Because Mairead goes to school five full days a week and the boys only two half days, I have a lot more time with my guys than I do with my girl. We all miss her when she is at school, but it's nice to have some mother-son, time, too. The boys are at such a fun age- I am loving four! We can go more places and do more things, and the things they say just make me smile. I want to write down everything they say because I just love how their brains work, and because they are so innocent and sweet. They notice and point things out that adults just don't, and I love that. They are so sweet to each other, too. They always want to hug one another, sit together, etc. One consequence for playing too rough or arguing is that they have to play in separate rooms for a time. They HATE that! They will do anything to avoid being separated.
They love to be in the yard and they have spent some time helping Nana with the gardening.
I think I have mentioned it before, but many Friendly's restaurants offer a deal in which kids' meals are $1.99 every Wednesday. Since the boys get their hair cut at a place very close to Friendly's, I try to schedule haircuts for Wednesdays so we can take advantage of the offer!
One thing they love to do is watch videos on my mom's iPad. They squish together in one chair and flip through videos about whatever is their current interest. Right now, this means Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes, though, this can be exhausting...
After eating, Ben will usually say, "Can you clean me? Because I'm a messy eater."
Jack helping Nana in the yard.
Because they are twins, and because they are the siblings of a child with special needs, I think there are additional complications in raising them. I know that there will always be some people who don't really try to tell them apart. Already, I know people who just think of them as 'JackandBen.' I agree that they can be tough to distinguish sometimes, but I always appreciate it when people are genuinely trying. Dismissing them as 'the twins' does them a disservice and diminishes their individuality, and I hope that others get to know them for their distinct and separate personalities. I worry that people will compare them-- one is stronger, smarter, faster, funnier, than the other. I know that they will each have different strengths, of course, but they will always be subject to measuring up to the other.
Jack is smart, bossy, funny, and sweet. He runs the show and talks All. The. Time. At playgrounds, he likes to find the older kids and get involved in whatever they are doing. He tells everyone he meets about the ninja turtles and will talk to anyone. Adults, other kids, people who aren't even paying attention- it doesn't matter. He does not care about letters, numbers, writing his name or any of 'that boring stuff.' He 'takes care' of Ben and looks after his little brother. He asks thoughtful questions and thinks carefully about everything. He tells me that I look beautiful or that I am the best mom ever. He helps me set the table for dinner at night and will do almost anything for a quarter so he can save up his money (to buy more ninja turtles). He wears his sunglasses just like my brother, and he wants to be a Ninja Turtle when he grows up.
Ben is sweet, kind, and a little goofy. He half walks- half dances his way to anywhere. He is smart, too, but you don't see it as much unless Jack isn't around. Then, he starts saying things that surprise you with how much he knows. He adores his brother and will follow him pretty much anywhere, but every once in a while reminds Jack that, "You are not the boss of me." Ben loves to be held and to give hugs. He will also talk to pretty much anyone about ninja turtles. He is obsessed with Molly, the cat, and is constantly calling me to come see what the cat is doing. He likes to have some 'alone time' once in a while during which he will play quietly on his own until he misses Jack too much. He doesn't like to rest or nap anymore because he has, "lots and lots and lots and LOTS of energy.' Although, he does sometimes tell me that Lily (his cousin) stealed his energy. He does not want to write his name until he is five like Mairead, but he doesn't need to work on his letters because he already learned everything at school. He also, wants to be a Ninja Turtle when he grows up. Except that he doesn't want to grow up at all, and will tell you that flat out.
Mairead has always, and will always, required specific or 'extra' attention because of the supports that she needs. As an parent of more than one child does, I feel pulled in three directions and can only hope that each child feels like he or she gets enough attention. Mairead goes to aquatic therapy once a week and the boys ask why they don't go. I'm guessing these questions will become more frequent and more complicated as time goes on, and I hope Dave and I can answer with something that helps them to make sense of the situation.
Some would tell me to stop worrying about things that haven't even happened yet. And while I know that I am guilty of doing that, some of it is not worry for the sake of worry. These early years are so important in a child's growth and development, and we want to make sure we are creating a strong foundation for our kids- one that will serve as the basis for the way they make decisions, treat people, and grow. No pressure, though, right? Right now, I believe that we are doing a good job. A perfect job? Definitely not. A great job? Eh, I have my moments. But we are showing them love, attention and respect. We are teaching them to be kind to others, to listen, to share. To give hugs, to smile, to dance, and that it's ok to cry when life gets tough sometimes. Let's just hope that we are giving them the right tools to become the adults we hope they can be.