Well, boys and belles, I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I had twins four years apart.
You know those parents who stare in bewilderment at a baby picture as they try to decide which child they are actually staring at? If you’re like me, you judged those parents before you had kids of your own. You thought “How in the hell could a mother or father not remember how their precious little pumpkin looked when they were a baby?”
I should have been thinking, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” Today, I am one of those parents.
In my pitiful defense, my children really are identical. You can ask anyone from their Grandmother to their Godmother and they will back me up. Sometimes, my only saving grace is that my Belles were born when we lived in different houses, so I will occasionally catch a break with the background scenery.
Of course, there is an extra element that confounds me even more: How can two children who look exactly alike act so categorically and unbelievably different?
Baby Belle 1 has always been a sensitive little soul. Truth be told, “Drama” should have been her middle name. The kid cries if you look at her funny. The wails and tears make discipline nearly impossible if for no other reason than it’s damned hard to be heard over all of the theatrical noise. It’s almost not worth the trouble.
Baby Belle 2 is a completely different story. Don’t get me wrong—she is equally as impossible to discipline—but for a whole other reason. She doesn’t particularly give a crap if you have a problem with her or not. You can tell the little booger to not do something and she will look you dead in the eye as she cooly and calmly does it again.
Yep, the only thing that saves Baby Belle 2’s hide is what Scott and I call “The Self-Preservation Society.” BB2 can do something that should earn her a time-out at the very least, but she will turn around, put her hands on the sides of your face, say “Kissies!” and plant a big one right on your lips. She also distributes hugs and “I love you’s” with strategic brilliance. You see, BB2 realizes that she can only go so far and her self-preservation instinct kicks into “Adorable Mode.”
So, my darling Baby Belles are night and day in the personality department, but they are also complete opposites with it comes to a sense of adventure.
When Baby Belle 1 was just starting to get around on her own, Scott and I baby proofed the house in a fashion that would have impressed Consumer Reports. Outlet covers, cabinet locks, rubber table corner covers—you name it. Do you know how much of that gear was put to use? None. Zip. Zilch. She didn’t crawl until she was 9 months old and she didn’t walk until she was 15 months old. BB1 much preferred that someone else go and get what she wanted rather than get it herself.
To put it mildly, Baby Belle 2 has none of her sister’s notions. To be fair, Scott and I were kind of caught with our pants down. We baby proofed to the max with Baby Belle 1 and didn’t need one iota, we didn’t really see the need to go to all that trouble again.
For starters, Baby Belle 2 was moving and grooving way before big sis. She locked herself in the bathroom with the lights off. She attempted to crank the house with the car keys. She completely unpacked the contents of several cabinets. She has also added a special decorative touch to the carpets, dogs and her own person with those falsely advertised “washable” markers.
BB2 has also earned the nickname “Baby Houdini” as the result of her confounding ability to get past baby gates and door guards.
The stairs in our house are like catnip to her. It was about five seconds after Baby Belle 2 learned to crawl that she undertook to scale to the top. Of course, we immediately put up super fancy baby gates on both ends of the stairs that were so complicated the adults could barely use them.
One day, I took Baby Belle 2 upstairs so I could get us both dressed. Right after I finished getting myself ready, I heard BB2 talking to the dog and it sounded like she was downstairs. I took a peek and, sure enough, she was sitting on the bottom stair. I was confused, I thought that I had closed the baby gate, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that I was wrong.
The next time the two of us went upstairs, I made a point of shutting the upstairs gate. After a minute or so, I heard my daughter’s lilting little voice at the bottom of the stairs. I looked and there she was again. To this day, I have no clue how she managed to pull that stunt and I probably don't want to know since it likely involved a lot of climbing and treacherous heights.
Several months ago, we get a swing set for the Baby Belles and I think that, if the girls had it their way. they would be out on the thing 24/7. Baby Belle 2 was particularly one track minded when it came to the swings.
A couple of days after the swing set was up, I was sitting at the kitchen table enjoying an ice cold glass of Diet Sun Drop when I saw my youngest child’s curly haired noggin pass across the window on the back deck. She somehow managed to work her way out of the sliding glass door in the playroom.
Yes, in spite of their differences, when my little Belles blossom into Diamond Magnolias, the whole world better stand back.