Yesterday I got a glimpse of an alternative life…and it was a bit scary.
R didn’t go to nursery because she had been ill over the weekend. She had started to eat again but was very lethargic and sleepy so dh and I decided to keep her at home and send G to nursery. Dh and I managed to juggle things so that I could still work, but I spent the day working at home just in case G went down with R’s bug and we got an SOS call from nursery.
R spent the day surgically attached to Daddy and I felt extremely left out. It was so much quieter without G. I thought I might quite enjoy it but something didn’t feel quite right. The three of us sat down together for lunch and ate quietly. It was all very civilised and R was super grown-up on her own but I didn’t like it.
My mind constructed an alternative to the House of Twins – The House of the Only Child. The HotOC was a quiet, ordered place. R sat quietly doing puzzles and painting, Dh played with his phone and I felt discombobulated. I realised how much R needs G – how much we all need G. R looked utterly lost without her partner in crime in a way that G didn’t when the reverse happened a couple of weeks ago. G is extremely comfortable in her own skin whereas R is much more self-conscious, something that she hides beneath a thick veneer of mischief. R needs G’s confidence because it rubs off on her.
Before we had children, Dh and I discussed how many we would have and we tentatively agreed that we would be happy to have an only child. Interestingly, many of our only child friends (whom I would consider to be the nicest, most sociable, well-adjusted people I know) threw their hands up in horror when we told them. They said it was hard to grow up without a playmate and that it forced them to make friends outside of their immediate family, something that took them far from their comfort zone. One went so far as to urge us to reconsider, but dh and I were fairly adamant.
Of course, life happens when you’re busy making other plans and R and G arrived together, making the whole only child/sibling thing a moot point. We often despair at how much work twins are and how exhausted we feel most of the time. However, having had a glimpse of the (very quiet, chilled-out) alternative, I believe that you get what you’re meant to have and we were too quiet to have an only child. Dh and I needed to have both R and G to bring us out of ourselves.
I just need to remind myself of that when they drive me to distraction with their antics.