04/15/2014 03:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

12 Lessons My Twins Taught Me In Their First 12 Months

1. My heart, which I always think may burst at the seams, seems to have an infinite capacity to keep growing. And not just for the twins. Seeing how much my son adores his little sisters makes my heart both melt and expand at the same time.

2. Accept my limitations. In those early months, and even now, I have to remind myself, that I am only one person. I have two arms and two legs and not more. When the girls require more than that, I am going to come up short. I simply am not a superhero. Being outnumbered gives rise to a chaos I could not have envisioned nor planned for. Now that they are crawling, I am even more flummoxed. One zigs while the other zags, then throw in my toddler who zogs, and I can't keep track of anyone. I know I will lose a kid someday, somewhere.


3. My body is capable of more than I could have imagined. From carrying them, to nursing them (still!) to functioning with very little sleep. There were moments, more than I really want to admit, where I felt defeated. That I just couldn't do it anymore. Physically, I felt too weak; emotionally, I felt tapped out. But I would get through the moment, do what needed to be done, and then wonder to myself with amazement, " How the heck did I manage that?"

4. I have more patience than I ever thought I would. That's not to say that I don't lose my patience. I just lose it less often than I had anticipated.

5. I need not make excuses for talking about my kids all the time. I think they are awesome and I have so many funny stories about them that I like to share. I think the girls are the cutest, sweetest, smartest cuddle bugs ever, and don't get me started about my son! I know this is not rational but please let me unapologetically believe for now that they are perfection. Let me yak on and on about their loveliness. It is better than me talking about when they ate their poop.

6. Caring for three children is more than three times as hard as caring for one. I am not quite sure how this flies in the face of basic arithmetic, but it does. For instance, last week one of the girls experienced a massive poo-through and four hands dug in, smeared it all over the place, and stuffed it into their mouths. It wasn't double the mess, it was at least quadruple.


7. It's going to get harder before it gets easier. My toddler has given me a sneak preview of what is to come. And I am terrified. Walking, talking, and tantrums are not too far off. Even though the girls will always have a playmate in each other, there will be more fighting over food, more hair pulling, and more fights over who gets to wear the princess tiara or play with the train set.

8. Anything in life is manageable, but sometimes, just barely. For me, surviving this first year was exactly that -- surviving. I hope I can transition into thriving very soon.

9. The support of friends, online and off, has been instrumental in getting through this last year. It took a village, starting with the night the twins were born when we left our son with a friend. My gaggle of girlfriends are the best.

10. My husband's contribution to our family is invaluable and I can't imagine how single mothers do it. They have my utmost admiration and respect.

11. It's hard to feed a family of five! Harder than I thought. My husband is a vegan, my son subsists on chocolate milk (not for lack of trying to get him interested in something else), the girls are nursing and eating purees, and I eat whatever I can find that isn't rotting. Our grocery budget consistently gets exceeded midway through the month, yet somehow I always feel hungry.

12. Time is the most precious commodity in the world. This last year has gone by faster than any before. And that scares me. I want it all to slow down so I can savor every crazy, wonderful minute.

Happy birthday, my darling daughters! You have brought us double the fun, double the smiles, double the giggles, double the cuddles, and double the joy. I love you to the moon and back. Twice.