Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Envy

Spreading to the winds has always been the modus operand of my family. While my mother was born in California, as were my siblings and myself, none of us live there presently. By the time I was 12 I had lived in four different states in a handful of different homes. This was a consequence of circumstance and, at least to some degree, an almost genetic predisposition to wanderlust. It should come as little surprise that I have since added numerous states to the list (I think I’m at 8 now along with a return to Cali and two Ohio stints). I like this. In fact, I absolutely love it and I hope we have the chance to move at least a couple times during the boys’ lifetime when they’re better able to appreciate it.

One of the unfortunate byproducts of my wanderlust and formerly nomadic lifestyle has been the sometimes significant stretches of time between visits to see my mother. I’ve grown accustomed to this and, for the most part, make sure the visits occur at least once a year. Still, the last time we saw Mom and John (my step-father) was last February. With the boys growing at such a rapid pace, that seems like an eternity.

So now we’ve settle down for a bit here in Toledo; the caravan is retired or at least in extended storage. In putting down roots for the foreseeable future, we did so to be closer to Amanda’s family. I love having Grandma Elva close by; she is an immense help with daycare costs as she takes them twice a week, with occasional overnight care so that Amanda and I can go play and be a couple instead of just parents and with support in general. But… she is not my mother. The boys know Elva as Grandma, but they do not know my mother by that esteemed title.

I love that my mother lives in Tennessee now after having lived in Florida for a number of years, love that my sister is in Georgia and that my brother just moved from Utah to Washington, and I love that the boys have already moved cross country twice. The price of this is a certain distance, geographic in nature, that precludes the idyllic notion of heading over to Grandma’s for dinner or for a quick visit. When neither my wife nor I had this, such as was the case when we lived in California, I paid it little mind. Sure I wanted to see family more often but it wasn’t a daily concern. Now, seeing the boys play with Elva and watching them get to know her so well, my heart aches a bit. It makes me miss my mother all the more and makes me realize that they will not know her the same way they know Elva. Such is the price we pay for, as my mother called it, “spreading you wings and flying to wherever you want to land.”

Happily, we’re headed to Mom’s this weekend. It will be another wing spreading day. The boys will get to experience a new place, get to know another set of their other grandparents, and I’ll get to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world. Then we’ll return and I’ll feel a bit wistful, but I’ll always be thankful for this wanderlust disease. In indulging in it, even if I miss my mother, I know I’m living one of the things she taught me. But yes, sometimes I’ll be a bit envious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Double "Trouble", Part II

It seems my brain has exited stage left (and missed the stairs at that). As such, I’ve only a short post in me today.

Having previously discussed the fact that the boys aren’t actually double trouble, I would like to focus on what they are doubly: EXPENSIVE! I suspect all parents of multiples experience the phenomena of Multiples Math, a.k.a. (in our case) Instant Doubling. This is especially common when seeking gifts. By way of example, here’s a conversation Amanda and I held when discussing the boys’ main second birthday present:

Amanda: So here are those bikes I was talking about.
Me: Oh man, those are awesome!
Amanda: Yeah, but they’re a bit spendy.
Me: Yeah…$160 is a lot given that we haven't seen them in person.

Note that each one was actually $80 (though we did end up finding them for a better price). The doubling was instant, something not even considered on any conscious level. We do this over just about everything (except food; we basically count them as one adult mouth in that respect). Toys are doubled. Plane tickets end up being multiplied by four. While money isn’t a huge issue for us—we pay our bills, save a little and want for nothing significant—it still seems like it just magically jumps out of our pockets and into the waiting coffers of anything near, always in pairs and without even so much as a cursory glance back to bid us adieu. Is it any wonder why I start hyperventilating when I think about 16 years from now when they head off to college? Breathe, Kevin, breathe. Don’t panic… not yet, at least.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

They're not really "double trouble"

I hear the term “double trouble” rather often when I’m out with the boys solo and occasionally when both Amanda and I are playing a game of herd the twins. I know it’s a well-meaning saying, but it’s actually quite inaccurate and not for the reasons one might think. I dislike the idea of associating a child with trouble (those “here comes trouble” shirts drive me batty), but that isn’t the issue at hand. No, what I’m talking about is the good twin/evil twin phenomenon.

