House update: We've still bought a house. Any time the phone rings I expect it to be the realtor saying that there's a hitch and it's all fallen through, that they meant to sell it to those other people with the same name, that we can only have it if we promise not to change the kitchen in any way, or whatever. But so far, so good.
In other news, Miss was saying "Mine," it turns out. She says it quite a lot, these days. Monkey never ever said "Mine," but then he didn't need to: like Yurtle the Turtle, he was master of all he surveyed. To give him his due, mind you, and in all fairness as they say in the home country, he's a very good sharer. He rarely minds when Miss appropriates something of his, and even little plastic Spider-Man isn't sacrosanct and may have his head chewed on occassion without reprise.
We used to call Monkey "Destructo-Boy," as he was always more interested in tearing down than building up. There was a period where if you left him alone to fall asleep with a book to look at, you'd find the book in shreds 20 minutes later. Miss is a lot more conventional with her toys: she actually plays with them the way the child on the box would - the child I used to be convinced was a fake because mine would just rip up the box, throw away the contents, and then go run around some more and jump off the sofa. Miss puts the hemispheres on the pegs as well as pulling them off, she sticks her bumpy proto-Lego blocks together as well as knocking down the towers, she turns pages without ripping them from the spines of the books.
It's not a motor skills thing, I think; it's more a patience issue. Monkey just didn't want to take the time to build things, to make his hand go to the right place, just as nowadays he doesn't want to slow down enough to follow the dots and write his name, even though he can if he tries carefully. He's just starting to build with the big Lego that he got for his first birthday (using manipulatives, as his teachers said to me), and it's great to see. He's even starting to get the hang of jigsaws, though sometimes he seems to be purposely obtuse and tries to put two straight edges back to back when I point out that they go together.
Of course, the biggest attraction of having more than one child is that they can play together, thus freeing up the parent for fun things like washing up, making dinner, and updating her blog. This works beautifully, for about ten minutes of any given day. The rest of the time playing together is a hair's breadth away from doing permanent damage to each other or the furniture, or both at the same time. Monkey currently enjoys upending the coffee table, with little regard for whose limbs are about to be crushed, and Miss immediately jeopardises her skull to climb into the vertical space created, making a baby-table sandwich that, once safely in, she can't possibly escape from. They also like to ride the tricycle together, which is sweet, until one falls off and the other starts ramming them. While I bleat "Get off her" pointlessly from the safe confines of the kitchen and just keep on stirring.
Ah, the joys.