Saturday, February 27, 2010

The time-out swap

I used to be able to count on Matthew.
Or, at least, on his time-outs.
He'd begin testing me immediately after we dropped the older kids off at school. By the second trip to the time-out chair, I knew, without looking at the clock, that it was time to get lunch ready.
The third trip generally came just before we left to pick up the older kids from school, and fourth time-out was our call to dinner. Sometimes, there was a fifth time-out. That meant we were late getting them to bed.
But I couldn't count on Jonathan.
Just the mention of discipline made him quiver.
And whenever his brother was buckled in the time-out chair, he would cry and cry, demanding that I set him free.
I could honestly say that Matthew was our difficult twin.
Not anymore.
Just as they have done with so many other personality traits, Matthew and Jonathan have swapped. It's almost like they are toying with us. They push us and push us to label them and then, just when we're confident that we know these guys, that we know who they are and that we can openly say so, they pull a fast one.
One takes on the trait of the other.
But that doesn't mean they mimic each other.
Somehow, they still manage to do it in their own, individual ways.
Yes, Matthew's behavior has improved.
But he doesn't have the empathy that Jonathan had.
He couldn't care less whether his brother gets a time-out.
And I can't count on Jonathan like I could count on Matthew.
Jonathan's time-outs come in one endless stream all day long and they are proceeded by screeches of "I don't like," I don't," and "I will not" along with lots of hitting and pushing.
Matthew simply defied us, quietly and boldly.
I'm not thrilled with this phase, but I am thrilled to find even more evidence that identical genes do not mean that Matthew and Jonathan will respond to situations with identical emotions and attitudes.
Even in their rebellion, they are individuals.


Anonymous said...

I also have ID twin boys and I assure you that you are not alone with the personality swapping. Mine will soon be four, and with everything, as soon as we think we have them figured out, they switch on us. Crazy, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Mine are 12, and it seems they swapped now, just about a few months ago. They did it a lot when were little, but didn't do that in a while and now.....all of a sudden. Don't know what to do.