Invisible No More

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(photo by Londyn Layne Photography)

Yesterday I took the kids on an adventure to the magical world that is Target – the place where my children will someday sing the whine, “Mooooooooom, whyyyy do you have to spend hours here?!?!”

Because you all know that the Target is the black hole of time and money.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my one month crash-course of Mom-dom is that one must prepare well in advance any outing that includes the kids. I’ve actually picked up on some of their routine as we’ve tried to set a schedule for them. The morning nap after they wake up from the night is, well, not their most shining 3 hours. It’s like they’re screaming “WE JUST SLEPT SIX WHOLE HOURS FOR YOU AND NOW YOU WANT US TO SLEEP SOME MORE?!”

Sorry for the all caps but did you hear their screams from your computer? I’m emoting.

Sidenote: I’m thanking the Lord for six straight hours of sleep right now!

So I had the brilliant idea to take them on an excursion to the good ‘ol Bullseye. My plan was to put them in the car and have them magically fall asleep like they always do when we drive. Then, I’d put them in the stroller and head into the store while they either slept or were so in awe of their new surroundings that they just looked around and took everything in. New surroundings have done that to them in the past and that usually equals a nap later on.

That way when we got home, they would be tuckered out for their next nap. Plus, I would be able to get out of the house and do a little shopping. It’s a win-win for us all. Mama gets an outing, they get new crib sheets out of it, and we all get some sweet, sweet afternoon quiet and rest.

Sidenote: If this had been a big shopping trip where I needed a buggy – forget it. I have not yet mastered the art of two babies AND a buggie. Suggestions appreciated. Please include remedies for babies crying uncontrollably in public. Thank you.

We get to Target and after I assemble the massive (but awesome) double stroller, we make our way into the store.

What once used to be an uneventful Target run, has become a catwalk for people to view my family and talk about it.

Let me start by saying this is not me complaining. This is me processing my new normal.

In my brain, I’ve been preparing for this. For the stares and the unsolicited advice and the questions and comments. But there’s a difference between preparation and application.

In the twenty minutes I walked around Target I was stopped by four people to have a conversation about my kids. Which is totally cool; I’ll talk about my kids all day long. And so far, everyone has been very kind and sweet, oozing over the babes.

But when you’re so used to blending in and going unnoticed in public, the attention on top of the caring for the kids becomes overwhelming and energy draining. And the newness right now of not knowing what people are going to say and being ready with a response, takes energy. When I decided to make a Target run, I budgeted my energy for taking care of the kids. Now I know I’ll need to be prepared with energy to be noticed and stand out from the crowd.

And right now I’m just talking about peoples’ reactions to them being twins.

We haven’t even talked about the fact that I’m white and they’re black. That’s a whole different social element. It hasn’t been addressed yet and I’m interested to see if we live in a time where people don’t notice those things enough to say something. I don’t know. I’ll just continue my Target runs to see what comes of peoples’ comments. You know, I’ll take it for the team and consider my Target runs a “social experiment.” If I must. I might as well buy something (or ten) while I’m experimenting. It’s for the greater good of society. *Me: Wink* *Aaron: Eye roll*

But our skin tones didn’t go unnoticed by the checker at Babies-R-us. She noticed this minor detail.

“Is their dad black?” she asked.

“No, he’s white.” And she was totally confused. “They’re adopted.” I clarified.

“Oooooh! That makes sense! Awesome!” and she went on her business.

Then Aaron goes, “Wait, I’m not black?!”

And I’m still chuckling when I think about that. Make note of that response for future reference.

The Target adventure turned into a quick Babies-R-us adventure which quickly turned into a 45 minute drive in circles to get them to sleep until it was time to go home to feed them again and to recharge myself. And sure enough, it was a glorious nap time had by all!

So there’s this whole new world I’ve entered. A world where I’m no longer invisible. I’m okay with it, it’s just taking some serious getting used to.

I just can’t wait until a stranger asks me how these kids became a part of our family.

Because then I’ll be the one to talk their ear off.

  • Roxanne - Tim and I get stares when we have our Goddaughter. The white couple with the black kid? I am used to it by now and moat of the time people are nice and mainly comment because she is so darn cute. Very now and then though you get that one person who just can't help themselves and will bring up the obvious color difference that they see. I don't even see the color, so I forget that others may be staring because of that, lol.

