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…