Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Together for preschool - yea!!!

A teacher from the preschool my daughter attended handed me a waiting-list form the other day. She'll take the boys when they are old enough, she said. Both of them.
I was and am ecstatic.
The preschool is run by the county, primarily for children with special needs. The teacher has only four slots for typical kids in her class: two for girls; two for boys. If she takes Matthew and Jonathan, they will fill all her typical-boy slots.
Predominant education practice dictates that she recommend separating the boys. Yet, she's happy to take them together. She believes me when I say that they will probably do better together and that they barely acknowledge each other when they play in large groups.
Her attitude is a relief.
And it gives me hope that as more studies are conducted on identical twins and separation, common sense and open minds will prevail. Several states have passed laws eliminating the mandatory separation policies of multiples in public schools, but the movement has a long ways to go.
For now, there is help for parents who are facing that battle or who want to get a jump start before their kids reach school-age. This Web site is run a woman who is determined to change the way school administrators and teachers think.
Check it out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fashion fights

The boys have started fighting.
Now, they've always squabbled a bit over toys and attention. But the all-out, screaming-crying-kicking-tantrum kind of stuff has only recently begun. And that kind of fighting they have reserved for clothes.
Yes, clothes.
Both Jonathan and Matthew seem to have an affection for yellow and/or orange shirts and they will do anything to get them. They will even try to pull them off each other, bowling each other over in the process.
I haven't read any studies on identical twins and clothing preferences.
I can only hope that this is just a phase or that, at least, they will someday prefer a color that is a bit less fluorescent. Like maybe blue or green.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two ways to play

Again and again I have read that identical twins eventually become shaped by their environments--differently shaped by their indivual experiences and interactions. We have seen evidence of that in Matthew and Jonathan in the past few weeks.
Jonathan has always been a little more mellow than his brother, but his broken leg has emphasized that part of him. It is most obvious in the way he plays with the Little People's doll house,a toy they inheritted from their siblings.
In those first few days, when he had not yet learned to walk on the cast, Jonathan discovered new things about that house. He discovered that he could do more than just open it up, lay it on its back and attempt to sit inside it.
He began walking people through the door (cars too!), sitting people in chairs and laying them in the beds.
Meanwhile, his brother learned how to open all the drawers in the kitchen. Matthew also learned to slip his fingers through the cracks on locked cabinets and pull small things through. He learned to use stools, backpacks and diaper boxes to reach all kinds of things on countertops and dressers.
Then Jonathan became mobile on his cast, and even started to run. I thought Matthew would be distracted, his energy sources drained by brotherly wildness. Jonathan isn't all that fast, but he's pretty darned good. And he can jump and climb too.
But it wasn't enough.
Matthew still craves action.
He walks or runs aimlessly. He "fake" cries in hopes that I will pick him up and flip him upside down. He tumbles on top of Jonathan when Jonathan is sitting quietly, playing with a car, some blocks or a baby doll.
He goes nonstop.
Jonathan gets frustrated.
Jonathan enjoys the rough-housing, but he kind of likes playing quietly sometimes now.
He still has his moments--I just caught him trying to dump a loaf of bread onto the kitchen floor--but he has learned the value of imaginative play.
Matthew has taught him how to reach things he never thought possible (coffee cups set way back on counter tops are a favorite). Now we can only hope that Jonathan will teach Matthew a thing or two (and I'll be able to relax and drink that coffee!).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ready to run

My 7-year-old daughter and I were at an outpatient clinic for Children's Hospital the other day when a man entered the room with his two-year-old son. My daughter undergoes therapy for sensory integration disorder. This little boy was having physical therapy in the other half of the room, which was divided by a curtain.
I watched as the boy fought with his therapist and his dad, both of whom insisted he walk. He didn't want to walk. He wanted to drag himself across the floor using his arms. The dad smiled at me and said, "He broke his leg. He got the cast off two weeks ago and he won't put any weight on it."
Thanks to his twin, Jonathan will probably never meet that therapist.
That little boy was an only child, according to the father. He didn't try to walk on his cast and his parents carried him everywhere. They didn't push him. Now they wish they had. The doctor told them that would have made all the difference.
We haven't pushed Jonathan.
We don't need to.
Moments ago, Jonathan ran across the living room in his hip-to-toe cast and leaped into his bean bag chair. He was imitating his twin brother, who was lying in his own chair, laughing and watching as Jonathan flew.
Earlier today, Jonathan climbed the steps to his Little Tykes slide and slid down on his belly face-first. Again, he was imitating his twin, who was imitating their 8-year-old brother. When Jonathan reached the bottom, he pulled himself up and did it again.
Jonathan walked the neighborhood for so long yesterday that he ripped right through my sock, the one I had pulled over his cast to protect his toes from the concrete. Fortunately, it was one of those socks that had lost its mate.
No. Jonathan will not need therapy.
My guess is that on Nov. 12, when that cast is sawed from his leg, Jonathan will step down from the table. Then he will walk right out the doors of Children's Hospital eagerly searching for his identical twin brother.