Dear daughters: A letter to my preemie twins turning 4

What one dad has to say to his four-year-old twin daughters for their birthday. | instafather.com

What one dad has to say to his four-year-old twin daughters for their birthday. | instafather.com

Dear Hannah and Quinn:

I’ll say this every year until it’s no longer true: I can’t believe you’re already another year older.

The fashion choices are always top notch.

The fashion choices are always top notch.

You’re 4!

You are little ladies. You are closer to kindergarten than you are to being babies. In fact, if I call you my baby, you say “No, daddy, I’m a big girl!”

Sure, there’s still a little bit of the baby side in there somewhere.

Quinn, the baby girl in you still sometimes seems to think her hands don’t work and requires to be spoon fed like the offspring of a monarch. But Quinny, you’re also the big girl who says “No thank you” and “I’m good!” like the most polite toddler in the world and it’s adorable.

Hannah, the baby girl side still wants her hand held as she falls asleep. But Hanny, I’ll hold your hand as long as you need me to. It fits perfectly in mine and it has since the day you were born at 31 weeks and your whole hand grasped half my pinkie. And the big girl in you dives fearlessly into bounce houses with much bigger kids, has solo dance parties, and potty trained herself the very first day we asked.

My babies for life

Can I be honest? You aren’t getting any younger brothers and sisters. Daddy took care of that. Don’t ask what that means. I am not mentally prepared to explain it.

But my point is that you two ARE my babies, even if Quinn you’re technically the middle child by five minutes. That means every new stage you hit marks the end of the last time I get to experience something as a dad.

Done with diapers? OK, that one was easy to let go. We spent a small fortune on diapers. A lot of Pamper’s fat cats went on vacation because of us, I’m sure.

But you’re already too big for me to hold you both at once. I used to be able to carry you both with one arm! And a daddy who can’t carry his daughters sounds like a very sad daddy indeed. 

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You’re both getting so independent. You’re getting your own style; Quinn, you are trying desperately for the rolled up sleeves and pant legs look to catch on, even in winter, and Hannah, your favorite look is “Let’s wear everything!”

I’m getting more used to the lasts of things. Maybe that’s because your firsts are so sweet. Like how you started reading to each other inside the dog crate. Sure, that sounds insane and like I’m violating a law, but it’s incredibly cute and you are both so happy to have some books and blankets and have your own little clubhouse.

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But, as always, I want to make sure I’m celebrating what makes you unique, too. You will always be twins, but you’ll always be you.

Quinn

Quinn, you sound like Glenda the Good Witch drank a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby. Your mom and I do not understand why you have that adorable voice and how you developed an accent, but don’t lose it. You are the best cuddler on the East Coast, and you get the most excited when I get home from work. We are so amazed at how quickly you learn new things. Do you say “That was me!” when you pass gas? Yep. But it’s part of your charm.

It’s been 4 years since you needed CPR and then a helicopter ride; it seems like yesterday. I know as you get older you’ll get tired of mommy and daddy mentioning it, but that’s the thing about mommies and daddies. We don’t ever get over stuff like that. Honestly, Daddy sometimes reminds himself of that moment when he gets frustrated with you. Perspective helps. You’ll understand later. You’re a Disney character brought to life, and I love you.

Hannah

Hannah, you sound like a tiger and a Care Bear had a baby. You request that your photo gets taken, you sing “Let It Go” with gusto and verve, and you laugh so loud sometimes that it defies logic. I want to find a way to spend more time with you, 1 on 1, because you’re such an amazing girl and I know that sometimes you feel like you have to be extra loud just to be heard. (What you don’t realize is that your sister, in fact, is the one who doesn’t get heard as much because you’re busy being loud).

I am flabbergasted at some of the things you can do. If someone told me you’ll be an Olympic gymnast or the CEO of a company one day, I’d say “Sound about right.” Some days, you know I get a little frustrated when you want to do things your own way even if you won’t let anyone know what way that is supposed to be… but we can also see how that fierce independence is going to pay off as you get older. You’re a sparkler at a Fourth of July picnic and I love you.

Happy birthday Hannah and Quinn. Daddy loves you.