My girls turned one! Life with two toddlers.

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So, I haven’t been writing blog entries as I planned to, but I do hope to become more active from now on. I hope to blog about raising twins, twin mother rants and of course about life in Japan, where I permanently reside.

Last week my girls turned one year old. A day I never thought I would see during my turbulent pregnancy (which I have described in detail on this blog in a previous entry).

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We had their pictures taken in a studio in Osaka city to celebrate them reaching the one year old milestone. It was my plan all along to have this photo shoot so we’ll always remember how they looked like when they turned one, since we all know that children grow up too fast. The girls were not happy about it and there for a lot of crying and babies trying to escape the scene, but we still got some decent pictures, which was convenient considering the fact that pictures like these are not cheap. We got 140 pictures taken and you know you’re in the hands of a professional when they’re actually able to capture pictures worth framing, since all mommy and daddy remembers are tears and screaming… or chewing on things.

My girls are officially toddlers now and they’re everywhere! When you have a baby, you desperately want them to do things, smile, sit up, crawl, talk and other expected human behavior, but when they actually start doing those things, you begin to have fond memories of the days where you could put a baby down for a minute and still find it the exact same place you left it. With toddlers, just doing the dishes takes forever since I have to keep an eye on two kids, who’ll try to climb the shelves, rewire the TV or pull out every single object in your drawers.

With toddlers you also get to keep the baby crying, but on top of that you get the added bonus of screaming and hysteria, like when I try to keep my girls from playing with the toilet or eating the dog food. They have ninja like movements and you know nothing will be left untouched. You laugh when family members tell you “I’ll keep an eye on it” after you warn them about their empty plate on the table, because you know that your toddler can get their fingers in everything within seconds – you never see them coming and with twins there’s always one who can distract, while the other do the deed.

The house is a constant mess and a toddler’s idea of playing is pretty much throwing everything around, either their toys down onto the floor or any other surface. You always have to keep an eye on the floor, because it’s like a minefield – littered with small things just waiting to be stepped on.

My girls will try to eat anything, paper, leafs, dog hair, tape and rabbit poop, but any actual food I’ve spend precious time on cooking will end up on the floor without a second look. The only thing I can get them to eat in the moment is pasta and raisins (of course not in the same dish).

Their naps are getting shorter and shorter, but they’re just as tired.My girls spend 80% of the day fighting over toys or space. They sound like alley cats fighting over garbage, they scream, hiss, scratch and bite and there’s a whole lot of crying.

Everyday is a battle, a war zone and I’m exhausted.

Welcome to the life with toddlers.

Happy birthday, girls.

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Rants of a twin mom #1 – socially accepted mean comments

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As a mother you’re automatically under the watchful eyes of the society around you.

People will praise you, people will criticize you, people will agree with you and people will try to convince you that their way is the correct way – because… let’s face it becoming a parent doesn’t come with a license and when you have twins you’re just scrambling to get by.

As a twin mother you can expect to listen to less nice comments, personal questions, annoying statements and overall ignorance when it comes to twins and twin pregnancy. That’s why I decided to make a series on my blog called “Rants of a twin mom”

To be honest, I’ve never wished for twins and I never considered myself eligible for having them either, but when I did end up becoming pregnant with identical twins I was surprised about the “honesty” I met from people, both from friends, but also from people on the street. I kept wondering when it got socially accepted to pity a twin mother, which is the topic for my first rant: socially accepted mean comments.

Random stranger: Wow, you’re big, you must be due any minute.

Me: No, I’m actually only 7 months pregnant. I’m carrying twins, so I’m a bit bigger than average.

Random stranger: Twins?! Oh my! I’m glad it isn’t me.

How many twin mothers have gotten similar comments? I’m a member of several twin communities so I can answer: A LOT!

And I also know most twin mothers want to say this as well: “Yes, I’m happy they’re mine and not yours too”.

