What I Learned from Parenting My First Child

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Categories Development, Discipline, Independence, Parenting, Parenting Twins, Perspective, Preschoolers, Toddlers1 Comment

Having already parented one child 2.5 years older than my b/g 13.5mo twins, I feel I’m at an advantage knowing somewhat about what to expect with the twins. I’m sure I have much more to learn on this parenting journey, but here are some lessons I’ve learned so far:

During Times of Sickness

Parenting 1st child(1)Never over-coddle a child when he is sick. Even the youngest of children have absurdly brilliant minds and will expect the same exact treatment permanently after recovery. So resist the urge to feel sorry for your poor sniffly baby and snuggle with her in a rocking chair all night because she’s congested… unless doing the exact same thing every night forever sounds good to you. I’ve spent too many nights “re-training” my firstborn to sleep to ever want to experience that again. Now, I give just the right amount of cuddles during daytime only, and consider minor stuffy noses something babies need to learn to deal with on their own.

At Bathtime

Be liberal about pouring water over babies in the bath. Even deliberately splash a little into their eyes. At such a young age, babies have absolutely no fear of the water. In fact, my twins LOVE getting their baths. The water in their faces does not faze them one bit. They kick and splash it into their own faces, while cackling and having a great time. But never, NEVER, allow babies to come into contact with adult soap/shampoo. We had traumatizing moment while traveling in Asia without a baby tub when my eldest had just turned two. In the shower with me, she got a hold of a bar of soap, and before I could get her to wash it off her hands, she wiped her eyes. If you don’t want future swim lessons to break down into hysterical tears, constant requests of face wiping during bathtimes, intense fear of the showerhead spray, beware of over protecting babies’ faces from water in the tub and be extra careful about using only tearless soap/shampoo.

Reading to Kids

Works! Firstborn was a calm baby, so reading a cloth book as part of her bedtime routine started very early on. She’s always loved stories with Mommy, and I believe this is the reason she is such a verbal kid, excels in school, and learned to recognize all her letters and write her name before most other kids. She is also fully bilingual, can seamlessly transition between English and Mandarin, and even translates for those in the family who are monolingual. Her love of stories has also improved her focus, attention span, and ability to analogize. The twins have not yet given up their chewing on whatever they get their hands on, and the two of them makes it logistically difficult to read to both at once, but just as soon as they’re ready, we will be reading together too. These days, a trip to the library occurs regularly, and I hope that the twins will be a part of this routine soon as well. (Just as soon as they stop eating their books.)

On Having Toys

Having the first child it was easy to always put her first and think of her every waking moment. Having two more puts things more into perspective. I used to pick up a little something for her everywhere I went. Grocery shopping? Oh, here’s a little treat for her too. At the dollar store? Buy her a little toy. Little by little added up to quite a lot, and we accumulated an entire playroomful of this and that. We honestly have so many that the kids are not even playing with them. Too many. We now do not buy any toys. Since the twins were born, the only toys they have gotten have not been from me. Actually, on birthdays and Christmas, I try to steer family and friends away from a massive number of toys. We have plenty of toys from our first child to last through our other two children, and then some.

Fostering Independence

This is a parenting philosophy I’ve always embraced because it worked so well when my mom used it to raise me and my brother. And it’s paid off with my firstborn too. At 3.5 now, she openly starts conversations with random strangers, needs no supervision when using the bathroom/washing hands, can dress and undress herself as well as put on/take off shoes. I believe myself to have a controlling personality, so sometimes letting her figure things out on her own takes some willpower. But I do also believe that it’s ok for kids to fall, get dirty, get frustrated, and work out how to share on their own. With twins, they are not only learning from every decision I make with them, but I see them also watching and studying my interactions with the other twin. I think they will learn to rely on themselves even faster than my first, just based on the nature of the fact that Mommy cannot be in two places at once. I’ve already started to notice that they help themselves more to the things that they want: taking from each other, grabbing assertively for food, etc.

Can’t wait to see how my own parenting will evolve as these kids grow older. It’s been a real blast this last year to experience the differences and similarities between all three children.

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After a Sick Kid Stays Home

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Categories Independence, Medical, School, School-AgeLeave a comment

Picking up M from school today, after J stayed home sick, was surprisingly and gratifyingly uneventful. J and I woke from a nap and drove to school. On the drive, J expressed a little concern that M might forget to come to the pick-up point, but I reminded her that their teacher was aware of where M (and every other child) needed to go.

