5 Years With Twins

 November 2009: Spencer (age 4), me, Seth (age 4). Photo by Amy Jacobs Photography.

Last week, my twins turned five years old.

There was a period of time when I absolutely, positively did not think we would all survive the night, much less the next five years.

But, we made it.

Without a doubt the most fascinating thing about being the mother of twins is to look at each of them and “see” the same person but know the intricacies and preferences of each personality. I only hope and pray I adequately nurture and encourage expression of those personalities.

Nothing about parenting twins has been easy. Nothing. I would gladly and willingly throw myself in front of train to rescue my children, but good gravy, those little boogers drive me to the brink of insanity most everyday. In their super-cute and so-adorable-you-could-gobble-them-up ways, of course.

They are funny and smart and love their mother fiercely. They are addicted to chocolate and ketchup (not together, but I know they’d try it if I suggested it).

Most of my memories of the first two years of their lives revolve around Prevacid and acid reflux and carrying a baby in each arm and crying.

Lots and lots of crying. Them and me.

Mostly me. 

 Easter 2006: Seth (left) and Spencer (right), age one.

I don’t remember first steps or first words. I sort of remember first teeth. I vividly remember first days at Mother’s Day Out. (Thank you, Lord, for Mother’s Day Out.)

The highlight of their first year for me (as was with Susanna) was their baptism. The most special act of God’s marking them as members of his family was—and is to this day—incredibly precious to me. I’m so glad I remember the events of that day.

The last three years’ memories are muddy, also. But potty training success in one week (by God’s grace) tops the list. (Thank you, Lord, for quick potty training success.)

Sometimes I will grab their little “lovies”—smooched and rubbed stuffed animals—and just cuddle them. The lovies in those really hard early days were great sources of comfort for them. For me, the lovies still serve that role: a constant, abiding, and unchanging presence, even though the boys are more and more frequently becoming less attached to their lovies.

I am simultaneously heartbroken and ecstatic about that.

Next year they go to kindergarten. While it’s a bittersweet milestone, I’m not terribly sad (at least not yet). I’ve always said I’m not really a “baby mom.” I’m excited to see my little babies grow into rugged boys and responsible young men. Call me crazy, but I think I’m looking forward to the next few years.

Happy birthday, boys. So glad we’ve made it.

November 2009: Susanna (age 6), Seth (age 4) and Spencer (age 4). Photo by Amy Jacobs Photography.

Bunnies? Bunnies!

Susanna turns six at the end of the month. Unbelievable, I know.

For months, she’s been saying she wants a Hello Kitty party. Whew! I breathe a sigh of relief because there’s Hello Kitty stuff everywhere, right? Right.

Until last week when I start thinking about invitations and proudly announce, “I’m going shopping for your Hello Kitty invitations and we’ll get those in the mail soon.”

“Um, no, Mom. I want to have a bunny party.”

A bunny party? Like bunny rabbits. Where did that come from?

Um, OK.

So, I think this can’t be that bad. I start googling “bunny party” and come up with some cute game ideas. OK. I can make this work.

And… Bingo! It dawns on me that bunny stuff is everywhere now with Easter decorations. Alright! I’m home free!

But, alas, because the kid party subculture has always been and will always be out to get me… I find myself spending almost 2 hours today looking for pink bunny stickers. Something not too Easter-y, not too babyish. Something kind of elegant but still fun.

See, I can find cartoony bunny plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths, baskets, bags, sacks, and pails. But THERE ARE NO BUNNY invitations for anything anywhere. Nowhere.

And I swear, they just aren’t out there precisely and positively BECAUSE I am looking for them.

OK. But I find these cute pink plaid blank invitations at the Dollar Tree–10 for $1.00. I’m so proud of my bargain that I decide that SURELY I can find some cute little bunny stickers to go on the invitations.

No. No. No.

You want pink flamingo stickers? You got ’em! Turtles, alligators, dragonflies? They are there. Ducks, chicks, and Easter eggs galore. But just bunnies? Little pink cute bunnies? Of course not.

After two hours of hunting and muttering under my breath things like, “Why would someone buy an entire package of pink flamingo stickers?” in the aisle at Michael’s, I finally settle on some pretty flowers.

I decide our Bunny Party invitations will just have flowers prominently displayed. Darn those pink bunnies.

I KNOW I’ll be assaulted with bunnies next year when I’m looking for some OTHER party decorations like pink flamingos.