I’m not setting up some evil twin trope here or anything, I’m just talking about the tendency of one twin to suddenly become downright angelic when the other becomes a screaming banshee. The twins switch roles, too; one does not seem to take on a particular role with significant frequency.* The truly shocking part comes when both are tantruming away and causing mommy and daddy to hyperventilate as the frazzled parents seek some way to stop the aural onslaught without capitulating to demands…and suddenly one of them stops and begins being super cute and loving. Sometimes the now-angel twin will go pat his furious brother on the back or give him a hug. This will often have the exact opposite effect on the evil twin. Although I do not even remotely believe this is actually the case, it almost seems like there is a finite amount of good shared between them and sometime one of them takes sole possession of that good.

Of course, the good twin in this scenario is only so much so; he will often use the tantrum as an opportunity to collect all the trains his brother was playing with so as to create a monster locomotive horde.

No, seriously, we flipping LOVE trains!!!
It is this action that makes me suspect that there is distinct intentionality in these interactions and it is one of those times that a parent must admit that even his/her infant child is far more capable of complex thought than they might suspect. It seems that from a very early age (somewhere around 3 months), they began to comprehend that “good” actions would garner immediate attention. At the same time, they also realized that “bad” actions will gain them immediate attention as well. They’ve ALSO realized that they are more likely to get attention if they act in the opposite manner of their sibling if one is angry.

I’m completely fascinated by this; I’m pretty sure there’s a rather complex deductive proof to be found in their actions. I’ll be damned, they’re already logically sound. I’m so proud!

* Footnote: A slight caveat is necessary here. Sometimes the boys’ actions will “cluster” and pull towards one side or the other for a couple weeks at a time. This has always been short-lived, however.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sure it looks good, but is it fast?

A funny thing about regular blogging: sometimes I look at my list of ideas for posts, open up a document to start writing, and suddenly find none of them sufficiently interesting. I’ll chalk it up to coming down with something as I think/hope that some of those post ideas are pretty good. Still, I do want to post something so I think I’ll write a review of the Schwinn 12” Roadster Tricycle, our big gift to the boys for their recent second birthday.

I’ll admit it: I was drawn to the aesthetics first and foremost. I mean, look at this thing! It has an awesome retro feel to it, a wooden running board, fantastic chrome fenders, tassels, a bell… I don’t want to turn them into hipster kids or anything, but this thing looks like it should be hanging out alongside a bunch of cafĂ© racers.

Looks only get something so far, however. We hesitated to order these online as we were unable to locate one to inspect in person. We read a few reviews, held our breath, and went in for two. Having received them, let me just say that they’re pretty great even if they do have a few flaws.


• Aesthetics. Seriously, can you find a better looking trike for under $100? The rear wooden running board is fantastic, as are all the chrome accents.

• Sturdiness of frame. The main frame is not going to bend. Hell, I’m not even sure I could dent it without a bat. It is an extremely well-made component.

• Air-filled tires. They rock (though I do wish they were whitewalls) and they seem to hold air very well.

• Low profile. In addition to looking rad, the “low rider” design—the result of too much WD40 and an amorous night between a classic tricycle and a big wheel—reduces the chances of tipping to almost nothing. It also makes mounting and dismounting especially easy for little ones.

• Adjustable. The seat has six possible positions and will accommodate a wide range of sizes. With the seat all the way up, the boys can reach the peddles well, so I suspect that the recommended age range of 2 to 5 is pretty accurate.


