There was a time where peace waved its merry flag from the mountaintops and order was a way of life. In this age of sanity, before the extinction of sleep, adults ruled the land. And then, they began to multiply. These beings known as babies; shitting, pissing, crawling, drooling. “Feed me!” they wailed in their native tongues of ear-piercing nonsense. And so ended the age of selfishness, where a new life became the focus and simultaneously filled our hearts with love and our minds with madness.
I think that we can all agree that having one kid is tough. Having two, under the age of three, is like moving into Jurassic Park with two pint-sized raptors on the loose. Sure, your kids aren’t exactly carnivorous, clawed beasts from the Cretaceous Period… but it’s a fine line. Mine hunt in pairs, gnaw on fallen prey (remote controls, dog toys, the coffee table) and are adept at being sneaky little shits.
I’m not talking about twins though. That’s a completely different monster. Oliver and Charlotte are 18 months apart in age. We also have an older daughter who’s six, but Zoe’s well-tempered and impeccably well-behaved. She’s more of a spectator and part-time toddler wrangler; a referee in the ring of the knuckleheads. That’s why I’m just focusing on the tag team luchadors here: El Ultimo Mojón and La Merenguita.
When these two aren’t training for Sandbox Lucha Underground, Ollie is mastering the art of the decisive indecisiveness (you know what I’m talking about). He wants what he wants, which of course may or may not be what he really wants. That usually results in an inconsolable fit of flailing arms and blubbering. Try it sometime. It’s a hoot! As for Charlie, well, she’s like a knee high, cherubic incarnation of Laura Croft. She can often be found trying to scale furniture with ninja-like stealth and cannot resist the allure of an open door. Reprimand her and she will grunt and pound her chest like a little, albino gorilla.
The true test of our composure is when they work in unison and their tag-team infamy comes into play. I wouldn’t necessarily call it teamwork, but it all happens in synchrony, with our demise in mind. During these bouts of sibling rivalry it is not uncommon to experience:
A good ol’ fashion game of monkey see, monkey do
Sweetly staring at us while wiping their asses with our authority
A tug-of-war with the same toy that neither of them gave a shit about seconds before
I know I’ve solely honed in on the bad so far. I suddenly feel like an asshole of a dad. It’s just easy to forget the amazing times when they’re filed between the frustrating ones. The reality is that they’re just kids who are learning and testing the waters. As parents, we’re aware of this, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s frustrating as hell. After a full day of work, my wife and I come home hoping to enjoy time with our family. Instead, we may spend most of the early evening trying to get one to eat dinner while the other is repeatedly throwing the sippy cup off the highchair with a sinister look in her eyes. It’s hysterically crazy. Laughable really, once the night settles down and we can reflect. I love those little fuckers, even when I’m balancing on the rim of madness.
I’ve realized that it’s the weekends we truly get to enjoy. When there’s no rush and the days feel longer, you can find the time to appreciate what you have. There are countless moments when our kids will do something so sweet or so funny that my wife and I will look at each other and silently acknowledge that this is what makes it all worth it. Those moments are the ones that make the anger and vexing times ease away. Our kids are wonderful kids who are simply… just kids. And the thing is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Not even when they’re both in the kitchen, trying to lick the garbage can for the hundredth time.