Three is a Magic Number

Posted on
Categories Parenting

Remember the song, “Three is a magic number,” from School House Rock? Yes, I was a child of the 80’s. Well three is a magic number in our household…sometimes. This summer my 4 year old fraternal twin boys have achieved what my 7 year old daughter has been waiting for her entire life: the ability to pretend play. And while it has had moments of sheer mommy bliss–with all three playing together nicely–the majority of their time together has not been successful. Screams of “I’M NOT YOUR FRIEND ANYMORE!” abound.

Playing Polly Pockets Together

My daughter has learned that she can only really play well with one brother at a time–meaning someone is always left out. I have tried letting the three of them problem solve on their own, family meetings, and on-the-spot play intervention and facilitation with only  glimmers of success. We have tried separation where one twin gets special mommy or daddy time and my daughter gets one-on-one time with a brother. This works once we get it started but all three kids view the initial separation as punishment.

To top it off, my daughter H and one twin, A, are very similar in interests and athletics and play well together. Recently, my twin E had his tonsils out. My daughter H felt so bad about it that she wanted to play with him, and only him, for days–causing a crisis for A, because he is usually the preferred playmate. E basked in the glow of sisterly love but was dumped as soon as he started feeling better. Breaks my heart.

Both boys idolize their big sister and I know she adores them as well. She loves to help them when we are out and about, swimming with one at a time at the pool; helping them climb at the park. They get along better outside of the house than in.

School has started, and they desperately miss each other as constant summer companions. The boys NEED their playtime with their big sister in a way I have never seen before. Big sister loves to play with them, but after a day of school, also needs some time by herself to decompress, leading to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. So, three is not quite the magic number in our house. How are you handling issues with twins plus an older or younger sibling?

Leslie H. is a stay at home mom to an amazing seven year old girl and two adventurous 4 year old boys.

Share this...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Digg thisShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

4 thoughts on “Three is a Magic Number”

  1. So tricky! My little one is only seven months, and my twins are four, so we’re currently in simple adoration phase. The baby has yet to do anything to really piss them off… or actually connect with them in an active way. So it’ll be interesting to see how this develops. Will the two girls stick together, leaving twin brother out? Will the older pair leave out the younger? I’m sure it’ll get rearranged a hundred times.

  2. We too have twins plus an older sibling (all boys, twins age 4, older sibling age 9).
    It makes for a rowdy bunch! Be glad that your older child is a girl. All the “helping out” that she does is awesome. When my twins are around older girls, they all want to “take care” of them and nurture. This must be a girl thing, because my older son exhibits no such behavior! He has helped me out of plenty of emergencies, that’s for sure, but on a day to day basis he relates to them in an intersting “BOY” way that is foreign to me. I observe their wrestling and competitiveness with a fascinated eye. I step in and break up plenty of fights. One of my twins enjoys going “toe to toe” with his older brother doing some kind of simulated martial arts (ETC) although he is outweighed by 40 pounds by his older brother, he is not deterred and they both enjoy this “sparring” ! We have no tea parties at our house. It is “all boy, all the time” and I just hang on for the ride!

  3. Great post! This is something that we too deal with daily basis. They have demonstrated an ability to play for long periods of time creatively and nicely but all their games end up in fights sooner of later. I’ve also noticed that any pair of 2 works great, the third adds too many opinions and demands. Also, the boys (4 and 3) often ‘gang up’ on the girl (3) .. all they need to say is ‘let’s trap Beth’ and she becomes frantic and that seems to be exactly what the boys are looking for. .. At times I’m struggling to figure out exactly how to deal with all the ‘drama’ that goes on. We have tried the things you mentioned and so far the most effective is to go with ‘special mommy time’ for one and leave the 2 playing.

  4. Hi, I am about to adopt 5 month old twin girls, I already have a 10 yr old son.
    Reading your comments have been helpful and funny.
    I am a little terrified as it has been just the three of us for so long.
    Any tips on things to do when it becomes instant five? I don’t want my son to feel left out because of the new arrivals.
    I think we have prepared him as much as poss but he has been use to having us all to himself I am worried how he will react once the babies are home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge