Luck Has Nothing to Do With It.
I feel lucky about so many things in life. I have two adorable and healthy twins, and two healthy and well mannered older children. I have a hard-working and loving husband, and a flexible maternity leave position. Even if I would rather stay at home and be a hermit for the next six months, for the sake of my older children, I need to venture out of the house on regular occasions. The comments I get from strangers are expected, but sometimes annoying. People tell me they had twins themselves: nine, twenty, even forty years ago. People say things like, “are they twins?” and “you really have your handle full!” I would stare at me too, but this is my life and I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Orchestrating a trip with newborns and older children takes planning, flexibility, patience and thick skin. And its usually pretty exhausting!
I recently spent the weekend at a sporting event with my oldest child. We were there for the better part of three days straight. Me, two babies and a seven year old. Let’s first address the comment, “are they your first!?”.
No. If they were my first babies I would be home, isolating myself from the world, protecting my children from the germs, and noise, and sleep depriving chaos of the world. I am here for my oldest son, because he needs my love and support too. The babies are along for the ride.
“You are so lucky! They are such great babies!”
I am not an attention seeker, but I do get a lot of attention.
When someone tells me I am lucky, I smile as the culprit walks away, but really the two smiling faces are not about luck. Here’s what you didn’t see.
They napped in a baby carrier. I spent a half hour rocking and swaying while trying to get the babies to sleep in a carrier. One slept on my back while the other I held in front. Then I spent another half hour continuing to rock and sway while I tried to keep them asleep. If I tried to put a baby down something or someone would inevitably wake them up. Of coarse, they never fall asleep at the same time, and the first baby to sleep wants to get out as soon as he/she wakes up. So whoever fell asleep second gets their nap cut short. My back hurts after keeping them in a carrier for a few hours during the day, but it’s worth it because babies who nap are happier and thus easier to deal with.
I sat on the dirty floor of a single stalled “family restroom” to tandem nurse two babies for 20 minutes while several people (who could have used the standard restroom 15 feet away) knocked on the door and wondered why I was taking so long. This was after I got rejected by a man who told me I could not have access to the private room his colleague allowed me to access earlier for a private space to nurse my babies. (Still a bathroom but slightly less gross). Nursing in public has always been something I am very comfortable with, but tandem nursing is non discrete and awkward. I wish I was okay with the stares, but both breasts exposed and two babies latched is just too much for me. I prefer to tandem nurse in private, and nursing them together saves time so I could watch my oldest child play.
The Golden Hour (or half hour)
After both babies nap, and both babies eat, I usually have 30-40 glorious minutes of happy cooing babies before the cycle starts all over again. Unless of coarse a stranger wants to ‘help’. They hold or play with my happy baby, they get too close, or they simply hold the baby in an unfamiliar way and my happy 30 minutes are cut short. But that’s okay, I am lucky to have such good babies.
That’s not to say I don’t need or appreciate help. Thank you to the coach who offered to hold a fussy baby and kept her calm while I finished feeding her brother. The parent who pushed a stroller with my sleeping baby to keep him asleep while I rocked the other baby to sleep. And the parent who asked her child to give the baby some
space and not touch her face as to prevent the spread of germs. This is all truly helpful! Finally to all the parents who kept an eye on my older child while I tandem nursed in the dirty bathroom. Thank you! You made my weekend a little easier!!
It’s okay to stare and gawk and admire my two adorable little infants. But they aren’t smiling because I am lucky. They are smiling because of brilliant planning and hard work. So consider the following when you see me struggling out in public: Ask my 7 year old how his game went. Tell me, the tired mama, I am doing great. Try not to pretend I don’t exist because there is a baby latched to my breast that is completely concealed.
Most importantly try to avoid offering a restroom as a practical place to feed my children, because you wouldn’t want to take your lunch break in the restroom either.
I am not here to complain, but to share my experience! I really am lucky, just not for all the reasons you think!