• Poor quality control. While the frame is extremely well made, I worry about the securing bracket for the handlebars. I have a feeling a repair or two will be in my future, and I’m certain frequent adjustments will be necessary as it is impossible to tighten the bracket far enough to prevent it from twisting a bit out of line. That might seem like an automatic deal breaker; it isn’t as severe as it sounds though it is something that I wish the company would address. Additionally, the sticker accents were applied with no eye towards quality. I had to pull one partially off to reposition it—ironically one declaring “Schwinn Quality”—and the little black and white stripe details on the fenders are applied with a similar degree of clumsiness. Having worked in manufacturing, I’m almost certain that the frame, fenders, and paint are made in one factory—one with much better quality controls—while the stickers and such are applied at another location. Schwinn really ought to seek a replacement for the second.

• Weight. This is a somewhat unfair negative in that it contributes to the sturdiness of the frame, but it still ought to be mentioned as this bad boy is considerably heavier—and thus harder to pedel—than its classic counterpart.

So my only real complaint is quality control. The boys cannot pedal the beasts, but that seems completely inconsequential as they absolutely love them all the same. “Bike, Bike! Side! Go go, side!” they call after dinner, telling us it’s time to go outside and let them scoot around on their new toys.

Time for some action shots:

The final assessment? If you have to pay over $80-sh, then it’s probably not worth it. Below that price point, I think it overcomes its primarily aesthetic quality control issues and becomes a great piece of equipment. The blue one was once on sale for $50, an absolute steal that I'm sad I missed. I’ll update this post if any issues arise and give an additional assessment after a few months. For now, though, it's a nice day out, so...

Monday, May 7, 2012

On The Boys Turning Two

Two years ago, two tiny little boys came into my life. I was filled with anxiety and fear: fear that I would break them, that I would fail them in some fundamental way, fear that I wouldn’t be able to be what they would need me to be. Through bleary eyes and almost sleepless nights, we slogged on from one day to the next, making our way through those petrifying early days of parenthood by running on fumes, delirium and that new parent high.

We didn’t break them. They grew quickly.

A year ago we were in St. George, Utah. We picked a theme of Super Mario Bros. for their birthday because Amanda I like gaming, the colors were fun and conducive to twins and because the boys weren’t yet “into” anything per se... Maybe anything with wheels, but nothing beyond that. We had a small celebration over at my brother’s house. He made a cool cake. The boys ate 1-Up mushroom cupcakes and vomited green frosting all over Amanda later that night.

I was still petrified, but about new things. I worried most of all about being able to provide for them financially and emotionally.


It’s amazing what two years can do. For this birthday celebration we could pick either Yo Gabba Gabba or anything with trains because those are their favorite things in the world; trains probably win out but Amanda and I are partial to DJ Lance's antics. We'll figure it out prior to your party this weekend, but I'm still voting for a Muno cake.

I know I am a good father now; I know I am unlikely to break them and I know my failures (the inevitability of which I’ve come to accept) can be mitigated by greater effort…or if all else fails, therapy. I now know no amount of income will be sufficient because I’ll want to buy them the entire world.

I’ve come to expect chaos, and then expect love.


Love (amid chaos, about an hour later after finally falling asleep)

I expect one of the boys to hit/bite/harm the other and then give them a hug. I expect a screaming, thrashing tantrum followed by cuddles and spontaneous hugs. I expect the accidental “shit” that slips from one of our lips to be echoed by the boys at the most inopportune time. I expect to wake up in the morning anxious to see them and collapse, exhausted from the day’s efforts, at night.

I expect things I never expected when we were expecting, and I anxiously await each new development as they grow far faster than I could have imagined.

My dear Timothy, my dance machine and my dear Raiden, my little clown… Daddy is in awe of you. I promise to try to never tell you that you’ll understand something only when you’re older, but know that you won’t understand just how much I love you until you have a child of your own.

All that brings me to my mother, who also has a birthday today. Although our options were limited, we picked May 7th as our planned c-section day specifically so that the boys could share their day with her.  

