I love having identical twins.
I published a memoir not too long ago entitled Twin Turbulence: What Happened when Twins Happened. If you’ve read it, you might think I’m contradicting myself. It focuses on the insane challenges our twins presented during infancy and toddlerhood. Those years were
not easy HARD nearly impossible.
Now our twin daughters are almost 9, and utterly delightful. Sure they still drive us crazy at times, but nothing like when they were terribly 2. That year of miserable mayhem continues to serve as a wonderful frame of reference as no other phase of parenting has yet to compete. Bring on 16 squared, I say to the skeptics: It will not be as hard as 2 x 2. I know it.
One of the reasons we co-exist so well now is that Craig and I have discovered, accepted and surrendered to the power of the girls’ twinship. We no longer fight them when they are in “Twin Mode” – It’s not a battle we can win. Twin Mode is when they are connected. In sync. Most content in their own little world. Twin Mode is impenetrable.
Twin Mode occurs several times a day, but most consistently at bedtime. Before we respected the power of Twin Mode, we used to fight them for hours to go to sleep. We treated Twin Mode as our enemy then – as though it was merely a bad habit that could be changed. We waged a stubborn parental war without ever having a chance at victory.
Twin Mode can not be put to rest by an outside force. Twin Mode only goes away when the twins agree to make a joint exit.
This morning marked the first day of volleyball camp (ever) for Sydney and Taylor. They were beyond excited. In theory, they should have gone to sleep last night at a reasonable hour so they’d be well rested. We would have demanded it from their 10 year-old singleton brother, Gabriel.
As we were tucking them in, though, we knew Twin Mode had already been initiated. They went through the motions of accepting our kisses, hugs and tuck-tuck-tucks, but there was no reciprocation of affection. No requests for late-night conversation. No stall tactics for just one more kiss, a glass of water, a bedtime story, etc.
Nope. They agreed to go to bed. That’s how we knew to walk out without even bothering to turn off the lights. That’s why we agreed to let them run downstairs to grab a snack of yogurt. Because when they’re in Twin Mode, the only true defense is a sensible offense.
“Good night girls. I love you,” I said, as they both sat on Taylor’s bed facing each other as they ate their yogurt. “Don’t forget you have volleyball in the morning,” I offered a fair reminder.
“Okay! Night Momma!” they said in unison without ever glancing my way. I shook my head and chuckled.
Craig and I could hear them chatting as we watched tv.
“Forces of nature,” he muttered in disgust.
“Yup,” I agreed, knowing unequivocally he was referring to our twin daughters.
I have no idea what time they finally went to sleep. When I woke them, they were snuggled together in Taylor’s twin bed – a sight that never fails to melt my heart.
“Wake up little loves,” I whispered. “Its time to get up for volleyball!”
They smiled, stretched and opened their eyes. They rolled out of bed with ease and charged forward. Their shared excitement for volleyball was obvious during breakfast. I had to remind them to stop talking long enough to eat on several occasions as Twin Mode had already begun.
“What time did you go to bed last night, girls?” I asked, amazed that I was already exhausted by their high level of energy.
“I don’t know,” one of them said.
“How are you not tired?!” I had to know.
They looked at each other and giggled.
“Twin Power!” Taylor retorted in a cocky sing-song tone.
“Oh yeah!” Sydney cheered, as they raised hands to share in a perfectly timed, victorious hi-5.
I shook my head and laughed. Twin Power. Even their title for their shared phenomenon was stronger than ours. Go figure.