When my daughters screamed and then started eating the chocolate gelt with the wrappers still on during the Tot Shabbat service, I knew we were in trouble.
It wasn’t just that daughter A had almost swallowed the gelt whole—pink metallic wrapper and all—and that I had to stick my finger in her mouth to get it out. And it wasn’t just that my husband and I literally had to jump off the bimah with two tutued 2-year-olds in our arms to remove ourselves from the otherwise warm and intimate service taking place. It was the realization that with two 2-year-olds, everything is so much harder for us and all involved.
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Later that evening, when both of the girls ran in different directions—A wanting to ride the elevator in the hallway and B searching endlessly for more chocolate gelt—I realized once again that it is hard with twins. I am not complaining; it took me years to have them, and I am deeply grateful and in love with these amazing creatures.
But it is so hard to leave the house at all, much less attend Jewish community oriented events like this lovely “Got Shabbat” Tot Shabbat family evening organized by the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Community Services of Baltimore. My husband is usually tired from a day of work and doesn’t really look forward to chasing after a determined child wanting to ride the elevator (by herself!). And since I am basically a stay at home mom, by 5:30 p.m. every day, I am winding down, reading stories, and looking forward to bathing my little ones and putting them to bed.
Sure, other families have two kids and manage to get out of the house and a somewhat regular basis—but I think it’s even harder when the two kids are at the same developmental stage of neediness. The delicious buffet meal after the service didn’t bode well for us. When the dark grape juice (aka wine) was put out, one of my little ladies wanted it immediately—I poured her a cup of grape juice, she took a sip, and then promptly threw the remaining juice in a stream across the room. We tried wiping them up, but I apologize to the synagogue for the grape juice stains on the carpet.
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The organizer of the event was amazing, and she brought me tin foil to wrap my latkes and other delicious food in so we could eat it later. The folks at my table were considerate; they looked at us pityingly and kindly and offered a high chair, a latke, and to throw my dirty plates away. But still, it was hard. Maybe next year, when the twins are 3, it will get easier—or maybe we just need more practice going to the longer events.
There is some hope: The morning after, we all left the house and attended a very short and very fun Shabbat service at our synagogue, Beth Tfiloh, called Cookie Minyan. We got in and we got out. Best of all, there were cookies at the end, making for some very happy kids.
These events are important to me as they bring us together as a family. They allow us to bond with other families dealing with their active, busy young children in a Jewish setting.
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For the rabbi whose service we disrupted, and the parents who heard our screaming, running children, and for the lady who I cut ahead of in the buffet line to get nuggets—all I have to say is I’m sorry, we have twins.