Friday, September 13, 2013

Life With Twins: The Quarreling Edition

I can't imagine what it's like to have a constant companion. One that you are so connected with---shared a womb with. Someone that you yearn for nearly every moment, while at the same time wishing for your own space. I can only watch from the outside as my little ones navigate a very tricky, complicated, and emotional path. At best, I am a referee--a tender port in the storm. I often wonder if it would be different if they were identical. Would they be more patient with each other? Would they love each other without all the bumps and bruises that come with twindom? It's so hard to say.

Once, when the twins were still little, I ran into another mom of twins in Target. She was fed up and frustrated with her 4 year old boy/girl twins. She told me they fought all the time. She asked if mine fought---searching for a lifeline. I had nothing to give her then, but I get it now. The fighting can be intense and exhausting. 

At three and a half, we are navigating very tricky waters in which my two little people are searching for their own paths. That can be really hard to do when every toy, activity, and decision has to pass the sister (or brother) test. There are a lot of tears right now. I am trying to teach them that they don't always have to share--don't always have to want the same things. Reasoning with a three year old is nearly impossible though. 

They are always in a state of negotiations and dialogue. "Do you still love me?" is something they ask each other all the time. It's so hard to hear that sometimes the answer is no. They quarrel with words and feelings are hurt on a regular basis. I'm trying to teach them (as much as I can right now) that words have so much power to them.
We have a lot of talks about how it's ok to be mad, but not mean.

I can see now how their relationship is changing. They've always orbited around each other--sought each other out and stayed near. Now, they are starting to like different things and mind less and less being apart from each other. The quarreling is a natural state of creating their own independent selves. I don't have a fix or way to stop it altogether. What I can do is make the road less bumpy. I can be there to wipe tears and to affirm that the mad sibling still loves you. I can encourage separateness too. They aren't ready to make the leap into separate bedrooms, but it'll be an option in the future.

I'm blown away with how much these two little people have had to learn about getting along with others. Since birth they've had to be patient and share. They watch out for each and take good care of each other. They show love with tokens of snacks, drawings, and helping find lost stuffies and shoes. There are hugs, declarations of love, and hand-holding when you least expect it. Even after tears they tell each other, "You're my best friend."
Those moments make all the quarreling worth it.

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