'I've always been proud of how different my twins are. G and T look nothing alike and act nothing alike. Boisterous T is outgoing and affectionate, diving headfirst into every challenge, while thoughtful little G is considered and careful, taking in the big picture before doing everything perfectly first time round. I wouldn't change them for the world. But there's one trait of T's that I've always wished G had; her love of all things cute and furry.
T loves every animal she's ever come across, whether alive and barking, meowing or mooing, or stuffed, cuddly and cute. There was a phase when we were seriously worried about her overheating in her cot, as she insisted on so much company in there. If we were out and about, it was a constant worry that she'd catch me off guard as she took off full pelt after a dog, cat or rabbit. (A habit, by the way, that she's seemingly passed on to her little clone M, whose new-found running skills are being put to full, and very stressful, use at every opportunity.)
But G has always been a little more nervous around 4-legged creatures. Although she loves her granny's 2 cats, she prefers to enjoy them from a distance (which, incidentally, is fine by them), and is downright scared of dogs. We've no idea where this nervousness has come from, as her dad and I are both animal lovers, and are doing all we can to calm her fears. She's also never been that bothered about soft animals. Yes, she plays with them and hugs them, but she's never had a firm favourite, a true soulmate.
Morris the Monkey and Pip the Bear may occasionally slide down T's list of priorities, but they're always there in the background, and always find their way back into her arms. I love that's she's so affectionate with them, so I was delighted recently when G seemed to develop a real attachment to Mickey Mouse. A foot high, with a bright red jacket and cosy scarf, he goes everywhere. He sleeps in G's bed, accompanies her on every buggy trip and is never far from her side. Mickey has tea with us, brushes his teeth, sleeps in one of M's old sleeping bags, is often sent to the time-out corner...and that's where my mushy joy at G's new-found soppiness hit a bit of a snag.
When Mickey was first disciplined for 'banging Minnie' (oh, from the mouths of babes...) I saw the funny side. I sent a picture of G looking at him sternly to her dad and granny, smiled and forgot all about it. Then Mickey started refusing his tea.
'Mickey doesn't like minced beef,' G informed me as she pushed her dinner round her plate.
Then Mickey needed one of M's nappies.
'He's pooed his pants,' I was told.
Still seeing the game as adorable, I carefully wiped and changed him. I didn't, however, see the funny side when G waddled through, John-Wayne style, to tell me she now needed a nappy as her big girls pants were dirty.
'Why didn't you use the potty or ask for the toilet?' I asked, confused by this seeming regression. She merely shrugged. I ignored the nappy request, found a pair of pants and got on with the laundry. Until a screech filled the air. I ran through to find T in tears.
'Mickey banged her,' G quickly piped up, looking simultaneously guilty and smug.
It seems G hasn't so much found a friend but developed an alter ego. She seems to believe that anything she can't get away with, Mickey can. He spends a lot of his time in the corner and has rapidly become my most problematic charge. But I'm not really sure what to do about him.
When 'Mickey' is behaving, G is fabulous with him. As I watched her gently spooning avocado into his mouth, I melted. This is what I'd dreamt of. Another soppy little girl. Perhaps her affection for Mickey might grow into a love of real animals too...
I just wish his behaviour wasn't quite so erratic. I guess he's just G's version of an invisible friend. I remember my partner in crime, Jammy (I know, I know, but I was 4, OK?) got up to all sorts of mischief, but it was just another phase, another way of testing my boundaries. Boundaries that, like G, I always somehow found myself straining at.
With her perfect curls, big brown eyes and scientific brain, I have always thought of G as Daddy's clone, but perhaps she's not as unlike me as I think. Her tantrums have my own parents laughing with glee as 30 years of waiting for revenge finally pays off, and I know that, deep down, as hard as her emotional outbursts can be, I actually find comfort in them.
T and M look just like me, laugh just like me, dance just like me... and it's wonderful to know that there's some of me in G too. She might have her dad's Irish genes twinkling in those eyes, but underneath there's a fiery Scottish soul, full of passion and determined to find a way to cause mischief, even if it does take a mouse to do the dirty work.'
Do your kids give their toys personalities or have imaginary friends? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below or on Facebook.
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