The boys are eighteen months old today – a year and a half since our lives changed forever. Eighteen months of being outnumbered and not sleeping, but also eighteen months of being the centre of their little worlds.
They say you shouldn’t compare, but it’s impossible not to. We feel guilty that they get so little attention compared to the Princess. At eighteen months she could speak a hundred words in two languages. The boys at the same age can only make a few noises, you have to be very perceptive (and indulgent) to recognise them as words. For the record, Daniel can say “de ba” when he wants to go and have his bath. Michael can say “bye bye” (sort of). And that’s pretty well it. [Comment from me: This is so untrue. Daniel can say “ba” for ball as well and “bye bye” and “ta da” and “Mummy” and “Daddy”. It is true for Michael though.]
They are alike, and completely different at the same time. Overall they’re two very charming sunny little boys. Michael smiles more readily and so he’s an immediate hit with strangers. Daniel is more grave and is slower to smile, but it’s worth waiting for.
Physically, it’s quite easy to distinguish them. Michael is tiny: he was born small (2.2 kg or 5 pounds) and is still at the smallest end of his age group. Daniel is frankly massive. The odd thing is that Daniel is the fussy eater, while Michael will try anything. Daniel loves his bottle of milk but beyond that he’s less keen on food. Because Daniel is bigger, he’s also less steady on his feet: he was slower to walk than Michael and is still not as confident.
Michael is also unusual for one of our children in that he has hair. The Princess was bald until she was about two (we used to think that she was the most beautiful little girl, but looking at the photos it’s impossible not to think of former Irish rugby star Keith Wood in a dress).
In temperament, Daniel is more placid and Michael more nervy. Daniel is also cautious by nature (like the Princess) and is easily upset, even by misfortunes that happen to others. Michael, in contrast, is a complete daredevil – see the photo of him climbing up to the stereo. Yet he’s more clingy – he’s the one who needs a comfort blanket (or doudou) to get to sleep, and who often demands to be held. They still wake frequently in the night (last night was dire). We deal with this by giving them bottles (we know it’s against all the parenting advice, but we don’t dare stop!) Usually Daniel will take his bottle and just go back to sleep, but Michael will often demand to be held. So because he gets so little attention, poor Daniel seems more interested in books. Very often he ends up sitting in a corner looking at books while we deal with the demands for attention from the other two.
We hope they’ll forgive us. [Comment by me: Though it is typical of their lives to date that the only photograph adorning this post is one of their sister].