It was kind of a rough summer with him. I knew it wasn't even just me when one time my sister got back from watching the kids for a while, and as we were about to leave again Ashton said, "I'm going in Julie's car!" at which point she blurted out, "LIKE HECK YOU ARE!!!" which made us all burst out laughing knowing that she had experienced the fullness of Ashton's tantrum-throwing. Luckily since we've been back we've been working on it's a LOT better. They seem to take turns though being totally uncontrollable for some period of time because my family was all surprised thinking Phoenix was the difficult one when he was quite angelic all summer. Thank heavens there seems to be some sort of switch that at least alternates rather than having them both like that at the same time or I'd really lose my mind.
(Can I say how much I love these shirts my friend made? We have a few styles and I love them all.)
Anyhow, my chubby little twins are growing up and losing their baby look. They're totally little boys now who run around the house yelling things like "BOO-YAH!" and "modified!" (some sort of souped up car terminology I'm assuming). I know growing up and losing babyhood is usually kind of sad or bittersweet. I'd say in the case of the twins it's actually swaying in favor of sweet rather than bitter. :) People told me the first 6 months of having twins was hard. A few said the first year was hard. I got to one year and was constantly running two different directions after self-endangering toddlers and wondered how they only thought the first year was hard. Then I got to two years with tantrums and stubornness and defiance and no one listening to me and still running different directions and wondered how anyone survived the twos. But hey, guess what? After three years it's finally easier! The independence is sooooo welcome. It's like we've finally tipped the scale to where they are now more fun than work.
In fact, I'm sure all the independence is quite responsible for the really pleasant time we're having right now. I should knock on wood, but I'm feeling pretty good about 4 kids at this point and I'm loving their ages. There are a lot of factors that play into it - last year we were gone 4 hours every morning while Cash was in school since we would just wait up there for him rather than have to drive an extra hour back and forth. I also used to go to the gym and take naps every day. Well, guess what I found out? When you're not out of the house four hours every morning, don't go to the gym, and don't take naps, and you have a baby that actually does finally take naps on his own...well, you actually get a lot done. I'm even sort of being the kind of mom I want to be. I realized this is why other moms don't usually feel as crazy as I did - they actually have time to do things and get housework done and aren't trying to squeeze it all in after 3 in the afternoon. And even though I abruptly killed my naps when we took the twins' away at the end of the summer (so they would zonk out at night and not keep Cash up now that they're in the same room), I haven't become the total beast I thought I might.
Anyhow, it just seems every month the twins get more independent - and it makes such a huge difference not having to climb in the back of the car, the middle seat, and the other side of the car just to get everyone's seat belts on, or to have to chase everyone down and get each of them dressed multiple times a day, or help them with the bathroom every time, or to have to pick them up all day or carry them around. I mean, I really had to ponder how bad I wanted to go anywhere before I went because of how much effort it was to get in and out of the car. But now I have such appreciation for just dropping in an infant seat and going.
Someone even said the most miraculous thing to me yesterday, to which I said, "What?" just to hear those words come out of her mouth again. She said, "Your kids are all so good in church." Then she said they'd sat by us two weeks in a row and felt more crazy with two kids than we were with four. I was speechless for a minute, then realized they really had been good the last couple weeks. Granted, they're not sitting with folded arms listening to the speaker, and usually someone is playing on the iPhone by the end of the meeting, but it's a far cry from rolling down the aisles and running up on the stand like we've had the past few years.
These two are really at the cutest age and play so well together. I think when any two of my kids are together rather than any three they play better, but really, with Cash at school, these two play all day long together and are so stinking cute. I love hearing their funny conversations about rock and roll or superheros, love hearing their creative play with different games and rules they make up, and love how well they get along for the most part. It really almost makes me sad Diesel doesn't have a twin. Almost.
And for some reason, when we are twins we must do this all the time:
(Seriously this happens every time I tell them I'm going to take their picture.)
Or even this:
I guess all that independence has it's downside - they always dress themselves and I can never get them to dress alike anymore! I know I need to let them be their own person, but it's just so stinking cute and makes everyone in the world who sees them smile. So I've taken to bribery and about once a week and I pay them to dress alike. :) So far it still works. And on my day there will be no ugly character shirts, you better believe that. In fact I've taken to hiding those for most of the week or using the "it's dirty" excuse.
Anyhow, I smile so often during the day watching these two. I'm sure this is the time people were telling me about all along, that this time would come - and they were right. It's fantastic.