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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Ella & Arnold"

I love kids. They are so perfectly, endearingly fresh and funny and adorable. I just want to squeeze them and make them feel how much I adore them.

Last week was my sweet hubby's birthday. He had to work all night the night before his birthday, got three hours of sleep, then worked all day from home. What a way to start a new year. I had an insane day. Yes, part of it was awesome- I got my hair done, which is a major production these days since my darlings are giving me more and more grays. AND since my hair has finally stopped falling out (For the past three months it fell out in clumps because of my tick and mold illnesses. My doctor assured me it was just a phase and it would end and I would not go bald. I seriously doubted him for a while.), now I have all these funky fuzzies that my hair artist (she is truly gifted) had to figure out how to deal with. We decided on bangs to hide the funky fuzzies. So anyway, that was a great appointment, but takes quite a bit of my day.

Then I had to pick up Ella and Ben a little early from school and take them to get their orthotics fitted. When we got there, the doctor asked if the kids had gotten their new shoes. Um, no...he said the orthotics wouldn't fit in their current shoes because they were almost too small as it is. SO, we dashed just around the corner to Target and hustled little, and not-so-little, feet into shoes as quickly as we could so we could go back to the doctor and still get the orthotics fitted. It was pretty comical. I've never seen Ella and Ben run so fast. They got new shoes- completely unexpected and totally exciting- and new orthotics. They knew they had to hustle!

We got home just in time for me to switch out kids and take Jonah to OT. Ella had a meltdown. In true Ella fashion, she cried and freaked out because she couldn't decide if she wanted to stay home with Daddy and go to swimming lessons, or come with Mama and be bored at Jonah's appointment. Finally I convinced her to stay home. 

After Jonah's appointment, we came home to find only Ella, and not Aidan, ready for swimming lessons, and still in the driveway, when they should have already been at the fitness center. Argh! Alex was exhausted, but willing to cart Ella to her lesson. 

Ben has a Thing about birthdays. Especially family ones. He MUST go to a store and pick out a card for the Birthday Person, a small present, wrapping materials, and possibly their favorite candy. Every time there's a family birthday, I forget Ben's Birthday Thing. And always, always, the day of the birthday, Ben freaks out because he hasn't gotten his Thing for the birthday person. And always, we're running to Walgreens at a very inconvenient time to satisfy Ben and his generous need to get a Birthday Thing. He is so thoughtful and kind. I love that he HAS to get something for the birthday person. So after Ella and Dad left for swimming, I took Ben to Walgreens to get his special things for Dad. He goes through all the aisles, looking for the perfect card, the perfect gift, the perfect wrapping paper. And the perfect 3 Musketeers Bar- because that's Dad's favorite. Ben has a little OCD, in case you weren't aware (I say 'little' sarcastically), so this process takes quite a bit of time. Each candy bar must be carefully inspected to make sure it is up to Ben's standards of quality. Most are not. 

Eventually, we made it home. I felt sorry for Alex, having had to work so much the day and night before his birthday, and then also on his birthday. I firmly believe in Birthday Magic. No matter how old you are, birthdays should have at least some brief moments of magic. So Ben and I scurried around to make the house- that was FAR from magical- clean, make frosting, frost and candle the cake, wrap presents, and sign cards in the 15 minutes before Dad and Ella got home from swimming lessons. During this frantic race for Birthday Magic, I called to Aidan who was upstairs on the computer. Playing Minecraft. As usual. I told him Daddy would be home in 10 minutes and he needed to come downstairs and help us get ready! His fingers flew off the computer and he got downstairs faster than he's ever stopped a game. He asked if Daddy was home. Nope, 10 minutes. He exclaimed "OK! I'm going to HIDE!"

I don't know what my childrens' fascination with hiding is. They've always loved hiding gifts, goodies, treats, people...I think they love discovering unexpected goodness. The morning after Halloween, Ella strangely went downstairs all by herself. I thought for sure she'd be down there stuffing her face with candy, so I went down shortly after I heard her shuffling around. I found a trail of lollipops all the way from the front door half way around the whole first floor. Ella looked at me sheepishly as I caught her with her hand inside the cereal box. She grinned and explained that she was hiding treasures all around so that when people found them they would be surprised and happy! She put one in the fridge. I found a treasure on top of the toilet. I found another one in that box of cereal two days later- when I had forgotten Ella had done this and when the next kiddo wanted Cheerios. It did make me surprised and happy! I remembered the joy with which Ella hid all her tiny treasures to make us all happy. I keep finding them in odd places, even weeks later. Love that kid.

So Aidan was hiding for Daddy. After about 3 minutes, I hear a muffled "Is he here yet?" Nope. 7 more minutes. Aidan decided he couldn't stay hidden for that length of time, so he popped back out. He proceeded to spend the next 9 minutes- because Daddy was late- rushing around from room to room, watching to see if the passing cars were Daddy's car. He would yell "I SEE ONE! I SEE ONE! IT MIGHT BE DAD.....nope. it's not dad....I SEE ONE! I SEE ONE!!" Cracked me up. 

Finally it was Dad's car, and Aidan flew to hide in another room. As Daddy and Ella came in the house, Aidan blew open the door to the room he had been hiding in and yelled "Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!" Now that was Birthday Magic.

