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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Twin Continuum

I don't know if this happens to anyone else or if it's just our family, but my twins operate on a continuum. Or maybe a more accurate description is a scale. I don't know. All I do know is that they are convinced that the other twin's behavior is a reflection of themselves in the opposite way.

So that, the worse one twin behaves, the better the other one feels. They're caught in this weird reality where behaving is good, but the other one misbehaving is better. It makes them more good than regular behaving would have.

And they follow strict rules in regard to this.

For instance, yesterday, Dulce coughed on the graham cracker I gave her, and started to tantrum about wanting a new one, even though I told her that her own cough on her own cracker didn't matter. Natalina came by to get her cracker and promptly dropped it on the floor, breaking it into a few pieces. She automatically went beserk, ratcheting up the emotion in the room to 60 from 0, far outstripping Dulce in her attempt at discontent over her own cracker. On Facebook, I said "feeling the quota met, Dulce took her cracker back and ate it quietly."

But that's not quite correct.

In fact, Dulce broke her cracker into pieces and then ate it, just to show everyone (quietly) how cool she was with broken-cracker-eating. Because Natalina was acting out, Dulce felt good, like "the good child."

Now, before we go further, I swear I do not promote this in any way!!!! I'm never like, "why can't you just be like your sister" or "Dulce is behaving right now and you are not." I do everything in my power to treat them separately, and don't think it's purely for them. It's for me. I need them to act like individual people. It's exhausting living this way.

On the opposite end, I cannot give one of them a compliment without the other one feeling like I've insulted them. I've mentioned this before. If I tell one she's done a good job, the other hears, "you did a bad job." If I tell one she's funny, the other one hears "you're not funny at all, why can't you be more like your sister."

They are constantly telling me they feel I love the other one better than them, when I give even the slightest individual attention to either of them. It's infuriating and frustrating and so hard to deal with.

My twins feel like they are sharing the goodness, in a sense. Like there is a limited quality of good and only when one gives up some of her 50 percent can the other grab up that excess. It's fully ridiculous in every way. And it leaves them bitter competitors in everything.

I can't give them different identities. They won't take them. Any difference at all is analyzed. The activity for each kid is taken apart and weighed in every aspect for "goodness" and "badness", "favored stature" and "unfavored stature". And mind you, these are all made up. They make up definitions of good and bad in their own minds, which makes it extra confusing to me, because I never know which twin is going to feel like she got the good deal and which is going to feel short-shifted for completely equal alternatives.

Twins are hard, guys.

Here are some shitty pictures to illustrate what I'm trying to say:

I haven't figured out how to fix this yet (obviously). Suggestions are certainly welcome.

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