Friday, December 2, 2011

What Do I Want? The Alpha / Beta Complex

Earlier this week, I talked about the "spirit" that seems to switch in my girls, leaving one angsty and cranky and the other happy and content. But never at the same time.

One personality trait that remains consistent throughout these shifts is the Alpha Twin / Beta Twin complex. As they've gotten older, the girls have settled into distinct roles, having to do with their respective needs for company vs. solitude.

Natalina is more independent in that she prefers to do things alone sometimes, whereas Dulce won't make a decision or take a step without Natalina's approval. Not even tiny ones.

This makes things complicated. Take this this morning for example.

Lilly took a strawberry from the fruit plate, so, of course, Dulce takes a strawberry. But Dulce is more sensitive to temperature and doesn't want to eat it while it's so cold.

"It's too cold," she said, "I want it warm."

"Okay," I replied. "Just wait a few minutes and it will get warm."

She turned to her sister. "You want it warm, Lilly? You want it warm?"

"No, I want it cold."

Dulce changes her mind. "I want it cold," she said.

It's the same with any food. If Dulce wants Goldfish and Lilly wants Graham Crackers, they end up having Graham Crackers. In that case, Dulce really wanted Goldfish. She spent a long time trying to convince Lilly that she wanted them, too. Because in Dulce's bizarre world, the two of them cannot have different things. I tried giving her Goldfish and Lilly Graham Crackers. No go. Dulce needed the crackers, too, which she barely touched because they weren't what she wanted.

In this way, Natalina sets the tone for our days because unless Dulce can convince Lilly that she wants to do what Dulce wants to do, they always do, together, what Lilly wants to do. Dulce would rather follow Lilly and be a collective unit than cater to her own desires. Meanwhile, Natalina couldn't care less about what Dulce wants to do. If she wants to do something different, it's fine by Lilly. She prefers to do separate things.

Again, right now. Dulce wants Goldfish. "Next you going to get Goldfish, Lilly?"

"No, next I'm getting honey cereal."

Dulce lays back defeated. "Awww, but I want Goldfish," she says quietly.

And if Lilly gets in trouble? Dulce is right on you, like Natalina's personal police force. If Lilly decides not to hug her daddy goodbye before work, it's Dulce that cries for an hour after he leaves at the injustice of Lilly's lack of hug.

I was thrilled when Dulce picked a different favorite color from Lilly. Maybe there is hope. As for the other, I'm battling it as best I can while remaining positive. I just keep repeating to Dulce that she is not Natalina and they can like and do different things sometimes.

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