You've Been Ropered: Liz in ProgressJane Roper
I’m pleased as punch (spiked!) to welcome my next
victim interviewee to Baby Squared: the wonderful Liz from Goddess in Progress. She’s smart and funny and all-around cool, as you will see — and not just because she lives in the Boston area, like moi.
First, a little biographical background (from Liz herself, speaking in the third person, which I assure you she doesn’t normally do):
Liz is a stay-at-home-mom to wicked smaht 4-year-olds Daniel and Rebecca, and the adorable-but-mysterious 7-month-old Eleanor. She proudly carts them all around in a mint-green swagger wagon. As if that doesn’t make her enough of a pre-feminist throwback, she likes to make quilts in what little free time she can find. She hopes her parents feel good about those two fancy, expensive college degrees she earned.
Welcome, welcome! I’m so glad that you agreed to subject yourself to this. So: for starters, what flavor twins do you have? (Fraternal, Identical, Boy/Girl, Girl/Girl, Girl/Monkey, etc.) How old? Any other kids?
I have 4-year-old boy/girl twins (not identical! who would have known! Oy!) Daniel and Rebecca. I also have a seven-month-old daughter, Eleanor.
Great. Another mom with twins and another kid and, therefore, alien superpowers. Why do I invite you people here? Anyway. What’s your favorite thing about having twins?
As much as I find the cliché annoying, that whole “playmate for life” thing really seems to be true in my house. Oh sure, they drive each other crazy and fight. But the amount of time they play together and the near-constant laughing and conversation—absolute gold.
My brother and I are very close in age (no, it’s NOT “practically the same as having twins”), and we fought like cats and dogs. Hated each other so much I can practically taste it. I had no personal experience with siblings actually *liking* each other, so that has been a real delight to witness in my own kids. Thankfully, it seems to spill over into adoration of their baby sister as well.
Not gonna lie, I also kind of like it when people find out I have twins and act like I’m some kind of superhero. I’m not, obviously. I think you work with whatever hand you’re dealt. But that doesn’t mean I mind the occasional ego boost.
No, you are a superhero. Trust me. Now, on the flip side, what sucks about having twins?
For as proud as I am of being a Twin Mom, I hate it when people call my older kids as “the twins.” I get that it’s just a shorthand way of referring to both kids, and many people don’t mean anything by it. But it’s a pet peeve of mine, and a lot of time it’s tied up in people’s pre-conceived notions of what twins are or should be. It’s not that I want to deny my kids’ twin-ness, which I think is a very special thing. I just want people to call them by their names, or otherwise acknowledge that they are two very separate individuals who happen to have been born within a minute of each other.
Totally agree. I hate it when people refer to our gals as “The twins.” It’s creepily dehumanizing. And for some reason it makes me picture those ghost twins from The Shining. (Here they come! The twins! Run away! Run away!)
On a semi-related note: besides asking you if your boy/girl twins are identical (love it) what’s the strangest thing anyone has ever said or asked you about your twi—I mean, Daniel and Rebecca?
Once when they were about eight months old we were visiting my in-laws in Florida, and I had Becca with me in the pool. One of the crazy old ladies there, in addition to musing out loud that I must have gained an awful lot of weight with a twin pregnancy, asked with a conspiratorial smile, “which is the good one?” She was really expecting an answer. It’s unbelievable how many people really buy into the “good twin/evil twin” thing, and somehow feel it’s appropriate to comment on it. Directly to me. Their mom. WHILE I’M HOLDING ONE OF THEM. I’m only grateful that my daughter was too young to have any clue what the crazy lady said.
OK, so I have to ask: it really true what they say that having a single baby after having had twins is a walk in the proverbial park?
On the one hand: yes, absolutely. The logistics of a single infant compared to two are not even in the same ballpark. It’s so much easier, so much faster. Throw in the experience level of a second-time parent, plus the perspective of having done it with two babies FIRST? Please. Easy peasy.
I was a sleep NUT for the first three-plus years of my older kids’ lives. With baby number three? Sure, I still think it’s incredibly important to have a well-rested child. But if the routine varies from day to day? No biggie. IT’S LIKE I HARDLY EVEN RECOGNIZE MYSELF.
In a nutshell, I already know what is worth worrying about and what isn’t, I know that *everything* is a phase. Having twins taught me to prioritize and not sweat the small stuff. Adding a third kid pretty much means that, if she isn’t bleeding, I’m sure it’s no big deal.
On the other hand: HELLO, NOW THERE ARE THREE OF THEM. It’s barely controlled chaos for the majority of the day. There is a constant push-and-pull: whose needs or schedule will take precedence on any given day. Stay in for the baby’s nap, or take the big kids to the playground for some much-needed running around?
And then, well, then there’s the roll of the dice, the chance you take any time you mash up some DNA and make a person. I talked a big game during my pregnancy, how much I was looking forward to my “victory lap” baby, my easy singleton, a second chance at breastfeeding. Easy easy easy. And then she didn’t breathe right away when she was born, and back we went to the NICU. And then there were a strange collection of characteristics and an inability to feed adequately.
Two different hospitals, a million tests, one surgery, and she didn’t come home until she was 10 weeks and 2 days old. Early intervention, constant appointments with nearly a dozen specialists, feeding therapy, physical therapy, and still no diagnosis, but more than enough worry for a lifetime. And I thought I had it so rough because I had TWINS? Twins who were born at 36 weeks, spent 7 measly days in the hospital, and have always been healthy and developmentally normal? Yeah, a whole new perspective
If having twins taught me anything, it’s that you play the hand you were dealt. Just like back in the days of the double snap & go, when it seemed I had a flashing neon sign above my head that said PLEASE, STOP ME AND MAKE ASININE COMMENTS ABOUT TWINS. Now, I’m in Target with two wandering preschoolers and a baby in a carseat, sometimes with a little feeding tube discretely snaking up the leg of her onesie, and people still say, “I just don’t know how you do it!” I will always respond the same way: “You just do. These are your kids, this is your life. You figure it out and you keep going.”
Amen. (Intentional separate line for well-earned emphasis.)
Finally before you go — is there anything you’d like to take this opportunity to plug? Your blog, your book, your next movie role, your line of cosmetic products? Go for it!
I always love new readers (and comments!) on my parenting blog, Goddess in Progress. I also have a second blog on which I ramble about quilting and fabric and other such geekery. Feel free to stop by. But before you ask: no, I can’t make a quilt out of your old baby clothes/t-shirts. It’s a lovely idea, but I’m not the girl for the job. You can also feel free to follow me on Twitter (@lizinprogress).
Thanks so much, Liz. (And, on another note, we seriously have to get our kids together for a playdate one of these days. I’ll load the kids in the cah and drive on ovah, and they can play in the yahd.)
Finally finally, I’m very VERY excited to announce that my next victim interviewee is going to be none other than Cheryl Lage, author of Twinspiration which I devoured when I was pregnant with twins. (And which you should, too, if you’re expecting! Along with, cough cough, a certain other book, to be published this May…)
Check out my novel, EDEN LAKE