Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: Jonathan and Matthew are now interested enough in playing with each other that they tend to stay together when they are outside. This means that I can sometimes let them play beyond their fenced-in area.

The bad: At 18 months, they are now tall enough and strong enough to climb up on everything-- the sofa; the recliner; the dining room and kitchen chairs. They can easily reach items that are in the middle of the tables. They especially like pens, scissors and newspapers.

The ugly: When Jonathan wants something from Matthew, he says nothing. He simply comes up behind him, grabs him by the face and rips the item out of his hand while Matthew tries to scream. When Matthew actually sees Jonathan approaching and has nowhere to run, he offers Jonathan the toy and then cries. Time to enroll Matthew in karate, perhaps?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Little strippers

The boys taught each other a few new tricks today.
First Jonathan pulled off his shorts. Matthew watched with enthusiasm, stepping out of his own shorts moments later.
Cute, I thought, as they ran around the house in their diapers.
I returned to my sink full of dishes.
It was not so cute about five minutes later when Matthew came running into the kitchen fully naked, and proudly handed me his diaper. I peered into the living room, where Jonathan had just managed to peel his diaper off and was holding it up like a trophy.
About an hour ago, I zipped them into sleep sacs--taking comfort in the knowledge that they cannot get their hands inside to strip off their pants and diapers--and I prayed that by tomorrow they will forget.
But they won't.
They never forget.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Budding artists at last

Once a month, I tape sheets of white paper to the trays of the boys' highchairs, slide Matthew and Jonathan into their seats and hand them crayons. I take my own crayons and demonstrate, drawing squares, smiley faces and hearts.
Then I watch as they chomp on the crayons and shred the paper.
Today, I prepared for the same scenario.
But today was different.
Today, they colored.
The pictures are not all that interesting. They are a compilation of scribbles. But what is interesting is this: Jonathan and Matthew did not watch each other or follow one or another's lead. They did not even wait for my demonstration.
On this very same day in this very same moment, they each independently picked up their crayons and put the waxy sticks of color to the paper. They simultaneously achieved the appropriate mix of fine-motor-skill development, curiosity and desire that enabled them to produce scribbles.
And when they were done?
They ate the crayons.

Jonathan's first-ever work of art is on the top. Matthew's is below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Watch the hips

We are hitting the road again for a week, the last vacation until next summer. The Boys will return when we do.

I was waiting for my daughter at dance camp last week when I ran into a mom who has a son about the same age as the twins. She was leaning over a box of used tap shoes, looking for a pair that would fit her daughter. Her toddler was standing beside her, chewing on a pacifier and clinging to her leg.
She asked where the twins were.
"I left them with a sitter," I said. "I can't bring them in here. They'll scream if I leave them in the stroller and they'll run into two different studios if I let them out."
She looked down at her son.
"Not him," she laughed.
That's when it hit me.
That's the difference between the twins and so many of their singleton peers.
Many toddlers find the world to be a frightening place. They might venture a few feet away from mom or dad in unfamiliar territory, many more than a few if they are certain their parents will chase after them. But, for the most part, they have a necessary sense of wariness about their surroundings.
They either wander closely or, like her son, they cling.
Not the twins.
Jonathan and Matthew are full of confidence and lacking in fear no matter where we drop them. They have a routine. They rarely bust into cabinets, yank cloths off tables or topple lamps immediately.
They are team and, like any good team, they have a strategy.
First, they explore the entire perimeter, traveling in opposite directions, sometimes faking right or left, but ultimately waiting for the just right moment to put their game plan into action. They wait until the defense is at ease with their movements, until their opponents mistake their intensity for dullness, for a love of repetition.
They simply wait.
Circling, circling, circling.
Until finally their guardians let their guard down.
The break from their circular pattern is sudden and well-executed. They dash in opposite directions, their eyes focused on their targets, energized to tackle any and all obstacles in their way. They are fierce in their purpose and determined to win whether the trophy is an open garbage can, a glass of water perched on the edge of a counter or an adventure in a forbidden room in a house.
We know they way they operate.
We have reviewed the tapes.
So, as we travel to Minneapolis this week, where they will meet many of their aunts, uncles and cousins, and see their grandma and grandpa for the first time since they were babies, I have this to say to their Uncle David and Aunt Jean, who are hosting this reunion.
Don't be distracted their sweet smiles, their infectious giggles or their blond curls.
As my high school soccer coach used the say, if you want to play good defense, watch the hips.
It's all in the hips.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The quints in our backyard

Okay, so these bunnies are quintuplets, not identical twins. But my husband found them under the Little Tykes play set where the boys play in our backyard. I had to share. Only a few days later, they were already running around the yard.