These started out as seven quick takes on Friday…and here they still are, not amounting to seven quick anything. These days writing style has fled out the window, along with proofreading. But, better something than nothing, no? As time flies, there are so many moments and details we don’t want to forget. Life is busy, but very good. The babies passed their first pediatrician’s check with flying colors, and yesterday we tried our first day trip. After many walks, errands, and church outings in our own town, we decided the kids (and their parents) were ready for their first longer excurison. We packed them into the car at naptime and drove 40 minutes through the woods to a beautiful historic town in our area while listening to a recorded book. The twins slept peacefully through our early lunch at a crepes restaurant in an old classic building, snoozed with occasional twitches through a nice wandery walk past the town’s Christmas decorations, deigned to let elderly ladies coo over them, had a bottle in our warm car, and switched to our arms/ergo carriers for a walk for coffee before heading back home. Not a scream-fest, not a leaky diaper, not a problem. It felt like a mini-vacation to both of us. Growing up, my parents always took us on several Christmas day trips of one kind or another – attending The Nutracker ballet, going to a concert, or heading into downtown Chicago to visit the Kristkindl Market, the storybook windows at Macys, and the lights on the Magnificent Mile. This felt like a perfect Southern continuation of that tradition.
Many things have surprised us already about having babies in general, twins in particular, and adopted babies at that. Sure I’ve nannied, babysat, and worked church nurseries, and yes, Carl’s twin sisters were born when he was an adult, but having your own kids is different. What surprises us?
1) How often they make us laugh; We expected the twins to really start being funny as their personalities blossomed at three months or so, but they make us belly-laugh every day.
- Annie’s “Baby Pirate” face cracks us up every times. Whenever she loses her pacifier, she starts searching for it with her mouth, one eye screwed up, one side of her mouth open in a snarl, giving gummy little bites at the air. If you could put a speech bubble over her head it would say “Aaargh, me hearties” or perhaps “Shiver me timbers.”
- Jack, who screams bloody murder when you burp him until the moment he flops over mid-scream, fast asleep, a droopy blob of baby fat oozing towards the floor across your knee. Or, as he starts to become more vocal with grunts and coos, the time he interupted a peaceful five minutes of feeding with a clearly enunciated shout of “HELP!” before staring into space again.
- You can only laugh at the tragi-comic effect of two little brown babies in nothing but diapers, side-by-side on the bed, screaming at the top of their lungs, eyes scrunched shut, their faces nothing but giant mouths with little vibrating uvulas at the back. That or start crying right along with them as your ear-drums waver under the assault.
- The first time Jack grabbed a fistful of his daddy’s chest hair. It’s possible his mother thought that was funnier than his father.
- Annie’s exagerated, ten-minute long waking up poses, full of grimaces and stretches and yawns and nose wrinkles.
- The way Jack, after his extra-large bedtime feeding, acts like a tiny drunk-on-formula frat boy leering at us with lop-sided little smiles as he flops helplessly in whichever direction his heavy head pulls him.
- The two extremes of our evening walk together – babies fast-asleep in the stroller, or babies with eyes so wide open they’re about to pop out of their heads.
- How Annie’s eyes roll back in her head in a spot-on zombie impression as she falls asleep.
2) How fast they change: Every day, we wake up to new babies. Their faces are different. Their personalities have changed. Their abilities have expanded. One day they suddenly open their eyes and realize that there is a light fixture on the ceilign (they loooovvveeee light fixtures). Another day they suddenly learn track you with their eyes as you leave the room. For a week they helplessly wave their fists in the air. One day a fist accidentally hits their mouth. A few days later they’re sucking their thumb like it’s going on clearance. One day they smile once. A week later they’re giving you gummy whole-body-flail baby smiles. Suddenly one laughs out load, startling both himself and you. After relying on us entirely to make any toy work as a toy, one day I plopped Annie down in the bouncer and returned a few minutes later to find her in paroxysms of delight after figuring out to make the little chiming butterfly toy clipped to the bouncer rail work. She kept swatting it and chuckling out loud for a good twenty minutes. Since the babies came to us after not being handled a great deal, we’ve gotten to watch them compress many of the milestones from their first two months into only a week or two; weak little necks suddenly support heads, babies learn to sleep, Jack rolls over, weak little legs can suddenly kick the baby up the changing pad and off the end of the dresser (that was Jack – caught by one-leg before he nose-dived into the trash can). Just yesterday they both discovered their tiny pink tongues, and have been sticking them out at us all day. This week they also transitioned from waking up screaming in the morning to waking up with peaceful coos and smiles as we lean over their crib to get them. Consider this an official thank you from Mommy and Daddy’s sanity, kids.
[Some topics for next time on the “what surprises us” list so I don’t forget: their twin-ness, the incredible generosity of others, a typical day, style, racial comments and lessons.]