Today was my six-year-and-nine-month-old twins last day in Senior Infants. When they return to school in the autumn, they will make the big leap across the wall, into First Class, with a new teacher. 'The Principal's Class'. Very grown up. The unwritten rule, defined by the First Class pupils in the school, is that they will be too grown up for parents to bring them into the classroom each morning, to unpack their school bags, look at their work on the walls and kiss them goodbye. My heart !
I had great intentions when they were born on Hallowe'en night in 2007. I was going to write a diary, marking all of their milestones. I didn't. I just about recorded their injections. I have a rough idea when they started to walk and I'm sure that they were toilet trained at some stage. At the time, I read about someone who wrote a letter every year to her children at Christmas, and put it away for them to read when they were adults. Brilliant idea I thought ! ... I didn't do that either ...
What I did do though, was to record what my children did and said on Facebook. Little anecdotes here and there, 'twinnieism's. I often meet people who say 'so THESE are the pair !' and look at my children as if they know them, through my updates. The pair look at me as if to say 'who is this random adult smiling at us ?' Maybe my children will sue me for damages for this when they are older. Maybe I will be dead before they get a chance to ...
In hindsight though, I'm sorry that I didn't also record the stories elsewhere. Maybe someday when I am REALLY bored, I must trawl through 4 years of so of FB posts and extract my twinnieisms. As they get older, I know that the antics will decrease. I want to archive this very special time in the lives of my little people and maybe I will write that book ... maybe.
In the meantime though, I have been thinking about them as they leave Senior Infants. I reflected on the worries that I had about my twinnies starting school. Would they make friends ? Would the learning style suit them ? Will they be lonely ? Would they love learning ? Would they be happy ?
Mya Moo Moo
Mya had jaundice when she was born. She spent her first few days in a 'Billy Blanket', in her nappy, with arms spread, so that her body was exposed to UV rays. The hospital staff warned me not to take her out of the blanket, except for feeds. I was really anxious that I wouldn't bond with my little girl. Looking back now, that seems ridiculous.
Aged only 6 years and nine months, I already ask her advice. I love having girlie chats with her in the car. It reminds me of my own childhood relationship with my mother. Probably seen as the quiet one of the pair, she has a wicked sense of humour and we often are in tears of laughter.
With a strong visual awareness, she has a very distinctive sense of style. Her 'look' is shorts and tights and occasionally giving in to wearing party dresses, usually with runners. She doesn't like to wear her hair tied up. She was disgusted when I dyed my hair recently, as our hair colour was no longer the same and we didn't look 'like twins' anymore.
She is sensitive, considered and particular. She is also very short. Her wee figure is like that of a Shetland Pony. But as she reminded me recently, ' I am the smallest in my class, but I'm also really fast'.
She loves cuddles. Particularly if she can have a pinch at the loose (ish) skin on my neck. This goes back to when I breast fed her and she pinched me while feeding. When she progressed to a sippy cup, her hands moved upwards to my neck, for comfort. Sometimes in the middle of the night in bed, I can see a shadowy finger and thumb making it's way towards my neck and feel her little body squishing in beside me. I asked her recently what she would do if my neck fell off. She said that she would pinch the dog's neck instead. Good to know I'm so easily replaced.
Academic learning came easily to Mya. But what I liked about her school report was her kindness and willingness to help others. She has a natural mothering instinct. I could say that she is a 'typical' girl. But how did that happen ? I didn't treat my children any differently. I resisted the pink girlie route, which is hard to do when you are surrounded by a pinkathon in clothes and toys for little girls.
Similarly, I didn't encourage my boy to behave in a stereotypical masculine way. It was unlikely that you would hear me say 'hey Leon, go over there and get your dog in a head lock'. It appears to be in his nature. Oh dear ...
Leon, my boy
When he was born, Leon was really skinny. I remember the first glimpse I got of him. Wirey arms and legs everywhere, roaring his head off. We called him Spider Fear. He is still roaring and shouting all these years later. Although both the twinnies were 6lb 3ozs when they were born, lots of people told me that my babies were the 'smallest they had ever seen'. It made me feel guilty for not eating more when I was heavily pregnant. Truth is though, I couldn't fit any more food in. I was all full of baby. Once Leon got over the initial few days though, he didn't stopped growing.
I could say that Leon couldn't give a monkey's about clothes, but he does. He just loves manky clothes and shoes, preferably two years old, with the appearance of being mangled by a lawnmover. He isn't happy until he has a hole gouged in them. I sometimes feel like putting a sign around his neck, saying 'No charitable donations required. Full wardrobe of unworn clothes at home'. His latest 'thing' is to tie elastic bands around trousers legs that do not have cuffs around the end. I hope that he can retain that individuality when he gets older and be prepared to stand out, to stand up.
He is a highly sensory little boy. He is drawn to texture and smell. If anything new comes into the house, he will have a good feel and a sniff while he checks it out. He likes being 'cosy'. Part of his cosy regime is to sleep on a flattened out cardboard box, under his duvet. I changed his sheets recently and he was devastated when I suggested that we might loose the cardboard. No siree.
Leon is very technically minded. I can almost hear the cogs in his brain cranking up, wondering what can he find out next. His obsession with the Titanic is longstanding. In Junior Infants, he regularly asked me when he would get 'Student of the Week'. It was fitting that he got this much coveted award for his 3D model of the Titanic, made out of cereal boxes, the obligatory toilet roll inserts and yoghurt cartons. His lovely teacher got him to bring his model into the other classes to show it off. I was so pleased for my boy and pleased that his teacher nurtured him and recognised his achievement.
Learning to read phonetically didn't come to Leon immediately. But then it just clicked and his curiosity for words and sounds was unleashed. I looked through the 'history' on the search bar on this laptop and could see Leon's spelling attempts to find car crashes, costumes of his favourite characters and episodes of Top Gear, and I wanted to laugh out loud. It looks like Leon will grow into a big strapping lad. I will always want him to sit on my knee for a cuddle. Or maybe I can sit on his.
Today, the end of term is a day for lots of parents to breathe a sigh of relief, gasp in anticipation of the coming weeks, but also to reflect on the achievements of their little people over the last year. I did all that do. But most of all, I felt a wee pain in my heart because I just love these two quirky, distinctive little people so much. Here's to lots more twinnie isms x