Yes, there are times when it seems like the entire afternoon is spent helping to mediate their interactions. “Nathan, please don’t trap Ryan under the laundry basket.” “Please don’t run him over with the stroller, either.” “Ryan, Nathan was playing with that truck; will you give it back, please?” “Do you hear how he’s screaming? That means he’s unhappy with what you’re doing.” Sometimes it seems that it only takes me focusing my attention on one of them for the other to desperately need me. All day.

But there are other moments. “I give Ryan gentle kiss!” Nathan reports to me occasionally. Or, seeing Ryan straining to reach the kitchen counter, “You want drink, Ryan? Here you go!” As Ryan becomes capable of more sophisticated play, and Nathan becomes better able to understand and match Ryan’s abilities, they sometimes play together seamlessly. Granted, the games they can both enjoy often involve throwing things, or exuberantly unpacking the laundry basket of clean diapers, but it’s worth a little mess to me.


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