You've been Ropered: Cheryl LageJane Roper
Hello! Hope everyone (especially you, Joey Lawrence) had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We did.
Today, I am honored and delighted to welcome Cheryl Lage, blogger (Twinfatuation.com) author of Twinspiration. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, Cheryl’s book was the only one I could find that offered a blend of narrative and real-life advice on getting through pregnancy and the first year of life with twins. Both Alastair and I read it, and found it very helpful and reassuring.
Today, Cheryl shares her thoughts on twin mom guilt, the inspiration behind Twinspiration, and whether or not I should read the inevitable one- and two-star Amazon reviews of my book, Double Time, when it’s released in May.
Welcome Cheryl, and thank you for subjecting yourself to being Ropered—whatever that means. Even I am not quite sure, but I like the sound of it. It’s got a Wild West kinda ring to it, and makes me feel like Calamity Jane. Yee-haw!
So, for starters, pardner: what flavor twins do you have? (Fraternal, Identical, Boy/Girl, Girl/Girl, Girl/Monkey, etc.) How old? Any other kids?
Flavors? Sugar Dumpling and Jalapeno Pepper—sweet and spicy…and they flip-flop frequently! Actually our two are Boy/Girl. They’re now TEN years old, and we have no other kids…a wise, wise call for our family.
Yeah, I’m right there with you on that. Two and through, baby! So, in addition to the reproductive efficiency of it, what is your favorite thing about having twins?
In the earliest days out-and-about with our double stroller-ed two, I reveled in the uninvited commentary and conversations begun by strangers fascinated by babies en masse. The energy jolt from those awed admirers did much to balance the sleepus interruptus nights of those first weeks.
In the “middling” days, when He-Twin and She-Twin were extremely disparate in size but obviously synchronous in development, near-daily we got the query of “How much older is your son than your daughter?” (By folks assuming we were way too randy and most assuredly didn’t wait the doctor recommended 6-8 week minimum to resume intimacy/procreation. How off-base they were!) Responding to their question with the truthful answer, “Seven minutes,” was always very pleasurable. One fellow Walmart shopper did feel the need to follow up with, “But they are not twins.” To this day, I still wish I’d prepared a snappy comeback for that one.
We’ve gotten the same thing ever since our girls were about 18 months, because Elsa is bigger and typically more outgoing than Clio. They’ve never been accused of not being twins after I’ve said that they are, though. Yeesh. The comments really can be absurd (when they’re not, on the other hand, sort of fun, like the admiration you mention in your kids’ early weeks).
On the flip side, what do you find the most difficult about having twins?
The self-imposed and no doubt twin mother universal “I’m not giving either of them 100%” guilt. Of course any family with more than one child feels that to some degree; and those with a single child likely feel that giving too much maternal attention has its own unique drawbacks/dangers. Ain’t guilt grand?
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. The guilt is tough. And you’re right that every parent experiences it; the twin thing just makes it so much more glaring right from the get-go.
Changing gears a bit…as I get ready to launch my own book, Double Time, into the world (well, not until May) I’d love to hear you talk a bit about what led you to write Twinspiration and what your experience has been like with the book.
When we learned we were not only expecting, but were expecting two, I ran to Barnes and Noble and started seeking out resources. They all scared the pee out of me! (As my pregnancy progressed, that wasn’t such an atypical occurrence…) Complications. Psychological challenges. Gruesome pregnancies, horrific deliveries and dual infancy challenges regaled horrifically. Most of the medical texts were jarring and inaccessible.
The very few books with information from a maternal perspective seemed to be largely tales of one-upmanship on who’d endured the worst. Ugh. I just wanted the fresh details from one candid mama who’d done it, done it recently enough to remember answers to questions nagging me (Will I be able to burp two babies at the same time?), and maybe—just maybe—had dared manage to enjoy it a bit.
When I didn’t find that book, decided I’d keep copious notes, and see if there was a place for one on the parenting shelves. Never did I EVER think I’d write a book prior to twin pregnancy/parenting, but next to real-life twin parenting, it’s right up there on the rewarding scale. The book is close to a third printing and I still get emails from folks taking a moment to tell us how much they’ve enjoyed it. Knowing how precious each and every “free” minute is for new twin parents, those emails mean a LOT!
One funny side note, when we pitched Twinspiration to agents, and eventually, when my phenomenal agent sold it to a publisher, we made sure to include “Double Daddy Perspectives” as an integral facet of the book…knowing the scarcity of info for fathers-to-be, for twin fathers-to-be, even more so. The book’s deadline was March 15, the Ides of March. My man, the REAL writer in our home, composed ALL of his content March 14th. No joke. Amazing.
Ha! Well, that was one thing that Alastair and I really liked about your book. It was great to get the Dad perspective. And we never would have known that he did it under the wire. (Anyway, what could be more fitting for the chaos of life with twins?)
Finally, I just have to ask: When my book is out, should I read or ignore the one and two star Amazon reviews? Because I’m seriously dreading those. “…If you want to read about a privileged woman whining about how hard her life is with twins when really it’s not that bad at all…and this book was described as being funny, but I never laughed once….and why does she have to use profanity?….blah blah blah….”
Put it out there and be proud! My advice—if you choose to accept it—is to read all reviews. As much as I wanted to believe readers that reviewed Twinspiration as 5-star were intelligent, sensible, thoughtful human beings and the 1- and 2-star reviewers ill-informed crackpots, the less-than-glowing reviews kept me aware that we are all different as parents; what “works” for one is anathema to another.
Ultimately, if a pending plural parent despised the book, hopefully it at least gave them an “I am NOT going to do THAT!” confidence as they embarked upon their own twin parenting. In aiding the journey, that’s effective, too. My job was done. [Sure my feelings might be a wee bit hurt, but my job was done!]
Cheryl, I think you are a far braver and more enlightened woman than I am. But I’ll aspire to maintain your outlook when the ill-informed crackpots start panning my book.
Finally, anything you’d like to take this opportunity to plug?
Gratuitous plug opportunity accepted!¨ If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice from Pregnancy through the First Year (c. 2006, Taylor Trade Publishing)! It’s available in bookstores nationwide, and is now on Kindle and Nook as well! What? Your multiples are teenagers? Read it anyway! Bask in your memories of “making it!” Please don’t hesitate to come by and say “Hello” over on our blog, Twinfatuation.com. Would love to hear from Roper readers. 😉
Thanks so much, Cheryl! It was wonderful to have you here. Rock on.
And, beloved readers: if there’s a blogger, author, or D-list celebrity you’d love to see get Ropered, let me know in the comments!