Twins, the second chapter...
The last time I wrote about the twins, I shared with you their story from the very beginning, providing you with the context needed to better understand our shock when learning there were two hearts beating, as well as their grand entrance, and the life that followed. If you missed their journey up until 18 months or you want to revisit it, please do, it’s quite a story - Twins, the first chapter…
But let me pick up where I left off….this past year has been an adventure, filled with changes, but also threaded between the waves of change, there lies a consistency with these two, it’s special.
I have to say that with any child the time frame between one and half and two and half years old is challenging. Maybe it’s because I am a worrier, and a true anxious person to the core, so when our babies start to crawl, start to walk, start to explore the world by putting everything in their mouthes, all I can think of is danger! Remember, I’m a seasoned mother, these are babies number four and five, but it really didn’t matter, we had to approach baby proofing our house in an entirely different way because of the twins. For one, there are two of them, that means when they start moving, they will often travel together, but not always. And secondly they not only have the encouragement of their older siblings, but the support of one another which results in even more mischief and occasions where they attempt feats well beyond their years. Caroline was the first to crawl, the first to walk, I’m not sure if that is because she’s “Baby A” or a girl, but she was very different from Ryland, who was content with just sitting and watching his sister get into things. But once Ryland became mobile, we were in trouble! If they weren’t crawling all over me (which they still do), I was constantly hovering. Maybe the challenge came because they have three older brothers, who love legos, match box cars, and sports and the twins have always wanted to be with their brothers. We added more gates to our house and there were more systems in place to keep children contained - and safe. I will say, that we have turned a corner, two and half is a magical age, where they can venture up and down steps with ease - no more baby gates (well except for one, blocking off their closet, which I will explain later). At two and half they have a better understanding of what should and shouldn’t go in their mouth. And at two and half words have come, they can more clearly communicate their ideas, fears, and requests.
One aspect of twin life that we have experienced in the past year is they are messier than our singletons. I think it has everything to do with being together and encouraging the mess. Meals have been a war zone! They will throw their cups when they are finished drinking, or dump their bowls if they don’t like their food. Around twenty months, we transitioned them to boosters at the big table, thinking that might make an improvement, but it really didn’t. Instead of curbing the behavior, which became challenging because they encouraged one another, we invested in a fancy Dison sweeper (it’s a lifesaver and couples as a fun after dinner activity - chasing children). They are adventurous eaters though, probably our best in the bunch. Caroline loves salad and salmon and Ryland is our go with the flow guy and will eat pretty much everything. Once they are finished though, on the floor it goes!
With my older three, each transition in life has been something that I cautiously approach, observe, and plan how I will respond if they struggle. Often times I find myself worrying more than I should, but I think that is our role as a mother is to worry and prepare Transitions like the start of a a new classroom at school, moving from a bottle to a sippy cup, or crib to big bed, with our twins these moments have been flawless at times because they have one another, but also a little more complicated.
Being a working mom can be a conflicted journey, where you are often filled with guilt. The guilt is especially strong when your little ones are struggling to find their footing at daycare. With the twins there is always a comfort because they have one another. Our children have attended Primrose Schools from infancy through kindergarten and the staff has always been so good about embracing the power of a sibling relationship. There were days when Weston would struggle and they would allow Parker to come and visit him. Or days when Corbin met his goals, so his reward was visiting his older brothers (or the twins). Knowing that for Caroline and Ryland the challenges of transitioning from one class to the next automatically becomes more manageable because they have one another, eases this mama’s heart. There are so many wonderful stories that come from their time at school together - like how Ryland just had to have his hair put in pony tails, because sister would get her hair fixed, or how Ryland would hand his plate to Caroline to throw in the trash for him, or how they both ended up completely covered in mud, because they encouraged the other to dig for worms on the playground (see, I told you they are just messier than the others).
Transitions can also be a little trickier with twins. We have been really struggling with the change from cribs to big beds. Caroline was crawling out of her crib and then climbing into Ryland’s so we knew it was time, but then it also has opened up a floodgate because they are no longer contained. The twins share a room, and so we have had messes with diapers, digging through drawers in the closet (hence the need for one last baby gate in our house - except I think Caroline is climbing over and still destroying my organized drawers, so I need a new idea), oh yes and even Aquafor smeared all over the walls and each other. This never happened with the big boys, it has everything to do with them being together and encouraging their adventurous and messy spirits. So with twins who are learning and exploring the world, sometimes there is comfort that they can hold each other’s hand through the changes and other times it becomes more challenging to manage because they have the other to encourage the curiosity.
In the past year, what hasn’t changed is the way they look at one another and just know that the reflection looking back at them is their person. There is this indescribable bond that as a parent is so rewarding to watch grow and change with time They refer to one another as “Sissy and RyRy” and there is an endless amount of patience for the other, an instant understanding and compassion, and a willingness to bend that their other siblings have at times, but it is just not constant, it is constant with them.
Caroline has grown to be more vocal, more independent, and at the same time more stubborn and yet strong. Ryland has become a sensitive and sweet boy, who loves music and stories. They even one another out, and are what the other might need. Caroline will lead, but in moments when needed Ryland will slow her down. They love to pretend with baby dolls and play out a story. They toddle after their brothers - Corbin and his Power Ranger storylines, Weston and his Beyblades or Pokemon, and Parker with his sports. It’s seldom that you will find them separated, even though they are so different. Occasionally Caroline will be the one to venture off with brothers, while Ryland stays close to mama, but they always come back and they are always there for one another.
Life with two year old twins is exhausting and at the same time magical, especially when you add them to the mix of our other three. They are compassionate, observant and kind. They are curious, adventurous and ornery. And when all five interact in unison with one another it really is a moment filled with fulfillment, awe, and pure joy. My husband and I couldn’t be more blessed and are so thankful that God trusted us with this journey.
Until next time…their story will continue - Caroline Joan and Ryland Garee…they round out our Party of 7.