    Our most outrageous comment so far came one day while we were at the park. A lady came up to us and was ooohing all over Selma, telling us how beautiful she is and then all of a sudden she looked at us and asked where we flew her here from? I was stunned! My jaw dropped to the ground and I couldn't even respond for a second. I could not believe she just said that. Tim told her she is our Goddaughter and she just said oh, that's nice and finally went on her way.

    Now, we just make it an adventure like you and laugh at the stares and the whispers.

    Best of luck on your adventures with your little cuties!ReplyCancel

  • Mindy - Once again, I’m nodding the whole time. We’ve had all kinds of responses along the way, including this variety: http://thoroughlymodernmommy.com/2013/09/11/please-dont-give-me-advice-about-my-daughters-hair/
    But it was something I realized QUICKLY. An outing with Lily (and for us, it actually was about her having a different skin tone. Even in Queens. Maybe New Yorkers are just more aggressive.) meant Mommy had to be ON. It’s exhausting. You kinda sorta get used to it. And like you said, I’ll talk about my kid all day. And some of it is her personality. (Like at the Frozen sing-along. “Other people didn’t sing loud. But I did!!!”) But after nearly five years (yikes!) it hasn’t really changed. Being in a transracial adoptive family makes us a visible example. I think God picked some pretty good people to set that example if I do say so myself 😉ReplyCancel

    • hannah_bunker - Yes, Mindy, you hit it; Mama has to be \”on\” all the time and that takes energy.

      You\’re so sweet. Honored God trusts us with these precious littles! ReplyCancel

  • Katy - Hannah, I can relate so much! My first outing with our babes was to Target as well and we had a very similar experience. 🙂 In the early days, I kept my Target runs short and sweet and only picked up items I could put on top of the stroller or in the basket below. On a few occasions, a friend or family member joined me and pushed a cart so I was able to stock up on bigger things. Once they can sit up, it's easier since one can be buckled into the shopping cart and you can put the other one in a baby carrier. When you do it that way, you'll get a whole new range of comments and questions…for some reason if they're not in a stroller right next to each other, people have a hard time believing they're twins, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Lydia. - Hannah//

    Thank you very much for sharing your stories. I am currently struggling with infertility and I just admire how God has provided. Your littles are the most adorable babies!

    Thank you for honesty and hope. I will continue to pray for you and your family in this new season!ReplyCancel

  • Diana - Oh my gosh, the attention. Yes. We still can't go anywhere without getting a stranger comment about our twins. People LOVE twins. I've gotten used to it honestly, and I don't mind it (as long as they keep their hands to themselves) . We haven't had any rude comments so far but my favorite has been "are they identical?" when it's obvious they're boy and girl 🙂

    Oh and something to look forward to: Target does have the huge double seater carts for when they're older. My twins love them!ReplyCancel

  • kaseypowers - You will figure out how to navigate these questions. I have no advice on that. BUT for how to shop with two. Wear one push one – from my twin mom friend and what we plan to do with two. Put the car seat in the big basket or in the "seat" of the cart for one. And wear the other one in a carrier or wrap. Then you still have room for all the stuff to buy.

    I know you have a Moby. As they get bigger I highly recommend a soft structured carrier – we have an Ergo and a Kinderpack and STILL carry Simon a lot at 2.5 (well I don't anymore :)) but Beco and Boba get good reviews too. My twin mom would carry one and stroller one on play dates until last summer when they got big enough to just walk most places. ReplyCancel

    • Diana - I just have to comment regarding the carseat being placed on the top seat part: I know we see people do it all the time but this is not recommended since the carseat can't be safely secured to the cart. Don't want any babies getting hurt! Safest place is in the basket.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I have similar but different experiences still to this day. I have three boys. Three very white boys. I also have two nieces who spend a lot of time with us and who's dads are, in fact, black. They also perfectly bookend my boys. My oldest niece and my oldest boy are 11, just two months apart. My middle boy turns 9 soon and my youngest boy and youngest niece are 6 & 5, respectively, 5 months apart. Five kids between the ages 5-11. Three obviously white, two obviously black. We get so many stares and questions. My favorite was at Costco when I just had the oldest two. They were about 1 dressed in Osh Kosh overalls, his were traditional denim, hers were pink & white striped. I was stopped by a sweet older couple who asked me if they were identical twins. Still makes me laugh!

    The way I got through errands when I had two babies at once was to wear one in a carrier and push one in the cart/carseat or stroller. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Shayla White - Before I even read your post your picture made me cry my eyeballs out! I can no longer blame it on my hormones. So happy for you guys!ReplyCancel

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