We spotted M, pink backpack on her back and orange jacket backwards across her front. She climbed in the car and buckled up while J teased her about her apparel choices.

“It’s called a ‘backpack’,” M explained cheerfully. “So it goes on my back. It’s not a ‘front jacket’ or a ‘back jacket’ so it can go either way! My belly was cold.” She giggled. Only after this discussion had ended did she ask J how she was feeling, receiving a graphic description of her second bout of nausea in return.

M told J that she’d missed a test and missed her TAG (Talented and Gifted) research project kickoff. That was the extent of their acknowledgement of their day-long separation. No high drama. No tears. No massive reunion.

I’m watching my girls grow up. At 7, despite their tendency to articulate a high degree of interdependence, I see them become increasingly confident apart, as they already are together. I’m watching them individuate in a healthy way. Perhaps they’re scooting down the twinniness continuum.

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Do you see your multiples become more or less interdependent as they grow older?

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.

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How It Gets Easier

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Categories Independence, Infants, Parenting, Sleep, Toddlers4 Comments

“It gets so much easier!”

This is the mantra that parents of older multiples repeat to the newbies, again and again. I must have heard this 100,000,000 times – and I clung desperately to each iteration.

“Easier” definitely doesn’t mean “easy.” Twin toddlers is not easy, by any means. When my kids started walking (at 9 and 10 months), I kept hearing how things were going to get tough now! Um, not so. Call me crazy, but I’ll take two consistently-napping, self-feeding, independently-moving, happily curious one-year-olds over a couple of infants, precious though they may be, any day of the week. Here’s how it got easier for me:

1. Feeding. They feed themselves. It makes a HUGE mess – and I don’t even care. I can interact with them, eat, and prepare the next meal while they dive into eating like a contact sport. I even get to keep my clothes on! :o) I never worry that they are getting enough. Between a variety of solids, breastfeeding, and bottles of formula, I feel comfortable knowing they are offered plenty. If they don’t eat it, the next meal is only a couple hours away. I never could get on a nursing schedule – demand feeding just worked better for us. Now, solid meals set a nice, predictable rhythm to the day. Oh yeah, and other people can feed them!

2. Self-efficacy. Hauling my lovely children around the house was much harder on my body and on their patience than herding cats wee walkers. It’s actually kind of fun to see what they discover on the way from room to room. After a meal, I pop them over the baby gate into a safe space and off they go. They scoot up the stairs on their own and they love it! Their independence makes us all happier. When we are out, I make sure we’re in an enclosed, safe area (like a toddler-friendly playground) and I usually go with another twin mom so we can tag-team. And honestly? When it’s just me, they tend to stick close. When they get that speedy wanderlust, we pack it up and move on.

3. SLEEP. My little guys don’t sleep through the night yet – but they’re only up once or twice at this point, for about 5 minutes, and rarely at the same time. I can deal with one baby for 5 minutes at 2am. At nap time and bed time, they finish a bottle, push it away, and eagerly snuggle into their cribs with their lovies. I get to hear sweet little chatterings as they drift off to sleep for predictable periods of time, instead of waiting with bated breath for the dreaded wail that meant nap time was over after a mere 30 minutes.

4. They play together. They chase each other, play with trucks side by side, push each other in a wagon, and, most recently, get into their circus play tent and roll around in it like a hamster ball. They laugh so much. When R pulls down a book and opens it, M is instantly by his side, ready to hear a story. When M finds a new way to bang two toys together, R rushes over to join the band. Not only is it heart-warming to witness, mom and dad are not constantly in demand to entertain the tiny masses. When they play with other kids, they have a leg up – they are used to sharing, negotiating trades, and reading subtle social cues.

5. They are more patient. We have certain routines – wash hands after lunch, then get water, for example – and they are used to waiting for brother to have his turn. Not that they are always happy about it, but we typically don’t get giant meltdowns anymore. What an amazing life skill!

6. Sadia said it best: we know them now. M is crying? Start singing “Baby Beluga.” R is quiet? Get in there before he makes it to the top of the bookshelf.

What does “easier” mean for you?

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Time together and apart at playschool

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Categories Classroom Placement, Identical, Independence, Individuality, Preschoolers, Same Gender, SchoolLeave a comment

My daughters (R and S) are starting their third year of playschool next week.  They’ve been going to the same mothers’ day out program for those three years.

