Planning is ironic in that things never go completely as planned. Kendra's birthday was a success although the camera never made it out of the case for the past 3 days. There are cycles of parenting which I don't fully understand, but I know they exist. In retrospect there was NO easy week for the first two years, but sometime around the 2 year mark I noticed there were days and weeks where it seems much easier than others.
Part of it is how the twins play together more autonomously on occasion. For some reason between 7-8 at night they are content to hang out in the play room and have a great time together.
The main room where their toys are was intended as a formal dining room. We converted it into an office / pool table room. Then as the twins grew we converted it into a play room / toy storage area. Life sure has a funny way of evolving like this. My adventures with twins have greatly heightened my sensitivity to time and change.
Kendra and I agree age 0-3 is the most critical time in shaping the personality and character of who Easton and Layla will become. We see them as wet cement which slowly hardens over the course of the first three years. The cement in our analogy is the foundation on which they will build the rest of their lives. There is a famous child development study where they followed 1,000 kids and here are the results:
At three years old, one child in 10 was an "uncontrollable" toddler—impulsive, emotionally unstable, irritable and restless. By 18, they had become impulsive thrill-seekers, aggressive and alienated from society. At 21, they had difficulty bonding in relationships and were twice as likely as others in their age group to have become involved in crime.The bare minimum I expect from Easton and Layla is to be "well-rounded". That's just a little better than average in my opinion. I don't want good kids, I want great kids. Greatness begins with a solid foundation and that's what we are building every day.
Children who had been timid scared and socially ill-at-ease at three became cautious and non-assertive adults. They often suffered depression and had few friends. The well-adjusted 40% of youngsters who showed "appropriate friendliness and self-control" at three grew into well-rounded teenagers and adults.
Yes, I know we will provide input and influence for the next 18 years and well beyond. I agree with the truth behind that statement. However, I understand how crucial these first 3 years are and gladly accept the awesome responsibility of giving them my best. There are no do-overs, no re-tries, no second chances. This is not practice or dress rehearsal. This is show time, or game time, or whatever description of time which leads me to a sense of urgency to be nothing less than the very best father and husband I can possibly be at this moment.
Nothing magical will happen on their 3rd birthday where I wash my hands and give up on whatever occurs after. That would be silly. However, I do have a very keen sense of how vitally important my role as father is for these first three years. Every day the goes by I see the cement drying and I'm extremely proud of how Easton and Layla are forming.
I'll use Christmas as a way to describe how I see the twins' cement drying. Christmas 2007. Easton and Layla were 6 weeks from birth and Uncle Dave was 9 weeks from death.
I miss Uncle Dave and not a day goes by where he doesn't cross my mind. In the time of only one year Easton and Layla went from forming in Kendra's belly to playing Mr. and Mrs. Clause at the family Christmas dinner.
And one year later they were doing their best to keep up with their older cousins running around the house.
This is the most recent picture of them together and I'm already excited to see how they will grow by this coming Christmas as they continue through the stages of childhood development.
I made a conscious effort over the past week to identify the basics of my undocumented daily checklist. Here is where I focus for each of the twins:
1. say, "I love you"
2. say, "I'm proud of you"
3. give hugs
4. give kisses
5. acknowledge their feelings
It is over simplified by orders of magnitude, but then again I am a realist and a big fan of setting achievable goals. Gotta start somewhere, right?
Promises of more pictures tomorrow from our Memorial Day adventures... See you soon.