Once my twin boys got to a certain age, I finally began to see the benefits of having twins that so many had told me about. While the early months and years were all about nappies, feeds and naps, as they got older, they began to actually interact with each other, which was a godsend for a worn-out mum like me.
Fast-forward another year or two and these boys are the best of friends. They sleep, eat and play together, and one will always protect the other in a tickle war with their dad. Some days I can hardly believe how well they get on, and how much easier parenting is when they do. When they play together, everything feels good. The sun shines, the birds sing and I get to drink a whole cup of tea in one sitting. It’s bliss.
But when they fight, it’s hell. All of a sudden, the sounds of children playing peacefully erupts into deafening squawks and loud tears of protest that don’t ease up until I sigh, put down my tea and intervene in the melee. Talking them through the compromise process can be rewarding when it works, but let’s be honest: most small kids couldn’t care less about compromise and just want things to work out their way. Needless to say, once my intervention is complete, I’m usually on the hunt for a Panadol or two.
To show you what I mean, here is a list of fights my twins have had in the last 24 hours:
1. He won’t play with me!
While they’re in sync most of the time, every now and then, one twin won’t want to play the game anymore, either because he’s sick of that game or he just wants to wind the other one up. No amount of negotiation can coax the non-playing twin back into the game, which is when I usually chime in with ‘who wants an ice-block?’ to change the subject before my head explodes.
2. I want that toy!
Twins are expensive because you pretty much need to buy two of every toy. We learnt quickly that compromising with an angry, tearful toddler about the need to share the one Superman figurine toy in the house was simply not worth it, so we bought another one and have continued to buy two of every toy since. However, there’s a flaw in this plan: when one of the twin toys goes missing, and it always freaking does, you’re left with just the solo toy again, which they both want immediately.
3. I want Mummy’s lap!
If there’s one thing my twins hate sharing, it’s my lap, and naturally, this fight only occurs when one sees the other one having some mummy time with me while we watch TV. I do my best to make my lap wide enough for two, which works for a minute before the fight evolves into one twin taking up more space than he deserves and by then my legs are killing me and I get the heck out of there.
4. This is MY cuddle!
Similar to the above, my twins hate sharing cuddle time with me. When they both need a cuddle, and despite me offering out two arms widely, neither is happy with me giving the other comfort at the same time. This one usually finishes the same way as #3 only this time it’s my head that’s killing me on account of all the squeaking and carry-on directly into my ears.
5. That’s MY t-shirt!
The twins have their own clothing preferences, although this is exclusively superhero themed. Somewhere along the way, and completely unbeknownst to me, they have decided which t-shirts belong to who, and they are very specific about it. The fight that occurs around this is when a) the only clean t-shirt left belongs to one twin and his brother therefore refuses to wear it, or b) one twin really wants to wear his brother’s Spider-Man t-shirt and is stubbornly denied access.
6. He’s got my _____!
Twins know better than anyone how to properly wind up their sibling and the classic theft of the ‘special toy of the moment’ always does the job. Amidst all the squabbling and squealing that ensues, I’ll wade in there and sternly tell the thieving twin to return the toy, only for him to finally agree to give it back … by tossing it across the room cheerfully, much to his brother’s dismay. Another classic move.
7. He’s making a noise!
This one typically occurs at bedtime after they’ve been warned that it’s sleep time, which means no more play and talk in bed. One of them then becomes Perfect Twin, who claims he wants to go to sleep and tucks himself under his sheets, looking all angelic. The other twin becomes Demon Twin and commences making a Noise, usually a purposeful whisper under his breath or a pretend snore. Which results in: ‘Mummy! He’s making a noise and I can’t sleep!’