Avery opens the front door and yells, “Mom! Eirik and Toren are going truck’in!”
If the strider bikes are available then it doesn’t take long before my twins are gone. Sometimes I lock the bikes in the garage or hobble the brothers by sending the outside without shoes until I get out there.
“Which way?” I ask. She points across the meadow. I know at a glance if they’ve made it to the paved road because any passing vehicles slow to a snail’s pace￼. What would you do if you saw baby riding his bike on the road by himself?
The kids need supervision but I need to clean up the fall out from the two full cereal bowls that hit the floor this morning. Sending them all out for a few minutes alone is all I’ve got. Unfortunately, a few minutes is all it takes.
Other children go truckin’ once or twice in their toddlerhoods. My twins escape once or twice a day. I spoke with a mother of adult twins who remembers the same problem. “I learned to make use of￼ attractive nuisances,” she said. “Set up something great halfway to the road. Some new toys, maybe? Or a coffee can full of Oreos?￼ Anything to slow them down.￼”
So far, no vehicles have stopped. “Grab your bike and go after them,” I say to my five-year-old. Meanwhile, I grab some water, snacks, spare diapers, wipes, and the stroller, and hustle to catch up to the adventurers. Thus the day begins.
A neighbor told me about the time his toddler son took off on a strider with the dog at his heels. When dad caught up, he asked the boy, “What were you thinking?￼!”
The child looked at him straight-faced and said, “I just thought I was my own boss.”
I’m not sure when a child becomes their own boss but I am interested to know what words little people find important to master. For my guys, the list includes go, bird, duck, dog, shirt, pants, bowl, spoon, chair, truck, bus, ear, socks, box￼, book, hold, up, down, hug, water, milk in cup (bak!), buckle, cracker, cookie, waffle, syrup, cold, outside, other-shoe, and let’s go!
They are also finding ways to communicate bigger concepts – I’m hot; take off my jacket?￼I’m sick and my ear hurts. ￼I don’t want a blanket. ￼Can I play with water? I’m not wearing a diaper and I need to go potty.￼ My brother pooped. Move this big bike, please?, I love you. Can I wear this backpack? Will you put this diaper on my head like a hat?
The brothers often remind me of funny dude pairs from the 1990s: Wayne’s world. Dumb and dumber. Beevus and Butthead. Bert and Ernie. Of course, what they think is hilarious is pushing the dining room table around, walking backwards with their eyes closed, spitting water, quickly shaking their heads back-and-forth, yelling, and letting their feet slide wider and wider apart until their droopy diapers hang to their knees.
At this juncture, all of the helpful systems that worked for these guys as babies are fading with the setting sun but there don’t seem to be any function-able big-kid systems appearing on the horizon.
They refuse high chairs and lids. They won’t be buckled into strollers or high chairs. They insist on getting their own water and take the lids off of their cups. They hate diapers but aren’t quite ready for potty training.
I tried to interest Toren in potty training by teaching him to pee off the porch. He stood there for a few minutes with his pants down, but nothing happened. Without missing a beat he switched gears and spat instead.
Eirik keeps us all laughing. ￼Whenever the room goes quiet he’ll look at me intentionally and pant like a dog or hop like a frog. When I need to brush his teeth I get silly so laughter will open his mouth. He can’t help himself. It’s like that scene in Roger Rabbit where the ‘toon can’t help but finish… shave and a haircut…
Eirik is skinny and wiggly and especially good at escaping from buckles. I have a habit of loading the twins up in the car so I can finish getting ready for the day’s adventure. By the time I return with the sandwiches, Eirik will be in the front seat “driving.￼” He killed my car battery twice last week.
I buckle him again, tighten￼ the straps again, but he only laughs as if to say, You expect that to hold me?￼