I Can Tell You Apart — Non-Identical Twins of Mine

September 15, 2014 at 3:30 am (Parenthood, Twins) ()

I can tell you apart on the phone
I can tell you apart when you hug me from behind
I can tell you apart by patting your head
I can tell which plate on the counter was whose. Auden picked out the onions

I can’t tell you apart in a football uniform, unless I know your number
But I can tell which two on the field are mine; you hit the hardest

I can tell your handwriting apart. Usually
I can tell you apart when you wake up and I’m downstairs underneath you. That one’s easy, only one of you jumps off the top bunk
I can tell you apart when you wake up and I’m still in bed. One of you pees louder
And I can even tell you apart when I’ve been asleep and one of you crawls into my bed to snuggle. You each flop a different way.

Someday you’ll have more separate lives. Different careers and different friends. Different cities maybe. Ten years into this life, you still wouldn’t rather be with anyone more than your twin brother. And I don’t blame you, because you are both pretty freakin’ awesome.

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May- Heather’s Brain Download

May 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm (AJ, Family, MJ, PJ, Twins, WJ) (, )

May is always crazy busy in the JaRuud household.  Three birthdays and Mother’s Day, all with requisite multiple celebrations, meals, present purchasing and opening, card making, and general merriment.  Add this year our life shift to me working again, and it’s a wonder I’ve made it through with a smile on my face.

We went camping this weekend near Blewett Pass.  I went late and left early, leaving truly 90% of the camping work to Mark.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable sticking him with that all the time, but it was really nice to arrive to camp with a tent set up and leave this morning (to go to work) with only my clothing bag and no kids. 

People keep giving me sad looks when I tell them I have to work on Sundays.  (So far anyway) I feel no such dissapointment.  Case in point: on weekdays I get up at 5:45, spend over two hours getting myself and four kids ready to leave, and drive an hour to drop off kids at three different places.  Today, I was able to rise a full hour later, 100 miles away from work, and still arrive at the exact same time.  And then I just work four hours.

I tried to get Willa to sleep for a nap and bedtime yesterday in a tent.  Her apparent reaction:  “Mama, what the hell- what is this place?  Where’s my bed?  Why is it cold?  Why is it light out?  You think I’m going to sleep here?  Uh unh, no way, no how.”  I’d nurse her and nurse her but she’d startle awake when I tried to stop no matter how asleep she’d seemed.  I wasn’t successful until I put her in her familiar carseat.  My theory- with my others, especially the boys, I always nursed them to sleep and we traveled with them all over carnation.  They never cared as long as they had me.  Willa hasn’t nursed to sleep in quite some time.  She hasn’t seemed to need it, and sadly, I’m just always needed elsewhere.  She nurses and then I leave her awake, and if she’s sleepy, she’s asleep in minutes.  But this means, she’s less attached to me and more attached to her own bed.  It makes me a little sad.  I’m going to tell myself it’s just who she is and try to lay off the mama guilt that I can’t do as much for my fourth child as my firsts.

I’m just happy to nurse her at all.  Last weekend, from Friday through Tuesday, she went on a nursing strike.  SOOOOO not fun.  I felt like I was a first time mama with a newborn again, which no confidence we would ever get the breastfeeding down.  No sleep from trying to nurse, getting bitten, and then pumping at all hours of the night.  Without the help that often comes with having a new baby.  No, instead, I was trying to juggle a family birthday party and full time work and houseguests and… and… and.  Yes, I’m fully aware all of this may have actually caused said nursing strike.  It turns out I had all the right instincts about what to try, and she finally came around just after I took her to the doctor and determined she was medically fine, no ear infection or other problem readily apparent.  Same logic applies as that this weekend we put up tarps to (successfully) avoid it raining.

What I wanted, during the nursing strike, was somebody to understand my plight.  Mark was helpful and fed Willa bottles when I was frustrated, but he didn’t seem to get how awful it was making me feel to keep offering such a sensitive (physically and emotionally) part of me and getting rejected.  He kept saying “Poor Willa” and I wanted somebody to say “Poor Heather!”  Actually my mom did and I’m grateful for that, but I was a wreck; I seemed to need it hourly.  I have treasured the “extended” nursing the other three and I have shared, and I was NOT going to give up easily.  My naturopath actually told me “at ten months, maybe she’s done with the boob.”  Numerous books and google searches will tell you, a baby will almost never self-wean before 18 to 24 months.  I honestly wonder if I should be thinking about switching doctors… is that crazy of me?  It was just such a blatantly false piece of information, and I’m glad I didn’t trust it.

Friday before camping was the boys’ “friend” party.  For the first time, we forked over the cash to have it outside our house.  It was a fun, but I’m not sure if it was truly worth the money.  It doesn’t feel like we created the memories that we have past years at home.  Though the boys came home happy, neither has mentioned a word about it since.  Yes, we had more kids than we would’ve at home, but other than that… I think maybe next time if I want to spend money on a party I’ll use it for a house cleaner beforehand.  Or afterward!  But check out the giant squid cake we made!  (I have many more birthday pictures but I can’t find the cord to download them.  Grrrr.)
Squid cake

Yes, our cake “plate” is a Rubbermaid bin lid.  And yes, I’m well aware it is a major phallic symbol. 

For their birthday, their class made them “birthday books”, with well wishes and what-I-like-about-you’s from each classmate.  Two of Auden’s gave me pause- “What I like about you is that your brother is Parker.”  “You are lucky to have Parker as your twin.”  While I agree with the latter, it makes me worry a little about their twinship and being in the same class.  (In their current program they have to be in the same class.)  It’s wonderful to have somebody to do the things you don’t know how to do, but it can’t last forever.  Right now Auden reads for Parker and Parker makes friends for Auden.  It’s been fascinating to watch… my own personal twin study.  (I know it’s not really a study with an n of one- just anecdotal.)

