As some of you know, there is a large age gap between my two children, D1 and D2 (so labeled because both their names start with a "D", and because making them sound vaguely Seussesque/Star-Warish was the only way I agreed to D2's name in the first place).
The gap is thirteen years, to be precise. So, you would think there would be a world of difference between the two of them.
Let me tell you, aside from different height and their dexterity levels, they are pretty much the same.
I mean, they both need constant supervision.
Because they both have attention spans of a butterfly on ecstasy. Except when it's their binkies. For D1, the fifteen-year-old, it's his iPod with FB, and for D2, the toddler, it's - strangely enough - his toy vacuum cleaner. They can focus on those for hours. Anything else? Good luck trying to get one of them to set the table without him wandering off to "just check something". Similarly, the process of putting up the toys often turns into oooh-shiny-ball-play-NOW process.
Also, they are both in a constant epic struggle for independence.
The battle cry for D2 is "SYAAAAAAAAM!" ("sam" means "myself" in Russian) and sounds hilarious when emitted by a super-intense toddler who is in the process of trying to buckle himself into his high chair (because, duuude, safety first!) D1 does not come out and say it like that, but that is exactly what's playing in my head when I try to tell him how to clean the bathroom and he's all, "iknowiknowiknowiknowiknowiknowiknow!"
And let's not even start on the drama of homework.
Both of them are REALLY into helping. With things that I do not need help with, of course, while the things that I specifically asked them to do remain untouched.
They both think that they can hide things from me. D2 covers the wet washrag that I told him not to put in his mouth with a toy and THEN attempts to shove it in, while D1 does not think that I'll figure out the implications of unsanctioned ice-cream wrappers in the trash. It's cute, really.
They are both very sweet and snuggly. A lot of times it is because they are in trouble or want something, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?
D1 says, "Wow, mom, you look really good today," and D2 randomly snuggles my hips and whatever other areas he can reach. I don't ruin it by saying, "What do you want?" or "What did you do?" but enjoy the moment, just raising my guard from stand-by to high alert. They do have their manners and mind them, most of the time.
They both have laser vision when it comes to hidden treats. It's pretty useless for me to try to stash anything. They just stumble on my stashes, completely accidentally.
Lastly, you would think that D1 would be way ahead of D2 when it concerns coherency.
You would be wrong.
I regularly have to translate what each one of them are saying to my husband, and D1 is not even using slang for the most part. It's a weird mix of "well, I knew what I was saying" and cliche quips that don't mean what he's trying to get them to mean.
For example, in D1's mind, "Well, cycling is a way of life," somehow means "If you're a nice person, it will show up in your cycling style." Huh? Yeah, H did not get that, either.
The upshot and downside of this is that H constantly thinks that D1 is not listening to him, and D1 thinks that dad just does not respect what he has to say, because, ugh.
D2 thinks we're all frustratingly obtuse, especially when he thrusts a limp fist urgently in the sort of kind of direction of the kitchen counter and says, "UUUUUUH!" Even though he's perfectly capable of naming many different foods and certain actions (such as "give", "fall", "put"), he, much like his brother, seems to think that I'm supposed to just read his mind.
I must admit, I've gotten pretty good at it, even though I constantly try to get both of them to verbalize their thoughts properly. D2 repeats what I say, smiles beatifically, and continues with his impression of an unmotivated protester. D1 does the SYAAAAAM!… I'm sorry, "IknowIknowIknow!" thing and next time says, "Mom, we're having a band picnic next Thursday," meaning, naturally, "Mom, I need to bring a gallon of juice and a ton of paper plates for my after-school activity that will cut into our scheduled plans."
Pretty obvious, don't you think?