Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Their voices emerge

They are speaking.
Really, really speaking and, wow, is it cool.
It all started just after their second birthday, the day I picked up the phone to make the appointment with a speech therapist. I got distracted and planned to call again later. Suddenly, I heard "Bye, bye, truck."
And it just poured out from there.
Three months ago, Matthew and Jonathan would not string two words together. The single words they used were mostly one-syllable words and they often would leave off the ending sounds.
I tried not to worry.
Many online friends with identical boys of similar ages were experiencing the same delays.
The county folks who had evaluated Matthew and Jonathan said they communicated in all other ways, and that they had simply fallen into the habits of twinese or twin language.
They entertained each other and had no desire to please adults with their speaking abilities. The county team suggested sign language, but assured me that Matthew and Jonathan would eventually come around.
Our pediatrician recommended a few therapy sessions anyway just to encourage them to speak and to help ease the frustrations that bring about so many tantrums when children grow intellectually, but are still not able to communicate their needs and desires.
This was the appointment I was trying to make that day in January.
Now my concerns seem silly.
I was in the kitchen this morning when I heard, "Ready, set, go!" from foyer. Then around the corner came Matthew in the lead with the smaller toy shopping cart. Jonathan was at his heels, with the larger one, laughing like crazy.
When I told them they needed to get dressed, Jonathan said, "Shirt? Pants?" and went right for the dresser. He picked up a blue shirt with a ball and net on front and said, "basketball? Shirt on?" clear as day.
The boys can count to ten.
They know their colors.
They know the alphabet and most of the letter sounds.
They say, "One, two, three. Green!" when we stop at a red light.
This morning, as we headed out the door for a three-hour visit to the sitter, Matthew said, "Cole's house?" And that was exactly where we were headed. To the home of our three-year-old neighbor Cole and his nanny, who cares for Matthew and Jonathan two mornings a week.
I answered him and the three of us -- Matthew, Jonathan and I -- had a little conversation about Cole and his little sister and their toy dinosaurs.
We actually had a conversation.
It was so cool.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Just because it's been a while

Matthew plays with the bubble stuff left by the Easter bunny. They don't taste as good as he had hoped.

Jonathan is beginning to understand cameras, the ham!

Jonathan is on the left in red. Matthew is too busy watching Diego rescue Baby Jaguar to care.

Identical twins; fraternal eaters

Our oldest son is vegetarian.
He is 9 and hasn't eaten meat in five years.
Our 7-year-old daughter makes up for her brother's lack of meat consumption. She routinely eats the meat, fruit and vegetables and she leaves the carbs behind. She'll even leave French fries untouched.
I have always figured their eating habits were genetically influenced. After all, our oldest two children are only 17 months apart and they were raised in the same eating environment. I can't imagine what we might have done that would have made such a drastic difference in their eating habits.
But the twins defy my logic.
The other day, I tried an experiment.
I gave the boys hot dogs, PB&J, cheese and green beans for lunch. As expected, Matthew ate all of his hot dog and most of Jonathan's. He had seconds and thirds on green beans. He had one bite of PB&J and none of the cheese.
Jonathan ate two bites of hot dog. He ate all of his PB&J and polished off Matthew's. He ate his own cheese and his brother's and then asked for more. He had seconds on the green beans, but didn't finish his second serving.
Matthew ate the meat and lots veggies.
Jonathan ate the carbs, non-meat protein and a moderate amount of veggies.
This is the pattern that has been developing over the past few months.
I don't get it.
The twins have the same DNA. They have always been offered the same foods at the same times. I would expect some differences in their eating habits; Even though they are identical twins, they are different people with minds and preferences of their own.
But this goes beyond that.
They are emulating the opposite habits of their older brother and sister.
That might make sense if they were around them more often. But, thanks to school, the four children usually eat only dinner together. And at dinner, our oldest son eats what we eat with either beans, or a soy- or whey-based product as a meat substitute.
They don't see his PB&Js or her rolled up salami.
I just don't get it.