Monday, April 28, 2008

Wake up sleepy head

Not long ago, when one twin would awaken from a nap before the other, he would relish the time alone with my husband or me. We would cuddle him, read to him, rough-house with him or just carry him around on one hip.
Those days are gone.
Nowadays, we spend that precious alone time trying to distract the wide-eyed twin, who is determined to wake up his brother. They are drawn to each other's cribs like magnets to metal.
Eventually, we give in and the awake twin grabs the rails of the sleeping twin's crib, shaking the bars and yelling until his brother lifts his head and rubs his eyes. Once his job is done, he toddles away, content knowing that his brother will soon be toddling behind him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The "fat" one

It happened again two days ago.
I was taking the boys on a two-mile walk through the neighborhood. The day was a little too warm and the sky was cloudless. A slight breeze took the edge off the heat. Matthew and Jonathan had tummies full of milk, were fresh from a nap and were happy to take in the houses, the trees, the birds and the smell of fresh-cut grass.
They felt good. I felt good.
Then, about ten minutes into our excursion, a minivan pulled over. The driver’s side window came down and a woman I’d met only twice before stuck her head out. She wanted a glimpse of the twins.
I obliged.
Within less than a minute, I regretted it.
“So let’s see,” she said. “He’s the fat one.”
She pointed at Matthew, who had just dropped a pound below his brother due to the loss of appetite that came with a bout of the roseola virus. I was dumbstruck. I found myself stumbling over my words, trying to explain that, generally, the boys are only a few ounces apart. If anything, Jonathan’s cheeks are a bit fuller than Matthew’s.
I should have been prepared. This happens all the time and it happened again half a mile down the road. A woman was trying to help her granddaughter differentiate between the boys and, this time, she identified Jonathan as “the fat one.”
For some people, my boys are like that puzzle I often see in Children’s magazines, the one where two pictures look identical and the challenge is to find the differences between them. Certain people seem obsessed with finding differences between my boys and they present their observations as if they might be new to me.
The “fat” observation is their favorite and the one that concerns me the most. Right now, the boys are too young to be bothered. But their comprehension will not always be so limited. I can only hope that people practice more consideration as the boys grow older.
I needed to vent and I needed a good comeback. So I posted a plea for help on the multiples thread on Cincymoms. Those women are awesome.
I’m not sure that I would ever have the nerve to put their suggestions to use, but their replies diluted my frustration and left me with a chuckle. Please feel free to chuckle with me:

_ We had only budgeted for one child

_ Give confused look..."Identical?! They're not even brothers! This is the neighbor's kid."

_ They're on a paid study for the drug Alli for Tots

_ Which one were you as a child?

_ It is okay if I say you are the fat one?

_ Is that how they distinguish you from your siblings?

_ Yes. One is on Jenny Craig so we can tell them apart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spoon wars

There are some things identical twins do that we parents take for granted.
Today, for the first time, I really thought about the spoons.
It's automatic now. Each time I feed the boys yogurt or cereal or mashed sweet potatoes, I bring three spoons to the table. I can usually get through a few mouthfuls before it happens: one of the boys clenches the rubbed-tipped utensil in his teeth, using every muscle in his little jaws to protect his claim.
As he proudly displays the metal handle that juts from his mouth, he gets a sideways glance from his brother who returns the look with what I swear is a nod.
I reach for a new spoon and lift the food to the mouth of the other twin. Sure enough, his brother clenches in the same manner, claiming a spoon for his own.
Victory is theirs.
Defeated, I pick up spoon number three.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The boys at 14 months (almost 15)

I have not posted photos in a while, so I figured it was time. These were taken over the past few days.

Matthew just loves to sit on his brother. He climbs in baskets and in chairs and sits right on top of him.

Potty training? At least they are interested in the toilet.

Matthew nearly finished emptying the cabinet, but he needed a break. Usually, he does the work while Jonathan plays with everything Matthew throws his way.

And here is Jonathan, enjoying the rewards of Matthew's hard work.

Freedom at last

The weather was beautiful this past weekend, so we took the boys outside for their first opportunity to wander on foot. They are not fully walking yet, so we gave them their push toys and set them free in the cul sac.
We thought they would at least stay together. After all, they are identical twins, who, because life gets in the way and (honestly) it's easier for me, rarely get to go anywhere without each other.
No way.
Neither could care less where the other brother was. They bolted in opposite directions, exploring the pavement, the grass, the sidewalks and our neighbors' garages. Their push toys were their vehicles. They put them in fifth gear and went at full speed.
Yet, both Matthew and Jonathan gripped the handle in that same fiercely-determined way. They both focused on their targets straight ahead, ignoring the teens playing basketball, the two sets of parents out with their preschoolers and their brother and sister, who were running and scootering to keep up with them.
They both preferred lawns to pavement. They both were attracted to the neighbor's seven dogs when they let them out to play (Yes, they have seven. They also have 11 cats). They both turned bright red from the heat of the day and their exertion after about 40 minutes, stumbling, crying and struggling to go on when their little legs could take no more.
They both fought to remain outside and guzzled just about equal amounts of water when we finally carried them, kicking and wailing, into the house. They both ate a ton for dinner that evening.
It makes me wonder.
When we put them to bed that night and they stood in their cribs facing each other, playing their little game where they grab each other's hands, peel them off the crib rails and laugh when the other falls, were they comparing notes from their outing or did they even have to?
Did they already know?