The twins turned 27 months last week. It’s funny how after they turned two, I stopped counting by months. Two is two, though I imagine it’ll look a lot different as they get closer to three.
Autumn life in this house is always insane. Back to school means back to lesson plan writing, paper correcting, and 1,000 other to-do’s. It means getting back into a routine with our nanny, who has decided to give us lesson plans every month of what she will be doing with the kids, complete with a weekly theme and daily art projects, books, and math learning time (yes, I know we’re lucky). Back to school means trying to get dinner cooked quick, and searching for recipes that are simple and easy yet tasty and crockpot-able. It means we try to fit all the chores, cleaning, bigger house tasks, and family time on the weekends when there simply aren’t enough hours to do these things. And for us in New England, it means beautiful fall weather. We get outside every day, multiple times a day. The long winter will be here soon and the sun will set early, so we get out as much as we can.
This year, our current weekdays mean that when I get home around 4:00, I get shoes and coats on and we head outside until 5:00-5:30, depending on weather. The twins love coloring with chalk all along my car bumper. B goes on the swings. C goes down the slide into giant piles of leaves we haven’t raked up yet. I pull them down the street in their wagon, or they push their little cars and strollers up and down the sidewalk. We step on 5,396 crunchy leaves. We pet the neighbor’s dog, who walks by at the same time every afternoon. When Daddy gets home, they check the mail with him and browse through it on the driveway, C declaring, “I’m reading the mail, Mommy!” They sit in his driver’s seat and honk his horn. And at 5:30, we declare it “TV time”, because it allows us to make dinner in peace as they watch nursery rhymes on YouTube. It’s all the same, every single day. I enjoy the predictability. I like how I’m able to shut off my work brain in order to declare a leaf “super crunchy” or “still soft”. It’s hectic, but it’s nice. Freezing temperatures in a few months will sometimes take that entire routine apart, so I suppose we’ll have to come up with an indoor plan.
I’m finding two years old to be (mostly) fun. The twins are extremely passionate about everything, all the time. Their vocabularies are taking off daily, with B’s only slightly behind C’s. He still expresses himself in multi-word sentences, but they typically aren’t complete sentences, as C’s are.
B will say things like “B has ouchie on leg.” “B is all done, play again later.” “Mommy wash B, not Daddy.” “B likes orange, not purple.” Those types of sentences. He still hits and throws toys, on occasion. Ever since this day, we haven’t been doing a time-out. I notice still that the more of a deal I make out of it – especially if I raise my voice, he either laughs or smirks at me, which means that doesn’t work. We do remove him from the situation, firmly tell him we do not hit, and I now frequently make him say to C, “I’m sorry I hit you C” and then he “shows her nice” by either hugging her or rubbing the spot where he hit her. I’m not a huge fan of the apologizing but I’m still doing it, because it just seems like…something he needs to do, even if he doesn’t mean it. I’m not expecting him to mean it right now, I’m hoping to help form the habit that we apologize when we hurt someone.
I’ve been watching B’s reactions change when he’s angry as he’s gotten older. In the past if he was upset he would immediately hit. Then over the past few months, he’s started opening his mouth and yelling a loud, long yell, even shaking as he does it. Followed by a hit. Recently, he’s yelling that loud yell, which I don’t make him stop. When he’s finished, I say to him, “You’re very angry, aren’t you B? You can say, “I’m angry right now!” (And sometimes he will.) Or I’ll say, “Why don’t we try again or go play a different game?” And he does these things – without the hitting. Maybe, hopefully, he will grow out of hitting soon. The anger though – I’m not sure what to make of it. C doesn’t get angry much, not like that. His yell is something he can’t control and he does it just once, and looks at you. It seems as if the yell is starting to replace the hit. Sometimes he’ll then even ask you, “B throw this toy?” “B hit C?” As if he wants our permission. I don’t know, I assume it’s normal – he gets frustrated.
On the positive side, B is a little love. He loves to snuggle, he likes to be cozy and wrapped up in warm things. He is able to joke around with us (C hasn’t figured that one out yet). He asks us an easy question and when we ask him for the answer, he purposely says the wrong one, knowing we will respond with a funny look which makes him laugh. He loves to laugh at the silly things life brings him, like a piece of food in a weird shape or a Matchbox car that goes down the ramp sidewise and flips. Speaking of cars, he is absolutely passionate about moving vehicles of any sort. Matchbox cars and trucks are his favorite toys, “The Wheels on the Bus” is his favorite song, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry is his favorite book…etc. It’s easy to make him happy wherever we go, because any construction or emergency vehicle or loud airplane or even the forklifts at Home Depot making him laugh and shriek. Then he’ll say, “B loves this forklift.” His communication with us has come a long way and we’re pleased with where he’s at right now.
C is a firecracker. She’s bossy, sassy, and sweet all at the same time. I was very bossy in my youth…this quality doesn’t exactly surprise me. She demonstrates this skill in her tone of voice. “No, B, that’s MY cat. You can’t have it!” She’s sassy – a few weeks ago she suddenly said, “Hey Mom, come ‘ere! I have to show you something!” No clue where she got the “Mom” from, or the direct order to come to her. Or she’ll say, “B come here right now!” We always make her do it again by “asking nicely” and she knows exactly how to do that. She’s much smaller than B, so her speech sounds like a mouse squeaking to me. Which is why it’s comical and adorable when she says these crazy sentences. Like a few days ago, I put on Wheel of Fortune as I put her Pj’s on. She saw an H and said, “Oh, H. That’s the letter we’re learning about this week, Mommy.” And I had to respond with, “What did you just say?”
She is also a little love, but you have to catch her and tickle her first. She loves to laugh and does so constantly. She gives out fewer kisses but loves to seek your approval, sneaking looks at you out of the corner of her eye as she does something cute. She knows when she says something adults will like or find appealing. She’s very aware of what she says to you and chooses her words carefully. She isn’t passionate about any one topic as B is, but she really loves dogs and cats. She’s definitely a dog person and enjoys every dog she sees. She likes to do whatever her brother is doing and plays cars all the time, even though I know she doesn’t really care about them. If he’s laughing, she’s laughing. Basically, she just likes to be where the action is. Though if B isn’t at home, she can completely entertain herself with toys without needing much from me at all. She’s independent and fearless.
I sometimes feel like they are older than two. For one thing, they’re both pretty smart, as they know all their letter sounds, the full alphabet, numbers up to 30, some basic, basic addition concepts, how to spell their names, and my favorite, their pre-reading and writing skills (C knows how to make a “C”), with both of them “reading” words with their finger. And I have to say those things as their mom, because I’m proud of them as a reflection of my husband and I. And because we have family who read this blog who want updates. :)
But more than that, we talk to them as if they are older than two. Sometimes we’re explaining things probably more than we need to (no, Daddy, B isn’t understanding your basic physics concepts you’re trying to teach him), but more often than not, when we take the time to explain things to them, it quiets them. They settle down, they listen. They might not understand, but then again who knows?
They are starting to really like each other as friends, which is lovely. They can play together without me there. Really together, not as parallel play. They have their own conversations. They laugh in their cribs for a good 20-30 minutes at night before falling asleep. This week’s current crib laugh is over the silliness of the word, “pointy”.
So as always with these long updates, they’re doing great. We’re doing great too, and we’re trying to get through the fall. I’ve got a week to create their Halloween costumes and write an entire math unit, our garage wooden door frames rotted out and fell apart and our rugs haven’t been vacuumed in two weeks. Is it summer yet?