March 02, 2012

How Not to Name Twins

I haven’t written much in this blog specific to having twins. I recently spoke with a dear friend of mine who is 33 weeks pregnant with twin girls. She has an 8 year old son and a 6 year old son. Wow.
Talking to her about the experience of twin childbirth and early days brought me back to a very very busy time in my life. It was a time where days blurred into the next and I wasn’t quite sure if I was coming or going at any given time. I remember feeling like it would never get easier and that I would never again sleep through the night.
But taking the time to remember those early days has also brought back sweet memories: of watching my identical twin baby girls sleep cuddled up to each other in the same crib or holding each others’ hands while nursing; of my 2 year old son making the girls giggle uncontrollably with his antics; of seeing the girls laying on the bed together in their infant sleepers, moving in sync like they had rehearsed some beautiful dance together. They were crazy days and I wish I had taken more time to just enjoy those moments.
When people ask me what advice I would give to expectant parents of twins, my answer is always the same: GET HELP. If it is difficult financially to hire a full-time nanny, do whatever you can (short of selling your older children). I had illusions of being super-mom and handling a not-quite-2 year old as well as newborn twins, keeping house, making meals, doing laundry, sleeping (!!) and maybe even taking care of myself. You can guess which went first. I contracted strep throat when the babies were only 3 months old. Weeks/months of exhaustion and a perceived lack of time to get myself to a doctor in a timely manner left me in intensive care in hospital, close to death from heart failure caused by septic shock. My dear husband had to face the prospect of raising three babies on his own.
Scary stuff.
The minute I was released from hospital, we hired a full-time nanny and a babysitter to help in the evenings. They worked for us until the girls were a year old. Rest assured that I am now the picture of health with no long term effects from the heart failure. Trust me that the minute I get a sore throat, I get myself to a doctor. No more messing around. If I don’t take care of myself, I’m no good to anyone. Lesson learned the hard way.
On a lighter note, my second piece of advice to new parents of twins is this: think very very carefully about the names you give your children. Personally I’m not a big fan of the “cutesie twin names” that rhyme or match but that is an individual choice. The one thing that most people never consider is how their names sound when they are blended. You know, when you are frantically calling out names hoping that one will be the right one, blending the first part of one name with the name of another. If you have more than one child, you know what I’m talking about. 
Our kids are Luka, Klara and Milena, who goes by Mila (pronounced Mee-la like Mila Mulroney for those of you who remember her).

In our house, it goes something like this:
Lu-Mila! (Lu-Meela!)
And finallly... (say this next one out loud)
Kla-Mila! (Kla-Meela!)
Enough said.
Image ©  2008 Treva Thompson


  1. Excellent advice. And I love your children's names. Luka was at the top of our list for one of our boys.


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