My niece and nephew were born last week. Another set of twins! I am beyond excited for my brother, his wife, and their older kids, 8 and 6 years old. I can only imagine the amazingly fun times ahead of them. My 8 year old niece is surely in heaven with these two little baby dolls at home! It’s pretty sweet to have gotten boy/girl twins, so no one is getting ganged up on! Seeing pictures of these precious little twins makes me realize just how far from babies my two babies are.
They are champions of potty training. They moved out of the church nursery into the toddler class and even bring home coloring pages from their lesson. They sit in boosters, not high chairs. They can put on their own shirts, if you give them credit for backwards or an arm out the neck hole. They can operate an iPad better than most adults. They also correct me when I use the cutesy baby word for something from when they used to mispronounce it, “No mama, waffle not faffle.” They can tell me what they like and dislike. Well, they can tell me just about anything.
Avery is a social butterfly. To say she is talkative is not an adequate description. She talks pretty much all of the time. I already foresee the notes I’m going to get from teachers. She even managed to get a hold of my phone while I was in the kitchen and placed a call to her grandma. I heard her chatting, but she’s always chatting, so I didn’t realize she was having a conversation until I walked back in the room, and she coolly informed me, “I talking to Nenna.” Most mornings, Avery and Lily get to come snuggle in bed with us and watch some cartoons until we have to get up and get going. The other morning, after Avery finished her potty time, she walked into our bedroom with her arms spread wide, and she declared, “I like this!” I told her, “I like this too.” While the girls were playing together and doing their own thing, Avery grabbed Lily by the shoulders, a move that caught my eye lest violence ensue, looked straight in Lily’s face, and said, “Sister, you’re the best!” Melt my heart, why don’t you? One Sunday afternoon, all four of us were enjoying some time outside. The girls love exploring every inch of the yard, picking up every rock and stick, talking to any insect that happens to cross their paths. I was watching Noel chasing them around, just smiling to myself, and as Avery ran towards me, she said, “Mama, Mama, Happy Mama!” Yes, I am a happy Mama.
Lily is woman of fewer words. Her main topics of conversation are Mickey Mouse, the fact that her dada is at work, and Go Go GO!! For a large portion of every day, Lily runs around every inch of the house or yard or car lot, exclaiming, “Go Go GO!!” As busy as she is, nothing stops her in her tracks like the sound of her sister crying. Avery had a total DEFCON 1 meltdown over the fact that I gave her a baby bath towel to dry off with after her bath, and it didn’t fully encase her body in fluffy cuddliness like a full size towel. I walked out of the bathroom, refusing to legitimize her complaint. Lily ran to her from another room. Avery had lain her forehead on the edge of the tub and was sobbing; Lily put her head on the tub, facing Avery, and patted her back, saying, “What’s wrong, Abee? It’s okay.” Just like that, Avery popped up and went to play with her sister. What a blessing to see a small child showing compassion. Part of our bedtime routine is to say a prayer, and then I hold each girl one at a time and say a blessing over her. Lily especially loves this. She watches my lips closely as I speak the same words every night, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” She loves the Amen part best! Last month, we were riding in the car, and I heard Lily talking to herself, repeating the same syllables over and over again, going “ta tak tak, ta tak tak, Amen!” After I listened for a while, I realized she was imitating her nightly blessing. She may not have the first part yet, but she’s got Amen down pat!
These are all lovely anecdotes, and I’m glad I can record and share them. However, there are just as many, probably more, that are at the opposite end of the spectrum. As I sit at my desk writing this post, it’s got crayon scribbles all over it, because this morning Lily climbed on a chair and reached the crayons that I thought were out of her reach. I keep them out of reach because of the obvious reasons, and because Lily finds them delicious. My file cabinet key mysteriously disappeared, with all of our important documents locked up inside of it right when we needed to do our taxes, only to magically reappear in one of their caches of toys. My dad gave them a 4’ tall Mickey Mouse doll for Christmas, and by golly, the first thing they do every morning is remove his shorts. There’s just something unsettling about seeing Mickey sans pantalons. It’s embarrassing when people come over, and Mickey has no shorts on while one of the girls is pushing him around in a toy shopping cart. We have Minnie too, but she has been spared such indignity. These kids have gotten so sneaky and have figured out how to work as a team. If I leave the cable box or mote-mote, Lily’s word for remote control, unguarded for second, they will go to town on it. Both kids will have both hands pushing all of the buttons at once. When I catch them, Avery the smooth talker will tell me, “Don’t worry, Mama. I fix it.” They emptied a container of 300 baby wipes into the toilet. At least I caught that scene before they flushed the toilet; nonetheless, fishing out hundreds of wipes from the toilet was not awesome. They are horrible at sharing with each other and even worse at sharing with friends! Nothing makes you question your parenting like watching your kid snatch a toy out of another child’s hand! Inevitably, when I try to correct the situation, Avery just tells me, “Don’t worry, Mama. It’s okay.” I’m like, “No, it’s not okay that you just shoved that kid out of your way like a deranged shopper on Black Friday.” I just keep reminding myself that someday they’ll learn to share, not eat crayons, not strip off Mickey’s clothes, not steal file cabinet keys, not put things in the toilet that shouldn’t be there, and not destroy the TV. I hope.