If you have read anything about our previous flights, you will know we are experienced travellers and prepared for any occasion. Flying with 3 year olds twins is much easier than with toddlers and requires less equipment that with newborns. A (almost) quiet and calm flight thought, was not what I expected.
In a nutshell, we sat down in our lovely and comfy seats. We had some food and then the boys fell asleep till it was time to land. If only all flights could be like this.
At the start of the journey, when people were still taking their seats, a lovely flight attendant quietly approached me and told me they were trying really hard to move me to a better sit near my partner and I simply needed to be patient. In a moment of honesty, I informed him that I was already sitting with my family and I didn’t need a better place. He turned is head towards seats D, E and F to see two smiling boys and a utterly confused husband. He apologised for the confusion and left.
A moment later B started to moan cos he wanted food and I did think that maybe I should have accepted the offer of a better seat after all.
As I said the rest of the journey was great and I can’t really complain. But we know that the proof is in the pudding, so that’s why when we woke up T for landing (we needed to move the arm rest) he started to say “I’m tired” every 10 seconds. Then the landing gear came out. T raised the tone of his voice and kept on saying “I’m tired! I’m tired! I’m tired!” and finally… we landed.
And all T had to say about that was “I’m tired!!!”
As the boys grow up, I have to adapt to all these new changes. Some are more than welcomed (no nappies! Yeah!), others are unsettling.
When the boys started to walk confidently and we reduced the use of the pushchair, it took us months to find a way to adapt. Every time we went out we had a long conversation about the pros and cons of taking the pushchair… in insight I simply think we wasted so much time.
The latest change is the fact that in certain places they do not need (or want) to be with mummy at all time. For example, last year in a soft play area they would have been with an adult 100% of the time, while now they go in and who knows if they’ll ever come out again!
I look up occasionally and spot one of them on the top level. I wave. I know they will probably come out when they are hungry.
I adapted to this very easily, especially while sipping a well deserved cup of tea OUTSIDE the play area.
The change I struggle with is this new sentence “I’ll see you there, mummy”. You will see me where exactly?? I need to see you here and now!
In our local country park, the boys feel so confident they would happily walk away by themselves. For example if I say “let’s go to the slides”, they would start walking in the right direction without making sure that I’m with them. Unfortunately mummy doesn’t approve of this strategy. This implies some running and some praying… running to catch up with them and praying that they will BOTH run in the same direction!
A few days ago we were in the car coming back from a friend’s house. Half way through the long journey, B surprised us with an announcement:
“Mummy, daddy… I am a girl”
Mummy and daddy were silent for a few seconds.
We have to admit that we are not very open to this sort of conversations, but we were trying to be very politically correct and modern…
Daddy: “Why you think you are a girl?”
B: “Because I say so”
At this point T intervened with a very matter-of-fact tone: “No, you are not”.
Unbelievably my husband and I kept a straight face.
Despite T best effort though, the conversation was not over.
B “Yes, I am T. I am a girl”
Daddy: “Who said you are a girl?”
B: “I did”
T: “You are NOT a girl. Boys have willies, girls don’t. You are a boy!”
Daddy (still without laughing): “B, do you have a willy?”
B: “No, it fell off”
We almost crashed the car!
Tomorrow B and T will go to their first “solo” swimming lesson. No more mum and daddy to hold them and make sure their are safe. We will be by the side of the pool, but we won’t be needed in the water anymore.
If you have read the previous post “Just keep swimming”, you already know how important swimming is for our family. We don’t do it to keep fit or so that the boys can become Olympic swimmers, we do it because it’s our family activity. We love the individual time we spend in the water with each twin and the together time when all of us have a shower and get dressed. We love it!
We started when the boys were only 5 months, so it has been over 3 years now… rain or shine we have always been in the pool on a Saturday morning. They have grown so much in this time! I still remember having to give them a bottle of milk after the lesson as they were starving. They still ask for a snack now, but certainly not formula milk! We moved from baby swimsuits to swim nappies to children swimwear. Mostly importantly of all, we never had a poo in the swim nappy! A true miracle.
At the end of their last lesson (only B was present unfortunately), the swim teacher gave B a huge hug. She was sad about them moving on, like a primary school teacher at the end of year 6. I almost cried.
It is amazing how in all these years, we didn’t simply teach them a life skill. We didn’t simply spend time together as a family. Looking back at each kick and dive, it now feels like the boys were learning to swim (almost), while we were learning to be parents… almost.
If you believe that there’s no reason to have a parents-teacher meeting in preschool, you are wrong! The targets set at these events are elaborate and inspiring… An Oxbridge application will soon follow a target such as “recognising shapes in everyday objects”. Doesn’t it???
Don’t get me wrong, it is a pleasure to hear about how B and T are progressing, but I struggle to keep a straight face when I read some of the reports. I am also fluent in teacher’s speak, so I can translate the report into English.
T is very confident = T is a little know-it-all
T is curious about the world around him and often asks adults when he wants help in his learning = T keeps on asking WHY? every three seconds
B is able to focus when playing with jigsaws = B never sits down unless there’s a jigsaw to play with
T is learning to share with others = T only snatches toys from other children, but he doesn’t bite or shove them on the floor anymore
B enjoys sharing his knowledge of Italian with his key person = B is cheeky and speaks whatever language he fancies and his key person struggles to understand him
At the end of an evening like this, I go home with the knowledge that both of my boys are growing up well and have a lot of fun with their friends.
That’s all one can ask for.
When you are a twin, your brother (or sister) is always with you. ALWAYS. He was there when you were born, when you started eating solids and when you couldn’t sleep at night, but most importantly he is here now… When you wake up or go to sleep, eat or go to the toilet, play or watch TV. Whatever you do, your twin is there.
To me this sounds very oppressive and limiting, but if you, like my children, have never known anything different, you have probably grown accustom to this. What you have to ask yourself is “am I going to be the superhero or the sidekick today?”. I’m lucky that both of my children are confident enough to take either role with a smile.
If you have a wingman with you at all times, you can easily manipulate all games and activities offered by your parents or nursery staff alike.
When the ladies at nursery set up 12 little chairs into two neat rows as to resemble a plane, they didn’t know that T and B had a different plan in mind. T was put in front, as the pilot, but that didn’t last long… He went from pilot to train driver in no time. When he shouted to B that they were about to leave the station, B got straight into character and started checking tickets on the train.
The idea of the plane was a good one, but I guess that no one could have predicted the twins hijacking the plane!
Learning to make your own choice is an important part of growing up. For twins though there is an extra layer of complication: peer pressure. As a parent I find it hard to guide them in the right direction.
If peer pressure can make you do stupid stuff when you are a teenager, think what it could do when you are 2 years old. It can literally make you stand on a table… like it happened this morning when T suggested to B to climb a table to reach a light switch. If T suggests something, B will go along with it and this may have some comical, but also some dangerous consequences.
The twins can choose simple stuff independently. Every morning, for example, they choose the colour of their cereal bowls. The colours do change often, so it feels like they are actually making a decision (not repeating a pattern). Sometimes though they would want the same colour and this signal the end of the world as we know it. Cries and screams could be heard from miles. For example, B this morning was adimant that he wanted the yellow bowl which T was using to eat his breakfast. He cried and cried. He screamed to the top of his voice “YELLOW MUMMY! YELLOW MINE!”. He kept on pointing at T’s bowl and screaming. Nothing would calm him down.
Not an offer of chocolate milk.
Not an offer of a cuddle.
Not even when I pointed out that he already had a yellow bowl. In fact T had a green bowl all along and B simply didn’t know his colours!