Formerly - A look at the ups and downs of life with a double pushchair!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Now we are 6

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
 Author: A.A. Milne 

We have just reached the end of Birthday season in our house.  Normally a birthday lasts just one day, perhaps stretching over the weekend to accommodate a party, but with twins it can last for many more weeks.
A and E turned 6 on 2nd January, this year it was a Friday and we celebrated with a great party after kindergarten complete with a clown, sandwiches and two cakes - one cake for E had a gymnast on it and the other for A was a clown.
The following day, Saturday, was celebrated by a kiddush in shul with friends and then a family lunch at home.
Clearly that should be enough celebration for any 6 year old. But no, the most important party when you know that you are really and truly 6 comes in kindergarten.
Parties in kindergarten understandably are grouped together with 2 or 3 children, so we had to accommodate other people in our plans. Being mummy to twins I did wonder if they would be upset not celebrating on the same day. Thankfully they didn't seem to mind.
A lucked out and got a party about 3 weeks after her actual birthday, and E had to wait until the beginning of February for hers.
But they both had a great time. They compared non-stop the details of each party. One kindergarten just required cake and balloons and going home presents, the other required a whole break-time meal - cereal, milk, veggies and cake.
They each thought their own party was brilliant. They didn't mind that things happened differently in each gan. As their Mummy I got to the end of the birthday month and breathed a sigh of relief that I had navigated through more great birthday celebrations. What had amazed me through the whole month is that there is no real jealousy at all between then. They both received different amounts of gifts for their birthday as each girl from each kindergarten brought a gift for the girl that they know. 
In some cases we suggested that they were each given their own gift - for example their fabulous new birthday dresses - they had to have one each, and other times large joint presents are also great such as the large box of Magnatiles that they received as a joint present.  Whether the presents were joint or individual they were both happy and I am so thankful that the act of sharing is an in-built part of their character.

The same, but oh so different

A few weeks ago I took A and E for a child development check up. I went by myself with the girls as at almost age 6 I didn't feel I needed any additional help with them.

I was called in for our appointment with the Child development nurse. I went in with both of them, sat down and handed over their cards outlining all their vaccinations.

She was a very cheerful nurse but asked if there was any chance we could do the check up on them one at a time.

"Well I'm here on my own, I doubt one of them will wait outside".

She humoured me and really did her best to evaluate both of the girls at the same time.

They had to stack 10 blocks on top of each other, draw a picture, identify various objects - nothing too taxing.

However as can be with children, sometimes they don't like to comply. A became shy and sat on my knee. With a few words of encouragement E was happy to oblige and complete all the tasks. Eventually A half-heartedly attempted to amuse me and the nurse and did enough to just pass the satisfactory minimal requirement.

They then had to be weighed and measured and the nurse was completely astounded that they both weighed and measured the same!

"Identical twins!" I told her, but she still double checked that she had taken the measurements correctly.

Once she had completed the checks we then had to have a meeting with the Paediatrician. Before we went in I tried to cajole both of them that they had to comply and to just answer any question that was asked, otherwise we were going to have to come back for further assessments. We met with a doctor who asked them a couple of easy questions. Thankfully E became rather confident in her ability to answer and tried to answer on behalf of both of them.

One of the tasks was to look at a picture and tell the story or to answer questions about what was happening. E engaged with the idea and completed the task with no problem. A sat on my knee and cuddled in to me. I tried to encourage her. I said she could answer in English or Hebrew and eventually she managed a few words.

"Is she always like this?" enquired the doctor
"She's a little on the shy side with strangers" I tried to explain.
"Well I suppose her teacher would tell you if she wasn't learning properly" she continued
"She's doing really well in kindergarten" I found myself explaining.
Truth was I didn't really blame A for not wanting to tell a story from pictures to a doctor she had never met who wasn't overly warm or caring.

Finally A just about rose to the challenge and came up with some mono-syllabic answers and we were signed off and could leave.

As we left the clinic I thought about what I had just witnessed over the past 30 minutes and it made me smile. I imagine that the nurse had written down how physically identical A and E were and the doctor had probably written down that they couldn't be more different.  And of course the second the doors of the clinic closed behind us A breathed a sigh of relief and carried on with her incessant non stop chatter.