But they're the same age, so they should be doing the same things

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Categories Development, Identical, Parenting Twins, ToddlersTags , , ,

When you have two (or more) babies who are the same age, it can be hard not to compare them.  For the first 9 months of their lives our girls were very similar in temperament.  There were a few differences, but generally the behaved very much alike.  And, just when we thought we had a way to tell them apart like one was more active than the other or one slept more than the other, they would switch.

Around 9 months, one of our girls figured out how to move.  Slowly at first, then faster and more deliberately.  It took almost two months before her sister started moving; she was content to stay in one place.  I didn’t really consider this difference in their desire to move – I don’t think it had to do with ability as much as motivation – as a problem.

At their one year check up, the pediatrician mentioned that both girls seemed to be on the slower end of the developmental spectrum for gross motor skills (standing, walking, etc).  He said he wasn’t concerned because all children develop at their own speed, but he wanted to see them again in 3 months to follow up. Again, I wasn’t too concerned.  Their big brother didn’t start walking until 16 months.

Since that appointment about 6 weeks ago, one of the girls (the first to move) has become much more active. She can roll over, get from lying down to sitting, pulls herself up to standing, sits down from standing and walks holding on to furniture or a hand.  She’s clearly getting more active, and I’m sure she’ll be where the pediatrician expects her to be by the next appointment.

Her sister is learning things more slowly. Just this week, she figured out how to go from lying down to sitting.  She’ll stand leaning on the furniture, if you can get her in position. When she’s had enough, she’ll fuss until you sit her back down.  I’m not as confident she’ll have achieved the milestones as soon.

It is hard to look at both girls and not compare them.  It takes patience to help them both at their own pace, to celebrate their achievements as they come. But I try to remember that a year from now being a few weeks apart in learning to stand up won’t really matter.  One isn’t ahead and one isn’t behind; they are both learning as they are ready. This is a lesson we’ll all have to keep learning. And the sooner I learn it, the more I can help them and support them as they grow. I’m sure they will face people who expect them to have the same abilities and interests, and that’s when they’ll need to count on their family to affirm they are each unique and valuable as individuals so they can help other realize it too.

How do you encourage your multiples when they are learning at different speeds?  Do you have any ways to remind yourself not to compare them?

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12 thoughts on “But they're the same age, so they should be doing the same things”

  1. We have 14-month old fraternal twin girls. Baby A has hit most of the gross motor skill-milestones more quickly than Baby B. Baby B, however, has to date been more apt to hit what I think of as “intellectual” milestones, like stacking blocks and talking. (“Intellectual” may be a “grossly” incorrect term!)

    I try to remind myself that each child has her strengths…and we’ve seen those strengths / personalities switch from time to time…so I can honestly say that I haven’t gotten too caught up in comparisons.

    I read somewhere, on the subject of comparing twins, that “one will always be first, and one will always be last”…there’s very little chance that they will do something at THE EXACT SAME TIME. That serves as a nice reminder to me.
    .-= MandyE´s last blog ..Fab 5 Friday =-.

  2. My paed told me VERY early on – they were just born at the same time but they are two SEPARATE babies, which helped then and I never forgot it (esp since C is normal weight for their actual age and K is TINY even for adjusted age).

    However, it’s totally another story with other people – it’s so easy to compare them.

    K started rolling around very quickly; C just was not interested. He’s the more laidback of the two but when he decided to finally roll, it was wild. It still is, he doesn’t stop.

    It is hard to not compare but I really think of them as brother and sister, not as twins :)

  3. While I was pregnant we noticed a trend with our two. Our son would get to a weight, hold steady, and then his sister would shoot up to it. They kept this up during the whole pregnancy.
    Milestones have been like this for us, too. Our son will go slow and steady and then take a break, our daughter will take gigantic leaps and hold steady. It’s a part of their personalities, it seems. He does things before he’s even really capable of doing them, then steps back and figures our what he’s been doing. She’ll consider it all before doing it, then do it.
    They’re just such different people. As Leigh said, they are brother and sister who happened to be born at the same time. They get awesome advantages from this. They have a built in playmate, they are hitting social development milestones much earlier than their peers, and they have a built in example always that different is just different, not better or worse.

    Different is different, not better or worse – is a fairly important part of the “mission statement” for our family, so I feel lucky and gifted with them having such beautiful examples of the celebration of diversity within our own household.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..The haps =-.

  4. I think having twins actually liberated me from worry about milestones. Having identical twins who are so very different taught me early that “average” is meaningless, and made me figuratively throw away all the charts telling me when they should do what. As long as they’re moving forward, I don’t worry much about it. My pediatrician is also very focused on the individual rather than the averages.

    To me, this is one of the biggest blessings of raising multiples. My Type A self was given a big huge kick and told “Get over the comparisons!”, and I did.

    To be fair, my girls have generally reached major milestones within two weeks of each other, so perhaps I would be less blase if one were noticeably slower than the other. The one area in which there’s a marked delay in one over the other is articulation, but they’re both in speech therapy together, so again, I don’t sweat it.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Speech therapy – Week 5 =-.

  5. By nature this is so difficult for me. As a scientist it is so hard for me to not compare especially since I have identical girls. Scientifically then “should” be the same, but they aren’t, they are my 2 daughters. My girls are so similar we try to find their differences to share with people. — and this is still hard because they switch even now that they are 3 years old.

    Our girls typically do everything a couple weeks apart. Once we learned this, it took some of the stress away. We NEVER have gone by the books but rather what is best for them. We try to let them lead the way and we pick up on the cues. When they were little they would have been labeled as a month behind but we always knew to be patient and all the milestones would happen — and they did.

    This is the BIGGEST lesson I have learned as a mother…… I do what is best for my girls, not what is best for someone to tell me the book says.

    Good luck!!!!!!

  6. I think it also differs between identical and fraternal twins, and then if you have two girls/ boys vs one girl and one boy.

    I’ve found with ours that our kids’ development is much, much different from friends who have two of each. As Step and Sadia said, both their girls hit milestones (a swear word for me LOL) within weeks of one another, as did my friends’ kids.

    Interesting …
    .-= Leigh from 123 blog´s last blog ..Do you like getting advice from others? =-.

  7. I told myself that I wouldn’t compare them because as a multiple myself I hated it. But you can’t help it. So I will say it to my husband but not the two of them even when I am dying to admonish Ned “why can’t you follow directions as well as your sister!” For now we work on getting them to know each other and be kind to each other (asking each to give the other their lovies, etc.).
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..Toddler: Choose Your Adventure =-.

  8. I’m of the fraternal boy/girl twin camp. Our girl can sing the alphabet. her brother rattles off the first 5 letters only, machine-gun style. She can count to 20. He can count to 12. He was crawling at 6 months, she was 9 months. He walked first, she walked a month later. It’s impossible not to “compare”, though I see it more as “differentiation”. I don’t do it as a point of expectation upon the other (although it WOULD be nice if our girl could model her brother’s sweet and tender temperment), but as identifying ways to celebrate their differences.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..learning our ABCs =-.

  9. My boys are like your girls. One is active, very, very active and his entire motivation is to move. He started crawling (comando form) almost 2 full months ago. His brother doesnt crawl yet. But he honestly doesnt seem to care. He is a studier. He tries to figure everything out before trying it.
    I try very hard not to compare them. There are ranges with all babies, even twins. My boys are given the same opportunities, same love and affection, same food. They have very different personalities and love them both.
    I will admit I have the odd pang of concern at my less active boy, but when I look deeply, his fine motor skills are better than his brother because of his intent and studying.
    .-= Selmada´s last blog ..Sunshine and shadows =-.

  10. My daughter is more physically advanced than my son (they are 10 mo) but he is more socially inclined, so he clapped first and has been first with other things that are people-focused that she cares less about.

    I think the key is to see each of their strengths.
    .-= nonlineargirl´s last blog ..Next Year, Right Here =-.

  11. I have identical twin girls. Physical and developmental milestones are achieved within a few days of each other. Now that they are older (2.5 yrs) all the main milestones have been achieved. They differ in their focuses now. For now, one knows many letters and their sounds and seems willing to try to learn to read and seems close. The other is not as interested, but will still go along with the game of naming and sounding letters until she is bored. We praise each one on their own efforts at the moment, but careful not to overpraise as we have seen that backfire. I think the book “Emotionally healthy twins”..or something like that helped shed some light on the situation. I always think that if one can do something, the other can do it too but I always temper that thought with “but they will do it in their own time.”

  12. One of my twin boys started crawling at 9 months. His brother didn’t move at all until five months later, when they both learned walking the same week.
    I spent the first 3+ years of their life comparing them with each other, and (to much dismay) with their much faster elder sister.
    Now they’re 7 and I’ve stopped worrying, even if one of them consistently writes better than the other :-).

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