Mom, you amaze me. I can only hope I show my boys a fraction of your determination, strength, patience and resolve. I hope your day is wonderful and I cannot wait to see you at the end of the month.

Happy birthday to all three of you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Allure of the Dog's Butt

First, a photo from yesterday's visit to Sidecut Park.

It has warmed up here very suddenly. Toledo's weather is manic, expressing itself primarily in extreme highs and lows, sometimes in the same day. Dressing appropriately is an exercise in pure guesswork.


Our dog, a 90 lbs moose of a black lab/German shepherd mix, took to the boys immediately. He often barked when the boys cried, almost as though he were telling us to attend to them faster. He would “stand guard” by their cribs when they napped, and he seemed especially weary of strangers in or near our home. Even though he was “our baby” prior to their birth, and even though he ended up far down in the household pecking order, he was protective, attentive, and generally happy to have the “pink puppies” around. Once they began crawling, he seemed a little off put by them but still seemed content with their presence.

Then they started walking... And climbing... And seeing him as a fun playmate that goes crazier the more he is played with. I’m pretty sure he anxiously awaits death some days now. Nothing drew this to a head more than the boys discovering…the dog’s butt. Thomas holds his tail up high most of the time, and they seemed to consider that an enticement to poke the poor old guy right in the pooper, whether with fingers or toys. I’ve heard more than one yelp followed by peals of laughter. We take the offending object away and scold them, but the allure of the dog’s butt is too strong.

Actually, the allure of anything that is dangerous, harmful, just plain gross or could possibly kill them seems too great to resist. The draw is directly proportional to the degree of danger, grossness, etc.

Electrical sockets? Best things ever.

Knives? DO WANT!

Heavy glass shelves? Yes, please!

Do these things somehow emit a greater gravitational pull on children than do, say, toys or pillows or the dog’s ears? Does this stop at some point? Is this merely the start of the "Trying (though far from terrible) Twos"? More importantly, will my dog suffer from AAPD (Anal Assault Paranoia Disorder)?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Judgment Day

There is a relatively infrequent occurrence that drives me to nearly apocalyptic anger when out in public, something that without fail will illicit from me a froth-filled diatribe about the perception of fathers as uninvolved or incapable: changing tables in women’s bathrooms, but not men’s.

I am far from a germaphobe; I have changed my boys on a variety of surfaces, but I must admit that I prefer to not place a changing mat on a bathroom floor while dealing with the dirty business. That many places—especially small restaurants—do not provide changing tables isn’t a big deal. It is only when this bizarre and overt display of gender inequity suddenly confronts me that I lose my composure and spit out pithy phrases about heterosexism, society facilitating the continuation of the culture of the uninvolved, clueless father and so on and so forth. I don’t raise my voice, I just engage in…well, let’s call it “passionate pontification.” Invariably my wife helps bring me down to earth by laughing a bit at my sudden verbal explosion, wholeheartedly agreeing that the situation is crap, and then gently reminding me that we both still have baby butts to change, whether on a changing table or otherwise. I then march to the bathroom to do my doody duty, all the while imagining that the manager of the establishment will meet me at the door, offer a sincere “thank you” for pointing out the inherent inequity to both fathers and mothers, and outline his/her timeline for correcting the oversight immediately. That this has yet to occur should come as no surprise.

This situation speaks to the flack Huggies generated with their recent ad capaign with a number of father bloggers. Those very capable folks have commented with far more intelligence and insight than anything I could offer at this point, so I merely wish to cite the commercials as an example of the perceived ineptitude of fathers when it comes to childcare. Turn on a television for more than a couple hours and you’re all but certain to find a dozen other examples. It seems that fathers are largely (though not exclusively) expected to be clueless, to blunder, to be the last resort babysitter and not a true parenting partner.

