some quirks of having twins

Quirks that have become part of my life with my 1.5-year-old-ish twin girls:

  1. Of course, there is the need for two (or at least good for two) of everything. Two cribs. Two strollers. Two high chairs. Way too many bottles. Extra large diaper bag. When we go somewhere with the yayas and grandmother/s in tow, we need two cabs. As early as the pregnancy, even the ultrasound costs were marked up for two, and do not even get me started on the daily NICU and nursery costs times two! Mercifully, we didn’t have to buy all of the baby items ourselves, thanks to family and friends who helped lighten our load through gifts, loaners, or hand-me-downs.
  2. You post a photo of a baby on Facebook and nobody knows for sure who it is. Not that it really matters, except to you, of course. But it does make for an instant, entertaining game as some people try to guess.
  3. You have to remember, and sometimes mark, which partially unfinished bottle belongs to whom. Otherwise, the more voracious twin may always end up having more. We used different-colored baller bands.

    Renewables Now baller bands for Dahon, Saving Philippine Reefs for Ulap

    Renewables Now baller bands for Dahon, Saving Philippine Reefs for Ulap

  4. The twins don’t understand that you can only safely carry one of them at a time, and at this age, they don’t yet understand the concept of taking turns. However, even if they can both comfortably sit on your lap while you read a book, they most emphatically do not want to. Pushing will happen, and yes, most likely tears will, too.

    when both want to sit and read on mommy's lap

    when both want to sit and read on mommy’s lap (photo by Abby)

  5. For most mothers, alone time with their baby is a precious bonding moment. For mothers of twins, alone time with the babies can be a terrifying prospect.

    please don't wake up yet

    please don’t wake up yet

  6. At least 70% of the time, the toy that one twin is playing with is the toy that the other twin wants. Never mind that there’s an exact replica within reach. However, this all the more makes you appreciate the other 30% of the time when one twin will voluntarily relinquish a toy to her sister. It will give you a few precious moments going, “Aaawww, look at that, that’s so sweet, they’re going to grow up to be best of frie—oops, there she goes, she’s grabbed it back! There, there, don’t cry … you, give it back, you little—come back here!”
  7. When they get a bit older, they can play together and entertain each other for a few minutes, while you just sit back and watch, or even try to complete a chore. Yey, instant playdate! But you can’t afford to be complacent since the most harmless toy can turn quite the opposite in a matter of seconds, because it can be used to bop the other twin in the head, or be the subject of an all-out tug-of-war (see #6).

    Ulap: That's mine, i'm 8 months  old today! Dahon: No, I'M 8 months old today!

    Ulap: That’s mine, I’m 8 months old today! Dahon: No, I’M 8 months old today!

  8. This one I just read somewhere, and can attest to be true. One advantage of raising twins is that when something iffy’s going wrong with one twin, you don’t automatically assume that you’re doing something wrong, because hey, it’s not happening to the other one! But of course, if it’s both of them, like that time they both came down with gastroenteritis and were hospitalized within days of each other, you gotta think that you dropped the ball somehow.
  9. There’re always enough babies to go around for excited grandparents, relatives, and friends who come visit. They practically come to the house ready to see a show because, hey, twins! There’s so much built-in cuteness there that all the babies have to do is scream “Eh?!” to each other and the adults are entertained.

    that rare photo where they're both smiling. the twins at 6 months

    that rare photo where they’re both smiling

  10. Related to #9, twins just attract good vibes. When you go out, people do a double take, smile, and ask, “Are they twins?” You nod and smile, and they say something like, “Ang cute naman!” and smile back. Maybe you start a conversation, maybe you don’t. Maybe you start a friendship, maybe you don’t. Maybe you get some sort of favor or special treatment because they know you must be exhausted somehow, maybe you don’t. But for a while, there are smiles all around.

As the other items in the list show, of course, it’s not always smiles and sunshine. When the twins were newborns and born prematurely, I was discharged out of the hospital ahead of them and had to resort to visiting them everyday. One afternoon, we were at the nursery viewing area talking to some friends while the twins were on display along with several other babies. One of the other visitors, not knowing that I was the mother, said something like, “’Kambal? ‘Yung isang baby nga lang ang hirap, paano pa yung dalawa?” Which is, of course, a perfectly natural sentiment, one that has occurred to me as well. But at that moment, a rush of irritation for that guy came over me. Hey, buddy, don’t rain on my parade okay? Everybody else is thrilled!

So to you, stranger in the hospital otherwise known as harbinger of bad vibes, I have this to say: it’s been more than a year, and yes, it has been very challenging, but it also has been awesome.

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ways to beat the heat?

Summer (okay, dry season) has barely started, and we’re definitely feeling the heat. We practically start sweating once we get out of range of the electric fan, sometimes even while dressing up after a shower. One of the twins and I have prickly heat. Four of the five electric fans in the house have some sort of malfunction or weird noise. One is really trying to soldier on but it really can’t do much against the midday heat, so these days we don’t use it during the daytime, but shuttle the other electric fan from room to room, wherever it’s needed. Still, it’s HOT, and babies and adults alike get cranky.

So, we do what we can. Like dragging baby tubs and batyas outside, filling them with water (straight from the tap and not mixed with boiling water like their regular baths), putting in a few toys, and dunking the babies in. It makes for a few entertaining minutes, yes, for babies and adults alike.

Image

yep, there was a baby there a while ago.

(These things would be much easier, of course, if we have air conditioning and bath tubs at home, but then we don’t. So yeah, lower middle class problems, he he).

Other ways of beating the heat:

  • Frequent showers
  • Halo-halo (not yet for the babies unfortunately)
  • Going diaper-less and wearing just panties (yes, this one’s for the babies)
  • Going to the fridge, crouching down and just enjoying the cold, like Janice de Belen in the first Shake, Rattle, and Roll film but hopefully without the fridge monster. But don’t do it within sight of a toddler because she’d want in too, and then all your food would end up on the floor.
  • Showering again
  • Drinking lots of cold water
  • Holding the bottle/glass of cold water in your hands (my babies love this, and are always trying to grab our Nalgene bottles from us and walking away with it. Okay maybe it’s the bottles they like)
  • Baby sensory play with a basin of ice? Hhmm, haven’t tried this, but maybe we will!

Other ideas are welcome. Lord knows we need it.

(In other news, the latest report of the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change is out, and in the words of the CNN lead, “Your forecast for the next century: Hotter, drier and hungrier, and the chance to turn down the thermostat is slipping away.” I know, hanep sa segue)