File this one under “crazy things I shouldn’t waste energy worrying about,” but I figured some of you guys would know what I’m talking about.
One of the many things people love to comment on when they see twins is something like “oh, they’ll always have a playmate!” “Friends for life!” But as someone who had a little brother quite close in age, and as someone who fought like cats and dogs with said brother until we finally hit college and lived in different states, I have to wonder… Is simply being a twin any kind of guarantee that my kids will be friends? That they’ll be close to one another? I know, I know. They’re only 12 months old. They steal toys from one another and scream. That’s normal. But I don’t feel like they even seem to notice when the other isn’t there.
There’s plenty of cute interactions, of course.
If one is being tickled or otherwise having a giggle-fit, the other will start laughing, too, even if they’re in the other room. They babble and laugh at each other when I put them down for a nap (adorable, but sometimes frustrating). But aside from having their cribs next to one another, we never really co-slept them like I imagined I would. As newborns, my son was much fussier and often slept in the swing. Putting them together didn’t seem to provide any additional comfort, so we didn’t really do it.
But I wonder… are there things I can (should?) be doing to foster closeness between my different-as-can-be boy/girl pair? I know it’s developmentally rather early for them to really play together, but should I try to encourage more activities together? Obviously, they’re pretty much with one another all day, every day. I’m a stay-at-home-mom, so it’s only one parent to two kids most of the time. There’s no such thing as only one of them going for a walk or going outside on the swings. If one goes, we all go.
And does it really matter? My brother and I were together plenty as kids. Only 17 months apart, there were several years when we were home most of the day together, and we shared a room up until I entered first grade. No matter. My brother and I could scarcely be more opposite. I was a sensitive people-pleaser who liked arts & crafts and cooking, he was aggressive and athletic, and a biter for nearly two years. We get along pretty well now, but I wouldn’t say that we’re close, and there was a solid 18-20 years there where we hated each other so much I can practically taste it.
I guess I just hope that my kids really do have that “special bond” that everyone talks about. I’m no fool, I know it’s no guarantee against slammed doors and fights. But it would be nice to know that, at the end of the day, they still want the other one around. And I’m sure it’s just one of those parenting/life lessons: there’s only so much you can do. You can encourage, you can provide opportunities, and then I guess you sort of have to just hope.