My babies are still babies. They will be so until they walk. Then I will call them toddlers. But the changes are slower and subtler than that, of course.
The thing I notice most right now is how much they understand. I can now tell Leo, “Daddy is going in the other room to get you more food,” and he’ll stop screaming (sometimes). I can ask Zoe, “What do you want?” and she’ll point and grunt instead of flailing about (sometimes). If you ask them to hand you something, they’ll usually do so, and they both definitely understand the phrase, “not in the mouth.”
They both point, wave, do some sign language, and even blow kisses. They love putting things “in” and “out” of other things, they love to hand things to you and to have them handed back. They love to crawl all over you both at once and flop over onto their backs and see your upside-down face and laugh.
Their personalities continue to develop, but not in any surprising ways. They’re both the same as they were when they were born. I feel like we had them each pegged from the start.
Zoe is observant, social, even-tempered (except when she is not), and goofy in a way that is not in-your-face, but is always there, beneath the surface. But most of the time, she is serious. Her natural expression is a frown, especially when she is studying a new person. People often think she is about to cry, or that she doesn’t like them. “Look, that one is sad,” I often hear from strangers, and I know which twin they are talking about. I know better. I know Zoe. When she was born I had more trouble bonding with her and she seemed so alien. But now it is the opposite – she is the child that I don’t have to struggle to understand. She looks into my eyes and it’s like I can read her mind. Sometimes I wonder if she is exceptionally intelligent, but there is nothing concrete I can point to to support that. It’s just in her eyes. She’s still the odd-duck of the family – she looks different, her temperament is different, hell, she’s even a morning person! She is the same as she’s always been, but I’ve finally tuned in to her vibe, and it’s a pleasure.
Leo is boisterous, demanding, physical, and fun-loving. When he enters a room, he could care less about who is in it – his eyes are on the objects to be grabbed and explored. Sometimes I worry that he is autistic because he doesn’t make eye contact the way Zoe does. But then I remember: he’s a boy. When there are no distractions, he looks at me with the awareness of my personhood, just like Zoe does. But a moment later, he’s reaching for a a ball or a speck of dust on the floor, grunting, and squirming out of my arms. Leo makes everyone around him into a comedian, because there is nothing better on earth than the sound of his laugh. I mean, all babies have cute laughs, and all three of my kids have the cutest laughs in the world, of course, but Leo’s laugh is divine. It’s chocolate covered Rachmaninoff. It’s skydiving through space. It’s impossibly great.
Leo seems to be developing an interest in animals. He growls at them. His favorite activity right now is walking with a push-toy. But he also likes music, water, tickle-wars, TV, eating, drinking, sleeping…he loves everything! It’s hard to say what is going to capture his interest more than anything else. He is sucking the marrow out of life. I think the only thing he doesn’t like is that he can’t get to all the shiny objects on the shelves.
I’m pleased to report that we’ve finally found something that Zoe really loves. She loves a moon bounce! It seems so totally out-of-character for Zoe: she is so cautious that I’d call her a fearful baby. She was afraid of water for a while, she doesn’t like some of the Halloween decorations, she cried at some of the animals at the zoo. But we blew up the moon bounce and put the twins in it, and Zoe immediately went crazy for it. No fear. Bouncing, crawling, sliding, playing – total rapture. Today, she got another chance, this time with a bunch of other, bigger kids at a fair, and she loved it again! It’s nice that we can finally give Zoe something that she loves so much.
Since I didn’t do a Sam Update for her sixth birthday, I’ll at least include her picture here. I can’t believe I get to be mommy to all three of these amazing people.