Wednesday, 4 January 2012
What are the odds of getting even?
We are definitely entering a new phase of parenting at present. I like (or do not like, as the case may be) to call it Selective Hearing. I am sure that many out there are familiar with the term. Our two have a remarkable ability to appear as though whatever they are doing is of such great import that nothing on earth can be heard through the buzz that they are experiencing.
People often ask me if my twins are very different in personality and nature, and my reply is that they are absolutely identical, but at different times. And in no other case is it more apparent than in this one, where the one will employ the gift of Selective Hearing, thus allowing the other to shout out self-righteously "I was listening, Mama!" and give the other dirty looks for being such a bad child. Within two minutes, they will have swapped roles, and it will be the other one's turn to be the good child glaring disapprovingly at his disobedient brother.
It is also probably in the nature of twins that when one tries something and is soundly reprimanded for it, the other will look on with great interest and agree with every word I say. Then not even a minute later, he will go and try it out for himself, almost as if he wants to know what all the fuss was about in the first place. I spent the whole morning tidying out the pantry, putting all of the irritating bits and pieces into their own labelled jars and feeling very self-satisfied and smug at my inordinately amazing house-wifely skills (the Sweetpea got home from work and checked out the result with a resoundingly dismal "Oh!" which I felt called upon to address in strong terms. I do get his point though - he had been out saving lives for the morning - kind of puts a clean cupboard into perspective a bit). Anyway, having resolved our differences, we both got stuck into the fish-tank, which was by now so green we could hardly see the fish, leaving the boys and Little Miss Snoopy to their own devices. Their own devices consisted of getting totally naked, tying a piece of string around their waists ("It's a utility belt, Mama!"), and investigating places in which there might or might not be a dangerous monster hiding. One such place was the newly tidied pantry. I could hear something was up, because there was a large silence hanging oppressively over the house.
"What are you doing?" I shrieked, my arms full of water plants and with a fish net clenched between my teeth. No reply was forthcoming. I became alarmed. I raced down, dripping wet and smelling very fishy, to discover Twin One in the pantry, standing on the up-turned recycling bin, with the other looking on in horror at his audacity. All over the floor, shelves and any other available space, hundreds of discarded small silver balls (like the ones for cake decorating) rolled forlornly, dropping with small pings and rolling into cracks. The twin in question was utilising his Selective Hearing to full effect as he grabbed for any available ball and shoved it into his mouth, ignoring my expressions of displeasure for all he was worth. When I finally got his attention, I gave him a stern talking to and a small time by himself to think about his actions.
As I was giving a final lecture, behind me I heard the unmistakable sound of small silver balls yet again bouncing around, dropping with small pings, and rolling into cracks.
With delight, Twin One exclaimed: "It wasn't me Mama!"