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.