more on separation

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Categories Development, Relationships, School-AgeTags , , , 5 Comments

As I wrote in my last post, we are gently working with our boys on separation from each other. Our boys will be 6 in August, and will start kindergarten. They’ll be in the same class, and we have no interest in forcing the two of them apart. Their bond is tight and they’re far more outgoing when they’re in a room together, than when they’re out of eye- and earshot from one another.

G, my “baby A,” wants to be a baseball player when he grows up. P, his twin, wants to be a chef. This caused them some stress for a while, until they worked out an arrangement where P would locate his restaurant next to the stadium, and G would eat there before his games each day. P is also willing to work as a food vendor in the stadium while G is playing.

Anyway, G wanted to play T-ball this spring, and P did not. This was the first thing they’ve done separately, without any coaxing from us, so we were anxious and interested to see how it would go.

During the first practice, P stayed home with me and grew increasingly agitated over his brother’s absence. He eventually laid down in his bed and cried a little, just before G arrived home. When G came in he asked me, “Was P crying because he missed me?” before he’d even seen his brother.

We all attended G’s games, and P wanted to get a foam #1 finger he could wave to cheer G on. G participated fully and cheerfully, which was interesting because he was the more dependent twin during this past year of preschool.

This weekend G’s T-ball league was invited to march in our town’s Independence Day parade, so he and my husband left early and headed for the fairgrounds while the other kids and I staked out a spot downtown. P was quiet during the parade, although he happily scurried to collect candy thrown from the floats with the other kids. A few times he asked how much longer it would be until he’d see his brother…

By the end of the evening, he was getting agitated and upset. He was very anxious to get home, and spent the whole car ride wondering aloud whether G would be home yet when we got there. Fortunately they’d beat us home, and the boys hugged for a long time when they saw each other.

Their relationship is so far beyond my understanding that I’m hesitant to do much to manipulate it. The only punishment that affects them at all is separation. One in the basement, one in their bedroom… and that is 10-15 minutes of the two of them calling to each other through the HVAC vents. Absolutely nothing else gets through to them, because they have each other and what more do they need?

I love their closeness. I love that they are making these small decisions to be apart, even though it’s a little uncomfortable for them. Mostly, I love that they are making these decisions, because the guilt of it would drive me nuts if I’d been the one to separate them. Watching them take responsibility for pursuing their own interests is fascinating.

Jen is a work-from-home mom of 5-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 3 and 8. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine, where she examines the finer points of potty training failure.

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Categories Behavior, Development, Identical, Multiple Types, Other people, Overnight, Relationships, SleepTags , , 13 Comments

intransitive verb
: to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly
transitive verb
: to separate into distinct parts


I had trouble blogging today.

It’s not that I didn’t have anything relevant to say – twins have been on my mind all week, because of this family who just lost one of their twins very unexpectedly.

It hurts so much to even read about it, and I didn’t want that to be what I shared with you, but because of prematurity and pregnancy complications, loss is interwoven with abundance in the multiples community. I am sure any support, prayers, good thoughts, etc. would be welcomed by the Martinos.

Because of their story, the bond between my boys weighed heavily on my heart this week. My guys are not one of the sets of twins you hear about who are “total opposites.” They like the same things, to varying degrees but enough that they are always together. They discuss what they want to play. Each is heartbroken if the other refuses to “pay wif me,” and they defend each other against our discipline. They sleep tangled up together, closer than I sleep to my husband. Their top loves in life are Mommy, Daddy, and their twin. Their sisters are in another category.

It pains me to think of how we must begin to train them to grow apart. It is necessary, to be sure, but the bond between them has formed so naturally that it seems cruel – a sin – to deliberately weaken it. They have their sisters, close in age. They play with lots of other kids. They rarely dress alike. They’ve done things with us individually since they were babies, but each is always overjoyed to get back home to his twin.

Sometime this week I found a website for the author of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Your Twins as Unique Individuals; Joan Friedman, Ph.D. The page header said, “Creating a New Mindset: Thinking of Twins as Two Separate Children.” A twin herself, the author felt a lot of pressure to play up the twin bond in her life, and when she found herself pregnant with twins, she worried about how to avoid putting the same pressure on her children. The chapter online is interesting reading, touching on topics like “favoring” one twin over the other, and creating a fair and equal childhood (Friedman says it’s better not to!). I’m interested in hearing whether any of you have read Dr. Friedman’s book, and what you think of her advice – particularly if you are an adult multiple yourself. Do you think the bond between multiples is mostly due to a “twin mystique” myth perpetuated by society, or do you think it is something more?

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