I called each of the twins one morning last week. Each of them answered with that "I know what's coming now and I just have to endure it" tone of voice.
"Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. You are now older than your mommieeeeee, and I'm better looking too."
OK. That was tacky. But it was my version of a birthday spanking. I call them every year bright and early so they won't wake up thinking their mother has forgotten. I'm sure they love it.
I used to lie about my age. Now, in order to make that work at all, I have to also lie about my children's age. They aren't getting any younger, after all, but I am. Life's so complicated.
I got to thinking after the musicale about what I was doing, umm, a few years ago on that day.
Giving birth to twins is right up there with having two ice picks in your eye and getting two messages on the same day, one from the IRS and the other from the FBI, both listing numbers and urging you to "please call regarding the investigation."
From the first moments of their lives, when Sheila Christine made a surprise entrance 15 minutes after Anthony Christopher - the only baby my doctor had told me about - there was trouble.
Christopher never let his sister forget that he was a quarter of an hour older. Now, of course, that is not the bragging point it was when they were 7.
Neither of them ever got to be an only child, and they had to share bottles, diapers and attention. But they drew crowds wherever they went, so there was always enough attention to go around.
"Are they identical?"
The frequently asked question used to drive me nuts. I felt like pulling down their diapers and shouting, "You tell me!"
They began arguing in the womb. Either that or the two of them were taking kickboxing lessons in there.
And the first thing Christopher did when my mom dressed them up in the darling outfits she'd made them was to eat the bow that she'd carefully taped to the top of his sister's head.
Then they learned to talk, and a new dimension was added.
"Mom, he's looking at me. Make him stop looking at me!" came the whine from the breakfast table most mornings. "I am not looking at her. She's looking at me. Make her stop looking at me."
I didn't want to look at either of them, knowing that one or both most certainly had upended their oatmeal bowls over their heads.
They've grown up in this column. At times, I think, they wished I were an accountant rather than a columnist with space to fill and an ulterior motive with the innocent question, "So, how was your day?"
She was embarrassed when I wrote about her getting attached to her mattress by an errant bedspring. Paramedics had to surgically separate her backside from her bed.
He was mad for a really long time when I printed his home telephone number here with a request for readers to remind him to call his mother. How was I to guess the number of people willing to dial a stranger at 3 a.m. and shout, "Think of what she's done for you!"
He was mortified when I wrote that he had "cleaned" his apartment for a special date by putting the dirty dishes under the sink and super-glued the cabinet door closed.
She married the Yankee just to spite me. After the divorce, she grudgingly admitted I had been right about the jerk.
The propensity to have twins runs in families, I've learned. My mother was a twin. Her mom was so aggravated at the turn of events that she named them Nanny and Fanny with no middle names.
Mom hated her name but didn't care for the monikers I gave my twins either. "You should have named them Tracy and Stacy," she would say one week. Or, "What about Kelly and Shelly? Chelsea Kay and Kelsey Ray?"
"Plain old Jack and Jill would have been better," my dad would chime in.
I would smile and nod and grit my teeth.
Now my niece, Lacey, has a 2-year-old boy-girl pair, and they look amazingly like Chris and Christi at that age.
There's something about a couple of look-alike toddlers that makes you fall in love, but it took the entire family at my house on Christmas Day to keep them happy and out of trouble. Their names are Brody and Presley.
Mother would have gone for Jenny and Benny.
But twins by any other name are still a handful.
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.