They are not identical. I know it is hard to tell for some people who do not see them every single day, especially when they're dressed in identical outfits, but they really look quite different from each other. Maybe it is easier to tell in this photo of them making silly faces:
Alrighty. On to the finer details of their little one-year-old lives. We'll start with Gwen, since she's a whole minute older.
Gwen is delightful. She scoots on her belly in the fastest army crawl I've ever seen. I think the tile floor helps a bit, but she slides across it crazy-fast. She is currently working on teeth #5&6, both molars, so she's been a little cranky lately due to that. She likes sitting, she likes pulling herself up to a stand holding on to furniture, she likes sitting on laps, and she shows little interest so far in walking (though she'll take a few steps holding onto furniture). She is the one who cries when they wake up from their naps, and generally she doesn't seem to need as much sleep as Chloe. She pays little to no attention to the stuffed animals in her crib, but likes playing with Chloe sometimes through the slats.
She's fairly calm most of the time. She's a messy eater, and has, after some initial reluctance, come to absolutely love playing in the water, whether the bath or the pool or the sink. She loves mimicking sounds, and can manage a whooshy throaty growly sound, raspberries, mama, baba, tongue clicking, and sticking her tongue out. She likes throwing food on the floor, and eats a bit slowly. Beans (like black beans and kidney beans) are not her favorite food, though she will still eat them. She loves bananas, and likes PB&J sandwiches, and most everything I try to feed her. She dug right in to her birthday cake, grabbing handfuls and stuffing it into her mouth. She is a sweet, snuggly girl, except for when she bites you when she's teething (she'll go for shoulders, knees, arms, fingers, whatever happens to be next to her mouth when the urge strikes, though she really doesn't bite very often). She's not very assertive when Chloe steals her toys and relies on crying loudly at me to get them back usually. She's got beautiful blue eyes and an underbite that is adorable now, but will undoubtedly require orthodontics when she's older. She likes to clap, and wave while saying bye-bye. She likes making noise by drumming on things or hitting things together. She babbles a lot throughout the day, and really likes tickles, kisses, and having her hair blown on. She loves playing with hats, and playing peek-a-boo, and wearing sunglasses.
Now on to the youngest, Chloe.
She likes sucking on her rattle-cat-blanket-lovie in her crib, and self-soothes with that every time I put her in her bed. She also likes playing with Gwen through the slats, and pulling up the roller blinds behind the cribs (I think they both do that though). She rarely cries in her crib, but is prone to crying in her high chair when she runs out of food or wants to get down. She eats fairly neatly and also very fast, which is always kind of surprising to me. She doesn't like avocados at all and will spit them out if I try to feed them to her. She eats most everything else though, and like all her siblings, loves bananas the most. She ate her birthday cake very cautiously at first, scooping frosting off with a couple of fingers and tasting it for a long time before she made it to the cake part, which she dug into pretty well once she'd had a taste. Despite generally being more adventurous than Gwen, I think she's a little more dubious of strangers. She steals toys from Gwen all the time, and gets very mad if I take them back from her. She seems to have ideas lately as to exactly how things should be, and gets upset if things don't match up to just how she wants them (though sometimes even she seems unsure of how things should be, and just ends up crying anyway no matter what I try). She has beautiful blue eyes and an overbite. She likes to clap, and loves Baby Signing Time, and tries to sign Baby whenever I turn it on or sing the song for her, and will keep it up for several minutes after the song is over. She also signs more, all-done, eat, and a few other sporadic signs. She is more vocal now than she used to be, and sometimes after watching Gwen do it for awhile, tries to join in with the sound mimicking. She also really likes to wave, and clap, and can blow a note in the recorder, which she loves doing. She likes taking hats and sunglasses on and off, and loves peek-a-boo. She likes tickles and kisses and being lifted up high in the air.
Both girls are well-loved by their brothers, who like trying to make them laugh and are learning to share with them. They follow the boys around the house, and want to play with whatever the boys are playing with. They've learned how to put Mega Blocks together already, and how to drive toy cars around on the table back and forth. At their one-year check-up, Gwen was 19lbs 15oz and 29.5" tall, and Chloe was 19lbs 6oz and 29" tall, both healthy and right on track. They are adorable and I am delighted they are mine. They are definitely worth the bed rest, daily medications, and the C-section. They are exhausting and adorable, and have been really very good babies (it's more the four kids four-and-under that's exhausting, rather than the girls specifically). They sleep all night and take two naps a day (three if they're really tired). They don't use pacifiers and no longer use bottles and have mastered a variety of sippy cups, handles, no-handles, and straws. Sometimes they like Mommy best, and sometimes they want nothing more than to have Daddy hold them and will chase Mike down the hallway crying until he picks them up for snuggles and playing. They love their Grandma and Grandpa Van Dusen, although I think they like Grandma a little more. They both dislike dirty diapers way more than their brothers ever did, and are more prone to diaper rashes. I think one of my very favorite things in the whole entire world is when they wake up at the same time and play with each other through the crib slats in the dark of their room. I have no idea what they do in there, but I hear them laughing at each other from across the house, delighted peals of laughter intermixed with giggles and squawks, and I love it so much.
Here's to another lovely year with two wonderful, beautiful, happy girls!