One evening last week, the girls from my daughters’ Girl Scout troop were going to be selling cookies at three different locations. My daughters, J and M, specifically asked if they could go separately.
Being a single mom, it’s challenging to find opportunities for my children to do things apart from one another. Even though I have wonderful friends who think nothing of helping me out by watching one or both kids, I don’t want to take advantage of their generosity too often. This was the perfect opportunity for the girls to do something away from Sissy where the other parents would be out there doing them anyway.
M and J’s troop leader, a good friend of mine, picked M up from after school care and took her to her cookie booth. I picked up J an hour later, since our booth started an hour later.
Sadly, the mother of the girl who was supposed to join me and J was sick, so it was just the two of us at our cookie booth. We had a great time together, though, just Mommy and Daughter. We danced to stay warm and discussed every subject under the sun. We had a relatively successful sales day, and everyone we came across, whether or not they were buying cookies, had a smile to spare for J. One man burst out laughing at the sight of J’s face hidden in my hat and scarf, which delighted her.
When one buyer complimented J on her math skills as she tallied up the total and made change, her response surprised me: “My sister is much better at math.”
“Is she older?” was the gentleman’s predictable response.
I explained that they were twins and we completed the sale, but I felt that this was something I needed to explore further. Why, I asked my very smart daughter, did she think her sister was better at math?
“She gets better grades,” was her response.
“Like you get 98%s and she gets 100%s and higher?” I prompted.
“You are very good at math, sweetie,” I insisted. “Yes, your sister gets more excited about math than you do, but you’re still very good at it, as good as she is.”
I could tell by the look on J’s face that she was unconvinced.
“Do you know,” I continued, “that when you guys learned how to read, M thought she wasn’t a good reader? Just because she thought you were better?”
I could see the compassion J had for her sister begin to turn in on herself. I dropped the subject, but I’ll have to return to it over the next several months as I had to with M and her confidence with reading. The situation was almost exactly the same. M had identified herself as a poor reader because she considered J to be a good one. It took a lot of convincing—and being separated for the first months of kindergarten—for M to become confident in her own abilities.
After our two hours were up, we headed to my friends house for dinner and to retrieve M. J and I chatted for a while, then danced along to the radio together.
“M,” she said, then stopped.
“What about M?” I asked J.
“Oh, I was going to tell her something. I forgot.”
My daughters live together, go to class together, sleep together and bathe together. J forgot that her sister wasn’t right there by her side in the car. Thankfully, they got to see each other again a few minutes later.
I am reminded, though, how important it is for twins to spend time apart, even if they don’t always want to.
Do your multiples spend much (or any) time apart?
Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.