Return of the Wonder Twins

When Big and the Princess were little, I called them the Wonder Twins. They’re not twins. They’re not even technically Irish Twins – they missed that by 19 days – but they’re close enough. And the two of them together…..yeah…..two creative, intelligent, mischievous minds working together to cause as much chaos in my world as possible. I couldn’t mentally keep up with the two of them. I believe I’ve shared some of their earlier antics – him cutting all her hair off twice, running away while I was feeding their brand new baby brother, finger painting with baby shampoo all over their bedroom floors (carpeted), unraveling an entire Costco-size package of toilet paper and tossing another package of toilet paper into my full jacuzzi bathtub, making a mud pit in our backyard and basically bathing in it, climbing up on top of the fridge to reach the candy I’d hidden up there…..They work well together, what can I say?

They’d veered away from creative disasters in recent years. They do have a special relationship, though. That’s never really changed. They are both in high school together this year, and now that Big Man has his driver’s license, they have a bit of freedom away from us they hadn’t had before. I’m seeing a return of the Wonder Twins, and I’m a wee bit terrified of what they might get up to.

They are GOOD kids – both in honors and AP classes, involved in sports and other activities. They have good friends. But I remember that feeling of newly-gained freedom in high school, and I see the writing on the wall. They talk with each other about things they don’t even tell us. They have each other’s backs, for the most part. They move in relatively different circles at school, but they do have some friends that overlap.

I got completely bent the other day when I thought they might be covering for each other. I’ll admit – I’m paranoid. I was a supremely boring kid in high school – never broke the rules, never even thought about it. I was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there, always (okay, I did skip a few classes senior year, but that’s about it as far as being a rule-breaker). I was basically a nerd. I didn’t party. I did what I was supposed to do, what I was expected to do. But I do  know what my brother and sister got up to, so I’m scared – scared I’ll miss something, so we do keep a watchful eye on them. I don’t expect them to be as boring as I was, but neither do I want them ending up in situations we can’t get them out of.

My point is, my Wonder Twins are back. It’s fun and amazing to watch, but it’s also terrifying in a good way. They’re there for each other, thank god. But look out school – who knows what these two will do.

“Are they twins?”

Once the Princess hit about two years old, we heard the question a lot, “Are they twins?”. She and Big Man weren’t that far apart in size. She talked early, he talked late. The fact he was still somewhat behind developmentally due to his prematurity, it wasn’t completely out of the scope if you didn’t know us, know them, and didn’t look or listen too closely, for them to appear to be twins. They are twelve months and nineteen days apart.

When we decided to late-start Big Man in kindergarten, a year after he could have started, we knew we would also late-start P just so they wouldn’t be in the same grade. That wouldn’t have been fair to him, and it wouldn’t hurt her at all to wait a year given a mid-October birthday. Then in just the natural order of things, he grew much taller than she. We weren’t asked any longer the twin question.

Now we’re here….she’s almost fifteen, he’s almost sixteen. She’s had her growth spurt, he has not. He is taller than she, but only by about a quarter-inch.  Earlier in the summer, we were randomly asked a couple of times on vacation if they were twins. Then, at registration at the high school the other day, they were asked three times. THREE TIMES!!! This in spite of the fact the cards they were handing over to be signed at each station were different colors for their respective grades. We laughed it off, but at the same time, it stung a little bit. It didn’t really bother P, but it seemed to be getting to Big Man, especially the third time.

I pray, every single day, his delayed puberty will kick in, and he will finally grow. I pray, and I pray, and I pray. I cringe when I see the questioning looks when they’re together. Life just isn’t fair sometimes, is it? I can sense his frustration, although he seems to really try to take it all in stride, and he has an amazing sense of humor, which does help. We just keep reminding him it will happen, and eventually he will tower over his sister. We may still occasionally get the question, but my guess is it will be much less of a big deal for him and for me.

Friday Favorites #13

First off, isn’t it great I missed a week awhile back and didn’t have Friday Favorites #13 on Friday the 13th? I’m not much of a superstitious person, but that would be a bit much even for me. Second, today, well this whole entire week actually, has been insane. The open tabs at the top of my screen number in the 20’s right now.  If I accidentally include a link to the ballet trunks my daughter needs for Nutcracker, you’ll know why, and I apologize in advance. Third, I learned today that taking a dog and a cat to the vet at the same time – even with the cat secured in a carrier – is a lot like taking three kids to have their Holiday portraits done. STRESSED!!! And sopping with sweat by the time we were done. Doesn’t help it’s 82 degrees on November 20th.

