What Twins Do When Big Sister Is Not Home
By: Amber Leventry
Sometimes when my partner and oldest daughter leave for work and preschool each morning, I wish I was the one leaving the house to go to a job without twin toddlers as bosses. Staying home full-time with my boys can be really hard and lonely. For the most part, it’s not so bad. We have a rhythm that is different than on weekend days. I am a bit—um, controlling—so we also have a routine. It’s not set in stone, but the three of us have quietly established an expected flow to our day. And as the boys’ language develops, they are so much more fun than pre-verbal babies. They chat with me, each other, and to themselves all day long. However, I fear their ability to talk will lead to ratting me out.
We don’t keep secrets in our house, but sometimes we keep things a surprise until it’s time to tell someone something or give them a gift. The twins don’t yet know how to keep a secret if they wanted to, but I am trying to teach them the fine art of keeping things to themselves once in a while. Because if Big Sister finds out what we do while she is at school, she’s not going to be happy. It is best to surprise her later with our daily activities after a bit of maturity sets in. What she doesn’t know won’t kill her.
My kids fight to sit on the middle couch cushion or kitchen bar stool, in the middle of mamas’ queen size bed, or in any definable unit of space where there is a middle location for three children to fight over its ownership. Sitting in the middle is the prequel to riding shotgun. When big sister is at school, cries of ‘I sit middle’ still pierce my ears, but the boys at least have a fighting chance to occupy the coveted seat. They have learned that both of their hineys fit within the confines of the middle couch cushion, but the struggle to perch upon the middle bar stool is very real. When Eva is not home, Ben and Ryan sit middle like suppressed rebels who have overthrown the evil queen in a victorious coup.
What Is Yours Is Ours
Eva has been fairly generous with her stuff. It wasn’t always easy for her to see what used to be hers become her brothers’ new playthings. Yet no matter what or how much each kid has, they want what they don’t have in their grubby little hands. The boys want their sister’s things. And I want a little peace. If Eva isn’t home to hoard and protect her toys, I am certainly not about to take over the job. So Ben and Ryan take great satisfaction playing with their sister’s stuff, and I let them. Not only do they play with things that don’t belong to them, they take pictures of themselves doing it with the owner’s camera.
Donuts and Shows
During the routine of our week together, I need to run errands, exercise the dog, and take a shower. Corralling two active toddlers in and out of car seats and shopping carts is a pain. Equally draining is applying snow gear to two moving targets and speed racing through a shower while said targets are seeking and destroying. I conserve energy with occasional bribery.
Get in the van and we’ll stop for donuts.
It’s 3 degrees outside, but the dog needs to chase something. Who wants to watch Daniel Tiger?
I haven’t shaved my legs in 10 days. You will find a bucket of gummies on Mamas’ bed and Paw Patrol playing on repeat. Please take a 20 minute break from anarchy.
Even though these treats only last about 30 minutes out of the whole day, if Eva finds out what we are up to, she will want to drop out of school; she will assume we watch cartoons and eat junk food all day and that is so much better than early education.
Multiple times a day I ask Ben and Ryan to respect each other’s personal space. It’s a silly ask, and I should stop. From conception, what has been one’s space has been the other’s. They don’t know how to be without the other very nearby. Yes, they are individuals, but they are also twins, brothers, and best friends. They are each other’s comfort and entertainment, and they grow a little closer each day as they weave in and out of each other’s space all day long. This includes agitating one another and fighting, but more often than not their interactions are strengthening a bond that their big sister may never understand or rival.
To quote Calvin as he talks to Hobbs, “The days are just packed.” And it’s for everyone’s own good that our days stay as mysterious as the imaginary world between two friends.