How glad am I that I have another day to savor before we all go back to school and work?  Very!

 

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Twin Thoughts

May 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm (AJ, PJ, Twins) ()

I often seem to have one child I’m worrying about more than the others, or concentrating on.  For quite a while, that’s been Greta, with the tantrums and the potty needs and the speech-learning and the “No Mama”s that she directs at everybody when I’m around.  “No Mama” not as in telling me no, but as in telling her dad, “No way am I going to let you put my shoes on when I can see Mama is over there peacefully drinking her coffee.”  But as we approach the boys’ 6th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on their lives.  I wrote a speech about twins for Toastmasters last year (a geeky club, but I enjoyed it).  It still sums up our twin experience nicely- remember as you read it that it was originally a speech- I didn’t edit it (much):

happily riding an orca whale

Far and away for the last half decade, what have I spent most of my time on, experiencing, talking about, researching? Twins.

Many of you know I have fraternal twin boys named Auden and Parker, who are turning 5 next week.

Not only have been on the front lines of dealing with the ups and downs of twins, but I’ve been involved in 3 twin clubs and led a weekly support group for parents of newborn twins.

When you have twins, people that have raised twins, or are a twin, or have a second cousin that’s a twin tend to come out of the woodwork at the grocery store.

Why is that? Certainly, even though the twin rate is up to 3% of all births, there’s a novelty factor. But it’s more than that. People imagine that having a twin would be a special thing. And it is. So that’s what I thought I’d talk about today. What it’s like to actually be a twin.

90/365 Tire swinging is one of the big draws for G&G's house

There are some positives and some negatives. Of course, I’m not a twin, so I started by conducting a short interview of my boys. Separately, so as not to interfere with results.

“Parker, do you like having a twin?”
“Yes.”

“What’s the best part about having a twin?”
“Playing with him.”

Benefit number one of having a twin: always always having somebody around to play with. One of them recently told me how sorry he felt for one of his friends that didn’t have a twin. The friend has a brother, but siblings have other activities; are at a different development level. Even at 5, Parker recognizes he’s lucky. They’ve never had to go to sleep alone. They’ve recently taken to sleeping in the same bed again, talking about Star Wars until they fall asleep.

Benefit number two of having a twin: And this one mainly applies to the majority of twins who are the same sex and about the same size. I once asked identical twin friends, grown adult men, when I should expect to have to differentiate their clothing. I figured eventually they’d want a separate dresser and initials in their T-shirts. I couldn’t really get a straight answer out of my friend. I later mentioned it to his twin’s wife and figured out why. They live in different states, have wives and kids. But when they visit each other, which is often, they STILL share clothes, even underwear! They don’t pack a bag! I just could not believe it at first! Both then really, whatever residual sweat is in those clean gym socks is the same DNA as the other guy’s, so why would it matter?

Besides clothes, growing up with a twin, there is usually a back up of anything that breaks or gets worn out. People give each of you a new truck, or new T-shirts, but often only one twin likes it. So that person has two.

The last benefit I’ll share about having a twin is having a lifelong support system. As adults, twins tend to remain close and have more contact then average siblings. A large population study in the British Medical Journal found that twins have a substantially lower suicide rate. Presumably it’s due to always having sometime to talk to and rely on.

Look at that

“Now, Auden, do you like having a twin?”
“No.”

“What is it that you don’t like about having a twin?”
“Fighting Parker.”

This brings me to the biggest drawback to having a twin. And believe me, as a parent, I deal with it their -every- -waking- -hour. As I mentioned, growing up, your twin is around you -all- -the- -time. That means, you have to fight for what’s yours and stake your territory -all- -the- -time. We actually saw, on an ultrasound, Parker hitting his Auden on the head. Around two, they went through a biting phase. I remember taking them to swimming lessons and worrying what people would think about the bruises on their bodies from their brother. I stopped worrying as much when a mom with four kids saw a bite mark on Parker. Instead of acting horrified, she asked him, “Now what did you do to your brother to make him bite you like that?”

A second drawback of having a twin is that people will always compare you to him. Auden crawled and walked well within the normal range, but since it was a month behind Parker each time, it was hard not to think of him as “late”. As a mom I’m pretty sensitive about comparing them within earshot. Others aren’t so tactful. Even Auden and Parker themselves hold themselves to the same standard as whatever their brother can do. When they were learning to ride bikes, one boy always seemed to be having a better day right off the bat. As soon as that boy took off down the Burke Gilman with Dad, whichever boy was behind got dejected about it and eventually gave up for the day. I had several outings where I sat on the side of the trail with one boy, waiting for Dad and the other boy to get tired and come back. Eventually they both figured it out and usually ride together peacefully.

The last drawback of having a twin, is that to a lot of people, your name isn’t Auden, or Parker, it’s AudenandParker. Normally sensitive people forget who is who, and lump you together. This isn’t too big of an issue for my boys. Auden has brown eyes, brown hair, and olive skin, and Parker has blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin. But still, people do confuse them. And I was asked by plenty of people even up to about two years old, “Are they starting to develop different personalities?” They had different personalities before birth!

I’m hoping that some of these negatives turn into positives. The constant fighting should make them great negotiators. The comparisons and insensitive comments should help them to think about what they say about others. Overall, I think having a constant sidekick is a pretty cool thing for both my sons, despite what Auden said at the particular time I asked him. I am grateful that after I’m gone, they’ll still have each other. I think how they feel about each other can be summed up by something I heard one say to the other from the back of the mini van one day when they were three. “You my best friend. But sometimes… you not my best friend.”

56/365 Boardwalk

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