What are all my American blogging friends doing for Thanksgiving? Can I just tell you how excited I am to not set a 5:45am alarm for a week? My joy over that is exceeded only by that of not dealing with dropoff or pickup lines for nine days. And the dance studio is closed all week, outside of a corps rehearsal for Nutcracker on Monday  morning, and her usual class/rehearsal marathon tomorrow. I get to see my Daddy, which makes me one very happy girl.  And the kids and I -maybe Spouse too, if he’s so inclined – will go see the last Hunger Games movie, which has become a Thanksgiving tradition for us over the last few years. Anyone seen it yet? Is it good? Please, please, please, let it be good!

But I digress……

Lots of good reads out there today. I was trying to read and select quickly, but my feed kept loading with new posts. So today’s list is a little long. Take a gander at a few at least. They’re worth it.

  1.  A Momma’s View shared probably one of the most amazing messages to come out of last week’s attacks in Paris. Would that we all could be a little more like this man who has lost so much, but refuses to give the terrorists what they want most, our fear and hatred.
  2. OM at Harsh Reality frequently gives bloggers the opportunity to share their links. He’s an awesome encourager of writers, and he’s great at networking. He responds quickly to comments. And he’s just a great guy in general. Go read, and share your link! It’s an easy way to connect with other bloggers. His blog reviews are spot on as well.
  3. Matt on Not-Wordpress posted a gorgeous photo, especially if you’re a fan of libraries and books. This looks like my personal heaven.
  4. Another photo caught my attention today, this one at The Daily Blabber.  I love turtles! And this feels a lot like my life in that dropoff loop.
  5. If you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate together, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. This recipe posted on Be Like Water looks incredible. I’ll be trying this out, for sure. Oh, those pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes I pointed out last week…..ahhhhh…..ambrosia.
  6. Please, please go read My Least Favorite Child Today, particularly if you need something lighthearted and hilarious. I had Irish twins, I can’t imagine what having twins is like. He brings it home. And there’s just something about dad’s writing about their kids.
  7. Holley at  Chasing Destino shared Chapter 1. I am intrigued. Why is she in the boat? Who’s blood is it? I WANT MORE Holley!!!!
  8. Mr. Mum is a stay-at-home dad. Maybe I relate because I’m a stay-at-home mom (which is a huge oxymoron, because I’m almost never actually “at home”).  Anyhoooo…he wrote today about his life these days, and how his “job” probably isn’t anything like his younger self imagined. I go through this a lot. Can you relate? Are you what you thought you’d be when you grew up?
  9. Geoff at TanGental writes some amazing stuff. His short story this morning…just wow. Have  you stayed in touch with people who were such a huge part of your life way back when? Do you know their hardships? Their accomplishments? And do we really see people when we see them?
  10. Fisticuffs and Shenanigans showed supreme self-awareness with this post this morning. Teachers are awesome, just sayin.
  11. I did not know that the Macy’s in Union Square in San Francisco did their Holiday windows with rescue pets up for adoption. If I didn’t already have a herd, I’d probably head up there.  Cute Overload is spreading awareness.
  12. Jacqueline at a cooking pot and twistedtales was talking Bond this morning, James Bond…and Bond girls. Who’s your favorite Bond, and if you could be a Bond girl, which would it be?
  13. And who doesn’t love golden/English golden retriever pups, or jewels? Here’s your double-dose of Cute Overload for the week. Aren’t those faces just precious?

Crackers!!! That was 13 links on Friday Favorites #13. Now I’m REALLY glad #13 wasn’t last week on Friday the 13th. Creepy!!

Happy Friday!

The two of them

Big Man and the Princess are twelve months and nineteen days apart in age. God, in his infinite wisdom (and humor) chose to give us two babies in just over a year, after battling through 18 months of infertility. Since Big Man was 3 1/2 months premature, he was developmentally 9 months old when the Princess was born. Yes, life was interesting. I essentially had two infants who weren’t twins. They don’t even technically qualify as Irish Twins, but they may as well have been. My point is, they’ve never really known anything but having each other around.

