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When I had twins I assumed they would share a very special relationship – intuitive, warm and loving. Twins were supposed to do that, right?
I am still recovering from the shock of how wrong I was. Other than those few moments they were at it all day – scrambling, pulling, pushing, arguing. All day.
I have been trying, trying really hard over the last few years to get them to get along.
I daren’t say it’s in the past; yet, I might add, (with crossed fingers and toes) that things are better, just about a minuscule, but better definitely.
Here are some things we tried
I set time aside specifically for them to play with each other. Not on the computer, not watching TV. Just play. They take turns skating (her choice) and wrestling (his). I didn’t even know that they had worked out a ‘turn by turn’ system of deciding what they would play. Sometimes they get together and put up a puppet show or take up a craft.
At night in bed after dinner when the kids are at their most garrulous I ask them to talk about one thing they like about each other. Initially they were a bit reluctant to talk about each other but now we have such fun. They come up with things like, ‘She makes me laugh’ or ‘He picks me up each time he hugs me’.
Or I ask them to do one ‘special’ thing for each other during the day. So when I open the door on some days I find N carrying both their bags or H scurrying around looking for her slippers.
Sometimes I get them to act like twins. Well they are twins but they rarely act like they are. So ,some days they dress up in similar clothes, eat the same things, play the same games, even try to talk together. I have to admit, it gets on my nerves after a point but they are having so much fun doing it that my irritation melts away.
And here are some things for me too…
That’s the most obvious one yet the toughest one to follow. However ,I am persevering. Instead of saying, “N finish your food, see how long back H finished.” I learnt to stop at “N finish your food” or “N finish your food so we can all read a story”. What was even tougher was checking the Husband and anyone else who did the comparisons. Like a rude overbearing person, I often jump right in when I sense a comparison coming up.
No pitching one against the other:
When they were younger we had rules like “Who ever finishes their food is first” rather than “Whoever finishes their food first is first”. I avoid setting them up against each other. I let them race the clock, instead of the hour glass.
Let them settle their own differences but be vigilant
This is another tough one, more so because I’m a stay at home mom and almost always around. It’s tempting to jump into their fights and sort them out. But I have learnt to let them sort their fights till I get a complaint before offering the mandatory advice or censure.
This is an easy one. But the thing is you have to appear fair too. If I am ‘favouring’ a child I give reasons. For instance if I say, “No ice-cream for you” I do add, “because you are wheezing.” Of course I am still labeled unfair but the kids understand somewhere deep down that I’m right.
Alone time with the each of the kids:
That’s another very hard one if you have kids the same age. If they are the same sex as well , gosh! It would be harder. I make sure mine are in separate sections and have put them in separate after- school classes. They love that time with me. I’ve had N settling down in my lap (yeah, even at 8 years) with a satisfied sigh as we get set to read together and say, “Only girls at home, Mama. It’s nice na, Ma?”
If you have more than one kid, not necessarily twins, and have an idea or two that worked for you, do share it please.