--donation bonus (day #20, post 4/5)--
“They’re strangely calm,” said Colt. “Nothing seems to faze them anymore.”
“So you’re concerned about their mental health, rather than their physical health.”
“How old are they?”
“Little over fourteen months. They’re twins, if you couldn’t already tell.”
They ascended the steps into a whiter hallway, then took the first door on the left into a more conventional room. Old anatomical charts and reassuring posters filled the walls where cabinets didn’t. Colt set the twins on the waist-high table in the center of the room.
Dr. Marcus hovered around them both with a stethoscope, checking their heartbeats and breathing. After a bit, he moved on to checking their mouths, eyes, and ears. “Are they walking on their own yet?”
“Not really,” said Colt. “I’ve seen them stumble around a little, but that’s it. They don’t tend to move around on their own much. It even seems like they crawl less than they used to.”
The doctor helped Stephanie stand up on the table, holding her hand. He waited, watching her steady herself, then let her back down and did the same for Thomas. “Have they said their first words?”
“Yeah. A while ago.”
“Are they using words meaningfully? Any at all?”
Colt thought back. “Not that I can recall, no.”
“You’re sure?” said the doctor. “So when they speak, you only ever hear babbling?”
The doctor pointed at the floor behind the twins. “Stand there please,” he told Colt. And when Colt was out of the twins’ view, the doctor added, “Call them by their names.”
“Stephanie,” said Colt. “Thomas.” Neither one turned to look at him. “Stephanie. Thomas.” Still nothing. The doctor handed him a large book to drop. When it hit the floor, the twins both turned to look.
The doctor stroked his bare chin. “Have you been using their names to address them?”
Colt hesitated. “Not really, I guess.”
The inquiries continued for a long while. While he performed repeated physical examinations, Dr. Marcus asked about their eating habits, sleeping habits, fine motor skills, games they liked to play, general sense of curiosity, as well as when they last received vaccinations.