I think I was ignorant of this perception to some degree prior to my boys coming into the world. In my mind the world was bifurcated into involved, competent fathers and slacker jerks who didn’t do their fair share. I reserved plenty of vitriol for the latter type of father, but I guess I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that men are typically expected to fail spectacularly in their contributions to early child rearing.

This lack of awareness on my part led to one of the more harrowing, stressful situations I’ve experienced with the boys. They were about 11 weeks old. We were living in St. George, Utah at the time, a community not known for progressive attitudes (though I did see a large number of very involved fathers). We had just moved and Amanda was working away, so I took the boys with me to bargain hunt at one of my favorite discount stores for some household goods. They were breast fed at the time and had just eaten quite well, so I knew I had about two hours to complete whatever shopping I wanted to do before they needed to get back home. While debating between a mellow gray rug and a fun lime green shag, Raiden began to fuss. Then Timmy fussed. Then both cried. I shushed and rocked them, trying to make my decision quickly, but I only succeeded in quieting them a little. Like a flock of vultures crowding around a dying animal, they decended on me. Six women, ages ranging from a few years my junior to 30+ years my senior, materialized from thin air. They began the conversation by commenting on how cute the boys were (a very true statement), how brave I was to take them out solo (a comment that will always elicit an eye roll from me), the usual awkward (but completely understandable) “do twins run in your family were they natural were they early etc?” question set… And then the real discomfort began:

“So where’s mommy?” one asked while the others nodded, as if the question were a statement with which one might agree or disagree.
“At home, working away. She sometimes works very long hours while I only work 30 or so,” I responded.

They “Ohhed” at this in as neutral a tone as possible, but I could hear the judgment. Still, the conversation had been pleasant enough so I chose to ignore it. About then, Raiden began a much louder cry, one I recognized immediately. I rocked them both with a bit more vigor, something that typically soothed them. Still he persisted… And then it began:

“Oh, he wants his mommy.”
“Poor little guy is hungry. Do you have a bottle for him?”
“I bet he’s wet. Do you have a dirty diaper, little one?”

I found myself overwhelmed, flustered and downright angry. I knew Raiden’s cry very well, just as any involved parent comes to know their baby’s early forms of communication. This cry meant he was bored and needed something different. I wanted to lash out at this gaggle of ladies ogling my beautiful boys and passing judgment so casually, but I couldn’t muster sufficient energy to do the job properly. After all, I was an involved father of very young twins! I grabbed one of the rugs and placed it in the cart. I told them that I knew he had a full belly, I just changed him before I walked into the store, and that cry meant he was bored as his “I want mommy” cry was far higher pitched. As I marched up to the check stand feeling far more flustered than two crying babies would ever make me, one of the gals said something like “well, I can tell he’s still hungry.” I fumed while checking out and ignored the realization that I had forgotten toilet paper. I hurried home and, once inside, asked my wife to cuddle with me to help melt away the self-doubt those unintentionally evil women wormed into my brain. The only good to come from the situation was that their small mob forced me to make a snap decision; that inexpensive lime green rug looked fantastic in the guest bathroom.

As I cuddled with Amanda, the boys content now that they were doing something different, I began to recollect some words of wisdom from my mother. She had told me to expect this; she shared stories of being a single mom and finding heaps of scorn and very little support. Judgment was just par for the course when it came to parenthood, in her eyes, and she asked that I strive to make sure I don’t judge others for their different parenting styles unless it was obviously harmful. I try very hard to keep that in mind and I encourage everyone to do the same, but I still hold plenty of animosity for aloof fathers. These days I set aside a bit of my scorn for our social structure more generally, for things like advertisements and television shows that claim fathers are inherently inept and male bathrooms that lack facilities available in female ones. These things allow fathers to have an out, to have an excuse to be uninvolved. We shouldn’t let the deadbeats have that luxury.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quitting (& Other Painful Acts)

People quit jobs for a wide variety of reasons: relocation, a new job offer, returning to school, poor management, etc. The decision to leave a job is not usually something done without extensive deliberation (at least when one has a family to help support) and typically comes with a healthy dose of anxiety, trepidation, and some reserved excitement. I’ve quit a few jobs for a variety of reasons but I’ve usually been energized by the move as I thrive on change. The only job that I truly miss was my previous one: stay-at-home dad.

