Monday, July 29, 2013

Double Trouble

When I watch their blonde heads nod in unison and then bounce away to trouble, carried by short little legs that move way too fast- I forget that I used to think that the days of carrying an infant AND a toddler (who couldn't yet walk) would never end.

When I listen to them talk- repeating words after each other, I forget about those never-ending days of silence where the only voice bouncing around our house was my own.

When I watch the beginnings of picking-up habits and abilities to carry our one step commands- I forget about the long months of trying to pick up the house for four therapies a week while juggling a non-sleeping newborn and a jealous toddler with absolutely no help.

When two wiggly bodies fight for a spot on my lap and two pairs of arms wrap themselves tightly around me for hugs- I forget about those long hours sitting beside the bedside of a very sick little baby girl, wondering if motherhood would ever be more than this for me.
When they share so nicely together or work together so brilliantly to carry out their plans of evil- I forget about the hard work it was to keep Addison from killing the unwanted newborn interloper in her only-child world.

When they perform acts of mischief and stare at me with those clear blue eyes and pouting little mouths- I forget about the year from hell trying to adjust to two babies because in that moment I'm trying too hard not to laugh at the sheer absurdity of their cuteness.
In fact, I forgot completely that they weren't always in this very fun toddler stage- until last Saturday when we were watching some old blog videos. We were all cuddled up together on the couch- Addison was leaning her curly head against my right arm; Carter was standing on the other side with one chubby hand resting on my left arm, and Daddy was taking up the rest of the couch while attempting some quick shut eye.

They are in this phase where they LOVE to look at pictures of our family and themselves, point their little fingers at individuals, and proudly proclaim "DADDY!" or "MOMMY!" or "CAR CAR!" or "ADDISIE!"

So we watched. They pointed. And I remembered.

I saw a very jealous Addison tackle a newly walking Carter after his first success shuffling along the couch. I heard a crying baby in the background while I tried to work on speech therapy with Addison. I saw the disaster of a house in the background of every video- completely ignored for the sake of putting one foot in front of the other. I observed a tiny, bundled up Addison take her first sledding run...and ski run. I saw them standing face to face- just laughing hysterically at each other (like they still do now), but as much tinier versions of themselves.

Probably the question I get asked the most is how far apart Addison and Carter are. This is hard to tell in person because they are exactly the same size. Exactly. Their growth spurts even seem to be in sync.
They are 19 months apart (Addison is 3 and a half and Carter will be 2 in a month), and I know I have done a lot of venting here on the blog about how rough it was to adjust when Carter was born. Because truly that year was the hardest of my life. But now?

Now Addison has a teacher. Carter has a sister to adore. They teach each other. They laugh together. They perform stop-mommy's-heart climbing feats together. They steal each other's food. They miss each other as soon as they are put down for sleep and care about nothing except what the other one is doing RIGHT then (and if the answer is not "going to bed like you" there is trouble to be had.)

Carter has just started a speech explosion. New words, old words, words I can't quite understand yet, babbling sentences that end in one recognizable word. I am SO excited to hear him exercising his vocals so frequently (with his finger pointed emphatically at whatever he is talking about.) But you know what's equally as exciting? Hearing Addison take a HUGE speech explosion of her own. Sister doesn't want to be left behind! And the interesting thing is? When she breaks out a new word- she pronounces is EXACTLY the same as Carter does. "Banana" becomes "Nana" "Addison" becomes "Addisie" "Drink" becomes "Gink" etc...
Addison has extremely low muscle tone and we have spent hours and hours with therapists working to get her to do things like climb, jump, and run.  She has shown absolutely no interest in doing those things during therapy. After all- those things are a LOT of work for her! What does interest her? Keeping up with Carter's climbing and jumping. Also- running after her brother after he has stolen her toy and is running away from her. After years of refusing to even try, she is now out of control with her mad climbing, jumping, and running skills. Skills that were taught and modeled to her by her competitive little brother.

I turn my back for a minute (how DARE I unload the dishwasher during daylight hours!) and they will both be sitting calmly on top of the changing table....or my dresser....or the table. Always together. Always exploring. Always finding opportunities to play peek-a-boo with each other and laugh hysterically.

They have merged so seamlessly into two halves of one whole that I forget that it hasn't always been like this. This also means I forget to talk about it- because it seems like it has always been this way.

So this is an update on their relationship of sorts. I was thinking last week how discouraged I was with this phase. Still a lot of work. Still exhausting. Still frustrating. But looking back and remembering how far we have come? A much needed shot of motherhood adrenaline.

As I stand in the landscape of my life, I don't notice the seasons changing all around me because I'm too busy watching each little leaf drop and tiny flower burst open. The tiny details capture my attention, and I forget to see the big things like...winter turning to summer.

I am thankful for summer. And I am so thankful that they have each other.
As I work through the thunderstorms, heat, and flies of this season- I press forward, knowing that before I know it?  A new season will be here. With new, exciting landscapes. And new troubles. So I don't want to miss the good and amazing that is here now. With every mosquito comes a beautiful summer night perfect for sitting out on the deck and reveling in the beauty of the stars.

In case you missed it, I posted a little about their relationship over at Enjoying The Small Things last week.

I also did a post at Mostly True Stuff on our Toddler Adventures. Update on that coming soon!

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