One of my fascinations in life has been wondering what it would have been like to be the mother of twins or triplets. I raised two sons, but they were seven years apart, and I can not imagine how it would be to raise identical twins. That is the subject of my column today.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
One of my fascinations in life has been wondering what it would have been like to be the mother of twins or triplets. I raised two sons, but they were seven years apart, and I can not imagine how it would be to raise identical twins. That is the subject of my column today.
Can you imagine being a young woman, excited for your first baby, and then you get the news that you are expecting twins?  I know what it was like having my first child and I can't imagine having two at the same time!
Helene always knew the possibility of having twins was realistic because her mom, Cheryl Nolan Duncan, has a twin brother. When Helene first got the news at 9 weeks that she was going to have twins, she denied that news, and in jest, told the nurses that they must be lying. Then she cried, and then she was scared, and then, of course, everything was fine in the end.
On Aug. 14, 2011, Helene Duncan and Lawrence Bernard Jr. of Lonaconing welcomed identical twins Ava Mary and Myla Ann into the world. They each weighed about 3 pounds and spent 26 days in the hospital before going home. In addition to Cheryl (Bre to the girls), the babies' other grandparents are Cheryl's husband Danny (Pappy) and Shirley Durst and Lawrence Bernard Sr. of Oakland.
In order to tell the babies apart, Helene painted their nails. Ava's fingernails were painted pink and Myla's were painted purple. When they were 6 months old, they had their ears pierced in the matching colors. Soon mom was able to tell the babies apart, and Ava has a birthmark on her head and her belly, so that made it a little easier, as well.
Other simple ways that teachers, coaches and family members can tell the girls apart include Ava's dimple in her cheek, and Ava, who is two minutes older than Myla, is just a little bigger. When the girls play soccer and have the same uniforms on, mom will fix their hair differently so when they're running up and down the field, she'll remember which girl has a ponytail and which girl has a braid.
As the girls continue to grow, they develop very different personalities, although they have very much in common, too. Ava loves the color pink, but she absolutely does not like to wear a dress or a skirt. She loves Disney, Full House and Live In Maddie, and she's very calm and candid, with a kind heart.
Myla is the more headstrong of the twins. She also loves Disney and Full House, and the color purple is her favorite color. She loves "The Wizard of Oz" and is not only sporty like her sister, she also is a little more girly with how she dresses. Myla is a perfectionist, and she wants to please others, and she doesn't like to be wrong.
Both girls participate in dance, soccer, gymnastics, and baseball, and will soon take on basketball. Can you imagine the family life of these three people? Mom is a fifth grade teacher at Beall Elementary, so she's very busy planning her studies and teaching other children every day. Then when she comes home each day, there is always something to do each evening.
A single mother of twins has to find the perfect balance in their daily activities. Sometimes, one twin will need a little more attention than the other. For example, Myla recently broke her wrist, and Ava had to understand that Myla needed just a little more tender loving care than Ava at the time. Ava was so loving toward her sister when she broke her wrist, but then there are always those moments, just like all siblings, when there are those little fights.
"One of the most special things about being a mom of identical twins is that I can watch my girls do what they love. It is so wonderful to see my daughters' love and the bond between them," says Helene.
"I have also had to learn how to balance activities and play time with school work. We live near my parents and so they help out a lot. My girls love every minute they can spend with their grandparents. But, I've also had to decide in our busy lives what can wait...learning to let go of the things that just don't need to be done right that moment...things like the dishes or cleaning the kitchen," adds Helene.
Some of the things that the family of three enjoys doing together are walking their dog Benson to Furnace Park, eating ice cream at Buster's, taking a vacation to the beach, swimming and enjoying the campfire on the weekends at the pavilion near their home with friends Penny and Steve Alkire and family.
Every Wednesday, Bre and Pappy has one of the girls stay overnight and enjoy some one-on-one time with the grandparents. The girls take turns, and sometimes one will stay more than one Wednesday in a row. They each get their time with Bre and Pappy, though.
Here is a typical school morning routine: Mom gets up before the girls and she gets ready for school. After she's ready, she gets the girls up. Helene told me that the girls are really slow risers and sometimes it's a challenge to get them up out of bed. But, once they get up, they get dressed in the clothes that were picked out the night before and they have their breakfast. Ava and Myla love Pop-Tarts, waffles and cereal. Before they leave for school, it is their chore to check on Benson and make sure he has food and water for the day.
Helene does the girls’ hair after they're dressed. She will either fix it in a ponytail, French braid or braids. By the way, when the girls were younger, Helene studied YouTube videos to learn how to French braid. Now, that's planning ahead for girls wanting pretty hairstyles!
Before bed the night before, the book bags were put into the car so there's no forgetting those. The girls take their packed lunches out to the car and all of them listen to the music on the radio on the 15-minute-long drive to school.
Both Ava and Myla were so excited to be featured in this newspaper, especially on their Bre and Pappy's 38th wedding anniversary on Friday, Sept. 15. They can't wait to see their pictures in the newspaper!
"And without that strong foundation, myself and my girls would not be who we are!!" sums up Helene.
On a final note, the word "twincesses" came from the family who had a baby shower for Helene, and the name has just stuck from then on. What lovely, talented, active little princesses these young ladies are!