I was a SAHD by default. After relocating to Toledo, I began seeking employment only to realize that the job market here was tougher than I had imagined. Amanda’s mother took the boys two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), and on those days I fired off enough resumes and cover letters to annihilate a small forest, assuming they were ever printed. The other days, however, were filled with caring for our boys and attempting (and often failing) to keep up with the multifarious household tasks.

I would be lying if I said I treasured every moment. I developed a far deeper respect for my mother and the grace with which she performed her SAHM duties day in and day out. While I know the SAHP edict is to never discuss just how bloody hard the job is, let me assure you that I often felt overworked and harried. These feelings were compounded by the emotionally isolating nature of the stay at home business. It is tough to find a community in a new town and tougher still when you have no real connections outside of the home. Toss in the fact that every SAHP organization in town is exclusively female and you have a recipe for extreme loneliness. Let me also assure you that I am fully cognizant of just how privileged I was to have the chance to have the domestic sphere as my primary domain. While I might not have treasured every moment, I did treasure every day.

Quitting the SAHD job came in stages. After about six months, I went to part time. I found a truly terrible temp job, but it seemed important to get back into the work force in some capacity if I had any intention of finding a non-terrible position. The boys began daycare, a uniquely gut-wrenching experience for all parties. Amanda telecommutes but when she is working she is most certainly at work. However, when things aren’t as intense she could come out, say hello to the boys, occasionally have lunch with us, etc. Now the house was occupied only by her and the animals for hours at a time. She found it painfully quiet. For me, the most difficult part was dropping them off for the day. Those morning wails tore my heart from my chest. After a couple weeks the morning wails stopped; the boys simply meandered over to their friends, sometimes affording me a cursory wave goodbye, and began playing. This wrenched my heart out anew, accompanied by much stomping and rolling it in the dirt. This flippant form of a goodbye was but a preview of what was to come.

After a considerable length of time I finally landed an interesting, full time position with a reputable company. I enjoy it but my commute requires me to leave early. As such, my wife now delivers the boys to school. In fact, we’ve switched roles in many ways. She gets them ready in the morning, takes them in, picks them up most days and then makes dinner most nights (by choice cooking was almost exclusively my domain previously). I have gone from being the domestic one to being, well, the far less domestic one. It has been extraordinarily difficult to relinquish that domain. It isn’t a control thing—or at least I hope it isn’t—rather it seems to stem from the feeling of purpose and utility that performing a specific set of duties for my family brought. Perhaps the most difficult transition has come from the boys’ reaction to me. While I still get a pretty jubilant greeting when I get home most days, they rarely come to me for comfort when they are hurting, tend to cry when Mom leaves, and they have unquestionably relegated me to the second tier. It used to make Amanda sad that they sought me for comfort, so I guess this is only fair. Still, it sometimes makes me pretty sad to know that I’m a welcome addition to Mommy, but I’m no Mom.

Yes, I still contribute to the household and yes, especially given Amanda’s non-existent commute, this makes the most sense but… I sure do miss my old job. While my current one is far more financially sustainable, the time with and love from my boys was far, far better pay.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Shirt Runneth Over

As any parent with more than one child can attest, the experience of synchronized vomiting in stereo is one of the least treasured memories a parent can experience. When your children become incapable of holding down even the simplest of things, you know you’re in for a long couple days. Perhaps the best point of the entire weekend (other than increased cuddles due to needy babies) is that Amanda and I seem to have escaped the wrath of this stomach bug unscathed.

