(apologies to anyone who got half of this post in their google reader earlier today, I hit the wrong button.)
It's Monday afternoon, the girls are asleep, Nye is working. I'm enjoying 10 minutes of quiet.
There is a river of snot flowing in our house and a constant cacophony of coughs (nice alliteration, huh?) It's that time of year when we notice it's starting to get lighter in the evenings after months of interminable darkness, then exactly 24 hours after the observation: BAM, the lurge. It happens every single year.
I don't have words for how amazing Widdle and Puke have been (we call them Pickle and Moo now. Sometimes Spickle and Moomin). The last few weeks they have gone through so many changes and have become so much like people. And I have fallen in love with them three hundred million times more.
They have words now. Not many but enough to make them distinctly Not Babies. Babies don't talk, kids do. Ella's words are: doh (dog), duh (duck), baba (baby), ahbee (Ammie), nana (any type of fruit), noh (nose) and Azerbaijan. Ammies are doh (dog), duh (duck) and noh (nose). Ammie doesn't need words because she has the most expressive range of noises in the world. She jabbers away all day, chirping and chirruping and babbling and squawking and bellowing and yelling and snuffling and exhaling. Ella chats too occasionally, but Ammie's commentary is near continuous. I didn't know that anyone could express so much with a purse of the lips and a vigorous exhalation.
They walk. Ammie start in November, a couple of weeks after their first birthday. In a move that seems to have released a tonne of frustration and irritability Ella caught up last week. And she is so pleased with herself. Every time she stumbles across a room she is all 'look at me! look at me! I rock!' Yes kid, you totally totally do.
They kiss and they hug too. Mostly Nye and I (which is nice after a year of being yelled at) but as of last week, each other too. I can't tell you how huge this is. Since they were only a couple of months old people have been asking us if they interact and play with each other and we have been snorting back laughter. Up until nine months they barely acknowledged each other's existence, why would they? When you're a baby another baby is of absolutely zero use to you and their 'interaction' was limited to waking each other up and competing to cry the loudest. Then at nine months they added pushing each other over and stealing each other's food/toys/milk, the natural conclusion of which was scratching, bashing and eye gouging. Sometimes they did scratching, bashing and eye gouging without the precursor of theft, sometimes it was just fun to whack your sister in the face. After that came wrestling over my lap or arms, depending on whether I was sitting or standing, and then recently some much more sophisticated fighting. Ella quickly became a master of swapsies: instead of 'you have the toy/food/parent I want, I'm having that and I'll poke you in the eye when you resist' it became 'You have the toy/food/parent I want, here, have a chewed up piece of cardboard and while you're contemplating its worth I'll have that toy. Bye!' Amelia caught up with that game eventually and now they are both excellent at it. Of course they don't fall for it with each other any more but anyone else is fair game. Recently in the airport Ammie toddled up to a teenage boy and in a truly admirable move attempted to swap her complimentary (and thoroughly dribbled upon and ripped up) airline magazine for his iPad. I was so proud.
Over the last few months they've started interacting in a way that is actually nice though and it's been incredible. It started with Ammie lying down beside Ella while she was in the middle of a tantrum and patting her on the head. When that didn't work she got up and left to play with some toys but still, it was the first time either of them had shown any sign of empathy towards the other and that was HUGE. It took a few months for Ella to return the favour but now they're all about patting each other on the head, offering cups and occasionally even toys or food and as of last week, hugging. Guys, they actually like each other! I won't pretend that we weren't starting to wonder...
They also hang up laundry, pat dogs, make animal noises, dig in soil and wear shoes (which they bring to us to put on their feet, even when they're in their pyjamas). They eat curry and chilli and chickpeas have a bizarrely high currency in our household. They've started trying to put themselves into their sleeping bags at night and occasionally they show signs of knowing that sleep and bed are good things and not the work of the devil. They dance, although more Ella than Ammie, man that kid has some moves. She likes 80s pop and 70s reggae.
I don't want to give the impression that they're perfect, I know how much I hate all those perfect blog babies. They are also still occasionally mental. For the first five days that we were in France they were both teething and both cried almost constantly. Ella developed an instantaneous and unprecedented bath-aversion the night we arrived and went absolutely ballistic daily when we so much as approached the bathroom. . I had stopped drinking wine 3 months earlier because I thought it was making my endometriosis worse. Yeah, that didn't last long once we hit France. Tantrums are daily and they are extreme: exorcist extreme. Sometimes when we go out for lunch one will only eat crisps and the other will only eat ice cubes. Every night for three months they screamed and kicked and writhed while having their pyjamas put on. They are now down to doing it 4 nights out of 7. Their nappies stinks like they live on a diet of microwave burgers. At least once a week Ammie head butts me so hard I wonder if she has broken my nose.
Whatever, I still think that they're the most amazing kids that ever lived.
And with that I'll leave you, it's time to go and play with my most excellent kiddos.