Sunday, August 26, 2012

The twins are ready for kindergarten, but am I?

On September 5, Matthew and Jonathan will start kindergarten.
They will be in the same classroom at our request and with the principal's blessing.
He is as eager to observe the results as we are.
I am nervous.
I admit it.
But it's not about the shared classroom.
I had always thought I'd be excited for this moment, for the moment when all four kids were in school full-time together. Same hours, same days, same vacations.
One drop-off. One pick-up.
It was my dream.
How hard could it be, I thought.
After all, the twins were in preschool four days a week last year and I was fine with that.
Neither was I upset when the older kids started full-day school years ago.
But it's that fifth day that bothers me, the day I had alone with the twins.
And it's those vacation days from public school that are eating away at me, the days the twins attended their private preschool and I had time alone with their older brother and sister.
Those were the days we could do things that were more age-specific, things the kids could enjoy more without their older or younger siblings. Those were the days when I could let go of a little mommy-guilt and feel like I was doing as much for my children as I did when we had only two.
I'm sure I will still get time alone with each set of kids, but I'll have to work at it. Someone else -- probably my husband -- will have to spend time with the other two children. That limits our outings to weekends and evenings, reduces the spontaneity and limits the time we can spend together as a full family - my husband, all four kids and me.
It will also make it even harder to spend alone-time with the kids individually.
I grew up in a family of eight kids.
Alone-time with our parents was pretty much unheard of.
I didn't suffer and I'm sure our kids won't either.
Intellectually, I know that.
But that doesn't make it any easier, especially in a society that insists alone time is so important for identical twins.
My husband and I already know that separation in the classroom does not equal individuality. What works is simply treating kids like individuals - all kids whether they are identical twins or whether they are a boy and a girl born 17 months apart.
So I guess that's what I'll have to work on most.
I'll have to work harder on treating all four kids like individuals when they are together.
I can do that, right?