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February 10, 2011

The Trouble with Twins

Once upon a time, I didn’t believe anything could actually be easier with twins…I swore that two babies were way more than just twice the work…it had to be at least triple!

But then, somewhere after the girls graduated from the newborn stage, I actually identified some areas that were likely easier with twins.

For one, there are certain economies of scale. Our girls share a banana in the morning – and if I only had one child, what in the world would I do with a random half a banana sitting around???

And over the past several months, I have definitely appreciated how the girls play together (relatively speaking, at least some of the time). At two years old, they’re certainly not to the point that they’re sitting down and playing a competitive game of chess, but they do “cook” together in their kitchen, cuddle their babies together on their little couch, and occasionally they even cooperate to build a tower of blocks together (until one knocks it down and viola! a new game is born!).

Yes, there are definitely some things that are easier with twins.

But lately I’ve been feeling a couple of areas – aside from the logistical challenges that mostly characterized those newborn days – in which having twins presents quite a challenge.

One is in consequence-based discipline. At our house, if you throw a toy across the gate, for example, you lose the privilege of playing with that toy for the day. It doesn’t usually seem to be a huge deal…if Baby B throws a spoon from their kitchen, there are several other utensils to play with during the day.

But it broke my heart a few days ago when Baby A threw a particular doll across the gate. I picked it up right away and gave it lots of hugs and kisses, reminding the girls that it’s not nice to throw the baby…thank goodness she was OK. I put the doll on the kitchen table, in sight of the girls, but out of their reach.

Poor Baby B had a meltdown. She loves her babies so much, and I couldn’t bear the thought of “punishing” her in not being able to cuddle her baby all day, when she had done nothing wrong. I gave the doll back to Baby B. She was very glad to be reunited with her baby, and by that time, Baby A was on to something else.

Our girls may still be a little young (???) to realize the consequences I'm trying to teach, but this such experience makes me realize I may have to think smarter than x = y when I'm dealing with more than one child.

Ugh…and just when I was beginning to feel some “ease”, too!


Marcia (123 blog) said...

oh that would break my heart too.

We try to be fair with taking things away from only the one who was "naughty" :)

It doesn't always work and they help each other behind my back but oh well, I am not Superwoman.

Today K bit Connor twice - he didn't even cry. Poor thing is used to it. Did you ever have biting?

Rebecca said...

I have difficulty with that's not fair to punish both for what one did. That is a really hard part of parenting twins. I have been known to put a toy in time-out for the requisite 2 minutes that I would do to a child. It works and no one loses a toy for an extended period of time.

I also brought both kids to music class after Matthew's finger was smashed in our door and we had to rush to the doctor. I figured, she didn't hurt her finger...why should she suffer? And I ended up being a good distraction for Old Sushi-Finger.

MultipleMum said...

I totally hear you. It is such a difficult part of parenting multiples. They are not a unit and yet, sometimes one has the 'wear' the other's mistakes. If you find a solution, I am all ears!

Mohini said...

Oh yeah - punishing both for the mistake of one. I still don't know how to deal with it. Regrding the easy part, I so agree about splitting a banana, an apple, a cup of yogurt, a big cookie….the list is endless. Also, when I was making food cubes - I could not imagine putting in that much time, effort and energy for one.

Andrea said...

I would have done the same thing! I agree that in that case baby B wouldn't have understood why she couldn't have her beloved baby doll! You got the point across the baby A. I wish I could say it gets easier, but it doesn't. I agree with the sharing portions comment! I loved being able to share kids meals between them, but guess what that has come to a end! So sorry to be the barrier of bad news, but Molly no longer wants me to break her banana in half. Then it is broken and that makes a very ugly situation very fast! ;-) they also are eating bigger portions now, so it's not such a waste.

Barbara Manatee said...

oh...its even tougher when you have to deal with bigger consequences. For made bad choices at school - you don't get to go to the library/play date/party tonight....but sometimes due to logistics - that means everyone misses out...or he/she gets to go despite not deserving it. Sooooo tough to make those choices and follow through fairly!

reanbean said...

We have also put toys in time out and then returned them to the mix for the sake of the one who was not abusing it. Usually the one who caused the time out does not repeat the offense.

And I also agree, that the fairness of things has gotten tougher as my kids have gotten older. Oh how I wish that I had a reliable sitter who would be and my beck and call so I could really leave the misbehaving child at home while I take the other one off to a class or activity. Often the misbehaving child comes along, and brings their naughtiness along with him/her. Then I'm dealing with naughtiness in public. Not a fun position to be in.