I will miss the cooing, the discovery of all that's new to them (keychains, the moon, toilet paper) and the overall cuteness, but I call it hell because I haven't heard any other parent of twins say it any differently. That first year is, indeed, fun, rewarding and enjoyable. It's also hell.
Jayden's got a lot of milestones this summer even though it's a month before his 4th birthday. Today we took him to get a look at his pre-school. He should be writing his name by this fall, his teacher reassured us.
Yesterday I coached my first practice of his very first T-ball team. There's definitely a blog post in there, but honestly it wasn't as comical as I thought it would be. Most of the kids could hit the ball off the tee. Many didn't really know what to do after they smacked the ball, of course, despite me running the bases with them before hitting practice. Almost all, in fact, stood there and admired their hit, something they probably picked up by watching baseball on TV. I explained to them that they were asking for a brushback the next time they were up, but they didn't seem to listen.
A few could even pick it up and throw to first.
And, most importantly, they all listened to me and were good to each other. The kids were great too.
Jayden, though, is the youngest - he barely hit the cutoff date - and while his body can certainly do all the things I'm asking him to do, his active little brain isn't quite grasping it. He liked to run back to me every time someone hit the ball rather than run to second or third.
We'll get there.
The girls are an even bigger breakthrough, as they can talk quite well. That's reduced the tantrums by tenfold, as they're no longer so frustrated that diving on the ground and screaming loud enough to disrupt a robin's flight pattern seems like the best option.
"Hi, Daddy," they say when I walk in the house, and they know most of the important words, such as "juice," "cracker," "I want some," "milk" and, perhaps most importantly, "I pooped."
Toilet training and pacifier rehabilitation will start before July, leaving us the (albeit small) chance that they will be out of diapers by the end of the summer. The day they are officially out of diapers, I go on a 24-hour bender of poker, queso and beer.
It's more than just the milestones. They are people now. They tell us what they want - I want to swing is something I hear every afternoon - rather than cry and force us to guess. They're picking the things they like. Dora The Explorer is popular with the girls (something, by the way, I'm all for, given that she hikes, spends her days outside and knows how to use a map) and Jayden continues to support the Pixar franchise practically by himself. They even pick their own outfits now, meaning they're choosing how they present themselves to the world (and Andie, every day, wakes up and says "Dress, dress," meaning she's more of a girly girl than I originally thought). It won't be long before they start to form their own identities rather than ride the ones we've selected for them.
The days can continue to be long, challenging and, at times, utterly exhausting. But not every day.
I've run three races this year so far. Two of them were hilly courses, with steep, sapping climbs. Usually, when I'd reach the top, I'd be out of breath, not knowing if I could go on.
I felt that way many times these last four years (especially during the last two).
But I always managed to catch my breath, and find my strength to go on, on the way down.