Our children are about a year apart in age. You can call them Irish twins. Well, since they were born in Aberdeen, you can call them Scottish twins. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to raise two toddlers, here is a list of things that happen:
1. Your body will go through four phases: pregnant, postpartum belly, pregnant again, and for the love of all that is good and holy, when am I going to get out of these motherhood front-panel maternity jeans?
2. Due to years of continuous breastfeeding, your boobs will become long and flail about like one of those giant windsock puppet men outside of a crappy used car dealership. Rather than locating a proper bra, you’ll just tuck them into the front panel of your maternity jeans.
3. You’ll be a hostage in your own home because the kids are on alternating nap schedules and someone is always sleeping. This house arrest will cause such a chasm of loneliness that you’ll begin to seek out meaningful adult conversations from telemarketers. (Yes, I would like to switch broadband providers, but first which Myers-Briggs personality category do you fall into? Because I’m an ENFJ, except sometimes I score INFJ if I’m depressed and hello? hello? *dial tone* Rude! Typical INTP.)
4. When the shopping mall’s overhead radio plays “Get Down On It,” you will take it as an invitation to actually get down on it—right in front of the Cinnabon. You’ll twerk on the unassuming, pimply-faced teenager handing out samples because making it out of the house with Irish twins calls for a victory dance (as does free Cinnabon).
5. While hauling a double stroller around said mall, you’ll become irrationally furious when an unaccompanied, able-bodied adult monopolizes the family bathroom (see also: elevator).
6. When No. 5 happens, you’ll abandon all decorum and wee in a regular women’s stall with the door open so that you can keep your eyes on your stroller, because exposing yourself to a few old ladies is far more dignified than walking around a shopping center in a puddle of your own pee.
7. After years of consecutive sleep deprivation, you will no longer be surprised when you put the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the refrigerator. You’ll just start telling your husband that the warm milk is a DIY yogurt starter and that Rice Krispies are best eaten chilled.
8. You won’t have the energy to cook dinner, and subsequently, you’ll serve homemade yogurt and cereal to your family.
9. Neither child will get enough attention, and they’ll take turns wailing about it in dueling-banjos-fashion until you contemplate rupturing your own eardrums with a bayonet.
10. You’ll make a concentrated effort to remember that the older one is still just a baby, and then you’ll fail and expect more of him than his age allows.
11. Likewise, you’ll listen to kid No. 1 sound out his letters and wonder if kid No. 2 is a half-wit because she needs subtitles to be understood. (Hint: No, she’s not. She’s a baby.)
12. You will spend four hours cleaning your house. In 30 minutes, they’ll leave it looking as if it has been ransacked by drug lords.
13. Potty training won’t be a couple of weeks of hassle, it will be a yearlong chocolate Easter egg hunt. Only it’s not Easter, and that’s not chocolate. Just when you have the older unequivocally in undies, the younger will begin to pester you with the persistence of a Mary Kay lady, swearing she has to go potty, only to get stage fright once you’ve disrobed her.
14. You’ll break up the same fight a thousand times per day. It is usually always about toys. And when the mom of an only child tries to tell you how to handle sibling rivalry, you’ll pray that she gets pregnant with Caillou.
15. Strangers will ask you lots of inappropriate questions: “Was she planned?” “Are you guys against birth control?” “You know how this happens, don’t you?!” “Are you tandem breastfeeding?”
16. Your household expenses can be divided into three categories: mortgage, utilities and diapers.
17. You’ll forget what your house looked like before stair gates, 50,000 tiny sippy cup components, and packs of baby wipes in every room.
18. You’ll take the one-size-fits-all approach to clothes and diapers, dressing your son and daughter from the same stash. People will think that you are a cool, progressive, transgender family, but you’re really just exhausted (see No. 7), and broke (see No. 16), and incapable of sorting through another mess (see No. 12).
19. You’ll tell yourself that one day you’ll be glad they have such a small age gap.
20. Repeat No. 19 indefinitely.
My Irish twins charged into my life like a whirlwind. I suspect they’ll fly out of the nest in the same way—leaving my body worse for wear, my bank account depleted, and my heart so very full.