They played independently so I should be happy, right? Right?

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Categories Behavior, Development, Family, Mommy Issues, Toddlers

I was convinced that my boys, who turned two last month, were the best example of anti-twins ever created. The “twin bonding” I had read so much about during my pregnancy never came to fruition. Nate has never really liked being around Alex. It really has nothing to do with their twinness, but rather with their personalities. Nate would prefer to be an only child as he is fiercely independent and does not like anyone getting up in his business. Alex, on the other hand, would prefer to be a younger brother who gets into his brother’s business. You can see why life has not been smooth sailing at our house.

Since the day Alex could crawl, he has been chasing Nate around and taking things from him. And in response, Nate has developed a high-pitched cry that can shatter glass. The 18-24 month phase was particularly hard at our house. Not only were the boys learning to be independent from me and my husband Jon, they had to learn to become independent of one another. It was ugly. So incredibly ugly. Legendary two hour fights at naptime. Time outs up to 20 times in a row for shoving and hitting. Screaming, crying, biting, hitting, tackling. This behavior continued at day care, with the majority of their “ouch reports” being injuries inflicted by their brother.

Basically, it was the exact opposite of everything I’ve ever read about twins. Best friends from birth? Not even close. Worst enemies, probably.

Jon and I really wanted them to be able to play together from an early age, so we encouraged independent play. It usually lasted about five minutes before the fighting and hurting commenced. Both of us work out of the home, so over time we learned if the boys were at home, one of us needed to be available full-time as referees and play partners. Suddenly their relationship started to drastically improve in the 23rd month when Nate started talking to Alex. “Hey Alex wanna play this?” “Alex downstairs now!” Jon and I found we could actually speak to one another again… while the kids were awake!

I’m sorry to be verbose on this topic, but I really needed to set the stage for why I was floored by events that transpired last night. I picked the kids up from day care and made dinner. As I was cleaning up after dinner, it was relatively silent. My mom hackles were raised because rarely is silence a good thing in our home. Every time I checked on the boys, they were playing together nicely. When I finished, I went to play with them and they had NO INTEREST in playing with me. No interest in reading books with me. No interest in playing their favorite games. They wanted to play together.

I had no idea what to do with myself. For the last two years, every day after work has been completely committed to the boys until they go to bed. Along with my joy seeing them finally play together, I also felt sad this phase may be over. There were so many moments when I would have been overjoyed to get even a five minute break, yet I was a maelstrom of emotions when the day finally came. It was yet another moment in motherhood where I was sad to see my babies grow up, but happy to be into a new phase.

At least I have the pictures to show them later…

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11 thoughts on “They played independently so I should be happy, right? Right?”

  1. Great post, and nice new phase for Nate & Alex!! I think it’s important to talk about the fact that twins are not automatically the best of friends, and sometimes they fight just like any other sibling. Being “close” doesn’t necessarily mean they always like each other. :-)

  2. My ID girls are 13.5 months and they have a hard time too! Olivia tries to play with Claire and Claire hates it. We even have their cribs in separate rooms because I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have them sleep in the same room. Glad to know we’re not alone.

  3. Oh those pictures are good! Gives me a smile to start the day with, and helps me prepare for the difficult days when my girls get to the 18-24 month stage. Right now I’d settle for a mutual acknowledgment of the other’s existence. Everything in time, right?

    Congrats!

  4. Super cute babies! How fun that they have reached a new stage!

    My guys often prefer to “play with each other” (in quotes because it doesn’t always look like play to me) than be entertained by mom or dad. Peek a boo from under the tablecloth, a scramble to see who can get all the tupperwear out of the cabinet first, some serious work at cup stacking—-all part of a regular day in my house.

  5. Yay for happy play! You’re giving me hope that maybe, just maybe things will get better. We’re at 21 months and let me say things are UGLY around here.

  6. thanks for this post. we live with two seriously different boys that do not always need the referee action, but more often than not benefit highly from it. i am glad to know there may come at turning point, but wonder if i too will feel that twist that seems to happen around the heart lately as they keep getting older.

  7. Most of our “ouch” reports are from brother-inflicted wounds as well. I’m glad they are starting to see the benefits of having each other around. It won’t be long before they’re teaming up to grab the cookie jar off the counter, etc. :-)

  8. Jadyn and Liana have started playing “get you” which is just adorable and sweet.

    Five minutes later they are pulling at each other over the stupidest toy.

    It’s what I like to call twin balance — it’s a love-hate relationship for sure.

    Our worst moment tends to be at night for bedtime and reading stories. Lots of anti-sister behavior then.

  9. Those photos are so cute. I love them.

    My bubs are polar opposites too. Marisol loves her brother so much. She blows him kisses whenever he wakes up, she hugs him, she says ‘Finn here’ when she wants him to play with her. Flynn throws blocks and bottles at her head, tackles her to the ground and flat out ignores the kissy/huggy attention his sister bestows upon him. He loves to copy everything she does and play with everything she’s playing with. Thus the fighting ensues.

    However as much as they fight, they do play well together too. They love to play hide ‘n seek and chase each other. Tonight after 10 minutes of Marisol trying to stack blocks, Flynn knocking them over, her crying and him throwing them at her I turned around and there they were taking it in turns to stack the blocks one on top of each other. The moment was fleeting b/c after stacking about 6 blocks each Flynn then whacked the tower over and the fighting started again, but for those few moments, they were so sweet together. Then a few moments later Marisol was laying under my desk kicking at the filing cabinet (she loves the sound it makes) so Flynn lay next to her and did the same thing. This went on just long enough for me to hit record on the video camera and then of course they stopped, she tried to crawl away and Flynn tackled her to the ground …..

  10. my twin boys turned a week ago and so far they play together okay but like Alex and Nate they fight and twack each other with toys.
    If one is bike riding the other does too -follow the leader but one is more of a bully than the other.
    The pictures are too cute.

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