Raising an individual

My experiences are written from my point of view as a twin mom. I know that the life I live as a parent is worlds different from the average singleton pregnancy with no complications. That being said there are a lot of areas that overlap and are similar across all parenting lines. I have been thinking lately about what it is like to raise two individuals.

I have said from the beginning that my babies are just siblings whom decided to grow at the same time. Yes, they are twins but growing at the same time is where the “sameness” stops. In utero my babies had their own personalities and I knew that I really wanted to focus on raising them as their own person, not as a pair. This has proven to be somewhat unavoidable because my little ones are each their own magical individual being. With twins I feel that people tend to always think that they are very similar regardless of identical or fraternal. I thought this as well, I figured that if you were a twin you had this connection that made you act the same and be very much alike. I could not have been more wrong. Twins are their own beings and people outside of the environment they grew in. There may be similarities but there are far more differences.

From the start Henley and Crosby have been different in their temperaments, in what they like, and now that they are older their personalities. In the beginning all babies need the same basic care but as their mom I could tell they were different. Henley was loud, sort of in your face about her needs and feelings. Crosby was more relaxed and quiet, calm with this sense that he understood more than we thought. As they are starting to really develop and grow into their own I see two very different people.

Henley needs space and time to sleep, she is really interested in watching the world and figuring things out, her eyes study everything.  She needs to think about things before she will let you know how she feels. She is unhappy if she does not sleep and eat when she needs it. Everything is about exploring through her mouth, she licks and bites and brings everything to her mouth in order to make sense of it. She needs to be in bed earlier but loves the morning time.

Crosby is gentle and soft in his ways, he does not dive into anything but slowly warms up to things. He is alert and awake so much more than his sister. His naps are at times put aside when there are things going on around him as he loves to watch the world go by. He loves people interacting with him and will dole out smiles like they will never run out. He needs a lot less sleep until he hits a wall then it is extremely hard to get him to snap out of a tantrum and calm down. He does not want to leave a party early and will push himself to be alert and aware of what is going on. He is exploring more with his hands but still takes the world in through his eyes.

These are just surface differences that I have noticed between them. I learn more about each of my children every day, they are growing at such a fast rate that literally overnight they can change. What I am struggling with now is the fact that I want to raise these two as just that, two. I hope to be the type of parent that allows them to explore the world on their own, to learn from mistakes and from each other. I want to create the environment that will always allow them to discover more about themselves as individuals. I think they will grow up to be very different people but I want their core values to be the same, I want them to love us and each other because family is most important, I want them to respect all points of view because there is no wrong or right, I want them to learn and grow everyday together and apart. These are all things that I challenge myself with as a twin mother raising two little ones at the same time.

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Photo courtesy of Jenn Ireland

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1 year ago and two lines

One Year ago today I crept out of bed at about 4 in the morning to, for lack of better terms, POS (pee on a stick). This was not the first time this happened this way, but I felt this time would end differently. I brought it back to the bedroom and we looked at two pink lines together. This positive pregnancy test felt different, I was full of the fear from the previous miscarriages but I also had this feeling deep down, everything was working. I could not go back to sleep after that, I laid in bed thinking about having a baby that was ours and how my life was about to change in this way that I had hoped and wished for.

There was no way I could have known that we were going to have twins, that one would have a heart defect, and that I would learn so much about myself and my family support from this pregnancy. I would not take a moment back because I am a mom of two amazing individuals that I get to love and cherish for all time.