Raising and living with three sets of twins, in all twin combinations, there is bound to be head-butting and creative ways that each child asserts to “get his or her way” around our home.
When my oldest twins were between 9-12 months of age, during their crawling phase, we noticed how our older daughter Kathryn (first-born in every sense of the word, although her birth beat her sister Lauren by only a minute and a half) had begun to subscribe to the notion that “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine”. For weeks, I’d observe as Kathryn would notice a toy that Lauren was happily examining or playing with, and then crawl over to her and snatch it from her little hands. Lauren would then begin to cry from anger and frustration at the injustice of it! As this went on, Lauren began to learn the drill, and I realized one day that Lauren had a plan and decided to initiate it. She decided to openly display herself enjoying a set of stacking cups so that Kathryn would become interested. As soon as Kathryn crawled over, eagerly snatched the set of colorful cups, and began to sit down satisfied that she’d won yet again, I observed as Lauren crawled over to some board books that she loved dearly. After checking to see that Kathryn was occupied, if only for a minute or so, Lauren was content and began to open the cover of the first book … the object she’d wanted to enjoy all along.
Lauren and Kathryn are now 15 years old. To say they’ve had their share of rivalry over the years would be a true understatement! Several years ago, each graduated to her own bedroom, which cut down on the arguing dramatically, but not completely. Recently, Lauren’s light bulb burnt out in the bedside lamp she uses most to study and do her homework by. We were totally out of light bulbs in the house, so she decided to go into Kathryn’s room and steal her lamp’s light bulb. When Kathryn discovered that not only did her lamp not work, but that the bulb had been stolen, she was furious, and knew immediately who was probably the culprit! Needless to say, the light bulb went back and forth for a few days until the poor thing bit the dust! Fortunately, I’d replenished our light bulb supply, thus ending the battle of the light bulb!
The latest rivalry between my eldest children has been over Kathryn wearing Lauren’s clothes without her permission. After battling about it for months, a battle I chose to stay out of since I had four more kids to worry about, Lauren decided to create a contract of sorts. She had Kathryn verbally state that she promised never again to take Lauren’s clothing without prior permission, all the while Lauren was recording Kathryn’s official “statement”.
Now don’t think that the sibling rivalry in our home is limited to only our oldest girls. Oh no … our middle twins are a 10-year-old boy/girl set named Erin and Brandon. Although these two seem to play together the best, they also are fiercely competitive! Neither of them can have a dish of ice cream or a plate of spaghetti placed before them that they won’t argue about who has more. Brandon is determined to always be first … first out the door, first down the slide, first while racing bikes, first to get dressed in the morning, and first to finish eating. But, mind you, if the two of them are eating a bowl of chocolate pudding, and Erin was about to finish hers first, Brandon will point out to her that he still has more than her!
This past year, for their fourth grade year, I temporarily took Brandon out of the Catholic school that he’d always gone to and placed him into our neighborhood public school due to the excellent intensive reading program that he could benefit from. He’d recently been diagnosed as dyslexic, and the recommendation to have him attend this particular school was made by a reading tutor I trust. He’s doing very well with his class, as is Erin with her class this year. Should Erin, however, mention subject that her class was about to cover, Brandon will jump in with, “Oh, we already learned THAT!”
You know, Brandon was the first born of their twin set, but I sometimes wonder if he was truly meant to be. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn one day that, in fact, Erin was positioned to be born first, but Brandon just “cut in line” so he could be FIRST!
As for my last set of twins … they are two-year-old boys named Sean and Ben. Although Sean was born first, Ben has taken over the role of “leader”, or perhaps I could describe Ben as the one “who simply gets his way” these days. If he wants something that Sean has, Sean doesn’t stand a chance. Ben will throw his three extra pounds around and very forcefully remove the little car or ball from Sean’s fingers. That’s it. Sean had no defense but to scream at the top of his lungs out of protest for this terrible injustice. I’m sure the tide will change in only a matter of time.