It's been 10 months with the twins, and for ten months I've been meeting nice old ladies and often even nice old gentlemen, stopping me and staring in my double stroller as if it's a wonder like, say, two newborn Jesuses sitting there. Sometimes I even feel a slight hint of guilt for not actually providing two little miracles but some very normal babies instead, at the best, or even two grumpy, covered with food leftovers babies. And since ten months I've been answering to no more than two major questions: Are they twins?, and But it should be a lot of work, shouldn't it? (I like it in German even more: Aber viel Arbeit, neh?). To the first question I answer soberly yes (and not succumbing to the temptation of being funny, like, No, one is mine and the other I just found over there), and if I'm in good mood I even add very proudly and cheerfully (because I know that's what I'm expected to do) - Yes, a boy and a girl!, and in that case I get a even more cheerful Ach das ist aber wunderschön! Then, if I feel whimsical at that point I add, Yes, really wonderful, and I have two more kids, a boy and a girl as well!!! That usually causes perplexity and puts an odd end of the cheerful conversation.
And what about the second question, a lot of work, isn't it?, that's my favourite. At first I didn't realize it was a parole d'ordre, and I was just creating confusion by sharing honest observations like, Ah, you know, not much more than with one baby. I noticed soon that it was not the right answer, and certainly not the answer one was expecting from a twins-mom, so I soon developed another answer: Yes, but it's great! (Ja... aber schön!). That seemed immediately to go much better and now I use it all the time, it really puts the old ladies at peace. I think I've cracked the password.
So is it really a lot of work. Yes. But it's great. No kidding. It's as tiring, time-consuming and crazy-driving as one could suppose, but it's more beautiful than one could possibly think. Having two babies rolling on the bed or crawling around and laughing each in its own way, with its particular set of tiny teeth (only two for Elias, and six for Elena), is something which makes my heart melt even when it's 5 a.m. and I'd really have somebody else deal with that joy and let me sleep. But it's me there, not somebody else, so I have to deal with the stress to wake up so early after a more or less difficult night, and it's me, again, there, witnessing those tiny, soft arms and legs moving towards me.
Not to mention that I have two more kids as well. So it's not even double joy, it's fourfold! And a fourfold stress. I notice that I'm overly stressed when I start yelling no matter if I'm home or in the bus. Loud. In Bulgarian. I told you to get off my way so that I can pass with the stroller, haven't I! I told it three times, now I shout it so you finally hear me! I really, really love Germans in those moments, being so discrete not to stare at me, not even to turn towards me. There are of course also those other moments (usually after having some coffee, or even better - coffee with cake!), when I am able to behave like a real adult and say in a discrete but firm voice, Now, dear, move a bit so that I can pass. This actually even works better (not as good though as moving the child aside). But show me that man and I'll whatever.
And at the bottom line, I feel my life full. Not just busy.
That too, obviously.
But it's all "schEIn"!