Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The love of a twin

If you google 'amazing twin stories' you will find some fascinating reading. There is one particular story that always comes up about twins who were separated at three weeks and found each other at the age of 39. They had both been named Jim by their adoptive parents, both married and divorced women named Linda, both married again to women named Betty and both had sons named James. Identical twins separated at birth is like a dream for people interested in nature versus nurture research. These two are still being studied by the University of Minnesota.

There will be none of that with my boys because the most they've been separated is to opposite sides of a small room for about a week while they were in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). When they were born, they were pretty swiftly whipped away and put into separate humidicribs. I did think it was a bit sad that they had to be separated after literally being on top of each other for 34 weeks but they also couldn't breathe independently so I was pretty happy for the doctors to do whatever they thought best. About a week later, they moved into a SCN (special care nursery) but the hospital was experiencing an unprecedented twin boom and we had to go on a wait list for a twin bassinet. They were next to each other but still in separate bassinets. 

I didn't think too much about it until the day when some lucky parents got to take their twins home and we got to inherit their twin bassinet. I didn't know it was a big deal for me but I was pretty overwhelmed when I walked in one morning and found them together in a twin bassinet. Nothing magical happened. They didn't all of a sudden start eating well and put on massive amounts of weight, their disposition didn't change, they didn't all of a sudden smile and reach out to one another. Really, nothing happened at all. It was just nice. 

Nearly two years on I can't say that I have any miraculous stories about the twin bond. Nothing super weird has happened. The boys like each other. They like each other a lot. I just can't say I have any super amazing stories. Having said that, over the last few weeks, something pretty incredible has happened. It has really made me sit up and think about how special the twin relationship is. 

Master L took his first steps 11 weeks ago. Nearly three months ago. It was a big deal. He was just short of 20 months old. Well and truly time to start walking. Do you think he did? No. Not at all. Not even close. For the past 11 weeks, we have caught him stealthily taking a few steps here and there. We've seen him basically run when pushing something around, he would walk for miles holding my hand but try as we might to encourage him, he simply has not been interested in actually independently walking. Not at all. Not even a tiny little bit. I thought he would be happier if he walked and he clearly could if he tried but it's not something you can make someone do. So he didn't. Fine. Weird but fine I thought.

Then just a few weeks ago, Master S took his first steps. At nearly 22 months, this was a massive deal. The physio had told us not to expect him to walk until he was 2 so this was pretty amazing. We didn't get too excited as based on our experience with Master L, first steps doesn't actually mean that much is going to change soon. The difference between S and L though is from that day forward, Master S has been keen. He's trying really, really hard. He's taking a few steps, falling, getting up again. He looks incredibly awkward and uncomfortable but he's showing massive determination.

As it turns out, Ed and I are not the only people super happy with Master S's progress. As we have been watching S get up, have a go and fall down over and over again, Master L hasn't just decided to start trying to walk, he has actually started walking. He's gone from taking a few steps if he thinks nobody is watching to literally doing laps of the house. 

We make a big deal of it and he looks at us like we're crazy. He has no idea why we're so impressed. Clearly L could do it all along. He was just waiting for his brother. 11 weeks of waiting. I don't have that kind of patience. Can you imagine being able to walk for 11 weeks and just choosing not to? That's some kind of special love. It must be twin love.

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