Tuesday, June 17, 2014

tODDlers

When Michael gets home from work we put the kids in the wagon and take a few laps around our neighborhood.  They love the fresh air and it gives Michael and me a chance to swap stories from our day.  I love sharing stories about the kids and right now they are in such a strange stage that I end up laughing through most of them. 

Here are a few items that happened just yesterday:

1.  Sloane had a dramatic conversation with her reflection.  It ended with a giant wave and then she raised her shirt and flashed herself.

2.  Jude loves straddling his sister.  If he sees her on the floor, he stops whatever he is doing so he can sit on his sister.  She doesn't mind it.  I do.

3.  They both love the computer keyboard.  I left the room for one minute and came back to two toddlers on the computer chair, typing away on the keyboard.  When I told them "No!" and "Get down!" they both stood up and BANGED on the keys.  Definitely typing at least 90 words a minute.

4.  Neither use many words, but they "talk" to each other all of the time.  I took them outside to walk up and down our street and asked them to hold hands.  They grabbed hands and proceeded to have a full blown conversation with one another.  At one point Sloane stopped and pointed to something, babbled to Jude, and then he pointed at the same thing.  I looked in the general direction and saw NOTHING.  What are you two talking about?  How am I already the third wheel?

It's not uncommon for me to finish my stories, look at Michael, and say, "They're so odd."  And then it hit me.  Toddler.  tODDler.  The name fits.

They are also so different from one another.  So very different.  This has been a huge struggle for me lately.  I remember seeing this quote a few years ago and it really hit home with me personally.


Now it hits home on an entirely different level - with my babies.  I am constantly comparing them to other children and (even worse) to each other.  It's horrible but I do it every single day.  It steals my joy.  You know what else?  It steals their joy.  For 18 months I let them give me cues of what they wanted to do.  I've always kept to a schedule, but I made sure play time was exactly that: PLAY time.  We learned at their 18 month appointment that they're behind in speech, which is fairly normal for twins, but it flipped a switch inside of me.  Since then, I have become a paranoid mother who notices what every other child is saying.  Play time has essentially become school time and it's pretty clear that when I'm at my worst, so are they.  When that happens, I have successfully managed to steal their joy. 

Someone emailed Amber and me at Twin Talk the other day and asked if she could write a post about PPD.  She mentioned we make it all look so easy.  I laughed out loud because right before I read her email I'd had a meltdown about something child-related.  Honestly, I did find their first year to be pretty easy.  They were happy babies, great sleepers, and terrific eaters.  tODDlerdom is a whole new world and I find myself struggling quite a bit.  When you have babies, there's only so many decisions you can make.  Most areas seem to be black/white.  Toddlers?  All grey.  So much grey.  Too much grey.

No tidy bow on this post.  My dad says the most important thing you can do as a parent is love your kids.  I know I'm doing that right.  Everything else?  Not a clue.

5 comments:

Laura said...

I love the stories of their interaction! I always wonder what is going on in their little heads :) I had a rough time during the "baby" period with both of my kids, but I quickly realized that though sleep deprivation and constant breastfeeding is no walk in the park, it is much different than when you reach the 15ish month mark, and you start to worry about discipline, and teaching them words, letters, numbers, how to share, etc. And I realize it only gets more complicated! Now with a 4 year old, there are new issues like lying vs. telling make-believe stories, and lots of other things. This is a super long comment, but I just wanted to say I can relate to that part of your post BIG time :)
P.S. I think odd kids are the most fun, and it means they are going to be super interesting when they get older.

Kaitlin said...

Parenting is hard and parenting tots is confusing and hard! Leighton is about to leave toddlerhood and enter full on childhood and I constantly ask myself on a daily basis if I am doing enough to prepare her for the world or if she understands the lessons I am trying to teach her. I think I'll take your dad's advice and just love her-- that I'm sure she'll get :)

Aubrey said...

It's strange and amazing how every mama is different. One mom's walk in the park is another mom's stressful situation.

I love the infant phase and the toddler (and tODDler) era is awesome. But having full on KIDS with fears and hopes and sass and the ability to COMPLETELY IGNORE ME AS THOUGH I AM NOT EVEN IN THE ROOM is so dang hard! I'm not saying the future is more difficult from where you are now, I'm just saying that it's harder for ME. Somewhere along the line (age five-ish?) I started doubting myself constantly. There are so many situations that I handle poorly. Some days I'm sure that I don't even do a good job communicating (verbally and through my actions) how much I love them.

Right, so no neat, tidy bow. But that's how parenting is, right? All we can do is try our best! There is no one on earth better at mothering your kids than YOU.

Anonymous said...

I have 19 month old twin girls and my older daughter was ahead in her speech (probably still is) at their age. I feel like I remember her talking more/speaking more words strung together at this age. It's stressful to me too. I can only do so much with them all at one time. I do think they understand more commands and other things than my first daughter did. I really enjoy your blog, especially because my girls are only weeks younger than yours.

Bitz said...

Great post, Meredith! I find myself wondering if my little girl will just start talking but she only knows so many words and babbles more often than not. I also do like you do and compare her to the other kids her age. I really just want to see if she will just start talking on her own but something is tugging at me to ask for more advice and help too.

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