Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Twins divided, naturally and happily

A new dynamic is moving through our house.
Jonathan has ditched his twin brother as his best friend in favor of his older brother Riley, who is almost 11.
He draws pictures for him, fetches him Popsicles and emulates his every gesture, word and move when he is around.
When Riley is in school or otherwise occupied, Jonathan turns back to Matthew again, taking up where he left off.
This worried me at first.
How would Matthew handle the loss?
My heart ached for him.
As always, Matthew and Jonathan have surprised me.
Matthew isn't the least bit bothered by Jonathan's new allegiance, no more so than he is bothered when Jonathan plays with other children in school. A comfort level seems to exits between the two of them that allows them to explore other relationships without diminishing their own.
I would like to believe that we have contributed to that confidence by never forcing them to separate. Yes, they have gone off on their own with my husband or I at different times, mostly on errands. Occasionally, for a bite to eat.
But we have never felt the need to enroll them in different activities or classes simply to foster their individuality. We have never felt the need to tear them apart unnaturally.
Instead, they are teaching us to be patient, to step back and let them grow apart as we let them grow together. The pressure is on -- always -- from those who believe that forced separation is the only healthy way to raise identical twins. But forced separation is no healthier than forcing a shared identity through matching clothing, lumped nicknames  or constantly calling attention to the fact that they are twins.
They are who they are.
And we love who they are.
We'll make mistakes along the way and plenty of them. But Jonathan's affection for Riley and Matthew's reaction to it have assured me that we are on the right track. And we have one very proud big brother, who is who amused and thrilled by his new status.
For now.


Anonymous said...

I recently had identical twin boys on November 8, 2010 and I also have a 4 yr. old and a 3 yr. old. My twins will be 4 months on the 8th of March. I have so many questions about twins. I think it is great you decided to blog your experince to help the other families with twins!!!!

cribs for twins said...

Twins divided is really very important, the can not always stay on the same crib.