Today is the end of Back to School week here on Twin Tested, Pin Approved, and I’m not reviewing a pin, but giving a little of my own advice in a Mom of Multiples B2S Guide for teachers, students, parents, and fellow MoMs. Believe it or not, twins are not so special. According to statistics, twins account (since 2010) for every 1 in 30 births in the U.S. I’m sure the number is higher now. They’re really not that rare. I say this because twins, or mine at least, still are gawked at like a circus act or celebrity, particularly when we are in WalMart. Now while I appreciate the questions and attention my girls get, I am OVERLOADED sometimes. No one who believes me is welcome to spend a shopping trip by my side. You will quickly notice the amount of questions, often persistent and intruding, that we get. I think that this is only going to increase once the girls begin preschool and become “the twins” of their class. Now I’m guilty of “grouping” them as “the girls” but I rarely if EVER refer to them as “the twins.” So before school starts, I want to use my preferences, experiences, and knowledge of twins but more importantly of B & L to write a little guide for those who have multiples, will teach them, be in class with them, or have a child/student in class with them.
1) Teach them that they are twins
Now this sounds stupid and a completely absurd way to start the guide, but the most important way to help your twins, or those you interact with, is to let them know that they are twins. This is mainly because now that they are in school, they will be the ones to answer the questions now that Mommy isn’t by their side to give everyone the rundown of their genetic makeup. So tell them they are twins. Let them know that it’s ok to answer questions. One may choose to say they are the oldest twin or that they are X years old. The older they get, the more questions they will have to answer: Are you best friends? Can you feel each other’s pain? Do you have a secret twin language? These are questions I cannot and will not answer because I am not them. One question I hope they will never have to answer though is “which one of you is the bad twin?” I mean seriously people?!?
2) Teach them that they are NOT just twins
They have to share so much: Parents, bedrooms (often), toys, clothes, classrooms on occasions, time, laps. Do not make them share an identity. Learn their names. Find out how they are different. It’s ok if you have a favorite or if your child is friends with one more than the other. They have a desire to be different. One likes pink, the other purple. One is loud, the other more reserved. But they both are their own person and cannot be expected to be “the twins” all of the time. They may cling to each other, but don’t mistake that for the want to be one person. They are unique and individuals and want to be treated as such.
3) Not all things are created equal
Not only are they individuals in personality and style but also in learning. This is a hard one for MoMs to swallow. No one wants one to lag behind. We want two individual children, but we want two equally gifted, talented, intelligent children. It was difficult to hear the doctor suggest that L should begin speech. It kills me to know that school may be harder for her than B. I’m sure she will catch up and be fine, but I want them to succeed. However, giving your children/students impossible expectations or having a mindset that because they are twins, they will learn at the same rate or in the same way is not benefitting the children. The important thing is to nurture and help both of them no matter what. If one is doing her best as an A+ student, and the other is doing her best making B’s or C’s, it will be ok. A student or child is more likely to achieve success no matter what their learning abilities if they are given support and a loving foundation. I’m serious. Don’t mistake this for just a feel good talk from some yuppie mommy of twins who thinks she is better and doesn’t spank or say no. Trust me, my kids get a firm pop when they need it and are told no plenty of times. Seriously make sure you listen to this point. If you punish a C student because they couldn’t get an A that they were never capable of making, then they will most likely withdraw into resentment of the parent and school. I see this day in and day out in the GED classroom. Love your children, support them, help them, and know that NO child learns the same way as the next ESPECIALLY if they are twins.
4) Individualism=Individual Time
My girls love when they get to go to the store or run errands solo with Mommy or Daddy. They feel special because they don’t have to share. Unfortunately, this year they will not get to be in different classes. Now before you throw some twin statistic at me about same vs separate classrooms, I do not know the answers to that debate. No one does because every situation is different. If my twins do better in different classrooms, great. If they do better together, also great. But this year they are together because there is only one classroom for Pre-K. This does not mean that they have to share this time. Feel free to single out one without the other. Life isn’t fair, and they know that one doesn’t always get to do what the other is doing. So please give them individual time, attention, and jobs to do. Let them help in different ways and contribute to the classrooms as two different people. Do not always stick them side by side at group time or in learning groups or centers. Being apart will do them some good. They are together 24-7 and always have been. They will not miss each other for long if they are separated, trust me. It does them some good. While they are learning to be individuals, help them find their way by giving them individual time.
5) Know that they are Special!
I said earlier that twins aren’t so special. But my girls, my daughters, my best friends, my giggle partners, my ballerinas, my lovey snuggle bugs, my readers, my Braves fans, my football girls, my taste testers, my crafting partners, my inspirations, my heart and soul, MY TWINS, B and L are so very special. I know every mark on their body and love every speckled freckle on their nose. I raised them solo for a long time before finding my main squeeze who stepped in to be their Daddy, and our bond cannot be broken. I know they are frustrating and sometimes mean. I will be the first to step up to bat for the teacher if they are disrespectful and not following the rules. I listen to their ramblings and fits. But they are mine, and I am giving them to you for 6 hours and 15 minutes each day. Love them. Take care of them for me. And treat them well. They are my world. And while you are at it treat every kid in the class the same way, because they mean just as much to someone too.
I hope this guide helps y’all this school year. Most of these things apply to twins, but can apply to every child. They are little only for a blink of an eye. I hope that everyone has a blessed and safe school year.