First day of Playschool - 2011 (age 2)

The first year, they went together to the toddler room. I don’t think the teachers learned much about their unique personalities that year, probably because even as parents we didn’t see many difference developing.  The teachers tried to support the girls as individuals by taking them to the bathroom separately, but it was challenging with a group of 1.5 and 2 year olds to be that structured, especially when potty training.

First day of Playschool - 2012 (age 3)

Last year, the girls went together one day a week and by themselves each one day a week in the 3 year old room. This gave the girls time at school by themselves and time at home by themselves with me.  It was during this last year that they really started developing their own unique personalities.  Their classroom teachers also recognized those differences. They told me how the girls behaved differently when they were together and apart.  R was more interested in crafts and writing her letters.  She also enjoyed helping the teachers.  S liked playing with the dolls and stuffed animals but sometimes she’d play with the cars and trains.  When they were at school together, they usually played together with each other but not with the other kids.

On the days they were at school alone, they made their own friends and ate lunch with other kids. R, who could write her name, even visited the 4-year-old class, which challenged her social and academic skills a little. The teachers encouraged this independence by separating them in different work groups or seating them apart at lunch time. R and S’s classroom teachers and many of the other teachers at the school could tell them apart. At home, I was able to include the girls in different activities like doing errands with me, playing their favourite games and helping in the kitchen.  I don’t need to tell you how much easier some tasks are with just one “helper.”

Soccer camp - Summer 2013 (age 4)

Next week, they’ll start going together one day a week and by themselves one day each again. I’m excited to see how they develop their own personalities even more over this year. At home, I’m going to work with R on her reading; I think she’ll be reading by Christmas. I think she gets bored without a challenge and that leads to potty accidents and baby behaviours. With S, I’m going to go at her pace. I think she has ideas, but she’s a little quieter so her sister and brother get to lead more. I’m curious to see what interests of her own emerge.

Even though kindergarten is still a year off, I’ve been talking to the girls about it.  They are quite definite they want to be in separate classes. I ask if they’ll be lonely by themselves, and they tell me “we will ride the bus together every day.” Since they look so much alike and their personalities are very similar, I think the time apart will let them explore their interests and develop their own identities.

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When Separation Isn’t a Choice

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Categories Behavior, Classroom Placement, Development, Difference, Education, Independence, Individuality, Parenting, School, Special NeedsTags 3 Comments

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If there is one topic that comes up in twin-Mom blogs, forums and groups more than any other, it is whether to separate your twins in school. It’s a hot topic and everyone has their own best answer. There are laws on the books in many states allowing the parents to choose, but in reality it comes down to the principal and teachers’ willingness to do what is best for the kids.  Parents argue, teachers argue, each side cites studies and anecdotes. Before I was a Mom of twins, i probably wouldn’t have put much thought into it. When my boys were born it seemed so far away, and there were so many other, more pressing matters, like sleep.

Fast-forward to age 3-almost-4 and we’re on the precipice of preschool. But the decision to separate was made for me, without any real choice. Whether I could or would choose to put my boys in separate classes in kindergarten and beyond, I know for certain I would not have chosen to separate them at age three. Starting next month my little boys, my babies, will be starting preschool in two different classes, in two different schools in two different parts of town.

We’ve gone back and forth over the past three years whether to even put them into preschool. Long ago, before their second birthday, I quit my job to stay home full time, and had a pretty decent home preschool thing going on with them. We did fun things, they learned a ton. But by their third birthday, one seemed to be really “getting it” with complex language, learning letters and numbers, explaining complicated concepts. The other deferred to his brother for the answers. We started to see problems with behavior, outbursts that were beyond 3-year-old tantrums. He would be agitated, impatient and inflexible.  Early Intervention is available to kids under 3 who show signs of developmental delays, but he and been on track up until his 3rd birthday, so we never had any reason to call. After age 3, those services are provided through the local school district. Between January and May of this year, he went through several screenings at the school district’s preschool program, and they determined his delays sufficient enough to warrant services through the school district. He does not have a diagnosis other than “developmental delay” in the district’s qualifications. He will be starting there four days a week in September (meanwhile we are waiting for an appointment with a developmental specialist as well.)

