Toddler Thursday: Relating to Other Siblings

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Categories Birth Order, Identical, Individuality, Relationships, SiblingsTags , , , , 11 Comments

I dreamed of my three girls playing together as I incubated my twins, conjuring images of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. They would join their big sister and embark on a lifetime of adventures in adorable rompers. I took notice of sisters at the park, studying their bonds and dreaming of how close-knit my girls would be. Shortly after the twins were born, I found myself pregnant again, and gave birth to another girl. A houseful of ladies. Feelings. Hormones. Hairbrushes.

Though we have four children, we have no middle child, and that has made a big difference in how they relate to one another. Hailey and Robin, our identical twin girls, have such a unique, close relationship with each other that they don’t fit the typical description of a neglected middle child. There isn’t (yet) much competition between the girls, and so their accomplishments are celebrated by their siblings as though they are all teammates. They also coalesce in relative harmony by fulfilling roles that have developed organically.

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I could tell in the months after the twins were born that my oldest desperately needed a role, a more solid identity. Her family became a five-some and the twin babies were a novelty to every guest who visited. She quickly became the leader. As the twins grew, began talking and moving, big sister was there to guide the play, teach them new tricks and show them boundaries. She may have delighted in kicking them out of her bedroom a little too fervently, but she found her stride as the leader.

When the youngest girl was born, Hailey and Robin were still too young to grasp the concept, but our oldest found a comrade in arms. Her role as leader and the baby’s role as the ‘other singleton’ fused a bond that rivals the twins. Big sister and littlest sister have become two peas in a pod, leaving Hailey and Robin to happily continue forging their special twin connection.

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Our twin girls share a closeness far deeper than a sister connection. I’m sure as the girls grow, the singletons will experience feeling left out of that special closeness. Like every tribulation in parenting, we’ll tackle that when it arises using empathy and respect. Most of the time, our daily (mis)adventures are a scene of four girls, not divided into teams, but united as a foursome.

We have tried to let the oldest be the leader, because the younger ones delight in idolizing her, and falling into line under her command. We might let the baby get away with more (we’re exhausted after just going through it all with twins, for goodness’ sakes!), but her big sisters seem to enjoy doting on her as well. The twins continue to attract attention wherever we go, and their sisters are there to put them on display and chat to interested observers.

I’m not sure to what I should credit the closeness between these four girls, but I suppose that is part of the magic to sibling relationships, isn’t it?

SarahNSarah is the mother to four girls, two of whom are identical twins Hailey and Robin. They were born in the Yukon in a very small hospital at 35 weeks, and though they were small, they were mighty. She now lives in Ontario, where her high school sweetheart husband works very hard, and she stays home with the girls, freelance reporting on the side. In her past life, she was a journalist who covered everything from fast-paced federal politics to cats stuck in trees. Her writing has appeared in local newspapers and magazines, and in national publications like the Globe and Mail and ParentsCanada Magazine. She is a yogi, a mediocre cook, an awesome Beyonce dance move imitator, and an avid blogger at Cure for Boredom.

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Toddler Thursday: 10 Reasons My Toddlers Drive Me to Eat Cupcakes

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Categories Toddler ThursdayTags , , , , , 9 Comments

Some moms drink wine. Some exercise. Me? I eat cupcakes.

cupcakes 1

I blame it (mostly) on my toddlers, although, I’ve been a stress-eater for most of my life. It just sounds better to explain it away as the stress of raising preemies/multiples/NICU babies/surviving triplets/high ongoing need babies…

Than to admit I have a problem.

So, let’s just go with it, okay?

Here are 10 Reasons My Toddlers Drive Me to Eat Cupcakesand why you’re probably doing something similar to cope. Cause we all know this ain’t easy.

  1. It’s hard. Yes, you’ve heard it too. The lie of ‘the first year is the hardest’. WRONG. The first year is a breeze; partly because you’re half-asleep through it all and partly because at least they’re semi-containable and they sleep a lot.
  2. They move. Fast. In opposite directions. Even with only one that walks (the other is almost there, but still crawling), they still get away from me.

    Look mom, I snuck out the doggie door when you weren't looking!
    Look mom, I snuck out the doggie door when you weren’t looking!
  3. They can reach all the things they aren’t supposed to have. No matter how many times or where you move it. They will find it.
  4. They know how to give you the evil-eye. My son is particularly good at this. It’s his favorite way to disagree with me.

    I told you I don't want chicken Mommy!
    I told you I don’t want chicken Mommy!
  5. They think making you mad is funny. And they do that exact button-pushing thing over and over again just to get a rise out of you. (I eat an extra cupcake every time I realize this isn’t going to get any better…).
  6. They’ve developed stalling tactics. Just when you’ve gotten a good sleeping routine going, they have now figured out how to stall. Or get your attention by crying loudly every time you start walking them to their room. If you’ve got an easy-thrower-upper, this is not cute at all. (Wait, it’s never cute, never mind.)

    But, I don't want to go to bed!
    But, I don’t want to go to bed!
  7. They have learned their opposites. They may not know many words, or many colors, or animal sounds, but they sure know what opposites are. It’s the thing they do every time you want them to do something else.
  8. They’ve begun to lose their hearing. This goes hand in hand with pretty much all the above reasons. They’ll look right through you like you weren’t even speaking or completely ignore you like you’re yesterday’s news.

    Yep, I'm just pretending to listen. Mmmhmmm. Okay, mom, whatever you say.
    Yep, I’m just pretending to listen. Mmmhmmm. Okay, mom, whatever you say.
  9. Their little sun-shiny personalities are in full-force. Most of the time, they really are sun-shiny, but when they aren’t, they really aren’t. And they know how to throw a mean tantrum. (And this just makes me waste cupcake, because it causes me to spit some out from laughing so hard at their little show…).
  10. They are independent, except when you actually want them to be. Oh, they’ll help you with things and be all nice and stuff, until you actually need their cooperation, and then it’s like a war zone.

What about you? How do YOU do it – handle the toddler years? Share with us below some of your tips and tricks (even if one of them is that you secretly eat cupcakes in the pantry when no one is looking, just to stay sane).

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