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Friday, September 23, 2011

A Twin Specialty

Toddlers don't like compromise. This is a shame. Compromise is one of my main tactics in calming the girls, and since they don't like it, well, it doesn't work at all. I keep waiting for the day that they will magically understand how both of them get a little of what they want and it's the best I can do. I'm not sure that day will ever come.

See, when you have one child, if that child requests something that seems silly to you, but doesn't really make a difference either way, you can humor her, thus avoiding any drama and no one is excessively put out. This would work great for small things that don't have much bearing on the overall parenting or parent/child control battle. You certainly wouldn't want to allow the child to run into traffic if that's what she wanted to do, but if she needs to take a bite of sandwich on the couch instead of in the kitchen (in my house) that's a bendable rule, and I'm okay with her making that decision.

Of course, what inevitably happens is that the other twin decides arbitrarily that under no circumstances should anyone take a bite of anything anywhere but the kitchen. Now, I'm stuck. I can't give one a bite in the kitchen, and the other one on the couch. They each get upset that the other is taking a bite where the one didn't decide. I can't give them both bites mid-distance between the couch and the kitchen. Now no one is getting what they want and everyone is angry. I can't say, "we'll take a bite on the couch now, and a bite in the kitchen later." You'd think that would appease at least the couch-wanting twin, but no. She's preemptively upset about the future kitchen bite. Too upset to enjoy the current couch bite. And the kitchen twin is upset about the current couch bite, so that she cannot look forward to the future kitchen bite. They've no understanding of the future. Everything is the present.

This happens often with videos. One will ask for a video, the other will want a different video, I will say, "We'll watch this one now and that one later," and instead of them both being pacified, they're both beyond upset, fighting valiantly against the other twin's choice, now, ever and in the future.

Another great example happened this morning. They were playing quietly at the base of the stairs, and I almost didn't want to go downstairs because I knew the sight of me would disrupt their peaceful balance and I would have to suffer the consequences of merely existing and having to pass them to make breakfast.

I was right.

I made my way down the stairs and got halfway down.

"Mama comes down with herself!" Dulce shouted triumphantly (which tells me that they had quietly argued over whether they were going to come up to our bedroom to get me.) Dulce's proclamation was obstinate, claiming victory. Natalina would have none of it.

"No, mama, go back upstairs. Let me come get you."

"Well, I'm already halfway down and I wanted to sing Good Morning to you!"

WAAAAAH (didn't work).

"How about I sit right here, I'm half-up, half-down. You can come get me the rest of the way, and Dulce knows I came downstairs."

WAAAAAAH (didn't work.)

I sat there for a moment, until Natalina came up the stairs and grabbed my hand, pulling me back up the stairs. I followed her because this is a big improvement. We've been working on her staying calm and finding other avenues to show her meaning if she feels she's not getting her point across. I was quite proud of this, actually.

She put me back in bed, then immediately woke me up again and we went back downstairs. It was quick enough so that Dulce didn't get upset because she wasn't sure that Natalina had gotten what she wanted and didn't want to make a fuss, in case she didn't.

I got off light, to be honest.

Then they fought about dresses, who fell last in the park, whether or not they'd watch Curious George while I made breakfast, which side of the couch was whose, and whether or not their sister was over the line on the couch.

Having twins is...different.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I have stepdaughters who are 13 and 14 (18.5 months apart) and who grew up doing everything together. I didn't meet them until they were 10 and 11, so I missed out on them in the toddler/little kid stage, but I imagine that they were quite a bit like your twins... why? Because even though they're now teenagers, they still act like your girls. They have to be doing the same thing (though they do most stuff differently), they have to be in the same room (as I'm writing this, they're at the kitchen table together working on projects), and though there's always been a spare bedroom, they still choose to bunk together. So while it's incredibly annoying when they can't compromise and nothing gets accomplished except drama and meltdowns, there are moments when it's really sweet to look at the bond between such close sisters. I hope that it'll be this beautiful (and usually relatively easy) for you when they're the same age as my girls. :)



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