Raising My Twins

It's what's on my mind.

Double Coverage

on March 14, 2012

The girls are fully into the competitive stage. For the past few weeks, they’ve been increasingly nabbing toys from each other, pushing, hitting, and engaging in a sort of aggressive wrestling, which sometimes includes covert biting. There’s also what I call “rhino-ing,” where one girl uses her head and shoulders to bulldoze the other girl out of her way. This behavior frequently gets reciprocated, so they look like a couple of rhinos in a dust-up. Or what I imagine rhinos to look like. Probably I’m not even close. Whatever.

Audrey already in rhino position to remove Rachel from my lap. And this was not even a frustrated moment for them. It's just what they do now.

Anyway, it gets really nerve-wracking, especially when one girl needs hugs and comfort. It never fails these days that as soon as I embrace one girl, the other girl will horn in (See?…rhino imagery again), suddenly needing some hugs and comfort too—and then they are each pushing and wrestling for position on my lap, while also violently writhing away from any hint of contact with the other. (How do they do those at the same time?) It’s a little comical because while they are in this frantic state, they can’t tell the difference between my hand touching them or their sister’s, so it gets really theatrical and flailing as they hurl themselves around trying to avoid being touched. It’s exhausting!

I have two ways of dealing with this so far, and I’d love to hear from anyone who can offer other tools.

First, I try to get us all to share the space, saying “Left and right, girls. (I’m trying to make this an easily identified phrase with lots of repetition.) See? One of you can sit on my left, one on my right, and there’s plenty of room for all of us! Left and right!” I can snug each of them up on my lap and in my arms without them even touching each other if they are cooperative, and it’s quite cozy and comforting. This currently only works 5% of the time.

Alternatively, I tell the “other” girl that “A/R needs my attention right now. I’m going to come back to you in just a few minutes.” At this point, I usually have to actually leave the room with the first girl, but I am trying to slowly get them used to the words “I need 2 minutes with your sister” so that they can eventually occupy themselves for 2 minutes with relative patience. I also go straight to this separation method when somebody has been hurt and is crying hard, or when I just can’t de-escalate the competition and fighting.

I’m also committed to trying to spend alone time (ideally, twice a day) with each girl, and I’ve got hubby on board with this plan too. Just 10 minutes of devoted time for each one, where they get to direct what we do. Because I am aware that being twins they are nearly always together, and while they love this so much of the time and they do cooperate, as their independence buds they need some individual expression time too.

Do you have other methods for dealing with toddlers or any siblings competing?


3 responses to “Double Coverage

  1. I am dreading this, at the moment my two girls sit opposite each other on my lap and generally pull each others faces and hair in interest. How do you do it? I suppose I too will learn in the long term……I do agree with you that it is important that they have individual time with you too, it states this in all the twin books as a very important part of them asserting and finding their independence, I am yet to do this but am actually looking forward to some guilt free time with each twin without having the guilt stares the other twin bestows on me…….good luck and keep me updated on any tips x

    • Janet says:

      I sure will! How old are your babes? Truthfully, I dreaded this (toddler) time the most too, and it’s true…managing and coaching toddler twins is occasionally incredibly difficult. There’s some stuff I just can’t do, like go to “story time” at the library, which I would have loved with a singleton. But they are also incredibly lovable and adorable!! So that makes it all worth it. We still are so lucky, aren’t we? All the best! 🙂

      • My babies are 7 months old so I am making the most of being able to pee in private and have some time to get on with things whilst they are sat still in play things. Thanks for being honest, I guessed it may be tricky but I shall brace myself for the challenge. I know what you mean I would love to take the babies swimming but cant on my own, you certainly take it for granted with a singleton. I love being a twin mum though, its absolutely fantabadosie and would not change it for the world x

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