look, we like you and we’ll hang out with you, but mess with my brother and it’s over.”

I’ve always said that I might not be able to give them all of me but I gave them each other. To finally witness this bond take shape makes me realize that assembly lines or not, we’ve always had our own little luxuries.

The language of twins

At the click of the back door, a parade of bare feet pitter-patters on wood floor as they round the corner wielding spatulas like swords. Luke trips and it’s Wyatt who cries, but then one is pushing the other out of the way to get to me.

I don’t know that I’m supposed to feel this way, but one without the other feels incomplete. As much as Wyatt is Wyatt and Luke is Luke, they are also two halves of a whole.

It’s undeniable in the way they gravitate toward each other even when playing separately. It’s in the way they clasp hands in their highchairs, in their babbling across cribs, in the way one is always following the other.

I can’t give 100% of myself to them, always having to choose who needs me more in that moment.

But I gave them each other.

Their bond began here:


And their language is one I’m not meant to fully understand.

In Which I Reflect On Fifteen Months With Twins

I took the boys to the grocery store the other day, something I rarely do because 1) they’re so grabby! and 2) have you ever noticed that most shopping carts have one seat for one baby/toddler? I didn’t before I had twins. Clearly, mothers of multiples are discriminated against by mass market retailers. So, anyway, we were at the store quietly going about our business when a woman rushed up behind me and in one long breath wanted to know the following: are they fraternal (we don’t know), who’s older (Wyatt, by less than a minute), did I go into labor early (define “early”), and are they always this good (define “good”). And the whole time Wyatt flashed his baby blues and beamed up at her, while Luke squinted his into slits and stared her down.

“You have one who laughs at the world and one who studies it,” she said.

It was only later that I realized how spot on she was, which made me think how little I think of them as individuals. (And just when I think I’ve got them all figured out they go and switch personalities on me.) So, in honor of their 15-month birthdays, I am reflecting.

Wyatt,
My Baby A. A boy of light.

Your smile is usually the first thing people remark about you. A wide-open smile that spreads across your face and lights up your eyes. You like people. I mean, you are aware of them, of their attention, their presence, in a way that makes me think you get it. Just It. You say Mama and Hi. You’re working on Down and No. You’re a bubble of laughter and energy, and I can tell you’re going to be funny. You’re always happy, always game, always willing to walk into someone’s arms. You do this movement (a dance?) that resembles a surfer in slow motion. Sometimes you walk backwards just because. You scream. When you’re happy, when you’re mad, when you’re tired or hungry, or in response to other screams or noises that resemble screams. Mia likes to say, “I think our neighbors heard that one.”

The other day when we were playing, you stopped what you were doing like you had just decided something, walked up to me and kissed me square on the mouth. Then you smiled and did it again before moving on. Confession: I don’t remember the first time your sister kissed me and meant it. Luke has yet to do it. But this one? This was one glorious first kiss.

Luke,
My Baby B. A boy of sweetness.

In many ways I consider you our bonus baby. The one we didn’t plan for, the one who took us by surprise. The one who negotiated behind the scenes to come along for the ride. Whereas your brother came into the world screaming (see above), you were silent. “Why isn’t he crying?” I asked. And then the NICU nurse was talking to your Dad, and you were whisked away before I ever saw you (or heard you). You are still the quietest of our three. You’re the cuddliest too, melting into me when I hold you, your head nestled into the crook of my neck, your curls tickling my cheek. You study everything, inspect the workings of toys, crawl into narrow crevices, discover hidden wires, flop on your stomach to investigate the underbellies of furniture.

You’re a pickier eater than your brother but not as picky as your sister. You drop your food off your tray and I say no. You smile. You climb the pillows to get to the window blinds and I say no. You smile. You open drawers, pull out all the contents and I say no. You smile. When I walk into the room you wave with both hands and say, Hiiiiiiii. When you want to be held you say Mama. Had you not come along for the ride, I believe I always would have felt there was another soul out there waiting for us to find him. To find you.

*I had planned to post this two days ago but Luke got sick, then Wyatt got sick. And, as you can imagine, it’s incredibly easy to got loads of stuff done with two little people attached to you at all times.