Whether we’re off to spot horses or ants, my boys are thrilled. They can’t wait to get out of the flat, always bursting with energy and curiosity.
Usually, they can’t even contain their excitement long enough for me to get their clothes on, and it takes forever.
The Finnish word for an ant is complicated, muurahainen, and the boys’ eager attempts to reproduce the sounds are endearing. Muu-ra-hai-nen. The r is a rolling r and they do it quite well.
All insects are ants. If I call them by some other name, I’m promptly corrected.
Horses are taaaaall, ants are tiiiiiny, we repeat in our conversations, over and over again. (This is where you imagine us gesturing size differences and altering our voices.)
Both are equally interesting creatures. Horses and ants.
…four, five, six, seven! one of the boys recites. His favorite number is four, pronounced with zest, “FOOOUR!!!” His favorite colour is yellow, and that might also be his brother’s favorite, but it’s hard to tell since he’s less decisive when it comes to, well, decisions.
One of the boys knows where all the neighbourhood’s motorcycles and vespas are parked. If a motorcycle he was looking forward to spotting is missing in action, he’ll be pointing and calling after it. There, there! Yes, that’s where it’s supposed to be.
This summer, we visited a co-worker of mine who lives in the countryside just out of town. It was a real treat for all of us: great company, blueberries and strawberries straight from the bushes (exotic for us city-dwellers), a garden that the boys were invited to water, resulting in glee and wet clothes, as well as an elusive cat, which, once spotted, caused the boys to give out loud, confident meows. Exclamation mark included! Meo-w!
The rest of the summer, watering plants was on trend. The boys repeatedly raced and fought over which one of them got to water the few poor pots on our balcony – even when they had just been soaked.
And since our balcony was already soaked, one warm day we decided to bring the boys’ plastic tubs out there for a fresh air bath. The little ones splashed away for the longest time, playing with bath toys, singing, and splashing some more. Until their tubs were near empty and the water had gone cold. Our floor got a much-needed wash that day.
We spent a small fortune on store-bought, fresh, local berries of all sorts, and splurged on a new dining table and chairs, getting rid of the boys’ baby highchairs once and for all.
Some things advance slower with twins because of us parents. Unlike the little ones, our energy resources have limits. But it was a good summer holiday at home and it felt a lot longer than just one month because we had plans for each day. The boys seemed to grow bigger and taller than you’d expect in just one month, too. Time must be quite a relative thing.
The boys had plenty of firsts this summer. They got their first passports, with cute pictures of them looking slightly annoyed at the photographer’s lens, hippie-haired.
They did their first day trip abroad by ferry to Tallinn, which happened to coincide with nap time so they were asleep for most of it. But they enjoyed the ferry’s play area and still seem to remember the trip.
The boys got their first barber’s haircuts this summer, which, in retrospect, might as well have been before the passport photos instead of after.
The barber shop specialized in kids and all haircutting was performed while sitting in a red sports car which played Chinese children’s songs, sounding very much like J-pop. I had a pleasant flashback to my Tokyo trip years before. The boys loved the barber’s so much we created a big show when we tried to leave!
They had their first hotel stay – quite a frenzy, may I add – and experienced plenty of food-firsts. Another first was swimming, at a kiddies’ pool outdoors.
And they got their first balance bikes, mastering them instantaneously, and making me scratch my head: they must’ve sneakily been borrowing some other kid’s bike at daycare all this time.
What’s this? I point to a decorative sticker featuring a rocket, which I just stuck on the back of their door.
A boat, one of them answers.
It’s a rocket, I say. It flies all the way to space!
No, it’s a boat, he corrects me, with authority.
Don’t mess with a two-year-old.
Okay, it’s a space boat, you’re right, honey.