One After Two

I always suspected, by having twins first, that I missed out on something.  While I love both Caden and Brooklyn, can't imagine life without them, enjoy the adventure of having twins, etc., etc., etc., I was always secretly envious of everyone else with their one baby.  It seemed so easy!  Shopping carts weren't an issue, schedule sync-up wasn't even on their radar, walking in and out of anywhere with a single carseat or toddler in hand - leaving the other hand free, gloriously free! - seemed like such a luxury to me.  Then there was the bonding. My attention has always been so divided with the twins.  Even (or maybe especially) as infants, it seemed like I was constantly passing them off to another set of hands or putting them down in the nearest available swing/bouncy seat/playmat/surface not contaminated by spit-up so I could tend to feeding or rocking the other one.  Having one child to focus on - completely - has always been something that I've been a little jealous of.  (Which (ahem, quick vent here) is why it always rubs me the wrong way when people compare having twins to having two kids close in age.  You got to experience having a single child for 15, 16, 18 whatever-ish months before the other came along!  And were pregnant with a single baby at a time.  Still difficult, NOT THE SAME.  Okay, rant over.)

Turns out...I think I was right.  I already wrote about how the entire birth experience with a singleton was completely and entirely different than with twins.  Now, six weeks in, the contrast has continued.  I keep catching glimpses into what life would have been like with one baby.  When I take Nolan out of the house, just him and me, it really is so simple to take his carseat strollers or mental how-the-heck-do-I-get-into-the-store pre-planning required.  Nursing one baby is still quite the time commitment, but absolutely nothing like nursing two (and continues to make me forever grateful that the twins came along first...without having to deal with having another child around).  I've had time to just hold him while he's sleeping...I never did that with the twins.  If and when Caden and Brooklyn were both sleeping, especially at this young age, the countdown was on for me to shower/eat something/go to the bathroom/do some laundry before one or both woke up to nurse again.

Nolan even has a SCHEDULE.  He's already established regular patterns for himself during the day. Caden and Brooklyn (and a lot of twins I know, when us moms compare notes) didn't have any sort of schedule - individually, together, AT ALL PERIOD - for the first 6-7 MONTHS.  I remember reading parenting forums at the time, how others would post about their baby's "1 am feed", or what time their baby went down for the night, while I sat there and thought, "...the hell?".  There were no patterns or regularity to the twins schedule, not by a long shot.  What is this "down" for the "night" that you speak of?  Well guess what? Now MY kid is the one who wakes for a "1 am feeding".  I KNOW this.  He DOES this regularly all by himself.  It's AMAZING.  (Almost like he's his own little person, completely separate from his brother and sister.  Whoda thunk?)

Of course there is a flip side to all of this.  While having one newborn is so much more peaceful than two, those "two" are now TODDLERS and so it's actually not all that peaceful. I mean, we haven't exactly gotten rid of them or anything.  They are still VERY MUCH around each and every day, and VERY INTERESTED in this little baby brother.  But Caden, Brooklyn, and I...we had a routine down before Nolan came along.  It was actually relatively easy to take them out and about and do all sorts of things each and every day.  Having two kids the same age is difficult in its own way (though it's not all bad).  Balancing kiddos of multiple ages is an entirely different ballgame.  The quiet time of nursing a newborn is quickly interrupted by toddlers who demand snacks of their own.  But also the relative ease of feeding toddlers is rendered impossible by a newborn who decides he needs to eat at the exact second they are settled in their high chairs.  This could spiral into an entirely different post, so I better quit while I'm ahead...

Maybe I did miss out on something, by having twins first.  I won't ever really know, but I also wouldn't give up the experience of having twins.  (Most days.  Hours.  Minutes. Depends on when you check in with me on that.)  They might be different ages, heading towards their own individual milestones and achievements, (Nolan: holding my head up independently. Brooklyn: putting my doll's clothes on without assistance.  Caden: climbing the most dangerous ladder on the playground up to the tallest slide BY MY OWN DANG SELF.), but it is so fun to watch them all together, these two + one.

That guilty look when you're caught using your infant brother as a road for your elephant-on-wheels.