For this weekend’s screen time, my 7-year-old twin daughters, M and J, requested 30 minutes each on a game on my computer. Everything went well during M’s turn. J worked on her knitting and waited her turn patiently while I cleaned the kitchen.
During J’s turn, things turned sour. M asked if she could watch J play, and she said yes, as long as M watched quietly. M simply couldn’t resist offering advice and J soon banished her.
“I’m bored!” M complained.
“Go play,” I suggested, still cleaning.
“I can’t play by myself!” M insisted. “I have no one to play with.”
“Read a book.”
“Clean your desk. Write a story. Draw a picture. Sing a song,” I offered. “Put on a puppet show. Make a necklace.”
“Mom! I cannot play with myself. I have no experience playing by myself. J likes knitting. I don’t.” M pulled her favourite complaint: “It’s not fair.”
“I agree that it’s not fair,” I countered, “to all the kids in the world who don’t have a brother or sister and have to play alone most of the time while you almost always have J to play with.”
“No! It’s not fair to me!” M insisted. “I have no experience playing by myself because I have a twin. That’s what’s not fair.”
This conversation wasn’t going to go anywhere. I just went back to my cleaning and let her rail.
Still, I couldn’t help thinking that beneath the silliness, she had a point. That common comment people make on seeing twins, “They’ll always have someone to play with,” has been completely true at our house. (I’m aware that it isn’t true for all twins.) M, more than J, struggles with the idea of having to be alone. She’s right. She doesn’t have much experience at this.
How do your multiples react to playing alone or having to be alone?