Our guys are fifteen months old. They are spastic little imps. That phrase popped out of my mouth recently. Someone asked me how the boys were doing and that is what I blurted out. “They are spastic little imps.”
They have been screaming lately. Babies like to yell, right? They are testing their voices, making lots of noise. It was cute the first couple times.
Now, one screams and the other mimics. Fun, right? Sort of cute? They are both in a very expressive, mimicky sort of stage. They mimic noises, faces, us, each other.
Except the screaming. The screaming. THE SCREAMING. What a fun game! “AHHH!” Oh yeah, me too! Me too! “AHHH!” Back and forth! AHHHH! AHHHH!
Those little baby lungs, and those little baby mouths, they make such perfectly piercing, earsplitting shrieks.
When they start up, we firmly say NO. We shake our heads. We give them the “stern face.” We’re not joking around about this. This is bad behavior. We want them to see that we are not happy with them. We put a finger to our lips and say “Shhh!”
Through all this, they look right at us and shriek happily. They either don’t understand they are misbehaving, or don’t care. They have each other as backup. When they start screaming, they look at each other, not at us, usually grinning.
We don’t want to make this complicated. As much as I don’t want to use the word “NO” over and over, I’m not going to say “It hurts Mama’s ears when you yell like that.” Maybe that would work on one kid. But reasoning with two fifteen month olds is not going to get through.
They had a screaming episode last night at dinner. One starts (usually Loyal) and the other imitates (usually Casc). Dave and I both shook our heads and said NO. We leaned into their faces and shook our heads. We do this calmly and firmly, and we don’t yell.
I thought for a moment that maybe I needed to look more angry, and make them understand this is not acceptable behavior. I was sitting closer to Casc at the dinner table and they both screeched in their highchairs. I got my face close to Casc and I pulled my eyebrows down, like I was yelling at someone in traffic. I was serious. I wanted him to understand I was not happy. “Casc, no. NO.”
He looked at me and my face. He scrunched up his nose and perfectly imitated my angry expression. He shook his head and grinned with his wrinkled nose.
I had to veer away and cover my face as I burst out laughing. Dave shielded his face on the other side of the table. We both trembled with laughter as we covered our faces with our hands. Casc watched us and covered his eyes with his hands.
Little shits. Funny little shits. We are doomed.