Saturday, November 3, 2012

Out of the Archives: Mass Hysteria

Originally posted May 2011

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever be the mother of twins. There was no reason to expect it and, unlike a bunch of friends who have since confessed to always wanting them, I certainly never, ever wished for it. So much about having two babies at the same time is crazy. Sure, it's wonderful and amazing and a miracle and I'm the luckiest woman alive and, aww, aren't they just the cutest things etc etc. But it's hair-tear-outingly, mind-jellyingly hard work most of the time with moments that would break the most stoic of souls.

I know temperament has a lot to do with it. If I'd been given two placid, self-sufficient creatures, things may have been different. I'm sure there are twin families out there who have a dream run. I got one baby who was a brilliant sleeper but has grown into a needy little thing during the days, always wanting to be held and usually only by Mummy. And the other baby was - thank God WAS - a dreadful sleeper, yet will pass most of her day pottering around minding her own business, happily flicking through books, nursing her dollies, arranging things. But when she's sad, she's really sad. Heartbreakingly sad. Weeping real tears, burrowing into your chest, arms around your neck kind of sad.

And together, they're a mixed bag. I've caught moments of beautiful sisterhood, sharing and genuine concern. They bring each other toys, sit together on the step, exchange sultanas. They even (very) occasionally kiss and cuddle. It's beautiful. But for the larger part, they're like the teenagers I expect they'll become, fighting over clothes and chores and space. Pearl, my sweet, tiny, delicate Pearl, has recently begun to get great delight in marching over to Stella and whacking her on the head. Or pushing her over. Or, most recently, pinching her. And any reprimand by me is met by her gutteral giggle, followed by another whack/push/pinch and another giggle. Meanwhile, Stella melts into tears of honest-to-goodness devastation.

And sometimes, like today, they're overcome with a kind of mass hysteria, working together like a terrifying unit of destruction bent on torturing me. As I tried to cook dinner, they turned their joint attention to emptying every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen. I can keep up with one of them, but I've only got two arms. No sooner did I get them out of there and clean up the mess, they were taking turns climbing onto the couch and jumping on it, laughing hysterically until I raced to move them - over and over again.

And then the tears. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, one's despair will be matched by the other just because. Stella cried throughout her bath. Pearl joined in. Then at bedtime, Stella was having her once-in-30-nights meltdown at bedtime, crying her eyes out. Pearl appeared to be asleep, but as soon as she noticed me comforting her sister, she decided to join in, screaming like someone was pulling her fingernails off. The cry-off went on for over an hour.

And now they sleep like a pair of matching angels in mismatched cots.

This afternoon, amidst the chaos of the cupboard emptying and couch bouncing and whacking/pushing/pinching, I sat down on the step to pause. Instantly, two little girls turned as one and ran to me, leaping together into my arms for a cuddle. It was a fleeting moment in a madcap day, but ultimately what it's all about, I guess. I would never wish for anything but this pair, these individuals. It's just, in my fantasies, I get them one at a time instead of the bulk delivery. 


  1. I could'nt imagine it! They are so beautiful. I love your honesty in your comment about "bulk delivery". My youngest George is a whirlwind - I wonder how I would cope with two of him?!

  2. Two lots of joy and smiles and giggles, but I know the joy and smiles and giggles aren't always enough... You get two lots of the other less pleasing stuff, so god it must be hard.

  3. I had tears pouring down my face reading this! Tears of laughter, and tears borne of feeling so acutely what you're talking about. My twinadoes are divine. Divine! And we have lovely, fun-filled days. But we have shockers too. Terrible tantrums, endless crying, destructive and violent outbursts and on those days I wonder why the universe thought I could ever handle two babies of the same age. Often, I feel it's two-against-one, and well, of course, it is isn't it. Both of my boys are 'spirited'. The are noisy, and chaotic, and destructive. But they love deeply and strongly. They tell each other all day long how much they love each other, and me, and their dad. Anyhow, thank you for sharing. I know where you're coming from (and I don't have an older child as well - hats off to you) x

  4. They are utterly gorgeous, but as someone whose children (NOT twins) sound so similar to that most days, I really do think twins would have killed me. Children are totally a blessing, but man are they hard work!!

  5. Oh my goodness just described my feelings and days in this post! My toddler twosome sound so similar but those double cuddles are nice aren't they? I do so love your last line though...sometimes it's nice to just think about that! I know this is an older post but i'd love to hear sometime if you are still experiencing the same now they are older...i know i am!
    They are gorgeous little angels though x

  6. What a great description of your twins, little bags of emotional ups and downs...sounds like most of us come to think of it..hehe!

  7. Loving your archive posts Greer. Parents of twins (or any multiples!) you have my total respect and admiration! x

  8. a sweet post, what a pair. Gold medals to you! Heather

  9. Greer, gosh your girls are gorgeous! I can totally relate though:-) It really is so hard in those first couple of years and it used to frustrate me that no one other than mums with Twins would understand. It gets easier I promise, so much so that my situation with 4 yr old twins is almost easier than my friend with just 1 of the same age that needs constant entertaining. My two now play for hours on end with each other. But there is a very good reason why there will be a 4 year gap between the twins and this new baby as there is no way I could have coped with a smaller gap. I think you're amazing to even be able to blog with twin toddlers in your home. Mel xx

  10. Beautiful honest post Greer. I have four kids but no twins amongst them, I find them hard work and exhausting. I could only imagine the challenges having twins. You are doing a marvellous job. They are beautiful girls:)


I love comments. Thanks for yours!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...