Friday, January 18, 2008

Today they are one

When I first discovered I was pregnant with twins, I was relieved to learn that my doctor was confident they were fraternal. I feared identical twins. I feared mixing them up. I feared others mixing them up. I feared that I would fail to nurture their individual personalities.
Today, on the anniversary of their birth, I have to laugh at myself.
Though I have mixed them up on occasion, I did so simply because I wasn't paying attention. Other people mix them up all the time, but they usually ask for clarification, which I happily provide. As for their personalities, they are, to me, nothing alike.
At their one-year, well-child check today, both babies were 32 inches tall. Their heads measured the same and Jonathan weighed a bit more than Matthew at 26 pounds (Matthew weighed more than Jonathan last time).
Yet they have their physical differences: Matthew has a narrow vein across the bridge of his nose while Jonathan's is thick. Jonathan has fuller cheeks than his twin. Today, Jonathan has two scratches on his face, both from Matthew's attempts to play ball with his head.
Their personality differences are less obvious to those who do not know them well, but clear to my husband, their older siblings and me.
Jonathan seeks independence when it come to feeding. He steals the spoon from our hands, he has insisted on feeding himself since about eight months old and he learned to hold a sippy cup almost the day we gave it to him.
Matthew is content to be fed. He eats finger foods, but he enjoys slurping banana pudding off a spoon that magically appears near his mouth. He just recently started holding his own sippy cup. He has found that it is much more fun, however, to throw the cup on the hardwood floor.
Matthew does not sit still. He pursues his brother relentlessly, using Jonathan's head and body to pull himself to a standing position. He likes to be cuddled, but only for a moment because he might miss something. He is the worst of the two when it comes to diaper changes. His back arches and his body contorts the instant we lay him down. He is strong. Changing him is more than a battle, it is a whole war over and over again.
Jonathan falls happily into our arms and likes to stay there for a while. He gets excited when his twin brother comes crawling toward him with that particular I'm-going-to-get-you laugh, naive to the punishment that is about to come. We can sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) distract Jonathan during a diaper change.
So on this day--their first birthday--I get a chuckle out of that huge, pregnant woman who feared having two babies who look alike. I am no expert in raising twins and certainly no expert in raising identical twins, but this is what having identical twins has come to mean for me so far:
It means that when I am having a bad day and I just need to know that people are generally good and that there are a lot of caring and loving people out there, I can dress the boys alike and take them to the mall. I rarely dress them alike, but when I do, they are showered with attention, good attention. Attention that helps me remember how blessed I am with all four of our children and how little all the nasty details of life really mean.

PS. Photos to come


Anonymous said...

Our twins are 6 months old. Your stories make me so excited (and a little frightened) about the fun times to come. Thank you! I was also "afraid" they'd be identical. Differences in their personalities and habits were evident from day one and continue to grow.

Naz said...

Hello. I'm not sure if you'll see this message but I've been reading your blog since this morning and felt compelled to write to you. I cannot believe the similarities between us. Like you, I studied Creative Writing at university, then went on to study journalism and was working for a local newspaper until my first son was born. After I had him, I decided he needed me more, and quit my job. I am now a mummy to 18 month old identical twin boys and I also write a blog about them (when I find the time!) I've really enjoyed reading your blog and can relate to so many things you are saying. Its also nice to read a blog about twins that are older than my two - it give me an insight to what is to come! Love your blog. Thanks for sharing. If you do see this message and want to check my blog out, here is the link.