LEARNING TIME!

To quote the most annoying toys that Grant and Maria have to date: “It’s learning time!”

I thought that as they got older the “are they identical?” question would stop. I was wrong. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse recently. We were out on the sidewalk the other day and stopped to talk with our neighbor. We had been talking for no less than 10 minutes when she asked “are they identical?” Seriously, it is hard for me not to laugh. First, what part of penis and vagina are identical? Second, my children do not look at alike. Face shape, coloring, build…it is all different. Sometimes, maybe, at just the right angle, they look similar at best. I recently stifled a laugh when someone said, “They aren’t identical, are they? I can tell because Grant is so dark.” Really, Captain Obvious, the completely different plumbing fact wasn’t your first clue?

Let me set the record straight. Grant and Maria are not identical twins. They are fraternal. They are genetic siblings, no more similar than any other brother and sister who were born at different times. Identical twins occur when one egg and one sperm meet, forming one embryo that splits into two, creating a genetic clone, hence the term “identical.” Fraternal twins occur when two different eggs and two different sperm meet creating two different embryos at the same time.
Identical is defined as:

1. Being the same.
2. Exactly equal and alike.
3. Having such a close similarity or resemblance as to be essentially equal or interchangeable.
4. Biology Of or relating to a twin or twins developed from the same fertilized ovum and having the same genetic makeup and closely similar appearance; monozygotic.

Grant and Maria are not the same. They are not alike. One is not like the other. Now I have the Sesame Street song in my head… “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is not the same.” Lord, help me. This might drive me crazy.

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A NEW ADDITION

Grant and Maria got to meet their newest family member yesterday! My brother and sister-in-law welcomed baby Leah into the world after an extraordinarily fast labor. After the two and a half-day odyssey that was the birth experience of their first child, Leah’s entrance seemed to be the opposite extreme. Thankfully, everyone is happy and healthy. The gender was a surprise to everyone and Nick wouldn’t tell me what it was until we actually saw her last night … that was a long three and a half-hour wait!

I’m excited that Maria has a girl cousin in the mix and thankful that my brother has a daughter. Jeremy had been working him over on the aspects of having a daughter – such as the measures that you sometimes have to undertake to clean a baby girl (“sometimes it’s necessary to go elbow deep”). Unlike a boy, there is nothing to hold back the poo and you can get what Jeremy refers to as the “poo-splosion” that takes over the entire front and back of the diaper region. Jeremy also said that when you have a boy, you are raising him to be a man … but a daughter is different … she’s daddy’s little girl.

It was odd holding a newborn. Not that it’s been that long, as several friends have had babies in the last few months, but to have a new niece is special and brought back lots of memories. At seven pounds and three ounces, she is double the weight that Maria dropped to in the days after she was born. My babies were almost 3 months old when they hit Leah’s weight and that is hard to imagine. Now, next to Leah, they seem like such big kids.

The holidays will definitely be very lively this year and I look forward to the days when they can all play together. I pray that they will have lifelong adventures and friendship as cousins.

HALLOWEEN FUN

 

 

 

 

 

This fall we have been blessed to do many different activities surrounding Halloween. The Knoxville Multiples Club had an event at the pumpkin patch that we attended. Then the next week we went to a Healthy Families Fall Festival, where Natalie and I were Minnie Mouse. Then Halloween night we attended our church’s Trunk or Treat as a Pirate family. What a fun Halloween we all had!

PHASES AND CHANGES

My best friend, Emily, recently had her 2nd baby in only 15 months. After they were home for a couple of days, I sent her a message checking to see how everyone was doing. She replied that they were sleepy, but it was just temporary. I loved the response … after all the sleeplessness and adjustments to life with a new baby are just temporary. Eventually babies figure out night from day and the constancy of those first few weeks ease up.

Really, it seems that most things with children are temporary. As soon as you get used to one phase, something changes. This is good for those things that make you crazy and a little sad for those sweet things that you wish you could hold on to forever.

So, what are Grant and Maria up to?

• Maria just came out of an “I hate baths with a passion” phase. She screamed bloody murder and refused to sit. So, we tried to protect our hearing as best as possible and did an “express wash.” As quickly as this phase came upon us, it disappeared and now she tries to climb in the tub. Unfortunately, her first non-screaming bath in six weeks resulted in tub poop.

• Grant is obsessed with the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” I thought we were out of our Brown Bear phase, but it came roaring back last week. He would be content if I read it 100 times each night. The good news is that I have it memorized, so I can read it in the dark.

• They both love “reading” in bed and demand to have books in bed with them. They still nurse in the mornings before I leave for work, then go back to sleep for a while. When we’re done, I tell them to go back to bed and they turn to walk toward their room (they know it’s too early to be up). On their way down the hall, they stop by the bookshelf and pick up a new book to take back with them.

• It is not uncommon for a steady stream of animal noises to be coming from the nursery. Jeremy said that when he put them down for naps yesterday afternoon that Maria was alternating between barking and meowing for several minutes.

• They throw food or anything else they are finished with when they are eating. I’m told this gets better. I sure hope so.

• They love to push anything and everything. They pushed an empty diaper box up and down the sidewalk for several days before the bottom shredded. And the recycle bin is equally as entertaining to push around. They are kind of like Border Collies … if you don’t give them a job, they will come up with something on their own.

• Grant laughs anytime he passes gas. I doubt this is a phase. I think it is part of having a Y chromosome. Maria will let off an arsenal of gas and never even acknowledge it.
So far, we haven’t hit any phase that we can’t survive. For those tough ones, I will remember Emily’s words … it is just temporary!

NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH

This month is National Adoption Month, according to my friend’s Facebook page who adopted from South Korea. She has posted a video with children who were adopted from South Korea with information about the number of orphans waiting for adoption. Now with embryo adoption I wonder how many families could be blessed with that option as well. At one time a study was done that showed over 300,000 embryos were frozen in the United States, that was many years ago. Now I wonder how many are remaining. I am sure that number has increased.

There are so many children that need homes that it can be overwhelming to think about. When I was in Haiti, I saw many and those faces still come to me and break my heart over again. The interesting thing about embryo adoption is that there are not faces to recall, so I think that makes it seem less personal. But now that I have my two, I think more about the remaining embryos of Jim and Patty’s and now I can put possible faces to them. If Brian and I could, I know we would have another, but now I am just praying for the family that receives the next set of the Cassidy embryos.

When I was wanting a child so badly, I could easily see the blessings of receiving embryos brought to a family and I knew it was a blessing for the donor as well, but did not really understand how much of a blessing. Now that we have a relationship with the Cassidy family I can better understand what a blessing it is for them as well. I am now looking forward to the day of meeting the next set of parents and seeing the children that result from the transfers. They are such amazing children that it is hard not to want more of them.

Today Julian was singing for me, while I was videotaping him and he sang, “How Great is Our God,” “Silent Night,” and the ABC song. Then when it was Natalie’s turn she wanted to sing the “Booty” song! She does not know such a song, she just wants to say the word and knows it is not appropriate, but still tries to get away with it when she can. So instead she sang “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” They are both so different but still such a blessing. And this is how I view adoption. There are several paths to adoption, challenging in different ways but in the end, they are all so beautiful.