G&T - 2-and-a-half M - 8-and-a-half months
My house is full of flowers. Pink ones, white ones, red, yellow and blue. In the living room, in the dining room, the kitchen and the playroom. Tall, short, big and small. All supplied by the twins' fantastic imagination.
In the past few weeks, the girls' ability to conjure up whatever they want has exploded. I first noticed it in the nightly bath they share. G grabbed the plug chain and turned to T. 'Which banana you want?' she enquired. T thought it over. 'The purple one,' she decided. So G plucked it off and handed it over, before T scoffed it. I don't know where they've even seen bananas on trees, but it was just the start. The following day in the garden, T spotted a small piece of wood, which she placed upright in amongst some gravel, then asked for her little watering can. I filled it for her, then watched with a mixture of pride, amusement and overwhelming gooiness, as she watered the stick, and instructed me to come and look at her 'beautiful pink flower'. Now, every time they start up a little game, there is some element of the fantastic involved, making it even harder for me to guess what's going on inside those gorgeous little heads. After tea tonight, for example, they started chasing each other round the table (much to M's delight, by the way. She's feeling the benefits of their flights of fancy too). Suddenly, 'T started shouting: 'I'm a pancake! Catch me! I'm a pancake!' Soon, G was 'a pancake' too, much to everyone's utter joy. Yes, they're weirdos, but they aren't half cute! And it has been a very welcome light relief from what's been a tough few weeks.
They do say things come in threes, so I really ought not to have been surprised when toilet-training and tummy bugs were immediately followed by teething... Just when the girls all started sleeping through the night without feeling the need to wake up screaming and bringing up the contents of their stomachs, cheery little M suddenly became a fist-gnawing, bottle-rejecting, whining, crying nightmare. I know 8 months is hardly early for a first tooth, but it took me totally by surprise. I didn't get any teeth until I was one, and although G got her first at 9 months, T was 11 months before hers appeared. Recently, as her personality has been emerging more than ever, it's become obvious just how much M is like her middle sister. G is Daddy's girl, in looks, in personality, in everything. But T has always been my wee copy. She looks like me, acts like me, delights in tormenting her sister like me... If I look back at videos of the twins at M's age, the similarities are truly breath-taking. Yes, M as a singleton is a bit bigger, but she is the absolute double of T, even sounding just the same. And so far, they've been going toe-to-toe in the milestones. Holding their heads, creeping, crawling, pulling up... All within a few days of the other. So I just assumed the teeth would be the same. But sure enough, I can see two little white outlines beneath poor M's red raw gums already. It was a wake-up call I think I needed.
I'm always telling Daddy off for comparing the girls, for calling M 'T mark two'. But it seems I was doing it too. And after all these months of the nagging worry that M will always be left out, I now find myself worrying about G instead. I have no doubts that the other two will spend their lives refuting suggestions that they are the twins, that G is the odd one out. Will she begin to resent her perfect little face? Her blonde curls and big brown eyes, amongst all the blue-eyed brunettes? So far, she's just delighted whenever anyone points out how much she looks like Daddy, and I hope that continues. In a way, I'm glad that G's the different one, rather than T. She's so independent, so sure of her own rightness, whereas T is a little more sensitive, outgoing and friendly, but deep down, a bit more insecure. So I guess maybe nature has been rather clever. G and T will always have such a special bond, but now M has an obvious connection too. They are all sisters, and that's all that matters.
I often wonder what it would have been like any any of them been boys. As one of three girls myself, I can understand my three, their bond and their closeness. OK, so the teenage years will be interesting to say the least, but I'm on safe ground. Hormones, I get. Queues for the bathroom and fights over hair straighteners, I can understand. I've been there. But boys are a mystery to me. Of course, had I had one, I'd have loved him completely and delighted in the new experiences, but I'm secretly pleased to have got all my little ladies. Their poor dad maybe could have done with a little testosterone around here, perhaps one less to worry about discovering boys, but it suits me just fine. Lots of pink and cute little dresses. Plaits and bows and imaginary flowers. Sugar and spice and all things nice. Unless one of them is getting a tooth, of course.