Akilah Harper's twins
Eleven years ago, I was wheeled out of the hospital with two adorable yet fragile newborn babies. One was wrapped in blue and the other was wrapped in pink as their father snapped their matching car seats into the car.
As I sit here now and think about that day, I can’t help but laugh. During my pregnancy, I’d read everything I could about raising twins. I also bought two of everything: two car seats, two wardrobes, two bouncy chairs and the most cumbersome double stroller ever invented. I left the hospital with all the confidence of a toddler creating a masterpiece on a newly painted white wall.
Despite my preparations, I was nowhere near ready for the experience of raising twins. I’d assumed because they were twins they’d be extremely similar. One would just wear blue and one would wear pink. By their sixth week of life, I realized how incredibly wrong I was.
My daughter was born with an innate ability to self-soothe. She rarely woke up during the night. Her brother was the complete opposite. He woke up every two hours like a human alarm clock. They were also different physically. By 6 months of age, I was squeezing my son into 9-month-size clothes while his sister still fit comfortably into 3-month-size outfits. My son was a ball of giggles and was perfectly content in his baby carrier. Meanwhile, his sister was more serious and determined to discover everything in the world around her. That first year was a whirlwind of surprise from the very first day.
I’ve learned to just smile and go with the flow.
As they matured into young kids we found out that they like different food, different shows, different books and developed vastly different styles of dress. My daughter believed matching was “so lame” while my son was obsessed with monochrome looks. I’ve learned to just smile and go with the flow.
Many times I find myself wondering who they’d be if they were singletons. I think about how heavily their personalities were influenced by sharing a womb. They’re vastly different and it has very little to do with gender. But they’re also the best of friends. They have a bond that is truly unbreakable. They’ve spent more time with each other than any other person on this earth. They live together, they’re in the same grade, they spend weekends at their grandparents’ house together... often even sharing the sofa bed.
And with all this constant contact come the inevitable disagreements. There are days where it seems that the sound of one twin breathing is enough to drive the other one over the edge. The endless arguments over who has control of the remote, whose turn it is to take the dog outside and who made a better grade on their math test is enough to drive any parent up the wall.
But as a twin parent, I get it. They fight hard and love even harder. Their bond is strong. They can speak to and comfort each other in a way that no one else can. They believe in each other with such force that only someone with whom you came into this world could understand. They are extremely different yet incredibly similar in the way they share a bond with one another.
I’ve learned to let them navigate their own relationship and step in only when absolutely necessary. They’ve learned to accept each other and appreciate their differences. If you are expecting twins, my advice to you is to expect the unexpected and go with the flow.