Dear Nora and Maya,
My darling, bubbly, silly, loving, clever, verbal, gymnastics/yoga loving, infuriating, kissable daughters. You completed our family, rounding us out into four corners, adding symmetry to our hexagon. You made us into a family of six, and for that we are eternally grateful.
As you turn three, I can look back on the previous three years in phases. From newborn to age one, you were the sweetest, snuggliest, tandem nursing twins we had ever had the pleasure of meeting. From age one to age two, you started to assert yourselves, learning to talk, learning to play together, learning to antagonize each other. Age two to age three has been the sweet spot for me - you can express yourselves fluently, and you make up games that only the two of you can play together. You are more responsible - gone is the baby pit, the stroller to get from the car to our destination, and even diapers! You know how to listen to me, though you don't always choose to. We can go on outings together without worrying so much about how to make it out of the house.
Nora and Maya, I am grateful you are patient with me when I get frustrated, that you cuddle me when I ask, and that you still sit in my lap, one on each knee, for bedtime stories, turning around to burrow into me as I sing your songs at night (You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Close Your Eyes, and The Water is Wide). Thank you for being my last two babies, my sweet daughters, my loves.
Nora and Maya, you have really developed your friendships this year. You go to daycare at Tiger Den two or three mornings a week, and you love your routines there and time with familiar friends and adults. During the rest of our week together, we go to music class, gymnastics, dance, story hour, have play dates, go out to lunch, take walks, and play at home. You are lucky to have made some really good friends, some of whom are also twins and some who are not. I am lucky to have made sustaining, important friendships myself! You love talking about where we've gone and who we've gone with. Right now, everything happened "yesterday," even if it was a few weeks ago.
This year, you've developed a love of the outdoors, at any season. You had your first winter to really play in the snow, even though we didn't have too many snowfalls this year. You get so excited whenever we go outside. You like to ride your tricycles to the "neighborhood," play baseball like your brothers, and take a turn on the swing in our front yard made by Uncle Brian.
It has been so lovely to see your relationship with your brothers developing over this past year. You are more than holding your own now amongst this zany crew. You are often the instigators of a sibling pig-pile these days, and you love being right in the thick of it with Seth and Evan. Sometimes it is fun for each girl to have a brother as a buddy, and sometimes you all grate on each other's nerves. But you all love each other fiercely, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
It has been so much fun for us to watch your interactions with each other develop. When you were younger, Nora was perhaps a little more easygoing than Maya. In the past year, the roles have reversed a bit, and Nora is often a little more dramatic when it comes to leading your play. You both are assertive and speak your mind, but when you play mommy and baby, Nora usually requests to be the mommy first. Maya will usually go along with this, but you usually wants your rightful turn as mommy, too!
You get along so well most of the time, playing house, restaurant, or any number of games. But you'll lull us into a false sense of security, as all of a sudden you are snarling at each other or pushing each other over a sudden disagreement. However, after some time-outs and guided apologizing, all is forgotten and you are back to playing once again.
You definitely have your favorite tv shows and characters - right now you are big fans of Doc McStuffins and Daniel Tiger. It is sweet to see you participate in shared pretend play using what you know about the characters, and to see how excited you get about it. Not going to lie, I was pretty tickled to see your Doc and friends dolls when they arrived.
I love the precious relationship you have with your Daddy. Sometimes it's zany tummy kisses from "Daddy monster," sometimes it's a fun adventure walk up to the dining hall, and sometimes it's your nightly expectation of Daddy's own song creation "Goodnight My Twins," but it's always clear how much you love your Daddy.
Though we often speak about you as "the twins," it is important to recognize that you are two individual people with your own unique and wonderful characteristics. Nora, you are my dynamic scene-stealer, my authentic song creator (just like I was when I was little), my dig-your-heels in stubborn pouter. You are sweet and silly, fiesty and thoughtful, perceptive and loud.
Maya, you are my limber gymnastics monkey, my reserved toe-dipper, my loving cuddle bug. You are funny and happy, loyal and precocious, goofy and thoughtful.
You each like to have one-on-one time with adults when possible. Whether it's when one of you wakes up earlier, or it's when there are multiple adults in the house, you enjoy having time when we are just focused on one of you at a time. As you get older, we will try to make more time for this differentiation.
Happy third birthday, dear Maya and Nora. You made us six, and you made us complete. Here's looking forward to seeing what three-years-old to four-years-old looks like. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride.