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Singleton Envy (and Happy Birthday)

Ever since my girls were born, there have been times when I’ve been jealous of people who have their babies the usual way, i.e. one at a time.

In the early weeks and months, I felt it when I was out walking with the big old double snap-n-go stroller, and saw mothers pass me with their one newborn snuggled against their chest in a Bjorn or sling.

When they were toddlers, it was when we were at playgrounds or other outings: I saw (briefly, out of the corner of my eye) other moms or dads leisurely standing or strolling after their one toddler as she explored the sandbox or slides, while I had one 2.5 year old pulling me toward the swings while the other was about to launch herself off the top of a jungle gym she’d managed to climb in five seconds flat while I was focused on her sister. (Guess who’s who in that scenario.)

And while many of our friends have a second child now, I still am jealous at times of the attention / firmness they’re able to give their toddler or preschooler when he or she is pitching a fit, whining or the other difficult things that kids this age are won’t to do. I totally grant that it’s harder to do when you have a baby to deal with at the same time. But I’m pretty confident that it’s not as hard as it is to deal with two whining / needy / fighting toddlers simultaneously.

But I don’t mean to do the old “twins are harder than singletons” thing, because obviously there’s always someone who’s got it worse. And taking care of kids is hard, period, no matter how many or how few you’ve got. Plus, there’s a major upside to twins these days, which is that they play together. Our girls have more or less the same interests and are at the same developmental level of play. So there’s lots of pretend play and drawing and puzzle-doing between the two of them.

Strangely, though, I’ve been having pangs of retroactive longing / envy for people with one baby. The other day I saw a woman at the coffee shop I frequent sitting and having a coffee and reading with her baby in a Bjorn (something I wasn’t able to do) and felt oddly sad. And on Christmas, seeing my adorable, one-year-old nephew and watching the way my brother and his wife were able to give focused attention just to him, I felt a pang. We never really had that. Not in quite the same way.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s the girls’ birthday tomorrow, and I’m finding myself reflecting back to when they were born. (I’ve even, weirdly, been feeling nostalgic for when they were babies.) Maybe it’s the fact that they’re turning four, which is such a decidedly child — not toddler — age.

Or maybe….yikes…I secretly, subconsciously want to have a baby? No, no, no, we’re NOT going to go there! Must strongly repress all such desires, and write off as effects of seasonal affective disorder. Yeesh.

In any case, happy, happy Birthday, Clio and Elsa. You are the greatest blessings in my life. I love you completely, and I love the beautiful way you came into the world, together. As I write this, I can hear you downstairs, giggling together — it’s the loveliest sound in the world. (OK, wait, now you’re fighting….)

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