My other son will be attending a local private preschool, the one we intended for them both to start this year. As luck would have it, some of our closest twin playmates will also be in that class. He will be going only two days a week, one of which overlaps with his brother’s school days. We have been trying to build it up all summer as a great chance to do fun things at school and how amazing it will be to run home and tell your brother. But truly, it kills me to separate them. I know they are very attached to each other. The few times we have split them up to run errands or take them to an appointment, they only worry about the other. One will tell perfect strangers in a store about where his brother is and what he is doing at the time. They speak in plurals “we would like a snack.” and do everything with the other in mind (like swipe two yogurts from the fridge, one for each!) We had a brief separation in swim lessons when one kid moved up to the next level and the other wasn’t quite there. The instructor asked if we preferred to hold the one back until they were both ready, but that didn’t seem fair. The first class they were apart the one who wasn’t quite ready refused to go in the water and cried the entire 30 minutes. He also refused to do the lesson the next three weeks.

So in a few weeks, I am going to load up my 3-year-old with a backpack full of school supplies (My Baby! School Supplies?!?!) and put him on a school bus (which I am told is outfitted with car seats for little guys.) while his brother and I wave from the lawn. On alternate days I will wait for the bus and then take the other kid to school in our not-a-school-bus Minivan. (and if you don’t think that is a Big Thing then you don’t know 3-year-old boys.) They will spend 15 hours a week apart. Neither will have his brother there when the class celebrates their birthday. My heart breaks for them. When we talk about school starting, one will invariably say, “But I will miss my brother!” while I fight back tears. It will be great to finally have one-on-one time with each, but I can’t help but feel the other will be missing out. Or maybe we will be missing out while he is having a blast at school. One of the arguments I have read so often about separate classes for twins is that they are different people and need different experiences, but can find each other at recess or lunch and still maintain their bond. I love how close my boys are to each other. I want them to excel and I want what is best, but I also want them to have each other and not feel like we are taking one away from the other.

Will this be great for both of them? Absolutely. Is it going to be the toughest adjustment we’ve faced so far? Undoubtedly. But I hope we can get each the level of help he needs to excel in school, and we will all work together so that maybe, just maybe, I can exercise my right as a parent to chose whether or not they will be together in Kindergarten after all.

Jen is a stay-at-home Mom of 3-year-old twin boys who have already packed their backpacks several times with favorite toys and random treasures, ready to start preschool next week. Their adventures are (intermittently and mostly in photos) blogged at goteamwood.com.

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My Dearest Toddler

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Categories Birthdays, Celebrations, Development, Independence, Toddlers1 Comment

This month you turned 3 years old. It’s hard to believe three years have passed so quickly. When a teary-eyed Mama looks through old photographs, the round squishy baby you used to be is no more. You have become a smart, beautiful, caring, independent, self-confident little girl.

You are so tall now that turning on the light only requires you to reach on tiptoe. You can dress yourself, put on shoes, and get in your own carseat. You were fully potty trained by 2 years 5 months, and now you use the big toilet and wipe. You can wash your hands, get in your highchair, and feed yourself.

This year, your language exploded, and not just in one language but two. It’s incredible to watch you work out something in your mind and put it into words. Your face lights up when someone helps you with what you’re trying to say and they get it right. It is just amazing that you are able to translate from one language to the other effortlessly, and instinctively you know which language to use when. Mama is so proud of you when you can walk up to complete strangers and carry a conversation.

You are so smart. You study things with focus and concentration beyond your age, then you ask a million questions. You constantly surprise Mama with an insane memory sometimes going back a whole year, and your ability to apply knowledge in new situations will take you very far in life. Your favorite thing to do with Mama is crafts and reading before bed. That is Mama’s most treasured time of every day as well, when the babies have gone to sleep and it’s just you. Your favorite games are hide-and-seek and “monster” with Daddy. And you’re pretty good at cleaning up all your toys too.

But sometimes you don’t follow the rules. One time Mama will never forget is a few months ago when you sneaked a fruit snack pack out of the pantry and hid under the covers to eat it. This was the first time you moved the step stool placed at the sink for hand washing, the first time opening a snack package by yourself, and the first time you deliberately found a hiding spot to do something you knew was wrong. You learned your lesson about getting hungry if you don’t eat your meals though.

This was a very eventful year for you. Before you even turned 2, you found out that you weren’t going to be an only child anymore. How you would take it is what Mama was most worried about when your sibling turned into TWO siblings. But you have become a big sister with grace. It is so beautiful to see how much you love your DiDi and MeiMei. You are the best role model Mama could ever hope to have for them. They will look up to you forever, and very soon they will be your best friends.

