I always get reflective around this time of year. After all, my boys are fall babies--the twins were three on September 1st, and Superhero will be 6 on October 28. In addition, the new school year starts, so in our household, there are two 'beginnings' to each year--one on January first, one in late August.

The day we found out we were having twins, I cried in despair. We had only found out a few weeks before that I was pregnant, and even then only because I had an ear infection. I hoped that the constant nausea and vertigo were left over from the ear infection, but when the ultrasound confirmed twins, I knew it was only going to get worse, and I had no idea how I was going to survive it :D. But survive it I did, along with the exhaustion, the extremely low blood pressure (so low during the first trimester and the beginning of the second that I literally fainted lying down. On more than one occasion), and the constant nagging from my husband to eat something. And then came the second part of the pregnancy--the exhaustion, constant contractions, the HUGE belly (I wore the same maternity outfit to my 5-month checkup with the twins that I wore to the hospital when Superhero was born--and he was almost three weeks late!), the slowly rising blood pressure--I survived that, too. And then I survived three months of visits to hospice to visit with my grandmother with two newborns and a three year old in tow. I survived the next six months, when the twins were diagnosed with severe acid reflux and were two steps from failure to thrive. And at some point, I stopped surviving and starting enjoying. I don't know if it was because they were my second birth, or because I had Superhero to share it with, or if it was because Superhero's birth was so traumatic, or if I was just a little older and wiser, but I enjoyed their babyhood so much more than I did Superhero's. Every milestone was a cause for celebration, and every day I smiled, laughed, or cried over some amazing thing they had done. And yet I worried, particularly, for some reason, about Artist. The boys had twin to twin transfusion--a mild case, just enough that Fighter needed some fluids as soon as he was born and oxygen for the first ten or twelve hours. Artist had been the recipient twin, Fighter the donor twin, but I purposely did NO research those first few months, preferring to just follow our pediatrician's suggestions and enjoy my healthy boys. But there was something otherworldly about Artist, and it terrified me. John and I talked about it a few times, and we both felt it--this unnamed fear in relation to Artist. Then one day his lips turned blue, for no apparent reason. We were terrified, and yet somehow just had this 'this is it' feeling. We were sure that this was the reason we had that odd feeling in relation to him.

In the two and a half years since, Artist has seen a virtual platoon of specialists. We have ruled out everything 'life limiting'. At this point, all we know is that it is something circulatory, it's aggravated by cold, and Fighter has similar attacks (though less frequently and less severe). Most importantly though, Artist has lost that 'disconnected' affect, and is a normal (if trying) three year old. He's slightly speech delayed, has physical abilities and strength to rival Superhero's, and is the most dramatic little demon I have EVER met. While I am concerned about his speech delay, I am no longer sitting up all night worrying about him.

That worry has been transferred to Fighter. My Fighter is an amazing little boy. His laughter is almost maniacal--when he laughs, it's because he is enjoying something so totally, so completely, that there is room for nothing else but sheer joy. He loves to sing, and will frequently copy the rhythm and cadence of a song he has heard perfectly. But he rarely talks to me. He will sometimes play with each of his brothers, but for the most part, if all three are in the same room Superhero and Artist are playing together and Fighter is off by himself. He is an amazingly loving little boy who will spend half an hour at a time just giving kisses. But he clearly does not experience the world the same way his brothers do. He rarely responds when spoken to, occasionally refuses to meet the eyes of whomever is speaking, and gets overwhelmed very easily in noisy or chaotic situations. And every single thing he touches MUST go in his mouth. He is now the source of most of my worry.

And yet they both--all three--are the source of an amazing amount of joy. Even on the worst days--the days when Superhero has talked back and been defiant all day, when Artist has thrown a dozen tantrums, when Fighter has climbed, chewed, or written on every single object he has come in contact with--even on those days, I feel so joyous, so blessed to be their mom. Artist's smiles light up a room, Fighter's kisses are gifts from above, and Superhero's reasoning skills are the most amazing I've ever seen. It's difficult for me to remember my life before them, and impossible to imagine a future without them. My life is so much fuller, so much more joyful, with them in it. The sky is prettier when Artist points it out, flowers smell better when Superhero shoves them under my nose, and the wind is more amazing when I see Fighter close his eyes, toss his head back, and smile in enjoyment. It's an amazing life I live, and I am the luckiest mom in the world.

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