In elementary school, my friend Delia and I would write what we hoped would turn into “books” during our afterschool playdates. Facebook put us back into each other’s lives as adults raising our own children. I think its more than fitting to run a guest post written by Delia Hollerieth, 37 years old, married to Corrina with 3 small children: Devon (age 5), twins Braden and Maya (age 3), 8th grade language arts teacher for 14 yrs, lives in NJ.
Remember that old song “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder back in the 80s? Since our twins Braden and Maya were born three years ago, lines from that song have suddenly come back into our memories.
Although all three of our children are bi-racial and full siblings that I gave birth to with the help of donor sperm, we lovingly joke about it with our twins. Braden is blond and blue-eyed, with very light skin. His twin sister Maya has dark hair, eyes, and skin. “They’re twins?” “Are you sure?” “Did you give birth to him, and your wife gave birth to her? Cool, how’d you plan that?” “Who’s adopted?”
The questions are endless, and we don’t blame people. Not only are we an interracial same-sex couple, but we have three young kids who don’t necessarily look like they would be biological siblings. Despite their physical differences in terms of appearance, Braden and Maya have an unexplainable bond and ability to communicate with one another.
From the very beginning, they loved each other. They still share a room, and we are actually dreading the impending separation. Their big brother Devon has the other bedroom that he knows will soon be shared with Braden as the “boys’ room.” Surely this will be a difficult transition, as Braden and Maya love to talk to each other in the middle of the night, sneak into each other’s beds, trade toys before they drift off, and get into trouble while they should be sleeping. They have always had the comfort and security of knowing the other was just a few feet away.
In their infancy, they would babble, coo, and smile at each other. Once they started moving around, they would always end up together. Our daycare provider marveled at how, when the twins were six months old, they would roll around the floor and end up in the same area of her huge playroom, sharing a toy, happy as can be. Now they are three years old, and even my wife and I are in awe when they fall asleep in the car in the exact same position: left legs up, sucking their right thumbs, facing to the left. While we see these behaviors in them daily, we are still amazed at how they do the same thing at the same time in the same manner.
Of course everyone has heard about that “twin connection” that all twins seem to have, and once our twins were born, we quickly learned that it absolutely does exist! As many parents of twins will say, they have their own language, and we have only recently been getting better at understanding what they are saying. When they were very young, only they were privy to the conversations they had. Yet, they would laugh, ask questions of one another, and scold each other. It was quite entertaining to watch. Even their brother Devon, not quite two years their senior, would attempt to figure out what they were saying with only a little more success than the rest of us. Side by side in their Exersaucers, they would jump up and down in perfect unison. Now that we are in the potty training stage, they root each other on with each successful bathroom trip. “Yay, Bray Bray…great job!” Maya will praise, clapping enthusiastically because Braden had perfect aim. And when Maya did her business on the potty the other day, Braden rushed to get her a Dora “potty treat” as her reward and proudly handed it over to her.
This blog entry would not be complete if I didn’t also talk about the trouble they get into together. “Double trouble” is the common phrase, and now I know why. As I type this at 8:43 P.M., they should be in their beds sleeping; after all, they did have a busy day playing at the playground and going to a friend’s birthday party. Instead, they are hopping into each other’s beds, dancing, singing, and trying on clothes. My wife and I are taking turns going into their room to settle them down, which only lasts for a couple of minutes. They don’t understand that we are watching them on the monitor, so when we are out of their sight, they get right back up, encouraging each other to start the mischief again.
The other day, they thought it was funny to decide to tell me that they will not clean up their toys. Their big brother Devon dutifully cleaned up while watching out of the corner of his eye, wondering how Mommy would handle this one. After nicely but firmly telling them that they have to clean up and them outright refusing (while smiling, mind you), they were placed in time outs on opposite sides of the house. Somehow, and I honestly don’t know how, they managed to laugh and communicate with each other. I firmly told them, separately (since they were on opposite sides of the house, remember!), that there is no talking in time out and that Mommy is not happy. Although they did clean up their toys when they came out of time out, they seemed to have made some sort of agreement about it with each other, something about not wanting Mommy to get too upset, perhaps. I could just tell.
Sigh… I suppose that by being the exact same age and going through the various stages together, twins can’t help but to have a pretty solid and maybe even powerful bond. I think that must be great, most of the time…always having a partner, side kick, other half. Braden and Maya recently began pre-school, and the teachers and other parents have commented on how cute they are holding hands while walking into the school with their backpacks that are the same size as they are. I’m thankful that they have each other to rely on, find comfort with, and play with.
As their parents, we know that as they get older, especially being opposite genders, they will grow apart to some extent and find their own friends, hobbies, and interests. They may not always “live together in perfect harmony,” but our wish for them is that their bond remains strong and that they will always know to look to each other for support and guidance.