I would imagine this holds with all kids, but in particular with twins, the parenting books stress that you shouldn’t compare, and further, you shouldn’t label your children. Saying things like, “Baby A is the dominant one,” or “Baby B is more social” could have obvious psychological effects on both babies.
I can’t help but feel that the girls don’t trust me with their psychological wellbeing. Why else would they see fit to “switch” personalities – willy-nilly – so that there’s no way I could possibly label them, at least not for long?
In the womb, Baby A was very laid-back…to the point that I would sometimes lie down on my right side for a few minutes just to feel her move a little bit. In contrast, Baby B was the one doing complex gymnastic maneuvers at all hours. Baby A was born first, but I think it was only because B had carved out such a large space for herself, thus squishing A to the far bottom corner.
For the first few months, A continued to be very laid-back, while B refused to go unnoticed. I thought it was amazing how their behavior in utero had been so indicative of what I thought were their personalities.
But then Baby A decided to get in on the action. She became the one taking toys from her sister, while Baby B seemed to relish her turn to chill out for a while.
Baby A reached most of the early physical developmental milestones first…rolling over, sitting up, standing, and walking. But then B decided she would climb up on the couch, lest A think she was more agile. (Maybe a throw-back to the womb-time gymnastic exercises?)
And then, just for the fun of it, both girls said their first word – the same first word, “baby” – on the same day.
In social situations, the girls are a revolving door. One week, Baby A will be full of smiles for new people; the next, Baby B is the life of the party while her sister shrieks in horror if someone accidentally looks her way. Understandably, it makes our friends and neighbors apprehensive about approaching the girls’ stroller before checking in to see who’s “accepting visitors” on that particular day.
And so, in answer to TwinHappy’s question about birth order affecting personality, I just have to say I don’t know…and I am inclined to think that’s part of the girls’ master plan.
And as to which one of them cooked up the plan, well, I don’t know that, either. And I think that’s just the way they like it.