It feels like summer is here to stay. We have had a run of sunny, cloudless days centred around trips to the beach. Most days involve the usual hectic 2 hours of getting up followed by a swim in the ocean, digging holes on the beach and the children running round in a happy but crazed manner. We are very lucky to have the most gorgeous beach just 5 minutes walk from our house. As a child you aren't in a position to make a huge number of independent decisions like where you'd like to go, when or what you'd like to eat, where you live and so on. One of the things I love about the beach is that children can run or walk in any direction they like, be as messy or as tidy as they like and generally enjoy themselves in a fashion completely directed by their own imagination and according to their own tastes. My neice says she likes the beach because it makes her feel completely free.
Now the twins can crawl the beach is perfect as they can pootle about to their hearts' content. My little girls are identical twins. That is to say they share the same DNA as they come from one fertilised egg which split to become two little people. If you know them reasonably well it's very easy to tell the difference between them though. They look slightly different and they act differently too. When they were little tiny babies we used to swaddle them tightly in muslin wraps and tuck them side by side into the same cot to sleep. Regardless of how far apart you put them they would always end up sleeping the same way - foreheads, noses and chins touching each other's face, breathing the same breath and completely serene and at peace with being so close. If one woke up she could be screaming into the other's face without waking her.
When we bathed the twins even in the very early days, neither would cry if the other aimed a kick or a punch in her face, neither would ever whinge and complain at the jostling which is ever present between the 2 of them. Imagine from the second your life was kicked into motion by a jumble of cells splitting several million times, your soul mate's life was created too. For 9 months you would both be growing in a confined space with bits of limb and head and body constantly making you readjust your own position. The concept of personal space must be vastly different to a twin than to a singleton. For the first few months of the twins' lives I thought they didn't really take an awful lot of notice of each other. They would smile at each other now and then and look for the other when they went to bed but other than that carried on as if the other was barely there. When they started to crawl (only a couple of months ago) this all changed. They can sit and play together for absolutely ages, enthralled in each other's company and happily sharing and fighting over toys. They crawl off in convoy searching out mischief and spend most of their time in the same place as each other. They like to spend time in their brother's bedroom, munching on lego and pulling his books of the shelves but if they can, they spend as much time as possible in the bathroom, emtying cupboards of first aid kits, ancient bottles of conditioner, squirting shaving foam into their mouths and tearing open plasters. The little monkeys work in league too. Twin2 stands at the cupboard and passes things out to twin1. When I find them, I carry one out and sit her down. As I return to get twin1 out, twin2 is already crawling quickly back to the battleground to carry on her destructive work. It usually takes about 3 or 4 trips to rid the area of fervent little light-fingered bodies.
Every day I marvel at our body's ability to produce more people. Each female body knows how to arrange a group of cells, produce the right thing in the right order, transfer food and water to the growing foetus and then knows when to expel them and return itself into a body not carrying a baby anymore. What a miracle. Having twins is even more phenomenal. How did my body know how to spilt the egg? Did the energy inside the egg split itself or the energy inside my body? Are they twon different things? When I was born was my body already predisposed to be an egg splitter? Was it something I did that day which made it happen? However it happened I am beyond grateful.