When you poke around inside the mind of a toddler you should be prepared to be equal parts confused and enlightened. There is such a purity that exists that even the most open-minded grown up is incapable of attaining.
I have successfully carried, birthed and raised two beautiful, wickedly smart & funny little girls…simultaneously. Nothing in their environment has been different since they day they formed inside of me. They have shared every experience side by side and yet, these two girls could not be more different and I could not be more proud.
Enjoying a cup of coffee and Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ on a lazy, rainy morning, the conversations shift to future plans, thanks to Judy Hopps’ brilliant portrayal of the first bunny police officer. “Bean, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Without even averting her eyes from the movie she boldly proclaimed “Spiderman”. “And what do you want to do as Spiderman?”. With a knowing head tilt and look befitting an exasperated teenager, she quickly responded “make webs”. As if I should have known. Looking to my Bug who was completely ignoring the movie, choosing instead to thoughtfully lay all of her dolls down for their naps, she looked up anticipating the question “I wanna be Elsa”. “And what will you do as Elsa, love?”. Bug took a bit more time to think through this question, until she landed on the perfect answer “Twirl, I wanna twirl”.
I found myself beaming at the simplicity of their responses and their certainty for what the future had in store for them. My husbands eyes smirked as he observed “that should make for some pretty inexpensive college costs”.
Never having been an overtly girly-girl to begin with, (not for a lack of trying from my mother), I’ll admit I felt a bit apprehensive when we found out it was twin girls. I had a legitimate fear of my house looking like the inside of a Pepto Bismol bottle. It took me exactly .3 seconds to let go of all that fear once I laid my eyes on these perfect little girls, whose pure excitement to get into this world caused them to arrive to the party 7 weeks early. By day two in the NICU, I was ready douse my entire world in various shades of pink and adorn my walls in princess crowns & lace as long as it meant my girls would be healthy and happy. Nothing else mattered.
Three plus years down the line and I’m overwhelmed with how unprepared I am to have these girls growing into their own so quickly. For all the prayers I said begging for them to grow & successfully hit all their milestones, I seem to find myself begging equally as hard to slow this speeding train down. I thought I had years before I would have to start acknowledging them as little people instead of just my babies. But it goes fast – lightning fast, and I find my self in awe every day at who they are becoming as individuals.
The simple act of dressing each morning, with Bean begging for pants and sneakers while Bug opts for dresses and sandals, serves as a reminder of their vast contrast. Shopping requires strategic maneuvers to be sure everyone is happy. Strolling the aisles of any store will clearly define the girls and boys departments and standard conventions tell us my time should be spent sifting through ruffles and pastels while trying to determine which two Disney princess dress ups I should be purchasing. But this just doesn’t work for my family. I have been tasked with the honor of raising both Elsa and Spiderman and this requires me to step outside the aisles and search out cloths, toys and movies that will keep both of my girls living out their dreams. My charge is to make sure that no matter what peaks their interest, that they have the opportunity to explore it fully.
Experiencing life through the eyes and mind of a toddler is one of the greatest gifts us parents are given. There are no preconceived notions of how this world works or social norms that have been inadvertently ingrained into these minds…it’s simple and other worldly and all of our existences’ would be so much more beautiful if we could find a way to hang on to that mentality throughout the entirety of our lives.
It’s certainly not lost on me that their evolving personalities could change a hundred times over before they settle into adulthood. And frankly, I hope their lives are filled with continuous exploration and growth. Because at the end of the day my greatest hope for these girls, is they continue to tap that child like pureness and decency and that they will forever make webs and twirl.