Friday, August 15, 2008

Life after One

I haven't been able to blog properly about the twins for a while. I have been much busier at work and because the twins take up a lot more of my time and energy now. I was commiserating with a fellow mother at work and we were bemoaning the time when our kids lay still and only needed to be diapered and fed and would just sleep or stare at their fingers or nothing at all. Of course, then, they weren't so cute either. Now, definitely, they're cuter but with that comes more mobility, more high jinks and more need for attention.

Once again, Mommy guilt strikes because since they're more mobile and aware and learning at the speed of light or sound or whichever is faster, I feel more inclined to give them more of my time and am more reluctant to give time to myself whether it be for work, for play or god forbid, for rest. It's brought about a greater sense of satisfaction but also a much greater sense of exhaustion, especially when the two of them pull in different directions, have different needs or need to be disciplined in different ways.

There has been many more tantrums, stamping of feet, screaming and tears of late. With their curiosity peaked, every bit of the room slash world is their oyster, for them to explore. Unfortunately, things like the fan, wire sockets and window frames are a no go as are fighting and snatching things from another's hands (often being Baby J snatching anything that Evan is holding) but even at that age, the forbidden fruit is always sweeter, causing more raised objections and smacking of the wrists.

The good thing is because they are more cognizant and learning like sponges, taking them out is a hoot and a half. Everywhere we go is an adventure in itself. Some adventures are more planned than others but all have the desired outcome. So much so that the twins have learnt that the adventure always begins with the putting on of shoes and the belting up in the car, so even on days when they don't go out, mostly during the work week, they have discovered even with their limited verbal ability to tell whoever is caring for them that they want to have their shoes put on and they want to be in the car, better still if it is moving.

So, to date, they've been to Grandfather's 70th surprise birthday party where they obediently sat at the table and had lunch before the best part of the day for them where they were allowed to run amok up and down the empty corridor of the deserted shopping centre.

They've also been to the zoo. We've been putting off taking them because we always figured that they were too young to tell a picture of a tiger from a real tiger itself. But since they've recently displayed more awareness and also an affinity for animals, we thought the zoo was a good place to go even though we were prepared to see very little of the zoo in their limited conscious time. True to their ability, they managed to stay conscious for the otters, the white tigers which kept them riveted for a while, the pygmy hippo which to them was quite a large hippo, the kangaroos which made their day because the whole mob of kangaroos hopped right past them. Kangaroos are familiar animals to them because K is for Kangaroo and the kangaroo in their book carries a joey in its pouch. Jordan in all girl-ness made a beeline for the gift shop on the way out, grabbing a stuffed monkey that cost $32 and a cup that cost about $15. Thankfully, there were no theatrics when her very broke Mommy pried them from her tiny bare hands. She didn't walk away from the zoo empty handed though, because she discovered to hers and our great amusement that she knew how to caw like a parrot. On command, she would imitate the caw of the parrot quite convincingly. Evan, on the other hand, discovered that he could swing his arms like the red bummed baboons which grossed out all the adults because their red bums looked somewhat tumerous. The boy also discovered that running down a slope was a lot of fun and repeated it till he was drenched in sweat. Wait till he's 15 and in the track team and made to sprint intervals up a slope, then he won't be so happy.

Enjoying a stroll in their pram round the zoo. I think we'd be lucky to say we covered a quarter of the zoo. I think it's time to join the Friends of the Zoo so that discovering the zoo would be a less expensive venture.

On the one hand, I've been told that exposing the children to new experiences doesn't have to be an expensive thing but I think the novelty of being actually able to do stuff with them has somewhat blinded us to costs, to some extent. Even though the kids are not going to remember this, they first saw fireworks when they were 13 months old from 56 floors above street level because Grandma wanted to make sure they got the best view. Thankfully, the loud explosions of light and the overwhelming smell of gunpowder did not scare them as much as it did for their 2 1/2 year old cousin. I'm thinking it's because they're too young to actually be fearful and I'm desperately trying to teach them not to be fearful of things like thunder or lizards which I am deathly afraid of.

There was also the opportunity of taking the twins swimming but that became a bad idea really quickly when we realised a pool on the 8th floor of the hotel meant perpetual wind chill that my two, not well insulated babies were ill equipped to handle. You could see the gears working in their head, self preservation or play with water. Their parents decided, when lips turned blue and there was much involuntary shivering that the former was more important. So they will just have to be content with their inflatable pool in the back which is filled with warm water and all their favourite pool toys and they don't have to be decked out in swim diapers, wet suit tops and sun block. Al fresco works and they can have cousin Becca join them without much fuss. The only drawback for Evan is that two splashing and squealing girls cause him to become a little bit shy and wary to venture far from the side of the pool. The poor boy really needs some boy cousins to play with.
But on his own, he's coming along quite well too. Different from Baby J in terms of disposition and strengths. Where she is intense and dogged, he's happy to figure things out slowly. Where she's more keen to communicate and emotive, he is more interested in how things work. Balls, from an early age, cars and anything on wheels, on National Day we discovered he also knew a thing or two about F- 16s and was keen that everyone stay as focussed on the tv screen as he was while they did their aerobatics.

The most amazing one is his love for the stop light. The boy loves red traffic lights. It's not the brake light of the car that does it for him but the traffic light. The big red ones on the side of the road. His daily routine consists of him being taken to the junction up the hill where he has to see every red light from every angle. This usually involves us crossing the roads many times much to the bemusement of traffic because it is obvious we are just standing there talking to the various traffic lights. His sheer joy when a green light turns red is the opposite of how an adult driver would react to the stop light and has led his father to take regular streets rather than the highway because the boy looked so forlorn on the expressway looking out the window and wondering where all the traffic lights had gone.

I finally managed to video his joy even though you'll have to listen to it more than see it because it was dark when I decided to video this and I couldn't switch on the cabin light because then he would forget to react to the traffic light and the cam-whore in him would fixate on the camera and that's another video for another time. So, hear him out and if you can strain to see the joy on the boy's face.

And in his own language, he's telling you what he's seeing and telling you to take a look as well. I know part of it is mommy pride but they really are communicating a whole deal now, even though they don't really have many words. But when they can tell you about traffic lights or that they need to poop and refuse to poop in their diaper till you put them over the toilet, it is easy to be in awe of these one year old munchkins.

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