And then I come home and it's instantly four against one. The "Mommy! Show" begins: as in "Mommy can I have cheese crackers? Mommy will you play ball with me? Mommy will you draw fairies me?" And that's just from the two out of four who can speak in complete sentences.
When it's big kids + babies, much of my time is spent doing damage control. Lucy and Harry have officially entered the stage of wanting to do exactly what their big brother and sister do (Newsflash Lucy: You are not, I repeat NOT ready to climb the ladder (see above) to the outdoor playhouse, sheesh).
These babies and their love of chair standing will be the end of me, I'm telling you.
And when I'm not trying to keep Harry from standing on Leo's train table (no, Leo doesn't stand on that table but Harry, well, let's say he really gets into playing trains), then I'm monitoring Lucy as she caps and uncaps everysinglepen in the marker bin, all while balancing on a chair at the kitchen table (next to her big sister Ellie, the master fairy artist/princess colorer).
Then there's the ever important detail of making sure the comforter-on-Leo's bed-turned-parachute-game doesn't dissolve into something requiring a visit to the ER.
I like to think (I hope!) that every one's needs are met at more than just the minimum. But I will be honest. Sometimes the din of constant demands becomes too much. I just want to stop. I am the proverbial only child that wants quiet and order and our house is...neither quiet nor terribly orderly (I try my darnedest though, I do!).
"I don't feel like I've been able to get to know these babies the way I got to know Leo and Ellie by this age," I wrote in an email to a friend (also a mom to twins) when the babies were about ten months old. I had just returned to work after an extended maternity leave and was feeling completely out of sorts. "Sometimes I look at them and I still can't believe they're here! And that there are TWO of them! Do you think it's because there are two of them or because they're the third and fourth and there's just so much going on?"
My friend replied that it was probably a combination of things but probably more a virtue of the fact that I now I had four children. Over time, she thought, I'd feel "closer" to the babies, especially as their little personalities began to emerge.
Fortunately, my friend was right. And those little personalities? Have become big ones.
Lucy adores her big brother and sister, walks from room to room looking for them when they're at school. "Hi! Hi Leo! Hi! Hi! Hi Ellie," she chirps and waves, when her older siblings emerge from the basement playroom. Harry meanwhile, pounds on Leo's door whenever it's closed, so desperate is he to play with not just the train table, but his big brother (he is, after all, the one with all the cool action figures).
Earlier this week our nanny was sick. With a quick 6:45 a.m. phone call from her, my day shifted gears. There would be no commute into the city, no need for the skirt and sweater I'd set out the night before. I would stay home. With just the babies.
First Leo left, then we dropped Ellie at school. And for a few hours, there was relative quiet. (Well, as quiet as things can be with twin toddlers).
Of course Lucy spent much of her day going from room to room and calling, "Ellie? Leo?"
As I folded laundry, she stood by me and named each item of clothing by who it belonged to. "Ellie!" she cheered, when she saw Ellie's well-worn light blue kitty cat nightgown. "Leo!" she announced confidently, at the sight of Leo's beloved Angry Birds t-shirt.
I will give these
Like clockwork: sweet potatoes at lunch = post lunch bath.
Harry is now moonlighting as an eyelash model. Inquire within.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the days at home go by. Breakfast, morning nap, play, lunch, play, l
In the blinding, late afternoon sun, we waited for Leo's bus to chug down the street. When he hopped off, we made our way down the avenue, toward Ellie's school. It was a perfectly cold wintry spring day, with the final vestiges of last Friday's little snow storm still piled up high enough that I had to push the stroller on the street in some places.
When we reached the school, Ellie, expecting our nanny, screamed happily (as only five year old girls can) when she saw us.
And just like that, two became four, once again.
As it should be.