Their true personalities come out when they want something they can't have or have a treasure taken away because they should not be playing with it. For example, Addy is no longer allowed to play with real phones. One of the few time she had my iPhone she dropped it and the screen shattered. I had a BUY a new one. When I have to take something away is when I am reminded that these are three little individuals that happened to be born at the same time.
They each employ different methods to display their displeasure towards me and I've named them- The Brute, The Terror, and The Heartbreaker. You can probably guess which is which.
The Brute- Addycakes
Addy wants what she wants. If she wants you to hold her, she'll stand by you yelling and putting her arms in the air. If you are holding her and she doesn't want to be put down, she'll cling like a monkey wrapping those long legs around you and hanging on for dear life. If you take something away from her she will do what I call fake crying. She puts her bottom lip out, squints her eyes and starts to sound like she is crying but if you really look, it turns out she is looking at you to see your reaction. The fake crying usually lasts about 5 seconds before the real Addy kicks in.
If she wants something, she tries to get through brute force. She really loves electronics, especially phones. She has a number of things she thinks are phones and makes frequent calls with such as an iPhone case, a calculator, and there are several ipods floating around. But, she knows the real thing and whenever Rich sits down she starts to dig in his pocket for his Blackberry. And she doesn't stop the little pickpocket. I've watched the routine before and Rich tries to discourage her and then gets distracted with another child and she nabs it.
Addy is very fair when I remind her to be. If she has two of something, such as an ipod, and I ask her to give one to a sibling, she usually will. But if she wants one and doesn't have one, she has no qualms about taking it through brute force. She has 2 lbs on Eloise so the tug of wars usually don't last too long.
She is not really a crier when I take something away from her probably because she is so smart she knows that she is not supposed to have it in the first place and it hatching a plan to get it back. Her latest thing after baths is to try to suck on the lotion pump. She knows she is not supposed to and doesn't cry when I take it away it. In her mind she thinks, "GAME ON!"
Her force is frequently paired with persistence. I try to put the lotion out of her reach but still in mine because I need it for the other kids or even her if she isn't dressed. If I put it up on a chair or a shelf, she will climb something to get at it. Or tonight, she went across the room, picked up a wipes box and put it down next to a chair so she could reach the chair to get the lotion that was on a shelf above the chair. Oh, and I was sitting on the floor leaning against the chair so she tried to push me out of the way to get her wipes box next to the chair. When that didn't work she waited until I moved forward slightly to nab one of the passing kids to get them dressed and she moved in with the wipes box. Hmm, maybe I should change her name from The Brute to The Brain.
The Terror- Eloise
Just to be clear- I'm the one being terrorized here. It is the element of surprise and her lack of concern over injuring herself or someone else to get her way which is so terrifying. She personifies the definition the little smartypants.
If I take something away from her she screams, stomps those tiny feet and starts swinging and swatting at anything in her way. I'm sure she is angry at me but it does not matter if there is a dog or sibling in her way, she'll hit at anything. I've even seen her pull Beckett down backwards by his overalls just because he happened to be walking by. If she still doesn't get her way, she will throw herself backwards usually headfirst (because of her large head size in proportion to her body) with no forethought as to what she might hit on the way down. Yesterday it was the corner of the crib. If she didn't hit anything on the way down she will lay on the floor arching her back kicking and screaming. At that point, nothing can bring her back, not even the offering of the original removed item. I just have to let it play out. She'll usually give it a go for about 5 minutes and then calm down, find herself a lovie, find a lap and sit and pout for a few then go on with her day.
Sometimes though an incident like this could put her over the edge for hours which means that the only thing that will make her happy is to be held. Like the other morning when we were having coffee and and snack the new Alterra in Shorewood- a must go for Milwaukee folks. I took away a container of salsa from Eloise and she pretty much cried and kicked for 1.5 hours after that. We eventually had to leave and getting her in the car in almost single digit temperatures was one heck of a fight. I've had days where she just lives on my hip. It is the only way to keep the calm.
