I’ve entered a golden age in the rearing of twins. If by ‘golden’ I mean…
The sun is bright and shining. Warmth cascades down, as I tilt my face upward and say, ‘Oh, wondrous world full of golden light. Golden.’ I laugh and my healthy, glossy hair ripples.
Life is full of bounty. Golden…oh, wait, what the fuck? What’s that smell? Why are things getting darker?
Get me an umbrella! Shit is raining down and ruining my hair just before the Pantene audition!
I had a limited time frame of magic. No straps attached to backpacks. Kids who stayed close to Mama; kids who waited for me as I cheerfully said, ‘Please wait for Mama. Thank you!’
What I forgot is that with young children, everything is a phase. All those trying times and bad things? They pass. So, apparently, do the good. Onward and upward.
I need the help of a twin mama with, say, three year olds. Someone who knows.
Walking is now more exploratory than ever. Where is the patient woman I was? I LIKE that my kids examine stones, try to climb trees, smell flowers. But running away down the pavement/sidewalk when your sibling has just fallen and is bleeding? What do I do?
Darting into the road because you apparently see a ball and I ask you to stay with me?
Running down every drive, trying to fix that goddamn broken fence? Flailing, screaming, laughing at me? Fine.
Going fucking limp and refusing to stand or move? Listen, I know you want to collect acorns. I get that. But….
Woods behind our house. A nice little path. One kid takes off running. I curse and leap after him. He’s so fast at this point, and I’m so crippled. I have to chase him because I trust him less than I trust her.
Once this week it meant leaving her and a man with a giant black dog walked up from the park. Scaring her.
Another time we were walking in the gloaming, and she just froze. Now, I do always say, ‘Stay there, please, Coconut! Mama will be right back.’ Then I either walk back with Snort, or if he’s limp and refusing to walk I call out to her and she follows. Agonizingly slow.
But this time, as it was getting DARK, Snort ran so far and so fast I couldn’t see Coco anymore, and she couldn’t hear me yell for her.
Snort would NOT do anything other than his fantastic limp noodle* impression. Yet if I left him he’d run further. What do you do?
What do you DO?
I know prevention is key. He’s back on the backpack strap for the time being, as we are actually getting into potentially dangerous situations. But when I have not prevented and I’m wrestling a two year old who is freakishly strong and laughing at me while refusing to stand? While burning rage is threatening to explode from me (remember I’ve had a three week long period and, yes, am still bleeding. A lot.) and that hot rage is colliding with cold fear for Coconut, alone in the fucking woods?
Thunderstorm Mama ain’t pretty. She’s scared and really pissed off.
At the park. One kid takes off. I ask the other to come catch up with him, which always works. But this time all her friends are at the park. She lives for friends and her face caves in as she shakes her head sadly no and says, ‘Oh, friends. Coconut’s friends!’ My heart cracks. But…
At this point Snort is a literal entire football pitch away from me. I yell at my friend to alert her of the situation, leave Coconut, and run for Snort (people wonder why I have not healed!). I finally get him just before he runs into the woods. He refuses to turn back or stop.
I see my friend holding hands with my kid and her kid, so I can relax and turn my whole focus to Snort. I engage him in watching planes or blowing trees or something, so we can sit and wait for Coco.
And this hurts me more than it does when I leave her – even bleeding and crying – because yet again her desires and our plans are totally hijacked by her brother.
I love that he’s an adventurer. If he was a singleton he’d have more opportunity to do so without all the attendant struggles. So he’s shortchanged.
As is Coconut – of comfort, of taking the lead and making decisions, of safety.
But more importantly, how am I supposed to walk them both home from playgroup when they are so independent? When I have FIVE twelve inch square pieces of paper dripping with paint and glue?
I can’t do the pushchair anymore as it physically breaks me – I use it once a week for storytime. (playgroup is a 3-5 minute walk for a single adult, alone. It took 35 minutes to get home yesterday even with TMD to help. It used to take us 15 tops. Storytime takes 10-15 minutes for a single adult. Yeah. You see the implications?)
We have entered The Age Of Two.
As always, I’ll have a harder time adjusting than my (awesomely cute, smart, fun, loving) independent and strong-minded children will.
*limp noodling annoys and frustrates me more than all other behaviours combined. It’s the ultimate in control for the child, I guess, especially as I am physically unable to lift and carry a kid, let alone walk while holding a kid.
He’d have no reason to limp noodle if he didn’t have a twin. But since he does…
What do I do about limp noodling, people? When time is short and I have a second child that often requires immediate attention? What do I DO?