The title sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? I imagine anyone would expect to read about these two contrasting subjects separately. For me, however, they go hand in hand. Here’s a short story for you. Earlier this week, as I’m in the kitchen, I hear a high pitched squeal followed by, “No baby! No! Mine!” I turn to see John chasing Phoenix who is holding one of TWO identical leaky bubble guns their grandmother sent them (Why mom? Why?) As I watch for a moment, giving John a chance to spot the other bubble gun, I soon realize he had in fact seen it but still wanted the one Phoenix was holding. (Side note: the whole ‘two of everything will keep them from fighting’ theory is totally false. Doesn’t work. They’ll want the same toy, even if a replica is laying around in plain sight).
When I head over to scoop up a now hysterical John and proceed to walk over to the OTHER bubble gun, I’m blocked by Phoenix who is now also hysterically yelling “No Mama! No! Leave baby! Stop it Mama!” I put John down, they wipe each other’s tears and walk over to play with blocks as if they hadn’t been fighting like a couple of drunken men at a bar just minutes earlier. No matter how many times I witness that, it still leaves me dumbfounded. But it’s what they do. Twins fight. They always will. More importantly, they reconcile and recognize that the unique and loving bond between them is stronger than their differences. Knowing this has helped me see my boys as little individuals who are still learning to deal with emotional distress but have an unbreakable bond that is nothing short of miraculous.
So, the phenomenal twin bond everyone talks about is real. You’ll watch it unfold before your eyes from the first moment they acknowledge each other’s presence. But be warned, that doesn’t mean that fights wont ensue. My boys can go from hugging and snuggling to hair pulling and eye poking Three Stooges style in less then 2 seconds. I promise you it happens that quickly. They’ve downright terrified me with the intensity of some of their fights in which they have resorted to biting, kicking, screaming, and slapping. The eye poking is their latest discovery. (I joke with my husband that our lives have become one long episode of the Three Stooges…minus one stooge.) We have tried different approaches to diffuse the fights from separating them for a while, to buying two of everything (again, that doesn’t work), and sitting them down to have a “talk” after each fight. They’re getting better, and despite the fights their bond grows increasingly stronger each day.
My advice to you would be this: don’t fret too much like I did at first. Intervene when necessary so they don’t hurt each other and try to lessen the occurrences by using trial and error to figure out what methods work best, whether it’s separating them, or giving them a snack or nap. Remember small children don’t always know what they need so they may not know they’re tired or hungry. Practice positive reinforcement when they’re sharing and acting loving towards one another and remind them constantly that they are each others keeper. Just keep in mind that not every tactic works for every set of twins and patience is necessary. I’ll add that one sure right thing that has helped us see less bickering is getting them outside for out door play. When they release all that energy running around outside, they seem too tired to fight inside. Fresh air and exercise is a good idea any day.
At two years old, my tiny twins are just learning to understand and control their emotions but have a long way to go before they fully grasp the concept. As a parent, its my job to assist them with working on those skills. I also need know when I need to step back and see if they can possibly work it out amongst themselves. That’s the toughest part. Stepping back and allowing them to practice conflict resolution on their own, even at the tender age of two. I can’t say they will ever perfect it, but I know for sure that the amazing bond between them will always reel them back in to one another.
John and Phoenix have taught me the power of that phenomenal twin bond. They’ve taught me that its in our very nature to forgive quickly and err on the side of love. They’ve taught me about loyalty, and the importance of standing up for a loved one in peril (or in the case of two year old toddlers, jumping on the back of the scary monster that daddy is pretending to be before he reaches your twin.) They’ve taught me that we are all capable of being selfless – if a toddler can give up his lollipop for his distraught sibling who dropped his on the dirty floor, we can all learn to put others before ourselves too. We can all take a page or two from the good old “twin bond” book.
I love connecting with other parents and learning about how they handle their twinscapades. Follow my adventures on Instagram @thewaldonkids