There is a reason we call her "dolly." Hugging and snuggling and carrying her around is like having a magical real live doll. She rests her head on your shoulder, sucks on lovies, smells like lovies, and weighs next to nothing probably because she spends so much time on my hip she has figured out how to sit in the most efficient way as to not get put down.
I think that this tactic has also put the fear into her siblings so they don't touch anything that she THINKS is hers. For example, the baby doll stroller from my Uncle Rich and Aunt Joni who were visiting from Oregon. From the minute that gift was opened, Eloise was convinced it was hers. She pushed it around for a while, then tried to haul it up the stairs at nap time and it has pretty much followed her from room to room since then. It sits next to her crib at night. Now she does play with other toys but keeps an eye on the stroller and the minute someone else touches it she goes running over screaming and stamping her feet and the other person, usually Beckett, backs away.
Pound for pound she is the toughest thing in the house and that even includes my Ironman husband. She's charming, smart, tough and always keeps me on my toes and that usually means sprinting to her rescue she has bumped her head in a full blown tantrum.
The Heartbreaker- Beckett
Oh my sweet, sweet baby boy. Since Beckett has found trucks and the intrigue of his sisters, he is just about the sweetest and funniest thing around. Most of the time you can find him pushing trucks making truck noises, playing with little animals (still making truck noises) or making trouble with Addy. He really loves to do the same things his sisters are doing. If Addy climbs from a table to the couch, he is right there behind her. If Addy wears a pair of my shoes around the house, Beckett finds a pair and does it too. If Addy is crawling around on the floor pretending to be a dog, Beckett will be a dog too with a louder bark. He is very interested in riding in the baby doll stroller and flipping it over to check out what is going on underneath but Eloise won't let him get a good look. Generally he is the one who will run up to me and hug my legs laughing and run away. Probably once a meal he leans over to give Addy a hug. He used to get upset if Rich and I would hug or kiss and now he laughs and hides his head and gives really wet kisses on command. Beckett not Rich.
So we have this happy funny boy who adores his sisters and loves his dogs and thinks that life revolves around pushing trucks and holding dinosaurs and then his world is shattered like one his sister gets first dibs on one of the trucks. Oh my. The ear shattering wailing, utter distress and unbelievable sadness is just heartbreaking. That's his thing. Just lay on the floor and sob.
The good news is that he gets over it pretty quick and it right back to his happy goofy self bring me fake food and hiding behind the laundry doors. That is until it is time to get dressed or get his diaper changed. Poor kid has the worst diapers and all he does is kick, flip, squirm and scream while getting changed or getting dressed. it is miserable. The best I can figure out is that diaper or clothing changes are just interfering with his playing. Recently he has a favorite brontosaurus that can distract him long enough to get his diaper changed if I'm as quick as lightening.
As far as getting him dressed in the morning I have a confession to make. I've turned to the dark side. I let him watch TV. I tried really hard to wait until they are 2 to watch TV but I just couldn't do it. Sometimes we have the TV on in the living room, for example the Packer game, but they haven't paid too much attention. Now TV is starting to pique their interest. I would say 50% of the time, I turn on the TV show Dinosaur Train for everyone to watch while I get Beckett dressed. It's all about picking your battles. And my heartstrings can't take it every morning. If I can keep this little boy happy by watching 30 minutes of TV, I'm going to do it.
So no, they are not twins (Addy and Beckett and Eloise is what- 9 months younger?), no they are not identical, yes I can tell them apart, and yes they are totally different. I wouldn't want 3 Brutes or 3 Terror(ists), or 3 Heartbreakers because I have 3 amazing little individuals who complement, teach, terrorize and cry with one another who happened to all be born at the same time.
As long as I'm at it, I might as well answer a few more questions. Yes, we were surprised and still are every day, yes I guess they are natural because they are not alien-life forms and yes multiples do run the family. They do now.