Life Lessons

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As the twins near their second birthday they have really ceased to be babies and become (that most dreaded of all life stages) The Toddler. They run, they scream, they throw themselves on the ground in abject despair, they make each other (and me) laugh uproariously at seemingly nothing, and importantly they talk. This transition to talking felt slow to start, but now they can both make themselves fairly clearly understood – and for that I am incredibly grateful. We were all getting pretty frustrated by the mutual incomprehension.

Our relationship increasingly feels like one of give and take – and while they take a lot (mostly of patience) they are also teaching me things.

Not wanting someone else to have something is not the same as wanting it for yourself.

This may be one that is particularly apparent to parents of twins.

Scenario:

Twin 1 is drinking from a cup of water. Thirst quenched Twin 1 sets cup down but keeps hold of the handle. Twin 2 plaintively asks for some water. Twin 1 giggles and says ‘no’, knowing full well that they are no longer thirsty and that Twin 2 is well within their rights to ask for a drink.

This is also applicable to toys, pieces of clothing, and (unbelievably) baby wipes.

Adult application:

As an adult this is applicable mainly to ex-lovers. We’ve all been in the scenario when you find out that your ex has a new love and you think ‘WHAT!?! – this is unacceptable’. No matter how happy you are in your current relationship / life, a tiny part of you will always be shocked that your ex has sought out a new partner. Oh sure eventually you get to the point where you’re moderately ok with your ex’s happiness, but frankly they should be pining away forever. But… just because you don’t want someone else to be with said ex, doesn’t mean that you want to be back with your ex.

Screaming (even in joy) at something you love is not the way to make them love you back.

Scenario:

Your toddler spots a duck/ cat / pigeon / dog / pig and SCREAMS with delight at the existence of said animal. They bounce on the spot clapping their hands as the object of their affection looks on aghast. They begin to run full tilt at their love and their love flies/ runs / waddles off. The toddler is dejected – until they see something else they love and the cycle begins again.

Adult application:

This one should be obvious. We’ve all had the situation where you make a new friend and you’re a little over enthusiastic and end up overwhelming your new friend with a flood of texts / calls etc. It’s even more problematic in the social media age where they’re only a click away for further thoughts see the awesome (and instructive) Research Me Obsessively from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Just because things aren’t EXACTLY as you’d want them doesn’t mean you should reject it.

Scenario:

Your toddler asks for a cookie. You, worn down by the long day of parenting thinks ‘why not’ only to get to the cupboard and discover that the packet of cookies has seen better days and all that’s left are some broken shards at the bottom of the packet. You explain that the cookies are nearly all gone but there are these super special cookies that are tiny and therefore delicious. Your toddler looks at you as though you are trying to poison them and begins to scream the house down.

Adult Application:

There are always times when something you really wanted turns out to be not as great as you’d thought it would be. Whether that’s a job, a vacation or indeed a life partner (ahem). However, as you grow up you realise that nothing is perfect, and that the real joy is in the imperfections. Having kids has taught me to appreciate the good things because let’s face it some kind of disaster is always around the corner…

Thinking about it… these are all lessons that the twins have yet to learn. Things that it’s my job as their parent to help them come to understand as they grow up. But there are three things that I can genuinely say I have learned from them.

  • Live in the moment
  • Allow yourself to be distracted
  • Hugs make everything better – this needs no further explanation.
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