Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two Years Old?!

I don’t know why I have such an insurmountable mental block when it comes to writing about Elliot and Leah and our lives together. Actually, I am pretty certain it is just a lack of confidence in my ability to adequately express the impact that these two small humans have on every aspect of my life. How can I describe how brilliant they are? What comic geniuses they are? How incredibly adorable they are? How skilled they are at pressing every one of my buttons when they are in the mood? It’s intimidating and overwhelming and therefore I just don’t do it. However, in honor of their second birthday, which came on way too fast, I am ignoring my urge to procrastinate for another month and I will publish an update, however inadequate.

Leah continues to be our independent little smarty-pants. Someone told her she was two years old and she grabbed the reins of that label and hasn’t let go. She is able to have a legitimate conversation. Ask her what she did today, and she will tell you exactly that, in full sentences and the correct tense. Ask her what she wants for breakfast and she says “I want waffles.” We’re working on adding “please”. Leah is still a cuddlehound. She loves hugs and kisses and general affection just as she always has. She is very good at playing by herself and, over the past month or so, has begun imaginary play with her toys and dolls. It is achingly cute to watch Leah play with her “little babies” saying “baby needs milk!” or “baby tired”. Leah and Elliot have been in back-up daycare over the past two weeks while Lina is on vacation, and Leah just loves to play mommy to the babies in the room. She will walk up to a crying baby to offer it a toy and she talks about them when she gets home. She loves her doll, Baby, and I can occasionally get Leah to do something (allow me to apply sunscreen, cut her nails etc) if I do it to Baby first. She also enjoys taking care of her brother and loves to give him bites of her food and to try and help get him dressed. It’s incredibly cute.

Leah is expressing her independence and desire to control her little world in some amusing ways. She hates buttons, and says “no buttons!” whenever we put her clothing on. We have to either close the buttons prior to putting the clothing item on her or just leave them open, which isn’t ideal, especially for pants. Leah must put her shoes (crocs only) on by herself and the strap *must* be “up not down,” which is actually a slightly annoying requirement, as the shoes do not stay on nearly as well with the strap up. Leah refuses outright to wear any diapers other than “Cookie dipey’s,” which means the diapers with Cookie Monster on them and represent less than ¼ of the box. This requires a battle of wits every diaper change when I have to present her with a Cookie diaper and then pull a last minute switcheroo, which she often catches. When we get in the car, we ask Leah which seat she wants, because she will freak out if we put her in the wrong seat. Elliot, thankfully, is cool with whatever.

Leah is the sweetest sugar pie in the world, but watch out if she doesn’t get what she wants. The tantrums over the last couple weeks have been epic. I am talking about 15 minutes of screaming, kicking, crying and just outright anger. And one just doesn’t know when they are coming or what will trigger them. The past month has been a bit of an upheaval with a lack of continuity in our routine. Prior to the past two weeks in back-up daycare, I was home with them for a week and prior to that we were on vacation with Grandma, Grandpa, Tia Sarah and Tio Jon in Maine, so I am eager to see what baseline is for Leah after we get her back into a routine.

Elliot is, well, Elliot. As anyone who spends time with him says, “Elliot is such a boy!” And he really is. Elliot is super mellow about most things. He doesn’t have the need to control everything like Leah does and can usually go with the flow. He has an incredibly vocabulary and loves exclamatory statements like: “look at them all!” and “it’s SO BIG!” He also often calls large things “a little scary!” and Leah says “No, Elliot! It’s a nice [car/moose/truck/tree/etc].” Elliot loves music and loves to sing. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” continues to be his favorite song. He is a super sweet boy, as long as he is kept very busy.

Elliot doesn’t have the attention span for sitting down and participating in activities like Leah does. He can sit down with play-doh or crayons for about 3 minutes before he starts throwing or climbing or knocking over all the toys in the room. He throws literally everything. Food, toys, art supplies, everything. For that reason, he tends to spend a few minutes in time-out each day. So far it hasn’t been a particularly effective disciplinary tact, but consistency is key, I hope, and I’m not sure what else to do. Elliot can definitely be a troublemaker. He will look us in the eye as he is about to do something he knows he is not supposed to do and he will do it anyway. He can be incredibly infuriating, but it’s impossible to stay angry at him. It is because of Elliot that it is necessary to get out of the house and do something active twice a day. Keeping him in the house is a recipe for incredibly frustrated parents.

Elliot is still pretty athletic (as two year olds go). He can drop kick a ball, no matter the size, and can throw with more accuracy than I can. I definitely want to get him into a soccer class as an energy outlet, but also because I think he will love it.

The funny thing about Elliot, is that while he’s “such a boy,” he is far less independent than Leah. While she marched right in and began to play at each recent daycare drop-off, Elliot was clinging to me until the bitter end and crying when I left. It was sad, but also kind of cute to see my little guy so upset to see his mommy leave. And he is very happy to see me at the end of the day. What? I like to feel loved, okay?

Both Elliot and Leah are great little climbers. They can climb the mini rock walls at playgrounds, as well as wooden and rope ladders. They love chasing each other up and down slides and are really willing to do anything at playgrounds, even activities meant for much older kids. I have had more than one person tell me how impressive they are for two year olds to be able to do some of the things they do. Yes, I’m bragging a little. Other than exploring all the local playgrounds, they are also enjoying “swimming” or wading at Crystal Lake and they loved the ocean in Maine and at Wingaersheek Beach in Glouchester. Leah took to the ocean (“moving water” according to Elliot) with no problem. Characteristically, Elliot was a bit more cautious, but quickly acclimated to beach life and looked like a little surfer boy by the end of our Maine trip. They both, particularly Elliot, love to get wet at the splash park in Brookline.

Since I have been driving them to and from Boston for daycare these two weeks, I have enjoyed quite a bit of time with them in the car. Their conversations have been hilarious. Mostly one of them points something out and the other either says it louder or denies its existence and says it’s something else. This can go on for a long time. They sing songs together and laugh at each other for reasons unbeknownst to me. I love that I have twins for many reasons, including the privilege of witnessing their interactions with each other as they grow up. It is hilarious and really amazing.

This past weekend we hosted a birthday party at our house. Many of our friends and relatives came to celebrate Leah and Elliot and summer and the gorgeous day. Craig cooked up an incredible Mexican feast with pulled chicken, pulled pork, homemade beans, guacamole, fresh margaritas etc. The kids bashed open a piñata and played pin-the-tail on the donkey and just ran around like little animals. It was awesome and Leah and Elliot, despite picking up colds in daycare, and Leah having a pretty bad rash, loved it (mostly the cupcakes). The second year was even better than the insanity of the first year with these guys. Everyday, even the most frustrating ones, I am so thankful that I have these two crazy kids because, just as I suspected it would, life with Leah and Elliot keeps getting better.

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