My family was fortunate enough to welcome a new member into our household over the holidays. A member whose presence was made known immediately upon arrival and has changed our lives considerably since entering the equation.
I’m talking about, of course, Let’s Rock Elmo.
He’s loud, he’s demanding, and his songs are downright catchy. With a simple squeeze of the foot, Elmo will either immediately launch into song or first request an instrument in which to perform with. “Ehhmo” is also being constantly shoved in my face by the little one as he requests these songs to be played over and over and over.
One particular jam, Elmo’s take on Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s “It Takes Two,” has been stuck in my head ever since the little red monster emerged from his wrapping paper on that late December morn. I’ve found that sometimes the only way to get a song out of your brain is to address it head on and embrace temptation rather than fight it.
It’s clear that Elmo wants something from me. My guess is that by drilling the “It Takes Two” song into my head he obviously wants me to once again talk about my two boys. My two very different boys.
Two boys who together embody the word – paradox.
Like many other things I had to learn about on the fly pertaining to parenthood, despite the multitude of experienced parents around me who should have tipped me off, I’m adding siblings capable of being completely different to that list. Nobody warned me about this.
I won’t lie, I assumed we would get something similar to Number 1 when my wife was pregnant with Number 2, and fortunately, we got exactly the opposite. To me, from the outside looking in, all of the sibling combinations I knew growing up made sense. There were a few exceptions here and there, but for the most part brothers and sisters were either “look alikes” or “act alikes.”
My boys? My boys are like night and day. Thoughtful and particular with the oldest, turned into instinctive and aggressive with the youngest.
The youngest actually rips me outside of my comfort zone. He climbs, he bites, and he doesn’t back down one bit. He has blue eyes, chubby cheeks, and fine, sandy hair. He also currently has the world firmly in his hands and has no intentions of letting go. For those of you who know my wife, you know exactly where this comes from.
The oldest, on the other hand, is like I harnessed science and made myself a clone. The question, “What was he thinking?” does not have to be asked in our household for I know exactly what he was thinking.
He is the ultimate ham, a shrewd negotiator, and an emotional smorgasbord. He has green hazel eyes, lean features, and dark, coarse hair. He is me. Well, minus the lean part, but hey, I’m working on that. In short, when I look at him the first thing I think is – that’s my boy.
The best part is, and the part I’m able to process and enjoy more and more these days, is that they are both my boys. More specifically, they are both our boys. There is some of my wife in my “clone” just as there is some of me in her “clone.”
It really is the best of both worlds. I get the opportunity to relate with my oldest and watch with knowing eyes as he navigates his way through the world, while also getting the opportunity to discover my youngest and have him show me new and exciting ways in which to accomplish world domination.
When I thought I knew all there was to know about the world in my 20s, I always told myself that I only wanted one child. But, as Elmo has been trying to tell me for the past few weeks, it “took two” boys, two very different boys, to show me that with one child I would have only been getting half of the experience.
Thanks Elmo. Now, where is that battery compartment?
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 1/14/12.