The kids find each other in the dark of the morning.
I lift a sleep-startled ear toward the sounds of squeaky voices carrying on an exchange endemic to two small people who
share everything from parents to underwear; for whom personal space" constitutes stepping back 1 inch, so as to still
get a good vantage while the other pukes into the toilet.
Coley, now I read you a book." Rose announces and then parses out the first sentence, duly memorized, from our new
favorite, Skippyjon Jones.
Wait, Rosie, let me get Rammy and Sealy."
OK Coley, you go get yer fwiends."
Dan rolls over and is asleep again in an instant, but I am drawn into the early-morning show of my two children,bending my ears to what passes as entertainment these days.
Two years ago, when Col was 2½ and Rose was a koala on the eucalyptus tree of my body, everything was wrong. Col wanted
to stay another 10 hours at the train station, clutching sooty railroad spikes like old friends and dancing to the tune
of ear-splitting train whistles. Rose wanted to get back home for a quiet nap, barnacled up against my skin. I felt
like a circus juggler, trying to keep diapers and Cheddar Bunnies and flaming sticks of fire all in the air at
But my new refrain is: These kids are so lucky to have each other. They understand each other the way my friend, a
biologist who studies salamanders, understands every slippery ripple of her amphibian subjects. Their forgiveness and
acceptance for each other is boundless; anger disappears like a balloon popping. While I'm still wringing my mind over
the raw scratch Col left under Rose's eye, she is instructing him in the next scene of their dramatic play: Coley, now
you go to sleep. I sing you a lullaby."
When I have no patience for Rose, who's camped out at the bottom of our stairs whining that she needs to be carried up,Col valiantly steps in: I'll help you up, Rose." And the two of them lumber up, slightly out of synch - clomp, lurch,clomp, lurch - hand in small hand.
Col and Rose assist each other daily in annihilating gender roles, which pleases me tremendously. At 5 years old, Col
has never shrugged off an opportunity to dress up in a poodle skirt and clack around in high heels, like some
gum-cracking 1950s diner waitress. And Rose can swing her lacrosse stick and hit the cat with a ball, and play a
flawless round of garbage trucks."
And yet, there is great understanding of each others' differences. When it's bedtime and everyone in the house is
scrambling for Rose's ducky, she eventually remembers she put her nighttime friend in her cabinet so Col not shoot
I have wondered, several hundred times, how much easier life would be with just one child, but then I'd probably be the
one roped into playing garbage trucks" in a poodle skirt.
Reach Rachel Turiel at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her blog about raising children, chickens and
backyard food at 6,512 feet: 6512andgrowing.wordpress.com.