Here’s my weekend in numbers:

5: Loads of laundry, all of which were vomit-soaked sheets, towels, blankets, etc. We're far behind on clothes now.

4: Movies watched on Saturday as we lounged with the boys in the living room, afraid to move them more than a little for fear of awakening the tummy beast.

3: Number of times we had to change our sheets in one night (this doesn’t include the multiple towels that gave their lives to protect the innocent).

2: The degree to which the volume of things consumed seem to multiply in a child’s belly when they’re sick. That is, when it decides to come back up somehow one cup of liquid becomes two, two crackers become four, etc.

1: Number of times I held one of the little guys as he spewed forth something entirely inhuman, coating my back and everything behind me, while I could do nothing but console and laugh and anxiously await the end of this hellish bug.

The boys are feeling much better now, thankfully. They spent some time tooling around the driveway on their mini-powerwheels yesterday and seemed no worse for the wear:

I did learn one important thing: I really, really need to buy a steam cleaner. Light carpet + twins + projectile vomiting = unholy mess. Anyone have an inexpensive recommendation?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Assault with a Deadly Brother

There was a magical time in the parenting of my twin boys—somewhere between the initial unsure footsteps and tentative babble of a year ago and the sprinting, climbing, talking machines of the present—when they seemed destined to be perfectly disciplined little angels who were truly kind to one another. That false wall has come crashing down as of late, as it is wont to do, and all the bricks from that wall have teeth marks.

Raiden used to take an almost disturbing degree of joy in sinking his new teeth into his brother’s flesh. This seemed to come from a lack of awareness and didn’t seem designed to hurt his brother, but rather it was a new experience and made Timothy squeal at what must have been a particularly satisfying decibel. Timothy engaged in this, too, but to a lesser degree. We seemed to break them of this desire through a judicial application of stern “nos,” after which we entered the above mentioned short era of mostly peaceful coexistence between the boys.

"Boys, that goes for brothers, too!"
 Around the same time that they began exploring the impact their shockingly strong jaws had on one another’s soft flesh, the twins also began to share in really cute ways that continue to this day. For example, if you give one of them a cookie and they realize that their brother lacks one, they will almost always split it and share without any prompting. This seems an almost natural instinct, something derived from their “twinness” far more than from any lesson we’ve tried to impart. I should also confess that if you give them both new toys that are identical, they will want their brother’s version desperately.

While the sharing and not sharing continues, the ‘biting as a form of exploring’ has ceased and the temporary truce has been broken, as has skin. We have passed into the territory of maiming for defense and, as far as I can tell, sheer entertainment. They have switched roles, however; it is primarily Timmy who picks on his brother, but Raiden will seek revenge after a few bites and shoves (though it should be mentioned that Raiden absolutely wails at the slightest touch from his brother sometimes). Both Amanda and I have found angry looking football-shaped bruises on legs, backs, and even feet. The frequent appeance makes me almost worry that one day we’ll get a visit from Child Welfare asking what evil animal we allow to occupy our home and attack our children; this fear is compounded by their daycare’s assertion that they’re nothing but sweet little sharers and mutual comforters while at school.

We spend lots of time saying “no” and countless hours putting boys in corners to much protest, but it seems to do little good. In fact, the only effect our parenting seems to be having so far is that the boys will commit some act of violence on one another, and then hug because they know we’re going to make them do so as a way to apologize. The affected twin usually takes this opportunity to retaliate by finding a particularly sensitive bit of skin to grip between their teeth.

Mental note: capture boys assaulting one another in cute way & post it online. Attempt to profit from sudden internet fame in non-exploitative manner. Mental note 2: try to get them to speak with a British accent. 
So… We’re picking up a pair of timeout chairs soon. Do folks have any advice beyond that? *sigh* What happened to my sweet little angels? I mean, they’re extraordinarily funny little men and I’ve no desire to have the littler versions of them back, but I did really enjoy the peace.