The girls have been begging us since Grade R to split them into different classes and we relented this year, now that they’re in Grade 2. (and Daniel in Grade 4. I have stocked up on wine and gin to get us through the workload)
My fellow twin Moms (and people that are twins themselves) will better understand the dynamic of being a twin, but it’s a whole different thing to even having siblings close in age.
They are literally attached at the hip. They hold hands when they walk, they sit, huddled together on the couch, they play silly games with rules only they understand (which, thankfully, they include their long-suffering brother in), they are always, at the very least, in each other’s peripheral vision. It’s like they orbit each other and is the most beautiful thing.
Bearing this in mind, I have been a little anxious about how they would cope by themselves.
It’s in the little things, Isabel rushing Mignon to finish a task and sit on the couch with her. Their need to almost exclude everyone else so they can just BE with each other and soak up being together after being separated during a large part of the day.
We had some threatening tears last night at bedtime about how Isabel misses her sister, even though she looks like the tough twin, which just breaks my heart.
We’ll keep an eye on it and see how it unfolds and I’m sure they’ll be ok, but yoh, parenting is HARD. It’s so hard to find the balance between letting them make their own decisions and wanting to be there to catch them before they fall, especially when they’re still so young.
PS. No. I haven’t blogged since September due to an issue with my right hand, not being able to type/bake/crochet and just general avoidance of writing and social media and the need to withdraw for a while. It’s been so good for the soul, I highly recommend it.
Monday mornings at our house are always fun. It is a mad scramble to get everyone dressed, everything brushed and out the door before the first bell goes at school.
Today started out slow, it took special skills to coax the kids out of bed.
It also took major patience to get them fed and convince, especially the girls, to get dressed. Daniel was on a roll and quite happily playing with the iPad as reward for being ready early.
As I was packing Mignon’s ballet clothes into her suitcase (yes, I should have done this last night, judge away) Isabel comes into the kitchen looking for her boots.
Here’s the thing about twins: they are great to have around when one forgets the words or tune to a song they learnt in class, as there’s always someone to help. They really are double the joy.
But man, sometime they are double the pain in the behind. Double the drama, double the stubborn, double the powers of convincing required.
Someone gave us a pair of Wellington boots with hearts on them ages ago that are already quite worse for wear. We have lots and lots of pairs of Wellies, but this particular pair have always been a bone of contention. Because, well, they have hearts on them. Isabel usually wears them because SOMEONE (not me) wrote her name on them one desperate morning a long long time ago. So technically they aren’t “her” boots, they have to share and take turns.
But this morning she wanted those boots and when she came into the kitchen looking for them I had a feeling we were in for a challenge. Mignon was already wearing them. When she found Mignon hiding out in our room wearing those boots there were tears. At approximately the exact time we were meant to be leaving the house. When those meltdowns happen I have a little scream on the inside and I admit: I panic.
See, I’m really bad with picking one child over the other and terrified of making one child feel left out/disadvantaged in any way (my own shit, I know). So mostly I leave Etienne to mediate, which he is spectacularly good at. We usually have strict rules about ownership, but for reason these bloody boots slipped through the muddy cracks.
So we tried to coax Mignon into taking them off, which felt wrong to me, besides the fact that she mutely stared at me, refusing to budge. Then we tried to get Isabel to wear another pair of boots in that high-pitched “look at how lovely these boots are” voice. You know which voice. THAT desperate we’re-late-but-I’m-going-to-humor-you-for-5-more-minutes-until-I-lose-my-shit-voice
Isabel cried actual, desperate, heart-wrenching tears. I couldn’t bear it. So, I offered a Mother’s desperate ultimatum: if Isabel doesn’t stop crying and give Mignon a turn no-one can have them. They will go into the bin.
Cue more tears, more mute, immovable stares. And Daniel’s helpful little taunting voice in the background saying how cross Mommy is.
I lost the plot, took them off Mignon’s feet and chucked them in the bin. The recycling bin nogals.
I know, I’m horrible.
Isabel was crying full-steam when they got into Etienne’s car saying how she promised to share if only I wouldn’t throw the boots away. Promise! Promise! That was like the knife twisting in my heart.
