Well the twins made it to a year....I should rephrase that and say, Jeff and I made it through the first year! Every parent of multiples you talk to say the first year is the toughest and I would be no different. We have fond memories (all be it blurred memories) of them as cute newborns, but mostly the newborn-6 month stage was not a blissful time in motherhood as I had always envisioned....but hey, when you are single and don't have kids you know everything about raising kids right? HA! Every idea you every have for your children you may as well toss out the window because frankly they will make an idiot of you and your preconceived notions of what your children will be like. I have pretty much eaten every single word I every said when I talked about being a parent "in the future" and when I talk to others that seems to be the trend. Frankly, the sooner you figure out that you are not in charge the better off you are. The two little 6 and 7 pound chubby babies I brought home the hospital pretty much ran the show from the beginning....hey, they're newborns and they may be small but they are in charge. I thought I'd compose a list of things my children taught me and words they have made me eat just in the past year for this blog entry.....and try and have a sense of humor about it, because really you can either laugh or cry about it all. HA!
1. "My kids are never going to sleep in our bed." Well let's just say that got shot in the butt right from the beginning. You see, my kids couldn't be more different if they tried. Anna was smaller and wanted to eat more often and Sarah was bigger and went a little longer....BUT I was preached to about getting them on the same schedule and so I went with it. When Anna would wake, it was usually another hour til Sarah woke up so if I took her to bed with Jeff and I she would go right back to sleep.....and so did I. I was not blessed with those peaceful looking sleeping babies....my kids pretty much have a wrestling match in their cribs every night and when you go into their room you wonder how in the world they ended up in that position. They woke up a lot and Anna continues to be up a couple times a night and frankly at some point you do anything for more sleep and that means they park their little butts between you and your husband and it becomes a family bed. This has gotten a little better as Anna sleeps better in her crib so she seldom sleeps with us. Sarah usually doesn't join us for a snuggle until around 4:30-5am and mostly I think she just wants some Daddy time to herself.
2. "Why would people take their kids to daycare so they can clean house/do errands?" Why???? Because God blessed me with two little tornados that tear stuff apart faster than I can put it away. Did you know that their toys are so boring.....until mom straightens them up and puts them away. Then suddenly they must scream to the girls, "Play with me, hurry!!!" because I don't even get to the next area and they have it all pulled out again. Also trying to go to Bismarck with two babies is a complete joke as they either need to eat, sleep, run around to burn off some energy, or need a diaper change...really doesn't allow too much time for the 101 errands you need to run when you are in town. When I do hear babies crying because they are tired/hungry/over stimulated I am very relieved my girls are at the sitters and can eat and sleep and play whenever they want.
3. "I can't believe how those kids are acting (in public)" Now.....thankfully my girls have spared us thus far by embarrassing us in public/church, etc. but we know our time is coming. I guess when it does we will just take it all in stride like we do with every other new thing that has been thrown our way this past year with two babies. I have often asked God....Why did you give a first time (earthly) mom two completely opposite babies to try and figure out? Most people have a time with trying to figure one out, much less two. Now these two girls may be twins but really the only thing they share is a birthday. NOTHING else is the same with them....they just happen to be siblings born on the same day. Sarah is laid back and happy go lucky. Anna is high energy and can go from laughing to a full on temper tantrum in a matter of seconds. We love that they are different and wouldn't change it for a minute.
4. A very important lesson they have taught me is don't try to leave the house quickly. Inevitably someone will have pooped their pants after you have their coats and hats on and your arms full to walk out the door so you can start all over again. You wouldn't think that this would happen more than once or twice...but it does, and it happens many, many, many times. Or you have one all ready and you go to get the other one ready and the first one completely undresses themselves....because why not, right? You would swear your kids are being paid off by good old Lucifer some days.
5. Another lesson...."You can sleep when you are dead." My husband and I used to make fun of this saying....well it's true when you have two babies at once. Sleep is a thing of the past. If they aren't teething then they have a cold or they have some other problem. So sleeping at night is a thing of the past (at least for me).
6. A good lesson.....You shall never eat, go to the bathroom, or do anything alone again. Now...I have a cat and a dog, so going to the bathroom alone was never really in the cards but for the most part they kinda leave you alone. Now, when a toddler is in the bathroom with you it is a whole different story. They are in every draw that they can get into. They throw anything on the edge of the tub in the tub. They feel they need to sit on your lap....the list goes on and on and really the possibilities are endless when you get two of them in the bathroom with you.
7. "I'm watching what I want to watch on TV when they are young." Ahhhhh....no. Do you know who is king at our house...well it isn't Jeff or I....it is Mickey Mouse. He is my savior at getting anything done. Even after you could recite the episodes word for word and you really just want to punch that mouse in the face, you don't....you realize that you are nothing without the mouse. What a humbling moment in your life.
8. A good lesson to remember is that if you are going somewhere do NOT under any circumstances put the clothes that you want to wear on until you are literally ready to walk out the door. Dirty hands, snot noses, left over hidden food, or when they are little, spit up, will end up on your shirt for sure if you put it on any sooner than you have too.
9. Here's a good one....you want to go somewhere but you have to take two babies with you, so you think to yourself, "How bad do I really want to do this?" And then you find out that you really don't want to do whatever it was at all. To get two of them changed, dressed, coats and caps on, and strapped into seats along with a packed bag outweighs whatever it was you wanted to do so badly in a hurry. Now if the hubby is available to go along it's not so bad, but I'm a farmer's wife and from March to November we essentially give our husbands up to the farm. (not complaining, it's just how we lives) So you really just end up staying home a lot. This isn't all bad either as the kids easily entertain us for hours on end and those moments are way more precious than anything else.
10. I would say the most important lesson they have taught us is how much you can love one little person (times two!). Don't get me wrong....we love our Gracie immensely and it is a love unlike any other. Loving your baby in heaven is intense and heart wrenching at the same time. I didn't know what to expect when the girls arrived. After I let my guard down (over the fear of losing them) a bit. the love that came was so much it fills my heart til it wants to burst. I never tire of watching them and am in constant awe of what they come up with. Even a year later we still find ourselves looking at them and wondering, "Are they really ours to keep?"
I would say the past year has been an insane blur of memories and I quite thankful for all the pictures I took because sometimes I hardly remember those moments when I look at their pictures. I've told so many people that ask me about their first year, that I'm not sure how it went so fast given I have been awake for about 90% of the past year, but it has. It scares me a bit that they are growing so fast and that time slips by so quickly. I don't want them to grow so quickly but yet we look forward to all of their milestones to come yet. The past year has been difficult at times because as we watch the girls grow and start to do different things we can't help but think of everything we missed out on with Gracie. I sit and wonder what she would look like as a toddler and what would she be doing if she were here. It's emotionally very difficult because you wish she was here, but if she was you have to wonder, if the twins would be here then? What a tug on a mother's heart! I just keep telling myself that our girls are all where God meant for them to be, but still your heart tells you a whole other story. This past year has been filled with bittersweet memories of our precious Gracie and it's also been filled with lots of tears, smiles, giggles, kisses, and hugs with our Anna and Sarah. There have been many, many, many difficult days where I have cried with the kids because I was at my wits end and somehow here we are...13 1/2 months later and we made it. We all survived that first year together. No doubt that Gracie isn't helping from heaven and hasn't missed a step with our family this past year. I feel she helped me survive the past year and gave me the strength to go on when I felt I couldn't any longer. I am proud to say we made it.....I survived.........