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In Her Shoes

I've always been fascinated with subjects like birth order, nature versus nurture, and family dynamics that shape us as humans. As the mother of five, including an adopted child and a set of twins, I have had plenty of (drink) opportunities to witness firsthand how outside factors influence kids' development. There are plenty of ways to completely screw a kid up since, as parents, we are the most prevalent outside influence in their lives. In the same breath, kids are born with an abundance of innate traits that are part of their spirit no matter what we do.

I see this a lot with the twins. They are distinctly (drink) different, despite being raised by the same parents, at the same time, in the same birth order within the family. Case in point: yesterday's doctor visit. Thanks to Kaleb, they arrived for their appointment scared out of their minds about the possibility of getting a shot. They wouldn't let up on the poor nurse who was very kindly trying to avoid any reference to the words shot, vaccine, or jab, but was talking in code, alerting me to the fact that their fears would indeed, come to fruition. As (drink) the youngest in the family, the girls have a lot of practice when it comes to cracking codes, though, and it wasn't long before they understood their plight. Cynthia handled the news rather stoically, accepting her fate and moving on, while Eleanor created a scene that could have earned an Oscar for most dramatic actress.

She backed herself into a corner and refused to change into the adorable paper shmata with rainbow colored hand prints all over it. Not only did wearing it put her one step closer to the dreaded shot, but it didn't line up with her fashion statement for the day. I quickly gave up on that and focused solely on calming her the f*c$ down because it was getting (drink) embarrassing. The decibel level of her shrieks was off the charts and I couldn't get within a foot of her without even higher pitched shrieks turning her face the color of watermelon innards and every limb in her body seizing up, refusing to bend, in a defiant stance, daring me to step closer. I couldn't reason with her because she was so (drink) loud I couldn't even hear myself speak.

The nurse gracefully exited giving us a moment to enjoy the deafening shrieks in private. Eventually, the screaming fizzled to a soft whimper, purely, I'm guessing, out of sheer exhaustion. Plus her throat must have hurt. I know mine does if I yell too much at the kids. Sensing an opportunity, the (drink) nurse stepped back in and suggested getting the shots over with before the exam. I agreed. Sounded like fun.

In she came with the needles housed in plastic vials I noted she had wisely stuck a Garfield Band-aid on - a subtle bribe - look what you get to decorate your arm with after we jab you with this needle! Eleanor wasn't falling for the distraction. The shrieks resumed as she witnessed her sister (drink) taking one for the team and volunteering to go first. Easy peasy. Cynthia barely flinched. She tried to explain to Eleanor that it hardly even hurt, but she wasn't having it.

Finally, I violated her foot long radius and scooped her stiff, yet somehow still flailing body, up and attempted to hold her arm still enough to take the jab. But the nurse wasn't satisfied with my efforts and went to enlist the help of another nurse to hold her down. I was reminded of a cat we had who was a complete asshole to the vet. The vet had to bring two assistants armed with giant mitts to hold him down while he showed his teeth and hissed like a snake.

Once again, I tried to tame the beast, but as soon as I released her, she fled to the door, threw it open, and raced down the hall screaming, "Get me out of here!" at the top of her lungs. I was mortified. I raced after her, almost (drink) slamming into the mother of a newborn baby who had just had an explosive bowel issue. She was carrying him at arms length, his tiny little poop covered butt facing away from her, almost nailing me in the face. Social distancing fail. (Drink)

I finally caught Eleanor and carried her, kicking me in the thighs and this time shouting, "don't touch me!", back to the exam room. There we found poor Cynthia in tears. She begged me to tell the nurse not to give Eleanor the shot. "I can't stand to see my sister so sad," she sobbed. And just like that, Eleanor stopped crying. She accepted Cynthia's beloved stuffed bunny she held out to her, closed her eyes, and started breathing deeply through her nose like some sort of yogi. When she opened her eyes, she looked very seriously at Cynthia, still sniffling in empathy, and said, "Okay. I can do this." Then they hugged.

Now I was the one crying as I witnessed a twin moment I'll never forget. I collected myself quickly, not wanting to alarm them and commended Cynthia's kindness (drink) and Eleanor's braveness. "It's kind of like Cynthia gave you some of her courage," I explained. "And I gave her some of my tears!" Eleanor rationalized, now grinning at her heroic sister.

The nurse came in solo, perhaps hearing the shrieking cease and concluding an accomplice wasn't necessary. Eleanor repeated her resolve to the nurse, "I can do this." And she did. No crying. No squirming. Just the stoic bravery borrowed from her sister carrying her through to the finish line.

They are unique individuals, that's for sure. But twins share something even deeper than most of us. They can walk in each other's shoes from time to time, truly feeling each other's struggles. And when they do, they always come to each other's rescue.

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