If I were to describe the boys to someone who didn’t know them I’d describe them this way. Adam and Zachary a pair of extremely active individuals. They do not sit for long periods of time and have little interest in television (except for some special cases). They prefer to move around and explore their environment. Zachary is particularly obsessed with tractors and cars and will play with them on the floor by himself for short periods of time but also enjoys exploring. Adam has a very short attention span and his mind is always churning. He likes “things” in the sense that he enjoys exploring collections of objects, taking them out piece by piece and inspecting them before moving on. He likes to take items apart and enjoys puzzles, particularly real-life ones like buckles, locks, and objects that clip and close. Zach is a bit less active than Adam but together they are fast-paced and do not give their parents much rest. If it involves sitting, it ain’t happening.
If the boys could spend all their time outdoors they would. Outside provides a huge space for play and lots of material for exploration. They want to go outside as soon as they wake up, as soon as they get home, and as soon as they come back in. Both of them love to play in the water in any way that they can, whether it’s in a pool, through a hose, or in the rain. They love to splash and be wet. Zach loves the sand box, especially using his trucks and buckets to dump sand out of it. He has loved sand ever since he was a baby and still enjoys eating it on occasion. Adam loves his bicycle and his motorized four-wheeler. He rides it through the yard with a very serious look on his face. He is very good with it and can steer it to where he wants to go but doesn’t understand the concept of turning it around – he still stops and physically turns it around instead of turning the wheel.
One of the advantages of the outside is that there are lots of loud machines to listen to. The boys love anything that makes noise. They love tractors, lawn mowers, air conditioners, hedge clippers, weed-wackers, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and motorcycles. This works out well for us because they absolutely love to watch us mow the lawn. We’ve taught them to stay away from the mower and they continuously watch it in order to maintain a safe distance. They even have their own mowers and have picked up on some of Mommy and Daddy’s real mower tricks. They have their own way of pulling the starter cord, checking the mower parts, and clearing out the wet grass. If you were to watch them “mow the lawn” while we did you would think that they were actually mowing something just by the way they handle the mowers. It’s adorable. They like indoor machines as well including air conditioners and vacuum cleaners of all kinds. Adam is particularly drawn to those hosy-canistery vacuum cleaners. If he sees one he will shout “VACCUUM!!!” and demand to use it. One of the highlights of his life was when he was allowed to vacuum the hair up at the hair dresser during Zachary’s haircut.
Playing outside wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Bampa and Sally, our 80 year-old neighbors. A visit to their surrogate grandparent’s porch generally includes a cookie, a pet for their dog Brandy, and some time to play with their set of matchbox cars on the floor. The boys know them very well and are very comfortable with them, often asking “Where’s Bampa?” or “Where’s Sally?” and refusing to pass their house without a visit during an evening walk.
The boys generally do well on car rides and in stores, as long as they are appropriately fed. We are not above giving numerous snacks in return for a low-stress store experience. While in the car the boys actively look for motorcycles and fire trucks on the road and appreciate it if we can get next to them for a closer look. We’re working on teaching the boys that there are different kinds of trucks on the road such as dump trucks and tractor trailers. At the moment everything is a fire truck. And how could I forget school buses! Any bus, van, or large vehicle with windows is a school bus. We see at least one on every trip and they have remembered the area where the busses turn around on our way to work so well that they say “I don’t see the school bus” if one isn’t there.
Sally and I love music and the boys do too. We listen to a lot of pop so that is what they typically listen to. They will both dance kind of automatically to a strong beat and it is really adorable. You could be holding one and notice that he starts swaying to the beat. They love to listen to music in the car and groove. Adam dances the way that I do, moving his head and shoulders around while Zachary prefers to flick his feet up and down. They have such a strong taste in music that they actually tell us to turn up the songs that they like and skip the songs that they don’t. “I don’t like this one” is a common phrase when our iPods don’t want to shuffle well.
Overall the boys are well-behaved. This is in no small part due to the amount of effort that we put into raising them. I’m generally not one to pat myself on the back, but providing the right mixture of love, understanding, exploration, and discipline is a huge amount of work, especially for a working parent. We work extremely hard to provide the boys with structure and consequence so they understand what is right and wrong while at the same time allowing them to push their boundaries and learn on their own. We are frequently complimented at public gatherings about how well they behave and how polite they are. This makes me proud, not only of us but of them as well. Home is a bit of a different story. They are in closed quarters and like to get on each other’s nerves. As with any siblings they can be each other’s best friend one moment and greatest enemy the next. We still deal with frequent hitting, biting, kicking, poking, toy-stealing, and tantruming at home. We are currently working on improving listening skills, especially for Zachary, and are enforcing more structure around meal time.
Adam and Zachary are normal kids, unique in their own ways. Zachary is lazy, only wants to do what he wants, loves to read, and is incredibly intelligent. Adam is fast-paced, independent but very affectionate at the same time, and is also incredibly intelligent. We have typical ups and downs and are often tired and sometimes frustrated but it’s all worth it. Truly. I can’t express how much we love the boys. They bring love into our home and give purpose to our lives. I can’t imagine my life without either of them and I couldn’t imagine just having one (other than being less tired :). We take the time that we spend with them very seriously and do our best to focus on quality rather than quantity trying to appreciate them every moment we can. As they grow up they can do more and more with us and we are excited to share more experiences with them. We love our boys.