I just said, “Okay.” I couldn’t muster the strength to tell her that I had and it didn’t work. I couldn’t muster the strength to tell her that their brand of ornery was immune to the word “No” and harsh tones. I couldn’t muster the strength to tell her that what I was considering involved a cattle prod.
I hear stories about other twins. I hear stories about other little boys. For some reason, and maybe I’m completely wrong in this, I feel my boys are cut from a different cloth – a far more ancient, tribal, dare I say missing link/ancestral type cloth. Whether it’s their squatting to do a puzzle or push a truck across the floor that harkens back to our Neanderthal roots, or their ape-like vocalizations, or the fact they have flung poo at me like monkeys in a zoo cage – I just feel as though these little men of mine say more about our evolution than Darwin himself ever could. They are less men, more animal.
It keeps things interesting, having these two little creatures in the house. Nothing is safe. No one is safe. Family, friends, and even Craig, the Schwan’s man, have become quite skilled at dodging trucks and Little People being thrown at their heads. Thanks to them, we can all list “Ninja-like reflexes” on our resumes under special skills. All the remodeling projects we have discussed doing have gone from “maybe” to “definitely” as they have knocked holes in the walls in the playroom (former and future dining room), torn the window screens, colored on the walls using the painted wooden puzzle pieces from their Melissa and Doug puzzles, dumped a bottle of fabric glue on our bedroom carpet, and peed with some regularity on the playroom floor. This has just been the activity in the last 18 months. A year and a half! That’s it. We have 16 more years, at least, of their presence in our home and I don’t anticipate an improvement. I used to, but my optimism went by the wayside months ago. I now completely understand the phrase uttered by so many tv parents, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”
They are reaching the phase of “THAT’S MINE!” which is articulated in a series of slaps and pushes and headbutts and screams. It happens so fast, too, that I end up being more of an observer than a referee. I am Jane Goodall and they are my chimps. They are reaching the phase where communication is becoming easier because they no longer whine and shake their hands indicating they want something. They now say, “Drink! Mamma! Driiiiink!” or “Shoes! Shoes! Let’s go…outside!”
They each eat more than the rest of us combined. The reason they will probably outweigh their 8 year old sister by Christmas. They are stubborn and headstrong (which I mean both figuratively and literally since several of the dents in the playroom drywall have come from headbutting in protest), they are funny and go out of their way to make us laugh, they are smart and caring and quick to hug and snuggle.
They are also naked. Well, Finn is. Today, Finn naps with duct tape around the waistband of his diaper as it has finally come to this. He has Houdini-ed himself out of everything else we have tried: diaper with a pull-up over it, 2 diapers – one on the right way/one on backwards, and a onesie. I’m certain I will find him all naked in a couple of hours, duct taped diaper stuck to the wall, clothes thrown in his brother’s bed, sheets on the floor, a stuffed animal ripped apart just for the hell of it, and Finn sleeping blissfully in a pile of stuffed animal filling and a puddle of pee. This is par for the course.
My day started at 5:45 a.m. I heard meowing. LOUD meowing. We did not get a cat. It was not a stray cat or even a neighbor’s cat. It was Finn. Finn meows because, you know, being the naked kid just isn’t enough. Finn meows and he meows loudly when he wants attention. He finally meowed loud enough that he woke Jack who, considering the early call time, seemed particularly amused with his kitty-cat brother. Nevermind the fact that, during a diaper change today, Smelly Cat, grabbed his boy business and yelled out, “A clue! A clue!” which literally left me stunned and wondering "What will the second and third clues be?" All this fun (and then some) before ten o’clock.
While I would welcome a calm routine, a break from the norm, I find myself sickly curious at the prospect of what they may do next. Five minutes into a nap last week resulted in Jack jumping out of his crib and me rushing up to find him looking a bit bewildered, but saying, “I okay, mamma” and Finn laughing hysterically, pantless. Each day brings yet another adventure. Adventures that you never truly believe unless you’ve witnessed them first hand…
…which is why I let my mom dish out her advice of “saying no in a harsh tone.” Sometime after she had given me these words of wisdom, she courageously kept the boys for a couple of days. In the matter of a half hour or so, when they were supposed to be napping, they instead climbed out of their pack-n-plays (after having taken off the sheets and thrown out the mattresses), flipped them over, rolled up the 5’ x 7’ rug on the floor, and launched several hard plastic toys at my mom all while giggling uncontrollably. She called to report on their antics, to which I said, “You should say ‘No!’ in a harsh tone.” She was silent for a moment and said, “Screw that! I’m fixing a drink!”