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Published:July 27th, 2006 04:01 EST
Living with thing One and Thing Two

Living with thing One and Thing Two

By Syeda Abbas

Living with Thing One and Thing Two

They are asleep in the same cot, heads almost touching, and one Spiderman fleece blanket stretched up to their noses. Three years old and I still marvel at the sight of the mirror images, the perfect Xerox copies made by nature. My twin boys Fazil and Saif. Fazil is the elder twin saucier, bouncier, play ground savvy. A passer-by is an instant friend.

Fazil does not walk, he swaggers. The minute he meets your eye he smiles his lop-sided smile.

Saif is the baby of the family- still in diapers and prone to tantrums and the non-analytical type. He’s only interested in eating, sleeping and riding his bike.

“What’s your name?” asks their dad in an attempt to teach them the use of vocabulary.

“What’s your name?” pat comes the reply from Saif.

“No no no, say my name is Saif.”

“No, no no say my name is Saif.”

Oh well.

Four year old Kamil sleeps on the other bed. Kamil means perfect and he is the perfect example of the creation overtaking the creator. When expecting Kamil I vowed not to give into junk food, soda, television. I would be a perfect mom who‘d make home cooked food and never use TV as a babysitter.

As a result, Kamil is an eighteenth century child born into the twenty first century.

Food comes from a pan or cooking pot, not from a box.  Books are better than TV.  Fries, candy, and soda all the traditional bribes are unhealthy. He spurns fries at McDonalds, “You get fat”, he says pushing them away. Most moms slip in a video to talk on the phone. Kamil will not give PBS more than ten minutes. “Can you read me a story?” he asks. When he catches me bribing the twins with candy he admonishes me with “candy spoils teeth and makes you slow.” As for eating frozen dinners or anything out of a box – forget it. “Can you cook real food?”   

Good lord what have I done?

My children are barely a year apart. Parenting magazines call them twingles-single baby followed by a set of twins.  The public reaction ranges from barely concealed horror to amusement. The most common question is “was it planned or an accident?”  One mom actually asked me "Did you plan to have twins?"   

This tiny fact comes up at the strangest of places.  At a bridal shower the bride introduced me to the groom “this is Sara – she had three children in 15 months.” 

Kamil is the classic Mommy’s helper. He possesses a well-organized mind. Everything has a label and place. The videos go in our battered TV stand. The library books belong in the yellow basket. The twins well... they belong in a work of fiction. He sees me in a disaster control mode, crayon marks on the walls, toys dumped routinely off the deck into the backyard, leaves plucked off our lone artificial tree. Silk flowers yanked off and strewn all over staircase. The twins had their own solution for potty training. There was no bathroom on the main level floor of our townhouse. We had a nice wooden deck with grass underneath.  They would run to the deck and see who could aim the furthest. I had sleepless nights thinking the landlord would cancel our lease. 

The twins would give a poltergeist a run for its money.  While reading Dr. Seuss Kamil found a label, “Fazil and Saif are Thing One and Thing Two.”

Just how well he knew his brothers I found out one summer’s afternoon. I was involved in a long bout of extensive bathroom cleaning. The children were downstairs watching a video. Or so I thought. When I finally finished both bathrooms. I had a vague, uneasy feeling. It was just too quiet, no yelling, no screaming. What was wrong?

I ran down the stairs. There it was. Three eggs crunched into the kitchen floor. “What have you done” I began yelling. The kids slunk into the corners of kitchen looking very guilty.  As I bent down with handful of towels I glanced out the window and spied numerous white mushrooms strewn in the backyard.   It was very confusing.  I walked out on the deck. The sight that met my eyes was unbelievable. They had taken the contents out of the two 18-egg cartons and thrown them out. Thirty six eggs on the deck, all over the backyard and horror of horrors- in the neighbor’s deck and railings which was a good 8 feet away. 

It took two hours, two Tylenol, two kitchen towels to clean the mess. Two eggs had survived the impact.  I wondered how I would approach the neighbors. 

My husband was no help. ” He will think it’s a demented bird.” He was more interested in the two intact eggs. “That must have been some bird”, he said admiringly.

Nature helped me with a terrible thunderstorm. That night we had a family crisis meeting. I was the only one with the crisis.   Kamil did all the talking. The Things giggled and put their fingers in their mouths. He put forward his “We make a nest” theory. As the charges against him grew, he pointed to the Things “They did it”.  After a lot of tears and scolding everyone promised never to play with food again.  

Until the next time.