We sang and lit candles. We had cake and presents and cards. When I say "we" had presents, I mean Ella opened them all as Alex supervised. It was a fun way to end our crazy day. Birthday Magic was achieved.

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The other night I was driving the Mama Taxi around with Aidan and Ella after therapies. They were happily chatting in the backseat. I was thinking about a million Mama Things. Slowly, my attention was drawn to what my little ones were talking about. I realized Aidan had an old phone out. He had it turned so he was recording his sister and himself. He was doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Ella was doing her best Ella impression. It was another episode of "The Ella and Arnold Show." Aidan loves to talk like Arnold. He repeats all these lines from movies, and then inserts his own comments in Arnold Speak. It's so hilarious to hear this skinny little boy talking like a big strong macho Austrian man.

Ella and Aidan have these moments where they 'find' each other again. When they were little and Aidan would go to preschool, he would come home in the afternoon and he and Ella would play together for hours. They have always gotten along so well. They crack each other up; they have the same sense of humor. Ella can play "boy" games with the best of them, and Aidan is intrigued with "girl" games. They make the cutest pair. 

As they have gotten older, Aidan and Ella spend less time together. They have their own friends, their own interests, their own activities. Which is a good thing, part of getting older. But once in a while, they 'find' each other again, and it's so fun for me to listen to them when that happens. They are like two little peas in a pod, laughing and hooting and carrying on like wild children. They get into their own little world where nothing else matters except the two of them. Love it.

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The other day before school, I said something and Jonah responded "Mom! That's assititis!" 

Um, what now??

He said "You know, assititis, like you said yesterday."

Ohhhh, asinine. He had been talking about something and I had replied that it was asinine!!

"Assititis" cracked me up all day, every time I thought about it. What cracked me up even more was then Alex, Ben and Jonah and I kept thinking of more hilarious words. Like if you fart and poop, it's a pooart. And a sneeze and a tinkle is a sninkle. The boys are usually in pretty cranky, irritable, angry moods in the mornings before school, due to the anxiety they feel about the impending day. But that morning was awesome. I had them rolling on the floor with my funny word combos before they hit the bus. It was great to see them laughing together and having fun.

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"Don't put a worm on the table!" are the words that came out of my mouth the other day when Ella found a pet worm in the backyard. It was another afternoon where Ella and Aidan had 'found' each other and were fully entranced with finding wildlife in the backyard. They both love rocks, and they often bring in handfuls from outside. They present their dirty, cold rocks to me with sticky open hands, their chests puffed with pride at the bounty of their treasures. So I'm accustomed to the kitchen being filled with dirt and rocks and pebbles, leaves, grass, etc, after my darlings have been excavating outside. But I draw the line at worms. And other backyard critters that belong underground. If you have a container for said worm, fine. You may keep it as a pet and feed it grass and hope it lives while you examine it with wonder before freeing it back into the garden. But please don't put it on my kitchen table! I assumed this rule was quite understood, but Ella sincerely was confused as to why I didn't want worms on the table! Apparently I have not been crystal clear about Worm Rules. We revisited the rules about backyard critters having to be contained before bringing them into the house. Filthy rocks, fine. Backyard critters- they need containers.

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My twins have always been cuddlebugs. The first time I saw them snuggling together, they were days old, in Ben's NICU incubator. The nurses said that they weren't doing well, so they put the little boys together so they could draw comfort from each other. The boys each had cords and tubes and bands and wires attached to them, so the nurses had to carefully organize all of that for two babies to snuggle. It was pretty funny, because after a while of snuggling and gaining strength from each other, Ben started hollering. His little body went straight and tense and he screamed. Jonah looked around as if to say "Really? I come over here to hug and snuggle you, and you're yelling at me?? See what I've had to put up with all my life?"

When we brought our micro-preemies home from the NICU, they slept together in one crib. As babies, the boys often spent time in one crib together. As little boys, I would find Ben and Jonah snuggled in one of their toddler beds together. Not only did they spend most waking moments in each other's presence, they also sought out their brother in moments when they needed comfort or amusement. Alex and I always have said it's too bad Ella and Aidan don't have a twin. Having a twin is a beautiful thing.

Periodically as the boys have gotten older, they still snuggle. I'll come downstairs in the morning and find both boys squished into the corner of the couch, snuggled up, watching TV together. They always have this look like it's completely natural to be squished up, side by side. Like this is the way life is supposed to be. And for them, it is. They have been together since the moment they came into existence. 

Now that the boys are teenagers, you might think they would be less willing to snuggle with each other. And while they do spend most of their days apart, there are times when they still need that physical twin bond. The other night, Alex was putting Jonah back to bed in the middle of the night. Jonah said "I need Ben. I just want a Ben Hug." They sometimes will snuggle in one of their beds before they get up for school. It's the sweetest thing to hear them say "Goodnight, Jonah. Love you." "Goodnight, Ben. Love you too." Yes, they can be each other's very worst enemies. But they also have this bond that will never be broken because they were given life at the very same time. Being a witness to their miracle of twin-ness is a beautiful thing. 

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Kids. Aren't they funny? So precious, fragile, their childhood so fleeting. I love these little things that make them so endearing.                                           


1 comment:

Full Spectrum Mama said...

This post was like a beautiful, sometimes hilarious, patchwork poem.
Now that I am commenting, I don't have it in front of me any more but so many phrases touched my heart.
a mom taxi