Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


"That's your best friend!"

James was holding Amanda up by the armpits, holding her over her sister. About two weeks ago we became aware that they were actually looking at people now. One time Elisa had woken up to Amanda's screaming. She looked over at Amanda, glanced up at the mobile, and then closed her eyes again and went back to sleep. Another time, I saw one of the girls glance at Sarah the cat, who has been smelling their heads for a couple months now. They're making purposeful eye contact with us now, which is really a delight. And about damned time.

Though they could look at each other this time, they weren't. James got Amanda closer to Elisa, almost on top of her. Amanda continued to look upwards, towards the light, and had to crane her neck to be able to see it from the new angle. Elisa was awake and aware, but managed not to notice the baby in front of her. She kept looking towards the blanket.

This may be a lesson in childhood development -- babies do not typically interact with each other until 10 months of age. Or it might be the first of many times the girls just avoid doing what we want them to do. Well, I shouldn't say FIRST.

I have no idea when I first became aware of my twin brother's existence. As far as I was concerned, and quite literally anyway, he was just always there. I believe I expressed that sentiment at his wedding -- that it was easy to take David for granted because he was an inherent part of my experience of the world. It didn't come out sounding all that nice, actually. When people would ask me as a child what it was like to have a twin, I always answered that I didn't have anything to compare it to, but I did note that you had to share your birthday. Now that I'm an older twin and have twins of my own, it seems like the best part of twindom (and maybe the worst?) is constant companionship.

One sweet and annoying development of about a month ago was that the girls started hearing each other cry, and joining in. Maybe because it was scary to be in an environment where someone else was crying, maybe because they were sad their sister was in distress. So we can call them co-cryers now.

They also have to share their feeding time. We try to feed them at different times -- whoever starts to get cranky first eats first. But it doesn't always work, and lots of times I wind up with two hands holding two bottles in two mouths, and with my two eyes bonding with no one. Lots of other times one baby is getting held and the other is crying. I have to put the quiet one down (yes, punish her) to pick up the loud one, and then have her quiet down and have the other start up again. They must hate to hear their sister cry in that case, because it heralds the exchanging of the babies in the lap.

A book on raising emotionally healthy twins told me yesterday that I should spend individual time with each child, while someone else took care of the other. If I could relate to each baby one-on-one, I would have a better relationship with each. At this point, that seems like a luxury. Where's the "someone else" from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. anyway?

As someone who survived twinship with a hearty ego in tact, I'm not too concerned about their potential to blossom as different people. But if we can give them life, individuality, and a Best Friend Forever, wouldn't that be nice?


DAVs said...

I like the co-crying. I mean, I don't like-like it, but it's a cute term. I do the same thing--I cannot see someone else cry and not cry too (for the most part). Even when my patients are telling me something sad that makes them tear up, damnit if I don't start in too. I used to chalk it up to artificial hormones always coursing through my veins, but now, I'm just weepy.

I'm glad your twins have each other! Lucky ladies indeed, though they won't always feel that way :)

Anonymous said...

I'll be your "someone else"...if only I could afford that plane ticket. I would love to hold those cutie-pie babies!!!

xoxo, Melissa (from DS)

Laughing4Heir said...

"James got Amanda closer to Elisa, almost on top of her. Amanda continued to look upwards, towards the light, and had to crane her neck to be able to see it from the new angle." ... maybe she just thought it was a socially awkward situation and was trying to ignore it in hopes that the awkwardness would go away.