When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with trying to learn from the parenting "experts" (aka - those who had written books on parenting), tips and tricks for the best ways to parent twins. Most of the tips were things like:"Get your babies on a schedule - when one wakes to feed, also wake up the other"; or, "Tandem nurse your multiples to save time". Which is great advice....if you can make it work for you. Honestly, most of that "wisdom" went out the window once I was actually presented with two live kicking and screaming babies (interestingly enough - one who nursed well and one who didn't - noting that the "experts" didn't give any great tips for tackling that!). As I am sure most of you did too, I quickly discovered that parenting was a learn-as-you-go type of job, and that not only was what I had read not necessarily relate-able to real life, there was also obviously no one right way to be a parent!
Well, here's our latest dilemma...
We recently started the hardcore version of the "MINE!" phase. When the ugly "mine" word would come out for the 57th time in a day I would try to resist the urge to roll my eyes and yank whatever item she would be referring to out of her grubby toddler hands, and instead would semi-calmly say, "no sweetie, actually that is Mommy's, but you can play with it for now" (or something along those lines).
Now, pause for a second for a sidebar discussion. I often forget that the girls are twins. I mean, obviously they share their birthday, but otherwise they really couldn't be more different. One is a blond, while the other is a brunette. One loves to color and sing, while the other likes to play with dolls and puzzles. One is messy and abstract, while the other is clean and linear. They are two totally different people. I promised myself that I wouldn't treat the girls as a unit, and I felt like I had done a pretty darn good job of treating them as individuals.
Then I really started thinking about this "mine" phase that the girls were in... and perhaps this could be one of those 'twin things' that I should be handling differently. Maybe it's an identity issue. Maybe the girls are seeing themselves lumped together as a "twin" unit instead of as the individuals that they are.
Then the light bulb came one.
All of this time I had thought I was treating the girls as individuals...and while intellectually I was, I had totally ignored the opposite side of the coin. They are forced to share just about everything physical....a bedroom, clothes, toys, mommy and daddy, all the way down to sippy cups and towels...they do have their own cribs, car seats, and blankets, but otherwise, absolutely everything is shared between the two of them. Maybe they do need actual, tangible, everyday things that are "theirs".
How did I not realize this before!?
Here's our temporary solution to not only the "mine" phase, but also to their apparent 2 year old identity crisis phase (lol). We call these the girls' "studio apartments".
When the girls are in their "apartments" anything that they take in there with them is theirs, for the time that they are in their apartments. Books, blankets, toys, snacks, whatever! If it's in there, it is theirs.
Here's Bri's studio apartment view from above (included are Bri, blocks, blanket, and book):
And Livvy's studio apartment view from above (included are Livvy, blanket, her baby doll "Lellow", and Elmo):
Both girls have reacted incredibly well to this concept, and really seem to like having a space that belongs to them, even if it's for a short period of time. We let them stay in their apartments as long as they wish....it's not unusual for them to be in there for 45 minutes or more at a time, several times a day.
WOW! I feel like such a dummy! But I'm glad our apparent oversight was relatively easily remedied this time =). The next thing we know we need to do is separate the girls so they can get used to doing things without the other one always present. Si and I have tried each taking one girl and doing something special, but they don't react well to that AT ALL. They kick and scream and raise havoc because they want to be close to their sister. We can't even take them in different carts into different sections of Target because they absolutely melt down! Oye vey. So, we have to work on that. Any tips or tricks from the real experts (that's you momma bloggers!) is very welcome =).
So, that's all for today. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break!
Until next time -