The babies turned eleven months old today, so in this house we’ve all assumed the brace for impact position. And by “we all” I mean me.
I have dreaded their first birthday with such sorrow you’d think it was move-in day at their first day of college. I have this pit in my stomach about them not being infants any more. The word “toddler” is so beyond what they are to me. They are still little squishy piles of smiles and I want them to crawl around with me in a time capsule forever. Is that asking so much?
It’s true that every phase of life is just that: a phase, but I’m just so aware that for only one year do I get to be the mama of baby twins, thrust into a life of chaos and beauty I didn’t know possible. It’s funny how a time limit on any experience can make us sentimentalize it. I’ve even found myself thinking, “In a month I won’t be pumping for them anymore!” with sadness in my voice. I do not like pumping. Breastfeeding is normal to miss, but pumping? No.
The other day I had a radical thought: I am enjoying myself more as time passes, not less. As this occurred to me I asked myself why I was clinging to their babyhood so fiercely, and I could only conclude that it’s because I have loved every single one of the last 335 days. Why would I want to leave such a time? But now I’m realizing that my love and enjoyment of them is only growing, not diminishing in the least — and if that’s so, I should be dreaming of, not dreading, every day ahead.
We went to the zoo for the first time last weekend, and we were overwhelmed by how fun it was to have them participate in a family activity rather than just be rolled along like potted plants. They saw the penguins swimming in the water and they laughed and stared. That little penguin in the top middle of the photo began to — what is the word for what penguins do? Bark? Caw? Scream like a banshee? — and Henry imitated him almost perfectly. We laughed out of pure disbelief.
They gazed at the brown bear walking through his artificial river, and we could see their little faces thinking “What the…” at this enormous creature ambling along.
We only had to feed them once the entire time we were there, and they were awake until just before we left.
This would never have been possible even four months ago. It would have been a hassle of feedings and naps and baby boredom. So this is what other twin moms mean when they say it gets easier, I thought.
For now, I need to focus on the fact that July 27 is going to be the same as July 26. They are not going to grow two feet, start playing sports and asking for their own cell phones. And, more importantly, they’re not going anywhere. I have literally thousands of mornings to wake up to their happy faces. Year two will be packed with more wonder than I can conceive of right now. So until their birthday, I am going to revel in who they are precisely today, and give myself room to let a piece of my heart break at saying goodbye to this chapter.
And then, I’m going to celebrate. And let them eat cake.