You have grown so much in this past year. You have become so independent that Mama doesn’t worry about you being on your own. But the day will come that you will part to go to school, and Mama cries just thinking about it. It is so very hard to let you go, because you will always be the first baby. So once in a while, Mama is relieved to be able to catch a glimpse of the old you. The little wrinkle that’s left on your ankle from babyhood, the expression on your face when you kiss your blanket, the way you look when you first wake up from a nap. Please don’t grow up too fast, baby.

We are all so lucky to have you. You are an amazing little girl, and Mama loves you very, very much.

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Letting Go

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Categories Behavior, Development, Family, Independence, Mommy Issues, Toddlers2 Comments

My in-laws took Toddler to her Mommy and Me class for the first time a couple weeks ago. Originally I planned on taking her with twins in tow two mornings a week because I really enjoy being there with her. But there were two problems with that: 1. I was sleep training babies and taking them out for two hours every other day was not conducive to creating a schedule. 2. When I did take them, I was constantly hovering around their stroller to make sure no unwanted intruders tried to sneak a peek or worse yet, poke my attempting-to-sleep children… so I’d miss a lot of the class anyway. Good thing is, Toddler is very independent and can function in class without me. But still, I’ve made friends with some of the other mommies there, and hearing about the class second hand is just not the same.

So it was with some reservation that I decided to let the grandparents take her. Toddler has never been with my in-laws in any setting other than their home without me. I thought I thoroughly prepared her, and myself, by starting over a week in advance, reminding her of what she can do by herself in class, where to eat her after-class snack, and that she would come home after snack for her nap, like we’ve always done. I had also given the same instructions in a detailed email to the in-laws. I even recruited some mommy friends to keep an eye out and help if necessary. I thought we were ready.

The hand-off went without a hitch on the morning of their first class. I went out to help put Toddler in the newly installed carseat on their car. She’s pretty good about clipping herself in, but I wanted to make sure they would know exactly how to do it too. After a couple last minute reminders and a few “love you”s, off they went.

The coming home did not go nearly as well. From what I could piece together, Toddler did not want to leave after snacks, and I guess she started t0 get whiny. She asked to go play at their house instead of coming home to sleep. I’m sure this is due to a combination of her being tired (I was in the process of moving her nap to match the babies’) and testing the grandparents. To get her in the car, Grandpa told her they needed to pick something up from mommy first, and then they would take her back to their house. So of course when they did get back, Toddler refused to get out of the car. I guess they hadn’t anticipated the one-track mind of a toddler and figured she’d forget. While they stood around chuckling at her brilliance, I got to be physically attacked by my daughter while I wrangled her out of the carseat to bring her inside. Needless to say, not ideal.

I spent the next couple of days ironing out the kinks. More reminders to Toddler, a couple of serious conversations with Husband and the in-laws. Everyone is on the same page now. Naps are not negotiable, and we do not lie to our children. I allowed the grandparents to continue to take her.

Here is the interesting thing that began to evolve: Toddler took on a new personality! Without me around, my “spies” have reported that she is much more outgoing (and she was already outgoing before) and seemed to enjoy the class more. She started dancing and singing along with all the songs, running like a hooligan with some of the other kids, and exhibiting rowdy behavior. We often see this more gregarious side of her at home, but she’s usually more reserved when I take her out. Strange…

I’m still not sure how to feel about this. Like maybe sad that she feels she can’t let loose when I’m there, or maybe relieved that she likes going to class with Grandma (although she does still says she prefers to go with me), or scared because it might mean my in-laws have no control over her behavior?

I do know one thing though: My little girl is growing up, and I will have to come to terms with the fact that I will no longer watch over every aspect of her life. I’m terrified and so proud of her at the same time. Maybe this is all for the best.

lunchldyd is mom to a 3yo daughter and her 5mo brother and sister. Letting go is super hard for her.

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Together

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Categories Classroom Placement, Difference, Education, Identical, Independence, Older Children, School, School-AgeTags , , , , , Leave a comment

I’ve made an informed decision. My daughters will be in the same classroom for second grade.

I solicited opinions from the people who know best what the classroom dynamic is between my identical twins, their teachers and counselors. Not only are all four of them thoughtful educators who know my daughters very well, one of the teachers is herself a twin and one of the counselors is a mom of twin boys.

While the general approach was that separation was often good for twins in general, no one seemed to have serious concerns about J and M being disruptive, distracted or under-performing should they be in the same classroom. M’s teacher clearly leaned towards encouraging apart time, but her concerns were general rather than specific. I was looking for reasons to reject my daughter’ preference. After all, I’m trying to teach them to make good decisions for themselves and dealing with the consequences of the bad ones. Their father didn’t care either way whether they are in the same classroom next year.

