There’s no doubt about it, a new baby in a family’s life changes everything, and that goes double for twins. When Reina was born in Shenzhen, our domestic solar system had to realign to accommodate a shining new orb in our growing body of familial planets. It was an epic change to our existence that, in hindsight, seems almost quaint compared to the blunt chaos that introducing two new babies has wrought upon our lives.
In the weeks before Bryson and Ryder were born, I took Reina to many of her favorite places in Beijing, such as Fundazzle, Beyou World, and Si’de Park. Although I’m certain it was not the last time we will frequent these places one-on-one, I know she will not get nearly as much individual time with her Baba and Mama anymore.
For months, we discussed with Reina the changes going on with her unborn siblings, considered what life would be like after they arrived, and even sought her opinion to include her in family decisions; it was Reina who eventually decided which brother would get which name. However, just as reading a driver’s manual doesn’t make a person a perfect driver, no amount of planning could quite prepare a 5-year-old (or her parents) for the magnitude of change that a pair of siblings brings.
Reina loves her brothers, but clearly the adjustment process will be measured in months, rather than days or weeks. Seemingly inconsequential things can set off an epic emotional response, but thankfully none of it has been directed at her brothers and it seems that Reina may not yet fully recognize the cause of her recent emotional angst and frustration.
In addition to adjusting to the presence of the boys themselves, we all suddenly found our quiet three-person home under siege with a full-time ayi and a legion of friends all pitching in to help care for the boys, keep the house in order, and make certain we were fed. For the first two months, we also hired a part-time ayi to help out in the evenings to ensure that Reina received sufficient face time with her parents beyond, “Be a dear, run and get another diaper for me.” Compared to July, my home office never has a moment of peace and probably won’t for the next three years or so until the twins are old enough to start school. For the baba that previously opted to downsize the household staff (i.e. fire the ayi) and take on the housework himself in order to have more privacy, this has been a very sudden change.
Aside from the increase in our domestic head count, daily foot traffic, and the emotional toll of no longer being an only child, there is one more change that Savvy and I are both feeling and that is the physical aches and lack of sleep from caring for two hungry babies. To be fair, whatever I am feeling must pale in comparison to what Savvy goes through. Feeding, changing, soothing, and coaxing one baby to sleep is bad enough at 2 in the morning, but the task is all the more daunting when a second baby is waiting in the wings.
Many friends have told us that having twins is a special blessing. That may well be, but I’ll bless the day when I’ve changed the last diaper for this pair of lads. I just hope my back holds up long enough to see it through.