Ray and I both agree: Calvin has caught up with Charlie. We are now raising developmental twins!
Oh yes, one may be 3 inches taller, ten pounds heavier, and just overall a more husky boy, but in almost every sense they are at the same level in development.
We think Calvin is actually ahead of Charlie in this area. Calvin can go down steps unassisted, Charlie still crawls down or needs a hand. They both run and attempt to do the cutest little jumps. They roll, they tackle, they dance, they fling themselves about. Their newest trick, which they both picked up recently (and both feel rather proud of) is their ability to walk backwards. Calvin is maybe a little bit slower when running, and perhaps a bit more tipsy than Charlie just yet.
Calvin is unmistakably ahead. Fine motor skills are a big challenge for Charlie. Calvin's movements are altogether more refined and his hands much stronger. In fact, Calvin is already eating with fork and spoon--his aim for his mouth is a bit off, though. Charlie does great with fork and spoon and eats very neatly, but has a lot of trouble getting food onto said utensils.
Of course it is a bit hard to tell just how much the kids understand, but it is a heck of a lot! They are both able to understand instructions, and follow through. Calvin is a little better at understanding instructions that are not familiar. Charlie needs the instructions to be very concrete, preferable a task he has carried out before, but not always.
Both boys are talking a lot. Both have well over 100 signs (ASL), and tons of words. Charlie is repeating many sentences that we say, and strings up to two words together. Calvin is also beginning to put two words together, most notably "more (food) please" and "big truck!" Charlie's latest word combo is "chocolate chip," which totally makes sense if you know our family. I'm only surprised "chocolate" wasn't his first word. haha.
I think the emotions part is maybe where Charlie has Calvin beat. Calvin is still in that in-between stage of baby and boy. He needs his mommy a lot (aw, I love it), he still nurses, and generally just lacks the little boy independence that Charlie has moved in to.
The boys are neck in neck when it comes to impulse control: THEY HAVE NONE! Okay. That is not entirely true. They do pretty well, and being the sons of parents in ministry, they are well trained to behave reasonable well through long, boring meetings. (As was I, kids. As was I.) They are a joy (and a workout) to take to restaurants. Really, they are a lot like puppies: Happily they will play, or quietly they will sit and "read", until some item (that looks like it may have an internal combustion engine) catches their attention, then all bets are off! It is all very normal (or so am told about boys.)
So there you have it. Our amazingly wonderful developmental twins.
You know, we knew this day would come, and fully expected it to be, well, kind of sad. Funny thing is, I'm not sad at all. I am excited for a couple reasons. One, with Calvin growing and developing so rapidly it is easy to see a day on the horizon when my job will get a little easier. He will gain independence, we will communicate better, I will train him to fold the laundry... (Okay, he's off the hook for laundry. At least for a little while.)
And two, I am excited to see how having a sibling who is developmentally ahead will help Charlie. Soon his brother will be modeling behavior that we want Charlie to do. Soon Calvin will be speaking in sentences, which will no doubt inspire Charlie to try his hand at it. Charlie has always been encouraged developmentally by typical children.
I am often asked if the boys get along. It is a complicated question for me to answer. At first the images that fill my mind are of pre-bedtime wrestling matches, Charlie laying on top of Calvin, Calvin screaming for help, and tug-of-wars over a toy they both want but refuse to share. So, there are times they clearly are at odds with each other. But really, our boys value their companionship deeply. They are so excited to be reunited after time apart. Calvin talks about his "Brubber" often while Charlie is away at school. They do play very sweetly and cooperatively with each other at times, even offering their toys for a "turn." If one is hurt, the other will extend a comforting pat and an, "Okay?"
These guys have no idea they are in a fairly unique sibling relationship. Calvin scooting by Charlie, both loving who the other is, just how they are. These brothers, this sibling relationship... It's a good thing. And right now, it's a twin thing.