Twins as individuals

As they (rapidly) approach their third birthday, the girls are working out their relationship with each other and carving out their personalities. They now understand that they are sisters and relate the term to each other i.e. R/G is my sister (if one wants to get the attention of the other they will shout SISTER RUTH or SISTER GRACE) and they have worked out that Aunty J is my sister and Aunty D is dh’s sister.

They sometimes call each other twins but I don’t think they actually understand what the term means. I have tried to explain that they both lived in my tummy and were born at the same time but they just look at me like I’ve completely lost it. Maybe when they’re three they’ll start to understand…

G acts like the older sister (which she is by a minute and we all know that R will be FURIOUS when she finds out) and treats R like a slightly wayward younger sibling that she has to keep an eye on. G has become extremely adept at talking R ‘off the ledge’ when she’s having a wobbler and also encourages R to join in her imaginative play, often as a distraction technique when she senses that R might be on the verge of losing her temper. G likes to help with household chores and wants to do things by herself and be ‘a grown up girl’. At nursery the carers have noticed that G watches out for R and tries to mother her a bit when it comes to joining in with games and activities. If we let her, G would dress R and look after her. We are gently discouraging this by thanking G for being so helpful and kind but encouraging R to do things for herself.

R’s attitude is very much ‘Why have a dog and bark yourself?’. We have watched open-mouthed as R has ordered G to do something for her i.e. collect a toy that she wants and dutifully bring it over to her. Again, this is something we are discouraging. R is the more physically active of the two and encourages G to join in with her running, climbing, jumping and hopping. Interestingly, when she’s on her own R becomes incredibly grown-up and sensible. I’ve taken R out alone a few times recently and she’s an absolute pleasure to be with. She listens to what I say (rare when they’re together), chats in a very knowledgeable and mature way about whatever she sees and does.

In many ways the girls complement each other: G is imaginative and R is very physical and they bring those traits out in each other. However I firmly believe that as they get older, they need to spend more time apart in order to blossom fully. At nursery their carers are making even more effort to treat them as individuals – giving them separate pegs for their coats and bags, for example and putting them in different groups for activities and reading. We’re trying to spend more time with them individually, so dh will do something with G and I’ll do something with R.

When they go to school I’m going to ask for them to be put in separate classes. I’ve already checked with the local primary school and they’re happy to do this. I don’t want to get reports about ‘The Twins’. I want to hear about R and G. They each have very strong personalities and I want them to blossom as individuals whilst still maintaining the innate twin-ness that they absolutely have, even if they don’t quite understand it yet.

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