Which meant we were all unhappy, go ME!
We had a little make-up at the car with some serious hugs and kisses, but I felt like shit.
Thing is, I had visions of sending them to school with that one pair of boots between the two of them and the potential fighting there and I was just not prepared to cause more problems. I keep thinking about what the lesson was that we were all meant to learn and if I royally fucked up my kids this morning. I also keep thinking of what potentially would have been a win-win for everyone or whether one of my kids (I can’t even decide which one because neither of them was really wrong!) had a lesson to learn from it.
Then I entertained (and swiftly abandoned) the thought of going out and buying new boots. But then I would have had to buy 3 pairs of new boots and that’s just silly. Besides, they have lots of boots as it is.
I don’t want to raise children that won’t want to share with each other, but I also don’t want to raise children that can be easily victimized or aren’t independent. I battle with this a lot and I’m just really, really grateful that we have Etienne, he is often the lone voice of calm in a sea of emotional turmoil.
How do you deal with this kind of thing in your house?
I wanted to do a whole post with pics of the girls from the last 5 years, but you see so much of them on FB and twitter I thought I would give you a break and only post this one pic of them on their birthday,
Instead I had a random little thought that’s like a thread I have to unravel, so this post is really about having a thought process more than anything else. And I need to give my head a break from thinking about Princess Party Origami Shoes* and other party arrangements that had me grinding my teeth last night.
It started with the girls’ teacher asking each of the parents to write their children a letter about the first 5 years of their life that is read to them in class on their birthday. As you may know, I’m hardly ever at a loss for words, but I procrastinated writing my 2 letters (as you do when you have twins) until 10pm on the night before they were due.
You see, I have a lot to say about our amazing little girls and celebrating them each as an individual little person. A LOT. It has been our life’s work to treat them as such, from dressing them differently from day 1 to encouraging different friends and interests and acknowledging that they have different emotional needs and respond differently to discipline. But in the end I have to concede: they are very much alike in many ways, not in as many ways as they are different, but still. And it’s about time I maybe start to realise it and say it’s ok instead of pushing them away from each other in the end.
For people who don’t know them well there is the most obvious thing that they look very much alike. Unless you look closely or know them really well they both come across as pretty boisterous (read: LOUD. No idea where they get that from by the way..), it seems like their body language is the same and they both love pink.
The thing is: they are both girls, so they will potentially both love pink. They love Barbie and colouring in and helping in the kitchen (mostly because our household revolves around our kitchen). They both love jumping on the trampoline and they both love bubbles in the bath.
I was lucky enough to attend their first ballet “recital” this week and was completely blown away by how much they have learnt in such a short time and how much they LOVE ballet, it made me all weepy.
They are children. They are completely and utterly awesome and we are so blessed to have them and their sweet soul of a brother that has just fitted into the mayhem that they bring with them.
So today I’m taking a moment to celebrate their alikeness instead of their differences, just a moment, because I think it’s worth doing.
*as usual I’m going OTT with party arrangements, mostly in my head, this is just one of those things I thought wouldn’t take long, but ended up being a pain in the arse more than anything else.
PS: men don’t understand parties. Etienne and I have 2 big annual fights and they normally fall in the day or 2 before the kids’ parties because he is baffled by the amount of stressing I do about parties. This year I got it out of the way early when I had a printer and origami shoe meltdown on Tuesday night. At least it’s done and dusted now and life carries on.
PPS: men also don’t understand that if you have 18 of something and suddenly you only have 17 of that thing it is a big fucking deal because then you can’t have 6 rows of 3, you’ll have 2 rows of 6 and 1 row of 5 and that Just Won’t Do. But I think Etienne is on board with that now.
Oh, and those star biscuits I was on about the other day? Etienne came up with the idea of painting glitter in the letters whilst I was decorating the edges. Isn’t he awesome?
Lastly: I’m going to indulge my paranoia and take Isabel to the Ortho on Monday to have her arm checked, rather safe than sorry! Even though I was *almost* accused of being a hypochondriac like a certain member of my family we shall not mention (my Mother).