Posts Tagged ‘twin talk’

Picture this:

Our family of six is out for our nightly post-dinner, pre-bedtime walk.  I am pushing Brett in the single stroller, Brian is pushing Aaron and Brady in their side-by-side, and Alaina is riding next to us on her big girl bike. A&B spontaneously burst out into song. We’re not sure what words they are singing, but the melody sounds a bit like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Brian and I take a moment to smile at each other and share a “Yup. All of this is ours.” proud moment. And then…

Screaming! Terror! A chorus of Brady’s “NOOOOOOOOO”. Aaron’s silence (because his mouth is otherwise occupied, full of his brother’s arm.). In 1.1 seconds we’ve gone from a Norman Rockwell painting to an audition tape for “Nanny 911”.

Sadly, we have no idea why.

And then, back to singing.

And so it goes. 22-month old brothers who love each other one second and are trying to kill each other the very next. Over nothing. Brady enjoys hitting and hair pulling, Aaron prefers to bite. Neither have ever turned their aggression towards anyone except their other half. And as quickly as they turn it on, they are over it. Leaving their father and I to scratch our heads and stare dumbly at them – and each other – thinking “What the HELL was that?”

We know they love each other. They play, they cuddle, they bring each other their cups and conspire together. We listen to them on the monitor in their room at night talking in their little twin talk we don’t understand. We hear them waking up in the morning and whispering to each other and giggling before they shout out for “DaddEEEEE”. So what is going on? Why are they so hell bent on hurting each other for what seems like no other reason than sport?

Perhaps it is a function of spending too much time together? Perhaps they are just boys being boys? Who knows. But it is frustrating to say the least. And mind-boggling that after 15-seconds of all out WAR, before we can even react, they will go back to just dancing or singing or building a tower together.

Please tell me we’re not alone!


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I was just dying to use a Beastie Boys’ album for a post title and I finally made it work! I don’t know which dates me better – the band or the fact that I actually used the word “album” rather than “CD.” Either way, I’m feeling old. But that’s besides the point. This post is about communication and I’m here to talk (or, er, write) about it.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a TON of talking going on in our house. There’s almost never a quiet moment, actually. We have sudden statements, pronouncements and talking through problems. We have long, drawn-out conversations and monologues. We have near constant object identification going on. And so many questions. It’s just that none of this appears to be in English. Twin talk is a very real phenomenon in our house, and I hate to admit it, but it’s workin’ my nerves. Occasionally there are real words peppered in, mainly when we prod them to use our native language. We can get hi, cracker and tractor, dog and duck, and a resemblance of truck and train out of Oskar. Abel will say hi (constantly), up and down, dog, uh-oh, baby (sometimes) and ball, and just like his brother, a resemblance of truck and train. And of course, mama and dada are staples, used and abused, in both repertoires. In fact, I think that J is the founding father of our boys’ language, as it’s core consists of the consonant-vowel combo “da-da.” a-dah-a-dah-a-bizul-bizel-dip-a-dah-yup. Please don’t ask me to translate.

We have moments of brilliance where the boys’ will say an English word perfectly. Today it was lion for Oz. Clear as a bell and when looking at the awesome roaring animal in Little Gorilla. Unmistakable. And never to be heard again. Their imitation of sentences in English is pretty amazing, too. Abel regularly says, “Yep, I do!” It catches people off guard it sounds so accurate and in perfect context. The intonation is spot-on. But da-da speak is 95 percent of what comes out of their mouths.

I worry they are behind in their speech development. At 17 months, shouldn’t they have more words?! I can’t help but compare them to other children their age who have mind-blowing vocabs of 50 and 60 words. I’m not looking for a miracle here, but a consistent ten words would be fabulous. Will they continue to refine their own language and just leave English for the rest of us chumps? Will they need some crazy therapy intervention so people can understand them before they enter kindergarten? These are the thoughts that keep me up at night and make me consider enrolling them in Montessori come August, just so they can have regular exposure to peers who speak our common language.

And then there’s the side of me that says “get a grip!” They are clearly smart, interactive and communicative lil’ guys that are up-to-snuff in all other areas of their development. And it’s not that they don’t understand English. I can tell them to do virtually anything and they do it. I even test them with more sophisticated directions – “put the brown sandals in the drawer.” I look down to see the grey sneakers and green sandals still on the floor and the brown gems tucked neatly in the dresser. Check. I google, “how many words should a 17 month old have?” and I read about the extremes. I check my Brazelton bible and read how you should get things checked out if your child is two with no intelligible words. I hear stories of friends whose kids were two before they uttered a word, and then out poured complete sentences. I reassure myself that we are still more than within the range of normal. I still worry.

Maybe I just feel left out. These boys are so wonderfully expressive and clearly have so much to say, it drives me nuts that I’m the odd-mom-out. Should I be working harder to understand their language? Is this normal for twins?

Clearly I’m at a loss for words. Dear readers, please help me decipher this code.

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