Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tornado Twins

(of a child) Having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.


(of a person, animal, or their behavior) Causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way.


Exuberant; boisterous.

These are the words I most commonly use to describe my children.  Sure, they are sweet, smart, funny, kind, ___insert other random generic adjectives used to describe children here___, but these are the qualities that seem to be distinctly my boys.  They have moments of sweetness, but they are perpetually mischievous.  They are smart, but most typically it manifests in a precocious manner.

I sometimes have to laugh at suggestions other mothers give me.  "Oh, I took my 3 year old daughter to this pottery shop and she painted her own pottery.  She loved it.  You should take Thing1 and Thing2."  Uh?  Because I have nothing better to spend my money on than 20 lbs of broken ceramic?  Because I can tell you that my Tornado Twins will want to touch everything, climb on most things, and play with all of the above.  And maybe, just maybe, they'd sit long enough to scribble two lines of paint onto a statue of a train (because of course they'd want to paint a train).

Does it bother me that my children are so ill-mannered?  Yes and no.  Do I wish they wouldn't touch things they aren't supposed to touch?  And sometimes break those things.  Of course I do.  And I also wish I didn't have to be running around like a mother hen clucking "No.  Don't touch that.  Not for you."  And actually, I probably look more like a chicken running around with her head cut off squawking uncontrollably because I'm so terrified they are going to break something expensive or worse yet, sentimental.  I've been there before and it didn't turn out well.

But, I'm also proud that they are so active and curious.  I know other kids their age who are already couch potatoes: addicted to tv, to video games, to the computer.  I love that my boys would rather run around and play with actual toys.  Sure, they watch some tv, but they lose interest fast and run away to go play together.  And, c'mon, they are only three years old.  Do I really want to stifle natural curiosity by forcing them to adhere to behavior norms of adults?

Their teacher tells me all the time how advanced their sensory skills are.  That they are always the first at the table to try a new activity.  Whether it is playing in water, with play-dough, shaving cream, paint, mud...the boys love all mediums.  They aren't afraid to touch different textures or try new things.  They are adventurous.  I always take this as a compliment.  Why shouldn't I outside of the classroom?  Focus on these developmental milestones as indicators of cognitive acheivement, instead of focusing on whether or not someone is going to give me a dirty look.

A few years back, when a parent would say "oh my child is so rambunctious", I would say that I have a special place in my heart for those children.  They capture my heart more swiftly and well than the quiet ones.  And I meant it.

The problem is when that child is yours.  And you deal with them every day.  It's just so tiring.  And when you have two of these children, and they feed off one another's behavior.  It's downright exhausting.

This past Sunday, we were at our wit's end.  Both Superman and I could feel ourselves bubbling at the children's increasingly rambunctious behavior. So, we did something fairly unusual for us.  We split them up.  Sure, we'd done things with them separately before.  But usually it was because one had a doctor's appointment, was sick, or sleeping.  I don't think we'd ever before consciously said, "Look, I'll take this one, and you take that one."  But we did.  I got Thing2 dressed, loaded him in the car and took him grocery shopping and errand running with me.  Superman got Thing1 dressed and took him out to play in the snow.

And it was great!  Thing2 was such a good boy sitting in the cart, reading his train book, and talking to me about all of the groceries I was putting in the cart.  He got a free cookie, lots of samples, and even got to snack on some Pringles straight out of the can.  As we are checking out at the third store, he looks at me and says "Mom, I wanna go home now.  Go play with brother and Daddy."  And I gladly obliged.

When we got home, Superman reported that Thing1 too had had a great time.  He had helped shovel the driveway, and then was rewarded by being drug and flung around on the sled.  Without having to wait his turn.

It is amazing to me how calm, demure, and behaved the boys can be when they are by themselves.  When they don't have that other half fueling the flames of their curiosity and playfulness.  I still wouldn't trade my precocious, mischievous, rambunctious Tornado Twins for the world.  But, I think we will have to start making Singleton Outings a regular habit.

1 comment:

  1. I still think that you should have taken them.