Teacher welcomes twins

Social Studies teacher Mike Sebestyen's newborn twins sleep side by side.

By Brian Park

Staff Writer
What started out as a relatively normal day on Jan. 21 for social sciences teacher Mike Sebestyen– playing with his three-year-old son Matthew and relaxing on a Saturday– turned into a moment he would never forget.
The family arrived at the Advocate Good Shepard Hospital in Barrington around six in the afternoon for the birth of Sebestyen’s twin daughters: Katherine and Caroline.
“We were convinced that we were going to be turning right back around,” Sebestyen said. “But two hours into the process they’re like ‘nope, you’re not going anywhere’.”
Thanks to this event, Sebestyen now has both of his hands full, literally, as he can carry both of his daughters at the same time. He has been a parent to Matthew, but he will have to step up his game now that he has three children.


While Sebestyen knew he was expecting twins, both he and his wife Jennifer were surprised when the had two girls. Sebestyen expected one boy and one girl and his wife expected two boys, but thankfully he got two since he really wanted a daughter. According to Sebestyen, this was a quick process.
“When Katherine is born and they [hospital workers] go ‘it’s another girl!’, I think both of our reactions were kind of like, ‘What?'” Sebestyen said. 

After the birth of the kids, Jennifer is thankfully doing well despite the physical pain she had to go through.
Matthew, along with his dad, is excited about his newborn sisters. He is careful with them and Sebestyen is trying to teach him how to handle his sisters.  He understands that they are there and not leaving, but does not get that he’s so much bigger than them and that they are so fragile at this point.
“He doesn’t even understand that even just  touching their head is something he can’t do,” Sebestyen said. “But he’s very good with them; he wants to hold them and help and  do whatever he can.”

As for the girls, Caroline was born two minutes before Katherine, making her the older sister. They are not identical, so there are distinctive features between the two.
“[Caroline] almost looks like me right now in terms of sideburns and everything,” Sebesyten said. “Katherine is almost like she has a crewcut; it’s very much more cropped.”
Another difference between his daughters is that Katherine is a little bit more longer lengthwise than Caroline, considering the fact it is not by height because they can’t stand yet.
Additionally, their cries and the way they sneeze are even different, according to Sebestyen.
“Caroline always sneezes three times in a row,” Sebesyten said. “Katherine doesn’t do that.”
However, Katherine did not have fully inflated lungs when she was born, so she was put through some added oxygen help. In addition, she received help to regulate her temperature and to be able to eat properly. After that, it was all okay.
 “Any time your child is hurt or is in a position you feel powerless to help, I can’t describe how scary that experience is,” Sebestyen said. “I don’t want to say I felt like it this senario, because I knew they[hospital workers] were doing stuff, but  I just didn’t know what was going on.”
In the coming days, Sebestyen can expect things to heat up.
“It’s going to be completely out of control,” Sebestyen said. “It’s going to be hectic as hectic can be. It will also be as fun as fun can be.”
However, there can be some challenging work involved as for taking care of the kids. According to Jennifer, Sebestyen is usually in charge of bath time, story time, and bed time, which gives Jennifer a little time to relax and recharge. She also thinks that her husband is going to be a bit more relaxed and mellow with the birth of their twin daughters. 
He also loves to sing to the girls, specifically the Sesame Street song, ‘C is for cookie’,” Jennifer said. “Matthew now likes to copy Daddy and sing this same song to the babies.” 
With two newborn daughters at home, Sebestyen will have to continually find ways to somehow balance his teaching schedule with his family life. So instead of grading papers at home, he knows he has to be more efficient with time and find some time at school to grade them. He will need to find more balance in the fall due to football season. 
“You find a way to balance, you don’t lose focus on the ultimate picture here, which is you have three beautiful children in the world,” Sebestyen said. “Nothing is ever so bad or out of control that you can’t take care of it.”
During the busy football season, Sebestyen finds ways to have family time. According to Jennifer, they have been able to enjoy trips during his busiest time to visit places, such as to the apple orchard, zoo, museums, etc.
I know it tears him up to be away for those long hours, sometimes leaving before the kids get up and returning home after they are asleep,” Jennifer said. “That is why he feels it is so important to be involved in their lives when he does have time at home.” 
From the experiences he had with his children, Sebestyen has learned how to be firm but kind within a relationship and how everything can be a teaching moment. The one thing he learned from his own parents, which they were great at, was being selfless, and he is trying to apply that to his life. 
“It’s hard to give up your self and realize at times– and I’ve gotten better at this– you aren’t your own person anymore,” Sebestyen said. “I don’t make decisions for me, I make decisions for my wife, I make decisions for my children; when I make my decisions, they’re their decisions.” 
According to Sebestyen, being selfless is a skill that takes time do develop, not a skill you can just acquire overnight. 
I think the kids are going to learn from him: responsibility, loyalty, gratitude, honesty, balance and a true love for family,” Jennifer said. “They will see how he works very hard at his job to provide for us, but at the same time they will see how much fun he has enjoying family time or one-on-one time with each of them.” 
For the time being, Sebestyen does not concern himself with the amount of time he spends with his daughters and looks foward to just watching them grow every day. What matters to him is spending quality time whenever he is around his children; he believes that is the key.
“If you start looking too far into the future, before you know it, the whole experience is gone,” Sebestyen said. “I don’t want that. I want to enjoy each day… I’m in no rush for them to get old, I’m in no rush for them to do anything more than just what today brings. That’s all.”