Dave–a fellow parent of young twins–graciously steps in this week for Twin Tuesday with a very sweet dad perspective on his growing, charismatic girls. I’m sure many can relate to his feelings here. Enjoy!
Personality is a crazy and amazing thing–how it was instantly there when each of them came along.
When my daughter Sydney was born, almost 6 years ago, she came out with her eyes open and, from my lucky positioning in the delivery room, my eyes were the very first that hers ever saw. As crazy as your kid can drive you, I still feel that moment every single time I look in her eyes. I think I lacked, at that moment, the benefit of having experienced that before. I wasn’t ready for it. It snuck up on me. I wasn’t ready for instant personality like that. I wasn’t ready to find that a child may actually come out of the womb with her own gravitational pull. In hindsight, it all prepared me to be aware, to pay special attention the next time, if I was lucky enough to experience a “next time”.
When Sydney’s little sisters came along, 2 years ago, it was a much different experience for me–beyond the fact that there were two of them coming, but mostly because I was aware, going into it with my eyes open, and taking it all in, in a much less “wonder what the hell’s about to happen” kind of way (I’ll admit to having stumbled a bit blindly but nonetheless very happily through Sydney’s birth…just excited and hoping for 10 fingers and 10 toes). It was in those things, in the days that immediate followed, that I truly started to realize that THESE are the moments I need to lock-in, to make paramount in my memory. It was that thought, that realization, that there are real moments that pass but need to be remembered, and in those moments were the real chewy, gooey parts from which that parent/child love connection glue comes from.
The personality thing, though…or rather the peeling back of the layers and the exposing of their personalities as they grow and change is my favorite part of parenthood. It’s hard sometimes, because I tend to get lost in the daily mechanics of being a parent to 3 very young, very strong willed girls: settling toy and territory disputes, kissing war wounds inflicted by one on another, changing diapers, making meals, forcing unwanted naps upon them and trying to establish my diminishing-by-the-minute authority over them. It’s still those moments where it hits me that “I’m the Daddy of these 3 little girls” and I get all softy inside, when all the daily chore-type things fade into irrelevance and the thing that holds me hypnotized by them reappears…it always reappears, and it always does so by sneaking up on me.
Emma and Maddie, the twins, have brought this ability to make me crazy and then make me fall in love with them all over again, in a continuous cycle, daily, since they were born. They all three have that power over me.
It’s hard to resist, though, looking at the three of them and trying to categorize them in some way: Sydney is the smart one, Emma is the goofy one and Maddie is the moody one. Those are, for the most part, pretty accurate labels, but they change almost as soon as I try to label them. They’re little female chameleons, these three.
Being that I spend so much time with them on a daily basis, it’s hard to separate their individual personalities sometimes. It’s only recently that I’ve made an effort to spend individual time with each of them. Each has been taking turns running errands with me alone. Emma might go to Home Depot with me one day… next, Maddie may take a trip to the grocery store with me. Sydney, a little bit older and as such gets more sophisticated time with Dad, we might go to a movie, or take in a hockey game. It’s in the establishing an individual relationship with each of them that I’m really getting an education about their individual selves, their real personalities. Watching, again with that extra “lock these memories in” thing, seeing how they interact with others without their sibling right there, and how they interact with me when it’s just the two of us. This has become a great treat for me, and reports from home are that the girls express how they want to be with Daddy when I’m out with their sister, so maybe it’s a treat for them too.
What I’m finding, though, is that they’ve proven to me that it’s hopeless to try to categorize them, because they are each dazzlingly smart, as goofy as can be and moody as teenagers… I may have to be disqualified from stating such things, as I am more than a little biased.
…Now, I just need to find out how they know which one of those personalities to feature most days, because each one inhabits that trait each day. They retain the right to change their personality without warning, as well. They should come with a disclaimer sticker on the soles of their feet stating just that.
They definitely have my attention…wondering what they’re gonna show me next.
I’m eyes-opened. I’m locked-in. I’m peeling away layers…
Dave is a stay-at-home dad, swimming through a sea of estrogen on a daily basis at his house. He can occasionally be found on Twitter @davidstuart. If you like what he writes, leave a comment!