For starters the kids converse with each other. A typical breakfast conversation.
Margaret: “Duncan make a mess.”
Duncan: “Uh oh.”
I suppose I should clarify that Margaret is not using the imperative and commanding Duncan to make a mess. Based on context, she is stating a fact (“Duncan has made a mess.”) but she doesn’t really do tense in English very well yet. Given that she readily counts to ten in two languages I am not so concerned. She’ll pick up on the convoluted mess that is English grammar soon enough.
The kids play together now. It’s great. OK, there are arguments, mostly over ownership and territory, but they can play together nicely, and often do.
Where we do have a bit of sibling rivalry going I am secretly rubbing my hands together and cackling happily to myself about my evil plans. Duncan loves books. He has discovered that the absolutely most reliable way to get attention from me is to hand me a book and sit in my lap while we read it. We read book after book. Of course Margaret can’t let Duncan soak up all the maternal attention on his own for very long and pretty soon I am negotiating whose turn it is to pick a book and dealing with territorial disputes over how much of my lap each child gets. Once these are sorted we read, and read, and read. I have nearly every board book we own memorized. Yay!
Duncan is saying words in Chinese now too. One of them is “didi”. Actually, I’ve no clue if that’s the correct transliteration, but that’s what it sounds like to me. It means little brother in Chinese, and that’s how Hongmei refers to him when speaking to the kids. Margaret seems to have clued into the fact that I really don’t speak Chinese, so I am hearing less Chinese from her even though she uses more Chinese these days when talking to herself. Margaret is doing a lot of comprehensible talking these days. She has a slew of absolutely adorable saying, though I expect they are more adorable to me than to the population at large. Best of all, for the past few months Margaret has been answering yes/no questions appropriately, only saying no when she means no, and actually saying yes when she means yes. As language milestones go, that’s the one that has made the most impact on my life.
Margaret may be annoyed at Duncan playing with her toys and getting parental attention when she wants the undivided attention of both parents, but she clearly loves him. Of course her love for him just now is expressed in much the same way that her love for her bear is. She will rather forcefully inform unauthorized individuals that he is “my Duncan” in her heart of hearts should they attempt to hold him without her permission. Duncan, for his part, still looks to Margaret for clues as to how to react to people, and he often wants to do whatever she is doing. From time to time this means he wants to wear one of her hair bows. While Duncan is getting some pretty adorable wispy golden curls, I find that I have to draw the line at letting him wear bows if only because Margaret will promptly pull what is rightfully her bow out of his hair, and sometimes some of the hair comes with it. Duncan really can’t afford to loose any hair, having inherited my wispy blond, barely-there baby hair. So even if I weren’t bothered about gender stereo types I’m going to have to put my foot down when it comes to experimenting with female hair accessories. I don’t expect it’ll be a problem for long; he’s very much a boy’s boy in every other way.
Oh, Duncan just came up with a new word
I wanted to mention that I feel am feeling a whole lot less overwhelmed these days. I remember when Margaret was the age Duncan is now and I would have trouble getting through the weekends. I’d generally spend as much time out of the house as possible. In spite of having two kids now, I am no longer counting down the hours to bedtime on Sundays. Part of that is experience and practice. Part of it may be that the first trimester of pregnancy was more of a drag on my resources than I realized at the time. Whatever it is, I love spending time with my kids, and I no longer feel the need to have them at the playground every second they are awake, which is a good thing because our playground has been buried in snow for over two months.
Oh, but since I am finally posting this on Monday morning, having written the previous paragraph on Friday, I can say that on Sunday we did get to go to the playground in the first time in forever and it was wonderful. It was also messy, as the retreating glaciers left plenty of debris in there wake. Soggy wet debris. Still, once the water feature's water gets turned on I think that soaking wet sandy pants are going to be the new normal, and I'm just going to have to assume a change of pants for Duncan after every park visit, and it will be so worth it.