Every night, Roan sticks his bottom lip out and makes a very sad face before Smitty kisses him goodnight. “Roro is sad. Roro needs a kiss” he says, and Smith, large with the power to grant happiness to his older brother always rushes over and plants a giant smackeroo on Roan’s sad face. He doubles-down with a hug and caps it with his version of “I love you”. (Roughly: “I-yu-yo”). This has become so much a routine that Smitty will not kiss him goodnight until Roan pretends he’s sad. If Roan just asks for a kiss, Smith replies with “Sad? Sad. SAD? SAD!!”
He wants to make things better.
Sheppard on the other hand, has created what I can only describe as baby swear words. They are not imitations of his father or me swearing (because obviously we never swear.) Nope – my Shepz has found some sounds that go together and roll off the tongue that express extreme frustration, anger and sometimes sadness. Sheppard’s swears are not random either. They are consistently used and eloquently placed in his sentences. To wit: “Mama? Mom? MOM! Sheppy snack? Nack? NACK! NACK!” And then….”BALLA-BALLA-BALLA-BALLA NACK!”
Or if Smith takes a toy? “BALLA-BALLA-BALLA-TOY. S-s-s-s-s-mith balla-balla-balla-toy. SAD!”
(I suppose I should be writing BA$#A-BA$#A-BA$#A so the swears aren’t spelled out so graphically but we’re all adults here are we not?)
But these two creatures are also learning the super important and impossible lessons of sharing etiquette. Toddlers hate to share. Hell, I’d say it’s safe to say that most adults hate to share. But Sheppy and Smith are getting it down at lightning speed with only a few minor tweaks needed at this point. To illuminate some nature vs. nurture stuff, some kids are just built to share. Smith is one of those kids. He can have a toy and 8 out of 10 times if Sheppy wants it, he’ll give it up and move on to the next. This is great news for me because Sheppy is built in a way where he wants pretty much everything that Smith has his hands on. So we’ve tried to implement a process where Shep doesn’t turn into a bulldozer grabbing machine. He has to ask, using the words “trade” or “share”, and he has to either sign the word “please” or say it. After he (always) gets what he wants, he has to say “thank you”. And it’s pretty smooth for the most part. Except that Sheppy in his brilliant boy mind has been able to bend a few rules so that he will at times bypass the sharing and trading step, grab a toy, run away with it yelling “thank you” over his shoulder.
Balla-balla-balla toy thief.
They are best friends though, and that is without a doubt. When it is time for bed, they run to their cribs. I am being totally literal here. They run. We put them in and sing a quick song, get an “I-yu-yo” from each of them and make an exit. There are no tears. There are not pleadings for us to stay. There is only the sound of bouncing springs and the mimicking of each other’s speech. There is always laughter and when it finally stops, there are two boys splayed out on top of blankets with sweaty necks. I check on them before I go to sleep and cannot believe my stupid dumb luck that I actually get to have these two ridiculous love bombs in my life. Sheppard and Smith could not be more different from each other, but they also just could not be more perfect for each other. I am one lucky balla-balla-balla mother.