My daughter, Tiny, has oozed with confidence since the moment her personality started to emerge. In her mind, there is nothing she can’t do, and she fearlessly tries new things without even a second thought. She is a joiner, and will often seek out other kids to play with whether she knows them or not.
My son, Buba, is more reserved. He often hangs back in a new situation, watching to see what everyone else is doing before he decides whether to join in or not. He is more hesitant to try new things, and when faced with a group of kids, often prefers to play alone.
But here’s the thing- If Tiny tries something new first, Buba will almost always follow her lead. Even if she has tried to do something really hard and wasn’t successful, he will try too. I both love this, and despise it. I love that Tiny’s confidence can somehow be transferred to Buba and give him the courage to try things that he otherwise would not. But I so wish that he had some of that confidence on his own.
Given all of this, I wasn’t at all surprised a few weeks back when Tiny had no trouble at all going to a 3.5 hour day of gymnastics camp all by herself when her brother was home sick with a stomach bug. She didn’t know a single other kid in her group, and yet, she walked into that gym as if she owned the place.
But the following week, when Tiny was sick, Buba did not want to go to the first day of dance camp (something he had really been looking forward to) without his sister. His exact words were, “I can’t go, because if I do then Tiny will be so sad and she will be saying ‘Where’s my Buba?’” It took a lot of convincing, but I finally got him out the door and willing to give it a try. Fortunately the class was small (just two other sets of twin girls!), but he still was very tentative about the whole thing. He cried when I tried to leave (it was a drop off program), but agreed to participate if I sat in the corner of the room. So I did.
I could tell that, at first, he wasn’t really comfortable or enjoying the class at all. I think it didn’t help that everyone had a twin sister but him. But by the end of the session, he had really warmed up to one of the teacher’s helpers, and he allowed me to go to the waiting room for the last 10 minutes. This seemed HUGE and I was sure to tell him how very proud I was that he had finished dance class all by himself.
When Buba went back for day two, again without his sister, he was nervous about going by himself, but didn’t cry when I said I was going to run an errand or two. When I came back at the end of the class, the teacher said he had done really well, and Buba beamed from ear to ear as he eavesdropped on our conversation.
For the rest of the day, he told anyone who would listen about how he went to dance camp “ALL. BY. MY. SELF!” And when Tiny was finally well enough to go with him for the third and final day, it was clear to him that she was joining his dance class.
Now that everyone is healthy again, things are pretty much back to the way they used to be with Tiny always taking the lead and Buba following willingly. But I’m so glad that we had that experience- that he had that experience. Because now we know that he does have some of that confidence in there, and that Buba can experience new things successfully without his sister. The sky’s the limit now.
Do your multiples always do activities together? And does their confidence seem to feed off each other (in good or bad ways)?