Babyhood Goes By So Fast — Unless You Have Twins And Then It’s A Little Slower
As soon as your child is born, everyone from the hospital nurses to supermarket cashiers will feel it’s their duty to tell you “It goes by so fast! Enjoy it while you can!” But as a mother of twins, I can honestly say that the first six months do not go by so fast. They were, in fact, the longest months of my entire life.
Far from the descriptions of blissful days flying by at warp speed, the days of caring for twinfants were spent in a slow-motion time warp—a never-ending cycle of preparing bottles, feeding, burping, changing diapers, doing laundry, bathing babies, rocking babies, and repeat. Every month seemed to last a year, and I wondered what I was supposed to be enjoying.
I began viewing all these well-wishers telling me to savor every bleary-eyed moment as pathological liars. When an elderly woman in the park peeked at my blue and pink bundles in their stroller she said, “Enjoy them now, they’ll be in college before you know it!” I nodded and smiled, and secretly thought “Take a hike, you goddamned phony!”
I suppose I was a fairly immature mom, because what I wanted was a little payback: I give up my salary, social life and six-pack, and in return you giggle and coo in delight when I walk in the room. But no. These babies wanted it all for nothing. I would spend my days in complete servitude, and yet they would scream and cry and spit up regardless. They didn’t even seem to recognize me.
Finally at two months, my twins started smiling at me—gorgeous gummy smiles that would get me through the day—and I remember thinking, “I can do this. We can do this.” At six months, the three of us had established a routine and life began to relax just a little bit. Since it felt like I’d been a mom for years, I was gaining confidence in my role as a mother, and my twins seemed to be enjoying their role as babies as they got bigger every day. By eight months, time seemed to return to normal and the days became more interesting as my babies started sitting up, then standing.
Then one day my daughter toddled by me with little pigtails, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My son was busy building a huge Magna-Tile tower, and it hit me: “I don’t have babies anymore! I have toddlers!” When had this happened? I’d been a mother of infant twins for what felt like an eternity, and now I suddenly had two little people running around my house. I realized that everyone had been right—these precious days fly by! Most of us are so caught up in the day-to-day monotony of parenthood, trying to be a perfect parent during a certain stage, or trying to catch up on a week’s sleep that we miss the amazing moments of watching a baby grow into a child.
Once the long days of infancy were over, I was surprised at how quickly the milestones passed. With no other children but my twins, I only get to celebrate milestones like preschool graduation and the first day of kindergarten once. Some would argue that this is a good thing, and I’d agree when it comes to potty training! But I’ve made a conscious effort to, every once in a while, appreciate the stage my children are at and enjoy how sweet they are.
In two-weeks, my 6-year-olds will be starting first grade. They’ll be in separate classrooms this year with different teachers and different friends, and in school full-time every day. It’s exciting because they are ready for all these changes, but at the same time, I miss the innocence of preschool. I miss the curiosity of kindergarten. I have know-it-all first graders now. When they were infants, I was overwhelmed by their neediness. Now I’m overwhelmed by their independence. So I have to join the crowd and tell new parents everywhere: stop what you’re doing—look at your babies, take their picture, write down the adorable things they say, watch them sleep, hug them close, in a word: enjoy them, because it really, truly goes by so fast.