My, How We’ve Grown

A Look Back at 2012

Originally published January 4, 2013

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As we sit here in the first days of 2013, we can’t help but think about where we were at the beginning of 2012 and what has happened in the past year.

Last year at this time, Muffin and Squeaker were not quite two-and-a-half years old. They were going to a playgroup in Brighton, and they were learning how to socialize with kids other than each other. It wasn’t the easiest thing for them to learn; while most kids their age have just started to learn about collaborative play, Muffin and Squeaker had learned about playing together at an early age. The issue was convincing them that they could play with kids outside the family. Play dates early last year often consisted of Muffin and Squeaker playing together and ignoring the third child who had come to play with them. While this still occasionally happens, the girls have learned to integrate others into their games, and the outliers are usually younger kids who themselves have not completely figured out collaborative play.

At a very basic level, the girls have changed fundamentally in terms of their size. Last year at this time, they were just barely growing out of their 24 month and 2T clothing. We were buying 3T clothes for them and thinking the pants were going to be too long for Muffin and Squeaker. Now we are consistently using size 5 pants; Muffin wears them fine, but while Squeaker needs them in the length, she needs them to be tighter in the waist because she is tall and lean.

In 2012, Muffin and Squeaker’s language grew in leaps and bounds. Not only do they have very broad vocabularies, they have learned to recognize all of the letters of the alphabet and can spell out words that they see (though they still cannot consistently say what the word is). When we recently went back to the Boston University Child Language Lab, and while we were waiting in the lobby, both Muffin and Squeaker spelled “Boston University” off the floormat in the entryway. Later the same weekend, we went to Cafe Eilat for lunch. There, the girls recited the letters in the “SUSHI” sign on the wall and, when prompted, read the word itself. They have also learned better how to express their wants and desires. We don’t always agree with what they desire, and we don’t always give them what they want, but it is nice to be able to hear from them more clearly what it is that they want. We wish we could say this has meant fewer tantrums, but, alas, they have also gotten better at expressing their frustration at not getting what they want.

They will likely be embarrassed by this next paragraph, but it is important to note another major milestone we hit in 2012. And, most likely, it is only of interest to other parents of small children. At the beginning of the year, Muffin and Squeaker were exclusively wearing diapers. By the end of April we had begun the process of toilet training, and by the end of the calendar year Muffin and Squeaker were about 95% trained. They still wear diapers at night, which we are told is not unusual, and they also prefer diapers at certain other times, but for the majority of the time they are wearing underwear during the day. And, yes, we have become those parents that are very proud of their children for announcing that they have to use the bathroom, and we are only too happy to follow them when they demand that we accompany them to do whatever they need to do.

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In 2012, Muffin and Squeaker got their first haircuts. As we mentioned in the column we wrote about the haircuts, their hair had not been cut since they were born, and it took some time for us to get used to their shorter hair. Within a couple of months after the first haircut, however, the girls asked for their hair to be cut even more, and that was an even more dramatic cut. It was such a big change that a number of the adults who have known the girls since they were infants didn’t even recognize Muffin and Squeaker.

As we start the new year, we look forward to seeing what changes come as Muffin and Squeaker go from being three to being four. We are eager to see what they learn and how they change, and we hope to share stories of their antics in this forum.

This week’s column is written by Nomi S. Burstein.

About this column: The adventures of two Brookline parents and their twin daughters, Muffin and Squeaker. This column originally appeared on the Brookline Patch website. Copyright 2013 by Brookline Patch.

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