As I sit planning my girls’ fifth birthday party I have been reflecting over the last year and age four. I can’t believe that in just a few short weeks we will have survived five years of being twin parents, and age four certainly was an interesting stage.
If you had asked me six months ago what I thought of age four, I would have had something very different to say. I would have said it’s tough, it’s hectic, it’s exhausting and the f*#^#ing fours are very real…
BUT, over the last few months life has become so much easier as a parent and so much more fun. I can honestly say that, so far, I think I’m enjoying the fours the most. My girls have really come into their own little personalities, they are so inquisitive about life, they are talkative and intelligent, and have the most amazing imagination and thirst for knowledge. Some of the questions they have about our planet, the universe, God, our bodies and how things work astounds me. Along with this, they are the best of friends and their bond is so special.
There is no doubt that we still have our difficult days, but as they get older they are finally learning to chill out a bit – the tantrums are few and far between and when things do get a bit out of hand, I’m more able, or perhaps now more equipped, to deal with it in a calm, loving manner. I guess it’s not only the girls who have chilled out a bit, but us as parents as well. This probably also has to do with the fact that both girls are finally sleeping through the whole night and our entire household is finally getting a full and decent night’s sleep, so we’re all in a much better mood these days. We’ve also seen how our hard work is starting to pay off when it comes to reinforcing good manners and respect, and I’m proud of their increasingly caring and courteous behavior.
Age four is loud, but it’s also fun and entertaining. Somehow my girls just don’t understand that they can get their point across without having to shout it. My ear is right there and it’s okay to speak, not shout. They’ll have a conversation with each other, but it gets very animated, and they can easily get carried away with their story. That’s one thing that AG is very good at – telling stories. She loves to tell fantastical tales, and even at bed time after I’ve read a book to her, she’ll then take the book and page through it and pretend to be reading the story herself. On the other hand, HJ loves to make us laugh – she’s our little clown and comedian. She loves to pull faces and act silly to get a reaction, and she especially loves to make her sister laugh. They both love putting on shows for us, whether it’s a puppet show or a ballet concert, they love the limelight and it’s very sweet to watch them plan the show and then act it out together.
One of AG and HJ’s favourite things to do is play with their Barbies and baby dolls. It’s been so sweet to watch and hear them play and let their imagination run wild. They’ve got all my old Barbies and, as you can imagine the poor dolls’ clothes were 30 years out of fashion, so recently I bought Barbie some new clothes and this was a huge hit – it was expensive but so worth every cent. They role play with Barbie going shopping, Barbie cooking, Barbie having a picnic and going to the beach, Barbie the doctor, Barbie the mommy, Barbie the teacher, and it’s lots of fun to play along with them – bringing back many fond memories for me of playing with these dolls, I can sit there for ages and act along with them. More recently, their cousin also passed on all her old hatchimal and pet pal collections and this has also been a huge hit, with the two of them sitting for hours on the carpet with these toys with their imagination running wild – I just love to listen to the chatter as they play – it’s too adorable!
The bond that has developed between my girls is the most precious thing to experience. They are always concerned about each other, always chatting to each other and never far apart from each other. They certainly do have their moments of friction, especially when they both want the same toy, but more often than not they’ll negotiate a settlement, or sometimes mommy or daddy will have to intervene, and then they get on with their game.
Every stage of parenting has its challenges, and age four certainly didn’t start out so great, but I can honestly say that the fours, overall, have been fabulous, and I can’t wait to see what the fives have in store for us.