My dearest girls,
Yesterday, you turned 2 years old. That fact kind of blows my mind. Two whole years.
In many ways, it's been the longest, hardest two years of my life. Having twins is a hard enough life event on its own, but we coupled it with having a 4 year old, Mama's job that she started just a few weeks after you were born and requires crazy hours, a promotion with new responsibilities at my job... it's all added up to a level of exhaustion that I really could not even fathom before you came along. One thing I’ll say for us McAuleys though: we more than just survived as a family—we've thrived. And, things are getting a little bit easier day by day. Kinda. Sorta. Or at least, that's what mama and I tell each other while drinking large amount of red wine.
I feel like I should qualify the word "easier". On the easier side, you play more independently, bite less, and sleep more. You communicate your needs more effectively. You walk from Point A to Point B, which is helpful because I loathe baby strollers and physically can’t carry you all the time in all circumstances. You don't put (as many) small choking hazards in your mouths. You will sit and watch a movie or a show for at least a few minutes at a time, which is helpful when I really don't have any more gas in the tank.
But things are definitely not "easy." You still don't have all the words you need to explain what you want, and you're both master tantrum throwers. You are more mobile, which as I mentioned is a good thing, but it also means that you get into trouble faster. Whereas when you were little you were contained, you now vaguely resemble a hurricane. Or a tornado. Or a volcano. Or all three happening at once.
Even simple things are bigger, louder, and more hectic. You’ve started to go to school five days a week now. It’s easier in the sense that now it’s just part of our regular morning routine instead of the exception in our week, but that doesn’t mean the physical act is easy... it's a multi-part dance of getting you out of bed, dressed (you both hate clothes), fed (something other than munchkins or gummies), into the car (you can guess how much you love being restrained), and into school (without letting you run into traffic).
Last week, Hayden, you took it to whole new level in totally epic fashion. We arrived at school. Per usual, I put your shoes on in the parking lot (because lord knows putting them on before we leave the house is a total waste of time since the second you’re in the car you both kick them off). Hayden, you decided that day was a day you hated shoes, so you were screaming wildly. I gave you the keys to play with and distract you. It worked. Then I took Quinn out of the car and asked Mason to hold hands while I leaned in to unbuckle you, because, yes, I rely on your 4 year old brother to keep you both safe in the parking lot while I sherpa everyone the 10’ from the car to the door (Don't worry, he's a very mature 4. Um, I mean 4 and a half). In the few seconds that it took to get Quinn and Mason situated, you jumped to the front seat. No big deal, right? I shut the back door, stepped exactly 2 feet to open the front door – a process that takes maybe 10 seconds – but in that 10 seconds I heard the unmistakable click-click of the doors locking. Immediately I realized I was screwed. We made eye contact and you just laughed, waving the key fob in my face, giggling. You were so proud of yourself you could barely contain your glee. I pleaded with you in a high pitched, forced-fun-loving tone to "push the button." You just flashed the dimples and the devilish grin, and basically told me to screw off.
On the upside, I made a reputation for myself… not as the worst mother at daycare, which is what I feared, but as one of the most laid back. I calmly walked into the Toddler room and asked to use the phone (since you were busy calling china with my phone which was of course in the locked car with you) I called Mama hoping she could come bring the extra set of keys, but she didn't hear the phone ring. The teachers suggested we call the fire department, which went something like this:
Dispatcher: 911, what’s your emergency.
Me: My two year old locked herself in the car.
Dispatcher: Is she ok? Is she hurt?
Me: I’m pretty sure she’s having the time of her life.
Dispatcher: Is the car running?
Me: No, not yet anyway…
Dispatcher: Ok, someone should be there in 3 minutes.
When the fire truck arrived, all the kids rushed to the windows and pressed their little noses right to the glass, jockeying for the best position. A few moms shot me sympathetic looks and asked if there was anything they could do to help. I thanked them but just shrugged. When I got together with some of the moms from school for drinks a few days later, those that had witnessed the debacle just laughed, commenting that I had a look on my face like it was “just another day.” (Little do they know, they’re not that far off…) I told auntie Katie about it, and she just laughed, writing back “hahahahahahahahahahahha, that kid is going to torture you.” I think she’s probably right.
Once again, Quinnie, Hayden’s flair for the dramatic tends to dominate the crazy stories. But something interesting has happened this month, perhaps as a side-effect of the Hayden circus. You have developed into the more independent one. At drop off, you are content to sit at the table or play with friends, whereas Hayden clings to me and doesn’t want me to go. When we went to the indoor playground, I sat in the mom area drinking coffee and you roamed on your own or with Mason, exploring the different toys. Hayden did too, but every few minutes, she’d come back to make sure I hadn’t moved. You’re developing this quiet independence that you didn’t have until recently, but it’s not at the expense of your love of snuggling. We have a new bedtime routine that involves the two of you both sitting on my lap reading books in the rocking chair. Hayden will be up and down 10 times over the course of a couple books, whereas you snuggle in for the long haul, only getting up to pick out the next book. Sometimes I give the routine the short shrift, only reading 1 or 2 books, which you don’t appreciate at all. Last night, an hour after I put you to bed, I went into check on you and you immediately started yelling “DOGGIE BOOK!!!!” We compromised and I gave you the doggie book to play with in your crib. Then Mama, Amanda and I giggled as we listened to you on the monitor sitting in a pitch black room “reading” the book to Hayden, who was already asleep.
Even in those moments when I’m in the throes of your crazy, it’s your hugs, kisses and smiles that refuel me. In the middle of the night, when I’m lying next to your crib stroking your hair because you can’t sleep, I’m simultaneously cursing the fact that I’m lying on a floor and not in my own bed, while relishing the fact that me being there is the thing that’s calming you down.
I love you my bugs.