Messy Play and the Toddler Personality

One of the things that I like best about having twins is how the differences between them really highlights what enormous personalities they already have. Perhaps other mothers are more observant than I am but I think that if I didn’t have two babies with frequently opposing views, I would simply assume that all babies felt the same way as my baby rather than acknowledging the autonomy that they already seem to have developed.

Take messy play, for example. There are four humans in this household at present, outside of utero anyway. Two of them think that breaking out the bright paints and big canvases amounts to an excellent idea and two of them are appalled. There is one baby (toddler? Baby?) in each category. To be clear: One 15-month-old enjoys being painted and sucking on a paint brush. The other was appalled by the suggestion and quickly removed himself from the damp, cold environment.

Choices. They can make them. Preferences. They have them. Crazy, no?

It still feels strange to me that these fiercely independent people came from my body. I was looking at pictures of them earlier from shortly after they were born, when they were tiny and new and Zaza was so bruised and looked as though he was fading away, and it gives me a little jolt to recognise smaller versions of those same features in the pictures because how on earth can my babies have grown so big? I expect that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

They are growing, every second of every day. In some ways it feels a little like a loss, but then we are so proud every time that they master a new skill or demonstrate the force of their personalities. Even the tantrums, which we are beginning to notice more frequently now, mostly feels like thrilling evidence of their manifesting selves.

It sometimes feels as though I do nothing but follow them around with the camera but I love capturing these memories of their childhoods. I think that you can see really clearly which child favours the wet and the mess and which child would much rather, all things considered, do something a little less tactile.

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How old were your children when you began to notice, really NOTICE, their personalities? Do they enjoy messy play?

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4 Comments

  1. Deborah
    February 17, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    LOVE it….
    They are so expressive, and their personalities are becoming startlingly apparent.
    Adorable boys

  2. Alexandra | I'm Every Mum
    February 20, 2016 / 9:12 am

    We recognised that Eden had a LOT of my personality traits when she was really young. As young as four months. We used to wonder if it was all in our head. The older she had become the more apparent it is, she is definitely a mini me. We’ve never seen anything like it out of the four of them. She is an absolute force. Judah changed a lot when he became aware of danger. Shayla has has the same personality as long as I have known her. She’s always a bit shy but when she breaks out of that it’s amazing. Such a hysterical little girl. Isis I didn’t know that young so I can’t comment. It’s lovely to see your boys finding their own voices and their way of expressing what they like and don’t. Very cute pictures x

  3. yvette morgan
    March 9, 2016 / 8:23 am

    i love these messy play pics, my mother was a twin, in fact her mother had 3 sets of twins and they were all very different personalities 🙂

  4. Janani Viswanathan
    September 4, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    Cute little boys 🙂 My twin boys even have diverse personalities. We started to notice it around 1.5 yrs. One wants to be tidy and perfect and the other goes messy and naughty all the time. One has the likes for spicy food and the other has a sweet tooth and much more to say. Happy twin parenting 🙂

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