The only people with extremely strong opinions were M and J themselves, and they want to be together. I’ve asked them over and over whether they still want this, and they’re not budging, not even while in the middle of heated arguments with each other.

The feedback that I was going to weigh the heaviest was that from J’s classroom teacher. He teaches the girls separately for math and together for language arts. I do have to say that I feel for him. During Reading and Writing Workshop, he has not only my identical twin daughters, but another set of identical twin girls too! He says he calls someone the wrong name just about every day, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have trouble telling his students apart. I still sometimes call my daughter M by my sister’s name. They look, sound, and behave nothing alike. The only commonality is that they both let me kiss them on the nose.

But I digress.

Here’s what J’s teacher said: “I really think they will do great either way you decide. In second grade they wouldn’t see as much of each other as they do now if they are put in separate classes, so that is one thing to consider.”

I did consider that. As Dr. Segal mentioned in her post, just a glance at a twin to know she’s okay can help a child focus in class. My daughters have friends in common, but they have different best friends. They play together, but they’re as often apart as together at recess. They don’t feel the need to dress alike and have made their mark at school both as individuals and as sisters. I suspect that M and J know exactly what they need to be successful.

To round out the perspectives I got, here’s what M’s teacher had to say:

I appreciate you taking my opinion in consideration.
J and M are doing extremely well in separate classrooms. I think they need to learn to be apart from each other for longer periods of time. Granted they are in separate classrooms, they spend half of the day together during Writing and Reading workshop due to the nature of the Dual Language Program.
I can tell you from being a twin myself that being apart from my sister was very beneficial for us. We learned to speak up by ourselves whereas when we were together one or the other always spoke up for both. Being by ourselves taught us to be individuals.
I see it as the best of both worlds….time together and time apart!
Thank you!
And from the counselor the girls are closest to:
Since they are already in dual language together and are in class together part of the day, I think the teachers would be most helpful in letting you know how that works. During group with me, I noticed that they finish each other’s sentences/interrupt each other and are a little sillier when together, which is typical of sisters.  That makes me wonder if that would happen in class if together. On the other hand, they are also very helpful to each other and get along very well. Since I had them in a small group, I think their behavior is probably different in a large classroom setting. I would lean towards suggesting they be in separate classes, especially since they have dual language together part of the day. But I am comfortable supporting whatever decision you make.
This time next year, we’ll be making this decision all over again. It’s a new decision every time.

 

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The Unending Question of Classroom Placement

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Categories Classroom Placement, Independence, Parenting Twins, Relationships, School-AgeTags , , , , , Leave a comment

I hereby declare that it will be high school before the matter of classroom placement will be resolved for my daughters. It’s now been three times that I thought things were settled, and it’s up in the air again.

Right now, my first graders in separate, but co-taught dual language classrooms. They’re apart for most of the school day, but together for language arts and recess. They have the same teacher for math and science, although they’re taught at different times. They sit at adjacent tables during lunch. They reunite immediately after school at post-school daycare and, once a  week, at group piano lessons.

On Friday, the first graders at my daughters’ school went on a field trip to the Texas State Museum and park. When I asked about their day, M went on for a good 30 minutes without pause about the NASA-related exhibit. She’s been fascinated by Neil Armstrong for years. J also told me about the great time she’d had.

Then both girls told me how much they’d missed each other. They’d made their way through the museum in classroom groups instead of as a single group, and didn’t get to see each other except briefly at the park. Even though their classes had occupied the same bus, they weren’t partnered up to sit together.

“Mommy, can we be together in second grade?” M asked me.
“Please?” J added.

I tried to understand how strongly they felt about this request, and they held firm.

I sent off an email to the girls’ teachers and counselors to get their opinions:

J and M told me this morning that they would like to be placed in the same classroom for second grade. While my preference has been to keep them in separate classrooms during elementary school for a number of reasons, I do think that they’re old and mature enough to have a say in the matter. I’m not yet sure if this was a fleeting response to missing each other during the field trip yesterday or is a considered request.
I was wondering if you could tell me how you feel about M and J being placed in the same classroom. Do you have any particular concerns about this prospect for next year? I’d like to make sure I have all your opinions before I determine how serious the girls are and make a request one way or the other.

As I have in the past, I’ll let you know where we end up.

Sadia and her identical twin daughters M and J live in the Austin, TX area. Sadia is a single working mom. J and M will be 7 years old next month.

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