Last year, some day in December, with my Mom's help I dragged myself out of the house with my two teeny tiny babies to meet up with another twin Mom. I think it was only the first or second time we'd gotten together. Mom went off to do some shopping and Mira and I walked around the mall commisserating, sharing our stories. In our sleep deprived stupor, we came across the Santa pavilion and I immediately dismissed the idea.
That kind of thing was for functioning people.
There was no line up, it was the middle of a week day, weeks before Christmas. Mira suggested we stop. She'd already gotten photos of her little ones with a family friend playing Santa but what about mine? I looked at my little sleeping babes in their casual outfits and thought how impossible it seemed, how much effort it would take and the incredible risk of waking one of them and having to deal with a screaming infant, which would inevitably lead to two screaming infants. I just couldn't... we walked on.
And shortly after we walked back.
We were nearly out of time, our hour in between feeds almost up. How bad could it be? We were heading home soon anyway.
So I did it, I walked up and went through all the hassle of getting a tiny baby carefully out of the carseat straps and all the layers and carefully handing them to someone else trying not to wake them. And the I turned to my second teeny baby and carefully undid the straps and all the layers and gently lifted him out of the car seat. I could not take off their sweaters! That was asking too much from all of us.
I settled Rachel in Santa's arm, she woke just enough to wimper and peer at him through her eye lids. I took Sam and gently laid him in Santa's other arm, he squirmed and sleepily peered at Santa as well.
The photographer started snapping photos as I anxiously watched. I fixed Sam's hood. I prayed they wouldn't start crying. Santa did a few different poses. The babies fell back asleep in his arms.
I looked at all the shots and one of the last ones was by far the best. Two sleeping babes with a story book in between them in Santa's sleeping arms.
It's the most precious picture. I absolutely love it! And it's been in our living room since that day...it was a day I'll never forget and I learned a lot from it.
Lesson 1 of being a twin Mom: Almost everything you'll do is too much effort. The cost/benefit is completely out of wack and it rarely makes logical sense to leave the house. Do it anyway! You'll be glad you did.
************ 1 Year Later**************
Today we took the twins to see Santa. I now call them the Kids more often than I call them the Babes. In order to keep everyone distracted and entertained through the usual nap time, we left the house early. This brought us to the mall with about 45 minutes to kill before Santa started for the day. We walked around with Sam and Rachel in the stroller for a good 25 minutes. But eventually they got bored and were hungry and needed to get out. So we went to a seating area close to the Santa pavilion.
It was the first time they've been out in public on their own two feet. I took off their jackets and tried to smooth out their wrinkled outfits and I fed them cheese. They were totally thrilled with this new sense of independence in a totally new environment. It was very early so there were only a few people around. Quiet enough to just let them wander as they wished.
They toddled around, munching cheese. Sam venturing so far that he looked back with glee at how far away he was from Daddy and not even being followed. Of course he made his way back pretty quickly. He smiled away as he walked into a store and past a booth. People smiled at him and said hello and he'd shyly smile, head down and turn back to find us. Rachel walked off to look at people sitting in the other section, boldly waiting for them to acknowledge her, straight faced and adorable in her pretty dress. She did not want to be followed and did not look back to see if we were there. She happily went in circles and looked in stores, thrilled with how she could travel over the tiles and see these new sights.
It was the very best part of my day.
They were so small in those big halls and yet so sturdy and proudly independent too. Everyone who saw them, all dressed up ready for photos, smiled....totally charmed by these little people.
Of course when it came time for the photo they didn't want to sit still even in our arms. We did a few 'family photos' which Mommy and Daddy were not dressed for. And then we put them on Santa's knee and stepped away.
They were NOT impressed! In the 2 or 3 photos we got they looked mad or scared. I didn't have the heart to choose to print one of those. So we'll go with the awkward family photo.
It isn't a good picture but I hope it will remind me of watching them toddle around the mall, how proud I felt of how far we've all come.