I'm about 1/4 of the way through the writing, which is great. I'm trying to plow through as much as I can before I take the twins to Florida this weekend to see my grandmother. My mom and dad (who, some of you know or may recall, are divorced and have been for over 30 years) are both meeting us down there for a long weekend of Mother's Day/Mama Doris-is-turning-(turned?)-90 fun. Maddie and Riley don't know we're going yet; I usually tell them about trips the night before we leave to save my own sanity from the barrage of travel-related questions. I'm sure they are going to have a blast in Florida, as they are really into swimming lately. Bring on the sun!
I've heard from many a parent that "Terrible Twos" is a misnomer, that the Terrible title should be reserved for the Threes. Based on Maddie's behavior of late, she's trying to spread the Terrible around to both ages.
My normally sweet, eager-to-please girl has found her rebellious side. She's been pushing, throwing things, and slamming doors. The culmination of this was last Friday at school when Ruth reported that Maddie had (a) thrown her shoes at one of her caregivers, then (b) run down the hall and slammed the bathroom door, whereupon she (c) deliberately peed all over herself.
Just what you want to hear when you pick your kid up from school. Sigh.
I feel for her; she's obviously going through a developmental phase that's got her tied up in knots. While she's always been quite verbal and emotionally aware, she doesn't seem to be able to tell me what's bothering her. Hell, there are plenty of times when I'm out of sorts when I can't vocalize what's wrong and I've got a lot more life experience than she does. She has of late been even more interested than usual in things that older kids do that she can't yet and she spends a lot of time expressing desires to attend the local elementary school, read by herself, swim by herself, ride a bike by herself . . . you get the idea. So I think some of her acting out comes from wanting to do things that she can't. Beyond that, who knows. It could be a delayed reaction to adjusting to our new living situation. It could be the inherent angst of being almost three. It could be a desire to get some one-on-one time with me, something neither Maddie or Riley has really ever had.
To that end, tonight I'm dropping Riley off with friends after school and I'm taking Maddie out for a special Maddie and Mama evening. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet as I plan to let her take the lead, but my suggestions will be that we go have dinner together, then maybe go to the store for her to pick out a special treat—some new art supplies or something for her beloved baby Charlotte or what have you. We'll see what she wants to do.
The difficulty of spending one-on-one time with Maddie and Riley is something that has always bothered me. I think all parents of more than one child can relate. M&R have to take turns being carried, take turns on my lap, take turns talking to me (although they often talk right over one another, I just have to mete out my replies one by one). The only times they have spent time alone with me in their entire lives have been two occasions each that one has stayed home sick and the other has gone to school, and the random snippets here and there when one gets up from a nap earlier than the other. That's all. Ever.
Those rare times have been a treat for me. It's such a pleasure for me to be able to focus on one child without worrying about how my actions will affect the other. Maddie and Riley have seemed to enjoy it, too. Of course, at least half of what they say when we're alone involves wondering where the other one is, which I actually love. It makes me happy that they have such a close bond. But I also think it's time for me to make a more conscious effort to give them individual time with me. It's not easy, logistically, but I think it will be well worth it.