We celebrated Cruz and Levi’s half birthday a few weeks ago with a big bowl of pasta and trying to eat a lot “half” things. Get it? Like half doughnuts, half cupcakes, etc. Okay. Yes, I should keep my day job.
But seriously, almost every day I have to tell myself…”I can’t believe we have twins.” I can’t believe they are ours. I can’t believe I’m mom to twins, identical twins to be exact.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on Cruz and Levi’s first six months as well as how life with twins has been. Some days I say to myself “wow, it’s already six months!” and at the same time “oh my goodness, it’s only been six months?”
I guess it’s true what they say – “the days are long but the years are shorter.” In the beginning it felt that the days would not end as we were trying to adjust with life with newborn twins and get into a routine. (We are slowly getting into a routine now. Slowly.) Whereas other days, I wonder where the day went, especially going back to work full-time. I rush home to make sure I can spend as much time with my babies before their bedtime.
I wanted to share this post for a few reasons 1) share some of my favorite pictures of the twins and 2) highlight a some things about this twin mom life.
Many First Experiences
So far, Cruz and Levi have celebrated my birthday at around two weeks old, their first holy communion at the same church Charlie and I got married in, their first Halloween in coordinating twin costumes as soy sauce and sriracha, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and first year celebrating New Year’s Eve (they couldn’t stay up past 8 pm but we made 8 pm the new midnight). They wished everyone the “best vibes ever” onesies.
My favorite experience with the babies is seeing the look of joy and anticipation when they see me. The first time I saw both of them do that for me just made my heart explode.
Charlie and I both knew it was going to be hard with newborn twins but we both didn’t know or expect what that “hard” meant. After going through it the best way to explain the experience with newborn twins is that as parents, we were operating on “survival mode” for the first few months by making sure the babies were fed, clean, and eating. Your mind just kicks into gear and you do these things because you need to. And you somewhat don’t realize that it was “hard”. You just knew what needed to be done and you did it. Looking back, I think it was helpful to have been through the newborn stage with Luke. Although I may have forgotten some of those newborn days, I tried not to stress or freak out this time around. I just kept telling myself everything was okay.
Same But Different: How To Tell Identical Twins Apart
I often stare at Cruz and Levi because they look so much alike now that they have filled in. When they were newborns, Cruz had the longer face and was slightly smaller of the two. Levi had a rounder face. I was also able feel the difference in weight when I picked them up. It’s funny with identical twins because although we marvel at the fact they look exactly the same, we try to find things that make them different so we can tell them apart.
Because Cruz and Levi are so identical, we decided to paint Cruz’s big toe nails with nail polish just to make sure we know which twin is which. This was approved by our pediatrician.
I try to avoid having both of them wear identical outfits because that causes more confusion. I’ve decided to have Cruz wear lighter color clothing and Levi wear darker colors. Besides the painted toenails, this has been very helpful to easily identify the right twin.
I have so many pictures of the two of them together but I also tried to take pictures of each of them separately. To avoid confusion of who of who, I started an album on my phone for each of them. For each picture I take of Cruz, I save to his album and the same for Levi. As far as pictures of both of them together, another twin mom told me consistently have them in the same order for each picture. For instance, Levi is on the left and Cruz is on the right. I’ve tried doing that but sometimes I forget.
Luke Is Their Hero
Cruz and Levi love their big brother. They watch Luke walk back and forth when he’s in the room and get excited to see him. Luke has been a great big brother by engaging with them and helping me out when I ask him to.
There are times that Luke does need the extra attention and he has expressed his feelings to us. Charlie and I make it an effort to spend one on one time with him as much as we can.
I’ve asked Luke several times if he’s happy to be a big brother and if he’s okay there are two more babies in our family. His response – “I love my brothers.” I will leave it at that.
Sleep? What Sleep?
One of the best advice we got from an experienced twin mom was to make sure your babies are on the sleep schedule. Cruz and Levi are not the best nappers (we are still working on that). But at around 8 weeks, they were able to put themselves to sleep at around 8 pm. Our pediatrician told us to let them lead the way and keep to that routine as much as possible. So far, we’ve been able to do that with some nights here and there where they need extra help.
They are still not sleeping through the night. Many people have different views of what “sleeping through the night” means. Mine is 8 hours or more. For the first four months they would wake up every three to four hours. So Charlie and I would get one hour or so of sleep before waking up to feed the babies. As they were nearing six months, they are averaging 6 hours and then waking up a few hours after that.
On Christmas Eve, I told the babies that my one Christmas wish was that they sleep through the night for me. That night they slept from 9 pm to 6 am. I got my wish! But I was just that one night. I am looking forward to the days where I can sleep 8 straight hours. But for now, I’ll take the 4 straight hours.D
When Two Babies Want the Same Thing
One of my biggest struggles so far is making sure I give both babies the same amount of attention. Some days I feel like I hold and carry one more than the other. Or if I napped with one baby one day, I want to make sure I’ll do the same to the other later. The hardest has been when they are both crying and want me at the same time. I try to hold and comfort both of them but it does get hard when each wants my undivided attention.
Feeding both babies at the same time has been a juggling act, especially on maternity leave. It’s always a relief to have Charlie around to help when he came home.
Balancing Work and Mom Life
I went back to work full-time when Cruz and Levi were 4 months old. In a way, I was looking forward to going back so I can feel a little bit like my pre-twin life. I feel like a bad mom for even thinking that but I need something to keep me sane. Since going back to work, I feel like I’m constantly in a rush. I rush to leave the house to get to work on time, rush to get home so I can spend time with them, rush to get things done around the house after they go to bed because I can use both hands. I always feel like I don’t have enough time.
It Takes a Village
I would be lying if I said Charlie and I made it through the first six months with twins alone. We had help from both our moms, including our neighbors who would watch Luke during the first month so we could take care of the newborns. My mom stayed with us for three weeks and just cooked for us. And we have wonderful nanny to watch the twins when I went back work.
Staying Grounded and Being Grateful
As much as there have been hard and long days and nights, I constantly remind myself what miracles these babies are to my family. I try not to complain or make life with twins look easy or glamorous. It isn’t. But it is very fulfilling to me. I feel complete.