Recently we attended a playdate…for four sets of twins, two of which belong to the same family. The children had all met before, and we have pretty regular playdates with one of the sets of twins but this was the first time that they had all been able to play together properly.
Note that I said ‘play together’. The three Mums there were extremely pleased with how well the children interacted and worked around each other. The children ranged from 20 months to 3 and a half, so the prime age range for the terrible twos, but there were no fights, no arguments over toys and no tantrums. It all went rather marvellously, really. We wondered aloud whether their twin-ness made them better at sharing and working around other children and I think there’s something in that. Half of the children there (including R and G) attend nursery or pre-school so that undoubtedly aids their sociability but it appears that having a close sibling (or three, in the case of the two sets of twin boys) really makes a difference to the way that they interact.
Now, I’m not trying to suggest for a second (as if!) that singletons aren’t as good at playing with other children. R and G certainly have their fair share of fisticuffs over the most trivial of matters when the mood takes them. That’s true of most siblings: look at Niles and Frasier or the Miliband brothers. My sister is 4 years younger than I am and we still love and drive each other mad in equal measure.
I occasionally wonder how things would have been had we had the only child we originally planned for. How would they respond to such situations? Would our singleton embrace social situations or shun them? Based on dh and I, I wonder. Having twins has forced us to become far more outgoing and sociable – you can’t blend into the background when two little girls with identical faces bound into the room before you. However, I have a number of friends that are only children and I consider them to be the nicest, kindest, most sociable people I know. They suggest that they had to become more outgoing because they didn’t have a sibling to practice arguing social niceties on, which makes sense. A game is far more fun if there are two of you playing it, for example.
Siblings have to learn to work around each other and that’s magnified with twins. They must drive each other nuts at times but faced with a room of relative strangers of a similar age, they’ll know how to deal with it far better than a singleton probably would.