At first, they barely seemed to notice each other.
I think my twins were at least six or seven months old before they really seemed to notice that the other baby was there, before they really started to interact.
As older infants, one might grab something out of the other one’s hand, but most of the time they simply went on playing as though it didn’t even happen.
As toddlers, any grabbing or shoving was largely out of a self-centered desire for an object. It wasn’t so much about the other kid, it was about the thing or the place.
Now, as clever preschoolers, it is all about pushing the other child’s buttons. My son wants that pink cup, but really only because he knows it’ll piss off his sister. My daughter refuses to let her brother look at the book over her shoulder, simply on principle. One will antagonize the other, but back off just in time so that the tormented one gets in trouble, not the tormenter. I think 50% of the things they say to me right now are complaining about the other one.
Part of this is the age; my kids seem to go through a nasty behavioral phase in the lead-up to their birthday (today! four!). Part of it is the season. Summer is famous for less structure, stretched bedtimes, and all of the other things that leave boundaries open for testing. I’m hoping to see an improvement now that the birthday has arrived, and am looking forward to school being back in session so they can have some space from one another. And, truthfully, I am lucky. Despite the uptick in fighting, my twins play with each other all day long, and most of the arguments are quickly forgotten.
All the same, is it September yet? These guys need a break from each other.