People would never ask a pregnant woman about the gender of her baby and say “oh, a boy? I’m glad it isn’t me”. That would be considered rude and distasteful, but when it comes to twins it’s suddenly accepted? Aren’t twins human beings as well?

I understand that for a lot of people, twins are a scary thought, but it’s like people forgot the fact that people doesn’t choose to become pregnant with twins. Some people are prepared for the possibility if they have undergone IVF or hormonal treatment, but for the average person, ending up pregnant with twins is out of our hands. Especially the chance of conceiving identical twins is 1 in 285, so people’s surprise is expected, but personally I think the negative comments are out of place.

We don’t need comments such as, “Oh, glad it’s not me”, “It’s going to be very hard”, *You’ll have your hands full”, “the first year will be awful” and etc.

We all know that having a baby is hard work, so most of us can imagine that two won’t be like a spa weekend, but making twin parents feel like we’re raising undesired children is out of place. Are the negative comments supposed to be funny and make us laugh? Let me tell you, most twin parents do not think it’s amusing.

It’s not like we can change our minds or try to give our babies to someone else. What are the negative comments even meant for?

Most people are surprised, chocked and often scared when they hear that they’re expecting twins, so people should actually be supportive and make it sound like twins are the best thing ever (because they are). When people give birth to a healthy baby, it’s a joyous occasion, which causes for celebration, it should be the same when two healthy babies are born – especially since twin pregnancies are more risky and stressful.

In the end, most twin parents get over the initial shock, we get over the sleepless nights and days filled with cries and we feel blessed. We got two babies instead of one, we get to experience something not everyone is able to experience and we believe that we have given our children the best gift, a friend for life.

So people’s pity is not just unwanted, it’s unneeded. We’re glad they’re ours and not yours.

Outings with twins – in Japan. Are they boys?

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This is how most outings with twins look like.

The picture is taken in Himeji Zoo last week when we went to see the cherry blossoms at Himeji castle. Just making it from the car to the castle took quite some time, due to not only the fact that the site was booming with tourists (both Japanese and foreign), but also because a good amount of these people wanted to say hello to the girls.

I don’t mind people’s curiosity or them wanting to chat for a bit. The girls actually seem to make the Japanese overcome their fear of talking to foreigners, of course they do often show great signs of relief when it turns out I do speak Japanese.

The attention does get a bit more complicated when people just decide to stop and stare and thus block passage ways, both for me and others. It still amazes me, how two simple twin girls can make such an amount of people stand in awe, hovering their jaws close to the ground. It’s just twins, not sextuplets.

I also have to come to terms with the fact that no matter how I dress the girls, people will always ask if at least one of them is a boy. No matter how much pink they wear, how frilly their dresses are or how much flower pattern they have on their shirts, for some reason people assume they’re boys. I simply don’t get it.

I know babies are hard to tell on their face alone, but shouldn’t their gender being hinted by their pink clothes? When we went to see cherry blossoms, Yurina was wearing a pink dress and Miharu was wearing a white dress and people actually asked if Miharu was a boy, since her dress was white… even it was blue, would you make a boy wear a dress?!

Let’s not forget the fact that their stroller is quite pink.

People seem quite obsessed with the whole idea of boy/girl twins and even when I tell them that they’re identical twins, people still ask if one of them is a boy.

I also know there’s quite a lot of people from Danish pregnancy communities who would hate taking their babies to Japan. Those kind of people who can’t stand the thought of people talking to their babies without permission or even worse – touching them. If I’m talking the girls farther away from home than the supermarket, I must expect at least one of two old ladies will touch their feet or hands.

I don’t really mind, the old Japanese ladies loves the girls and if the girls can bring them smiles they can touch their feet all they want, or at least until one of the girls starts crying and scare them off. I just find it interesting, being from a from a culture which is very strict with how you act with strangers’ babies and suddenly living in Japan where apparently having a cute baby is an invitation to let people touch them.

I do think the girls enjoy the attention. Not that they understand why people look at them, but the attention brings extra people who can do funny faces, entertain them and make them laugh. A good day for a baby.