The years literally seem to be flying by, and I so want to capture Holland and Eden's huge personalities and bottle them up so I will never forget. I want to remember the way they look, what they are interested in, how they interact with the world, and the funny things that they say. It's a shame how quickly those things seem to evaporate out of my mind if I don't take the time to write them down!
I hate to (gasp) compare them, but I don't really see how you cannot! They are each so unique, that I find it impossible to describe them without talking about how they are different from one another. I try hard not to box them in, and am always letting them know that just because they like something today doesn't mean they have to like it tomorrow. I am also constantly telling them that it really is OKAY for them to like the same thing. Sometimes I feel like they make choices about what they like just to be different from each other! Like, if Holland likes BLUE, then Eden has to like PINK...or if Eden likes ORANGES, then Holland has to like APPLES... Sometimes it even seems like they define themselves on how they are different from each other.
In terms of their likes and dislikes, they are finally finding some common ground. In the past it has strictly been - Holland likes blue and cars and trains, and Eden likes pink and princesses. Now we are discovering more and more that they BOTH like Hannah Montana. They BOTH like stuffed animals, Littlest Pet Shop, Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, and Barbie. Holland is more and more requesting to wear pink, and I can see the wistful look in her eyes when Eden gets something more "girlie" than her. But...she still gets really excited about cars and trains. Recently she was watching some Nickelodeon while I was taking a shower, and when I came down to check on them she was literally squealing in excitement about a new show that had come on...about Monster Trucks! She was beside herself with happiness, and pretended "Monster Trucks" for an hour after the show was over. So, I know she still has it in her, and that makes me happy. I like balance. I am fine with her getting into the more traditional "girlie" stuff, but I don't want her to lose her love for Thomas the Tank Engine. That would be so sad! Especially since she has said numerous times, "I'm STILL gonna love Thomas, even when I am a grown-up!"
Eden is still resolved to being all about GIRLS and is really interested in what the "big girls" like. Just this morning she asked how old she has to be before I will let her watch ICarly. I told her 7...figuring it won't be around by then...lol. We were discussing Valentine's Day cards this morning. I was asking them what kind they thought they'd like to get for their preschool class (because I couldn't find Littlest Pet Shop like they originally requested). Holland decided on Barbie cards for everyone (last year she got Spiderman). Eden wants to get Hello Kitty, but thinks that she will only give them to the girls. I told her that she has to be nice and give them to ALL the kids, but she can't fathom why a boy would want a Hello Kitty card. I explained that the boys will pick out cards for her too, and she will probably get some Spiderman cards from them, and she said "NO THANK YOU!" We'll get it sorted out by next week:)
It has been interesting to notice how much of their personalities they have retained since those early days, when they were just tiny babies struggling for life in isolettes. It really makes me realize how much of it is hard-wired. Holland continues to be the feistier of the two in many ways, while Eden is calmer and more watchful. Both can be very stubborn and set in their ways, just like their parents (BOTH of them...don't let anyone fool you!).
Holland can be so sweet and loving at times. She has great ideas, loves to play and laugh, has a great memory and a terrific imagination. She pretends ALL THE TIME, to the point that at times she becomes lost in her own fantasies and has difficulty transitioning back to reality. She never wants the fun to end and oftentimes ends up in tears when it's time to move on to another activity...like going potty, getting ready for dinner, or coming in from outside. The tears and fits get pretty infuriating, and so far we haven't come up with a good strategy to get them to stop completely. We've tried time limit warnings (like "5 more minutes) and punishments, but most of this stuff just serves to make her more anxious and makes the behavior worse.
A few months ago we started a "No-Crying Chart" that is much like Eden's Potty Chart. This worked really well for a while, but once she filled her chart and got her reward she was back to the same old thing. We are currently doing a "Good Job Jar" and she is able to get a marble in her jar for not crying during specified transitions. We also use it to reward especially nice behavior (like helping her sister with something, or picking up her toys when asked), and take marbles OUT of the jar if she is being exceptionally bratty (she gets one warning then loses a marble). We have been using this system for about a week, and so far it is going pretty good. It doesn't curb all of her innate orneriness, but at least keeps it at a tolerable level for the most part.
When Holland is comfortable in a situation, and things are going her way, she is mostly happiness and light. But the least bit of anxiety or shyness, or things not going her way, and she acts like a punk. It can be embarrassing at times, like at doctor appts when she is scowling, growling, and won't answer any of the doctor's questions. I just have to stay calm and matter-of-fact (even though I really feel like shaking her), because if I get mad or mean she just shuts down more and acts even worse.
So, if you meet her and she is in one of her "moods" just keep in mind that there is a really good, funny, sweet girl in there, she just needs a little nurturing to show her best side.
Holland really likes stories of all kinds, and likes for me to tell her stories about when she was born, when we got married, when we moved into our house, Zippo when he was a puppy, when I was a little girl, etc. She'll ask for particular stories like, "Mom tell me Zippo's story again", then will listen with rapt attention and will recall many specific details much later.
