You Can’t Fight Twins Becoming Individuals

teen twin boysThe tricky thing about parenting is just when you allow yourself to exhale and start to think that maybe you’ve finally got this whole raising a human thing figured out, your kids level up in their development and you’re scrambling to get a handle on things all over again. My twins are sprinting away from babyhood faster than I care to admit, and as they start to have different interests I don’t know how to handle the challenges of having two kids who want the different things at the same time.

I’ve written before about how I’ve tried to nurture my kids’ individual sense of self while still dressing them alike, but apparently I was filling my own head with nonsense. The occasional request to wear a different shirt has morphed into each boy wanting to select his entire outfit each morning, all the way down to shoes and accessories. For the most part, the clothing is an issue I can take in stride. Although it makes me sad for the scrapbook i’ll probably never get around to putting together anyway, I can handle it if we’re headed out for a family party or day trip and one boy would rather wear a jacket other than the one I careful selected because it coordinates with my own sweater. I’m over it, really I am.

What’s more difficult is dealing with other parts of their lives where the twins are displaying individual preferences that don’t jive with each other. When one boy wants to watch Chuggington and the other is pleading for Cars, no matter how I handle it, I feel like I screwed up. Were one of them older than the other I’d probably make them split the time and make the oldest let the youngest choose first because he’s likely have the more developed awareness of why we need to wait for things. But when both kids can barely grasp the idea of patience, I’m left scrambling for a solution that doesn’t involve me looking like I’m choosing favorites or putting on The Little Mermaid because it’s what I want to watch. Sure, I could employ a chart to remind me who had first pick last time they butted heads or stop trying to make Patty Cake happen and start working on Rock, Paper, Scissors, but that seems methodical and like something a teacher would do, not a mom.

Meal times make me feel guilty because when I’m greeted with a request for pancakes from one twin and eggs from the other, I either have to face the wrath of one child or play Julia Child for the morning when all I really want is a cup of coffee. Learning that life doesn’t always go the way you want is an important lesson for children to learn, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re scrubbing ketchup off the wall from a rejected plate because I decided to serve oatmeal.

I’ve always thought that parents of different aged kids had it easy– only one tiny newborn to care for at a time, an older child to help entertain baby or fetch a diaper when needed. But as my twins get older and form their own personalities, I’m realizing more and more that I have two kids with distinct identities, and it’s hard to find balance when parenting more than one child.


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