These two were a unit right out of the gate, as soon as Big Man got over losing my lap to his sister. Through their toddler years, they conspired to push me to my limits. When I heard either their hysterical giggles, or dead silence, I knew trouble was happening. The Princess didn’t call him by his name for years – he was simply “Bruddah.” The little boy across the street recognized them for the entity they were, calling them both by both their names blended into one name. They didn’t even, for the longest time, realize they weren’t the same sex (granted part of that is developmental in nature). And now when we ask Big Man why he, at four years old, cut off ALL of his three-year-old- sister’s hair,  he will say she didn’t want to look like a girl with her relatively long hair. Sigh.

They are now fourteen and thirteen years old, respectively. They don’t fight. They can, and often do, communicate without talking. The Princess was telling me how they are at school – they share the same lunch time and PE period – and it made me tear up to hear her telling of it. They have a special relationship. It’s pretty amazing to watch. They look out for each other. They laugh a lot at each other’s quirks. They build each other up. They will not let anyone tear the other down. They defend each other. They have their own inside jokes. Their friends are entertained by their relationship.

Sometimes it makes me sad…they  have a relationship I will never be part of. I’m their parent. They have a bond they don’t share with their little brother. He isn’t part of that unit. They don’t neglect him, nor do they exclude him. They just have something he isn’t part of, not that he ever complains. I don’t know he even realizes it.

They are at that age girls grow and boys haven’t quite yet hit their growth peak. In other words, the Princess is very nearly the same height as Big Man. They’ve been hearing that question lately if they’re twins. Big Man isn’t a fan, and can’t wait for his growth spurt.  It makes me more aware how close they are though.

I feel blessed to be on the sidelines watching the two of them together. I love the way they are, and am so happy to be able to watch them as they grow up. The two of them….they’re pretty amazing, individually, and together.

papa and babies thanksgiving ryley and grace mud DSC00538

Irish Twins

God surely has a sense of humor. Our family is proof of that.

Two days ago, we were getting the kids’ haircuts taken care of.  There was a grandma there with her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. I caught her watching R and G as they waited for E to get his haircut. And as she caught me watching her, she asked a question I haven’t been asked in years. She asked if R and G were twins. I smiled and shook my head. No, they’re not twins. They are 12 1/2 months apart. Twelve months and 19 days, to be exact. Not quite Irish Twins (by strict definition), but close. And this is where God’s sense of humor comes in.

I’m a planner, an organizer, a perfectionist. I had a plan for my life. I never planned on becoming a mom being an issue, but it was an issue. Endometriosis and PCOS interrupted my plans. Granted, in the infertility world, our journey was a quick one, but it was extremely painful nonetheless. The fertility specialist basically told me I had a less-than-10% chance of ever getting pregnant without some kind of medical intervention.  We did get pregnant on clomid, but had an early  miscarriage. And I still wasn’t having regular cycles. Finally, after a cycle of gonal-f shots (five months after the miscarriage), I was pregnant.  At nine weeks, I started spotting. The doctor would do nothing, and said nothing to ease my mind. I would miscarry, or I would not. There was nothing they could do to help. A week later, the spotting stopped. We put it behind us and began planning for our first baby. And then R came horribly early. After three months in the NICU, he came home. I was still pumping. I was exhausted. I was stressed out. I was underweight. But somehow, against all those odds, I conceived our daughter the first week R was home.

When I found out I was pregnant again, I cried. I wasn’t emotionally ready. I wasn’t mentally ready. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t physically ready. But there we were….our son was three months old. He was developmentally a newborn. And I was pregnant. I hadn’t even gone back to work yet, still on family leave to take care of my fragile infant.

G was born eight days late – another sign of that sense of humor. R was developmentally 9 months old, not walking, not talking, still taking bottles. We had two babies. And I don’t remember much of our daily lives over the next few years.

We were frequently asked, from the time G was about a year old, if R and G were twins.  Ry was still behind developmentally and in physical size. They were (and still are) very close. Heck, even the neighbor boy didn’t call them by their individual names..they were always both “RyleyGrace.”  There were days I wanted to carry a sign that said, “No, they are not twins,” we were asked so frequently. I don’t know when that question stopped being asked. It’s been awhile. So when the grandmother in the hair salon asked, I was taken back for a minute. I looked at them…I saw the closeness, I saw the similarities. And I just smiled.

No, they’re not twins, they’re Irish Twins. And now that they’re older, I’m very happy for it. I’m thankful for that sense of  humor God has. He knew what I needed in the long run. Oh, and for the record, G is our only non-fertility-drug baby. She carries her name for very specific reasons, for it is by God’s grace alone we have children at all, and by His grace I have maintained any sense of sanity since their births.