Holland has a great vocabulary and is really interested in words and what they mean. She will often stop a conversation to ask what a particular word means, then I will hear her use it several days later in a different context. Sometimes, if she doesn't have the exact words to describe something, she will make something up. For example, a couple of weeks ago she said, "Mom, my back boobs are itchy!" Back Boobs!?! Hilarious. She was talking about her shoulder blades.
Both girls are learning about time concepts, like today, tomorrow, yesterday, next week, last year, etc. That's confusing stuff for a 5-year-old! Right now they talk a lot about things that happened "when we were four" or "when we were five." If it happened a long time ago, it's "when we were babies." Holland always likes to know about our plans for tomorrow. She will ask, "what are we going to do when we wake up?" We've recently established that as "tomorrow." So now she will say, "how about tomorrow tomorrow?" That means the day after tomorrow... "What about in THREE tomorrows?" LOL
Eden is my watcher. She notices everything that is going on around her, and is very intuitive about people and their feelings. She is also very nosy. She likes to know details about people, their families, and where they live. When we meet new people or go to new houses, she needs to know how many kids they have, how many bathrooms there are, and what color their bedrooms are. Pretty funny.
She is very in tune with the dynamics of our family, and can sense it when any of us are upset or stressed out. She will stare at my face to read my facial expressions, and always tries to break the ice or be the peacekeeper if things are feeling stressful. If Holland is being particularly ornery, or John and I are bickering, she will start saying "Mom, I love you" every few minutes, and will want to hold my hand, and give me a hug or a kiss. It very sweet and cute...to a certain point. The problem is that she sometimes does this to solidify her position as "the good one" when Holland is being difficult. She will also sometimes say, "I'm being good, right Mom?", and if Holland loses a privilege, like bath time or book time, Eden will really rub it in which can be pretty annoying.
We really try to downplay the whole bad girl, good girl thing by being as fair and neutral as we can, but it does seem that Eden's natural inclination is to be more of a pleaser, and Holland tends to push buttons. But trust me, Eden knows how to push some buttons too. She especially likes to push Daddy's buttons.
Not long ago, John was taking Eden potty and she was really wiggling around, playing, not paying attention, and not helping the whole process along at all. John got exasperated with her and told her to stop playing, and to try to help him out. He said, "Eden you need to stop wiggling and BE STILL." She proceeded to say: "Well, I'm not gonna stop wiggling."
"I love to wiggle."
"It's a wiggle day."
"I DREAM of wiggling!!!"
It's pretty hard to be stern with her when she DREAMS of wiggling. She doesn't know when to stop! She definitely knows how to dish it out and how to give Daddy a taste of his own medicine.
I still love how animated Eden's face and eyes are when she is talking, and the high pitched breath intake squeal that she does when she is super-excited (I can't think of how else to describe that sound!). She also does this cute, sassy lip-smack now when she is telling stories that makes us laugh.
She loves to pretend too, and sometimes makes up imaginary characters to *be*. One night at dinner she was pretending to be a girl named Leah. She said that she was 16-years-old. Her parents had died from broken legs (?) and she didn't have a home. She read about Holland and Eden on my "blog" and decided to come live with us. Eden was on vacation in California and told her that she could borrow her wheelchair and walker, because she has CP too. We seriously cracked up when she said, "I read your blog!" That girl doesn't miss a thing.
Eden has amazing attention for so many things. She can really stick with something for a long time...much longer than other kids her age. She has especially good attention for "band practice" with Daddy. She asks him all the time when they can have band practice, and if he tells her on Friday night that they can do it on Saturday, she literally POPS out of bed the next morning saying, "It's time for band practice!!!" John will take both girls down to the basement to work on music, and Holland will lose interest before they even get set up. Eden will hang out down there for two hours, playing the keyboard and/or synthesizer and singing in the microphone. They learn all kinds of songs. Some of her favorites are Hannah Montana (of course), songs from Alvin and the Chipmunks (Daddy has a cool effects pedal that can make her sound like a chipmunk), and Tegan and Sara. She does a great version of "Walking with a Ghost." Lately they have been working on "You Spin Me Around" by Dead or Alive...sung in chipmunk voices of course.
In Eden's mind, John is a Rock Star. He was recently in a band, "Clicks & Pops" that played a couple of shows last month. Each morning after their shows she asked him how it went. I was showing her some of the pictures at breakfast, and she looked up at John and said, "Dad, you are SO COOL." "You are the coolest Dad EVER!" When he broke the news to her that he was quitting that band, her face fell and she said, "But I really LOVE Clicks and Pops. That's my favorite band!" She is convinced that when she grows up she is going to be in a band with her dad. I'll be their biggest fan!
Another thing I don't want to leave out...both girls are just now learning to say the "l" sound. We practiced it for a few days, and now I am hearing them use it in conversation, catching and correcting themselves. It's so cute how they kinda overexaggerate the llll sound to say "lllike" instead of "wike" or "lllllaugh" instead of "waff". They are so proud of themselves when they say, "Mom, I lllllove you!"
I am so proud of them too. They are so cute and funny and sweet...and sassy and bratty and exasperating at times too.
I love it all and I want to remember all of it!