I’m Going Crazy

Summer at home with three kiddos under the age of 5 is about to drive me to the brink of insanity. They go to summer school two days a week. For that, I am more than grateful. The other three days—well, I survive. Just barely.

Sometimes I feel like such a freak. You know, when I think about that lady in Arkansas who is expecting #18. About the only thing she and I have in common is that we both chose names for our kids beginning with the same letter (she: J; I: S). That naming strategy alone precludes me from reproducing 15 more kids. No way I could come up with 15 more “S” names.

So, she’s Supermom: pregnant, breastfeeding, homeschooling, and just exuding a maternal glow during Today show interviews.

I really think I’m the antithesis of Mrs. Mom of 18.

I still look pregnant but have gratefully left the nausea and discomfort far behind. Some days I feel like my greatest parenting strategy is playing Thomas the Tank movies back to back to back. I do exude something, but it’s not a maternal glow. It’s sweat. All I do is sweat. All the time. I’m hot and dripping wet with sweat all the time. Really.

Wednesday, we went to a birthday party for one-year-old twin girls. We met Penny and Rusty and the girls through POTATO, the parents of twins club. We were all excited to celebrate with them. The kids were thrilled to be going to a birthday party. They know that means cake.

I was thrilled to have a fun outing and give them some additional play time.

By the time we got to the party, I felt as if I had made the journey on foot. Hot, sweaty (as I said, always sweating…), tired. Nothing is ever easy. Not even going to a freaking birthday party. Yes, I was the mom who looked as if she had rolled out of bed. No makeup. Hair pulled back (because, as I said, I’m sweaty all the time). I promise I had bathed. All the other moms were adorable. Cute and made up. Painted nails. Skinny waists. Jewelry and makeup. How do you do it?

And, yes, my boys were the ones not tossing, not rolling, but HURLING, LOBBING, balls throughout the party place. My daughter was the one picking up the babies at the party. You know, a grip that vaguely resembles the Heimlich maneuver while Baby hangs on for dear life. Yep, the Bernards partied with bells on.

Oh, and I’m the one who left the tattered gift bag, excavated from my jumbled-up gift wrap stash moments before we left the house. Don’t even ask me how many cute, so-adorable-you’d-want-to-die, polka-dotted, plaid, and ribboned presents were on the gift table.

No wonder I had a headache all night long. Something like someone was driving an ax through my forehead just over my right eye.

Do you think Mrs. Mom of 18 ever has a headache?

Nahhh. I doubt it.

Three Years Old!

On April 22, 2008, Seth and Spencer turned three. I absolutely can’t believe it.

They are obsessed with all forms of transportation, especially Thomas the Train. We decided to have their party at the Thomas the Train store. What a wonderful decision that was! They didn’t care much about friends, cake, or presents. Just playing with Thomas trains for two hours was bliss.

Spencer and Daddy. Spencer needs more arms to hold onto all of his trains.
Seth is loving it.

How cute is their cake??? Twin Thomases.

This is Spencer throwing a fit because he was dragged away from the train table to eat cake. Poor child!

I Have Found Party Invitations

All is right with the world.

My first stop will be Party City from now on.

I Think the Kid Party Subculture Is Out to Get Me!

Why is it that whatever party theme I choose is the one theme for which invitations, cupcake decorations, balloons, and party favors cannot be found?

For example, at Susanna’s third Cinderella party, I couldn’t find Cinderella. (Now she’s everywhere.) This year, the lack of Jasmine cupcake toppers nearly sent me into a crying meltdown in the Publix bakery. (Thankfully, said cupcake toppers were excavated from the bottom of the bakery cupcake decoration box just 2 hours prior to the party. I was gleefully jumping up and down in the same spot where I’d almost had a breakdown 48 hours earlier.)

Now, today, I run into Target–Target! the place where one can find anything, right?–to pick up Thomas the Train party invitations. They are already late. The boys’ party is on the 19th, and I still don’t have the invitations in the mail.

Guess what? No Thomas invitations! None. Nada. Zip. They have Spongebob, Dora, and pirates. No Thomas.

Not exactly sure where to go next.

Oh, Thomas invitations… where are you????

(And sometimes, I’m still taken aback that this is where my world revolves now.)

Susanna Is Five!

Susanna turned five years old on March 31. We had a Princess Jasmine party. We had so much fun!

Seth & Spencer were thrilled to go to a party and eat cake, even if they were a little jealous none of the presents were for them!

Mimi and Nana at the party.