Monday, February 21

The 'other stuff' we're learning at school - as twins

When people learned we've made the decision to put our twins in separate classes at the start of school there's about a 50/50 split:  Those who think it's a great idea and those who pause then tell me it's a great idea.  I'm guessing that last 50 percent aren't exactly sure why I'd do it.

I mean it is more work for me and I do feel torn at times about who I watch line up or when I'm detained at one classroom trying to get one out whilst the other is looking for me.   There are two teachers, two routines and two lots of friends and two lots of settling into school.  But I've never regretted this decision we made.

We made this decision even before they were born - I was so relieved to hear they were fraternal twins and even more overjoyed when I noticed how visibly different they were - over time they have developed of course very differently - as they are individuals - they have very different likes/dislikes/temperament and of course learning styles.

We really did want them especially in their first year to have the opportunity to be just themselves.  Not 'the twins' as they are often called by new friends or compared which is inevitable when you have twins.

When I did canteen duty the other day I noticed that they play separately, quite happily.  They have found their own group of peers and have settled in nicely.

What we have been dealing with last week is a few things:

- Sharing friends - each of the little frills has had a play date this week at our house - they have invited someone home from their respective classes and whilst it was intended to be the same day - due to the one child's schedule we spread it out over two days.  

There was initial excitement when we walked home with our new friends - but within the first hour on both dates the twin who was not hosting the playdate was upset because they felt that the playdate had somehow replaced them.  'Laura's not my best friend anymore' and then only two days later the same from Laura's mouth 'Olivia only loves Emma, she doesn't love me anymore'.   This will only continue as they get older but I do expect it, and I have explained to them that they can have friends outside the family (they have had for a long time anyways) but it doesn't mean their special relationship has changed.  I encouraged them all to play together and that helped that the 'other' twin was reassured.
We also have an amazing week with praise in school.   Eloise received 2 respect cards on the same day Laura received a responsibility card (one-off praise cards) Olivia was gutted.  The next day she got a Learner card and then the day after that (on Friday) she received a Merit award at assembly as Student of the Week whilst Laura received a respect card.  Pretty exciting stuff..   Laura asked why she didn't get one - because we are a house of equality I can understand why she would feel that way.  I just explained that she was especially good in class and I'm sure she'll have a Merit Award before long - and reinforced how she had been fabulous she had been this week.

So I suppose with all the learning done in the classroom there's just that little bit more of a learning curve socially as a twin.  And a Mama of twins too.

We're growing up!
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8 lovely comments:

Cate on February 21, 2011 at 7:39 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

It is an interesting dilemma - and I don't think there is a right and wrong answer for this one.

When my boys started kindy I put them together because one was a little unsure about starting school and I thought having "his buddy" with him might help. They have been separated all but one year - last year I asked for them to be put together to make it easier on me with homework etc.

The teacher separated them for this, their final year at primary school - so that they could be themselves. Although they are fraternal - they look so alike that they are called "Aaron n Kyle whichever on you are".

I am seriously considering sending them to different high schools. They have different friends, likes and dislikes and I want them to become individuals, and not to be "one of the twins".

Jane Wightman on February 21, 2011 at 9:20 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Making sure each child has an identity (and not as half a twin) is tricky. A lot of external people outside the family always referred to the kids as the twins. Which really irked me. From the moment they were born they were individuals! They only spent 3 of their primary years in the same class - Yr 1/2 - they were in Yr 1, 4 and 4/5 (they were in 4) and 7 - it was a smallish school in those days only 35 kids in Yr 7. Being in different classes gave them an opportunity to have separate friends, events and stories to share after school each day. Must admit our birthdays were humoungous - just about every child from both classes - usually around the 30 mark!
When High school loomed we asked them what they would prefer - being in the same school or different. They both opted for different schools. Which worked well for us, though, as you've pointed out already Lis, trying to be in two different places at the same time (in your case sometimes 3!!) can be fraught with tears!
Think you've made good choices - at the end of the day, it's what works for you and your family. There are no hard & fast rules, nothing black & white... take each new challenge as it comes & deal with it as you see best.

Lucy on February 21, 2011 at 9:43 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

My Olivia is in a class with identical twins. Charlie is in a class with two sets of fraternal twins. The parents need to read this!


•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• on February 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Very interesting for me to read this, my fraternal boys won't start school till next year.

I am undecided but for kindy would like them together.

I've only read a bit of Professor David Hay and multiples in school info...procrastiating.

In all likelihood it will be a small country school so we won't have a lot of choice.

My boys look different and Sam wears glasses (always will) so they that will make it easier to tell them apart.

I agree with Jane in that we can only make the best decision at the time that we think will work for us .Since they have 13 yrs ahead of them - I can always change my mind.

Liss on February 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Trish you are right - as parents you know what it right for your children - there's so much to consider with twins/multiples that singletons don't even consider is there?

I have spoken to and met Prof David Hay on many occasions when I was on the Board of AMBA and also wrote parenting school aged multiple articles for the AMBA Magazine and Practical Parenting - he had a wealth of information - but for me, cemented our decision on what we should do for our girls. There's been a study that said that being a twin was an advantage in preschool socially.

A mother in my local AMBA club started her daughter a year ahead of her twin brother - as they were April babies and on the cusp, she was ready and he wasn't - at first this shocked me but the more I thought about it the more it made sense - why hold one back or push one forward because of what YOU want - give them what THEY need.

jen Walpole on February 22, 2011 at 7:54 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I'm an identical twin and my mum placed us in separate classes, thank goodness as twins are already competitive enough as it is! I was always trying to do better than my sister but our marks were almost always the same, never off by more than a few percentage points. One day I decided to stop trying at school, because I realised that everyone saw us as equally talented so whatever achievement my sister made I could say "Well I could have done that too!"

Kawaii for You on February 22, 2011 at 10:15 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I think it's a very personal decision and really depends on the kids. A decision for one might not be the right decision for another. I have twin (identical) girls who started Prep last year and we decided to keep them together. There were four twins in Prep and two were together and two separated. This year my girls are the only ones still in class together so we're the odd ones out.

We spoke to the teacher at the end of last year and she was quite happy that they weren't reliant on each other and had different friends they played with so they weren't always just with each other. I think we'll just decide each year which way to go. They're quite similar in where they're up to with their learning so there's not a big competition between them which could cause major problems.

Anyway, no doubt you'll do what's best for you and your twins. Most people who judge wouldn't have a clue what we deal with anyway!

Christine xo

P.S. I take my hat off to you - having to split your time between the two classes!

Liss on February 22, 2011 at 10:29 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

@Kawaii for You So true, every set of twins has their own dynamic and I think the things you hit on - being reliant academically and socially are the things we as multiple parents all worry about.

We are the first set of twins in the past 5 years who have separated, and each year they've had a set start. Probably explains the reaction I've been getting in the playground.

It IS tricky sharing myself between the two classes - but luckily they are next door to each other and it is a small-ish school. My eldest class is next door to one of them too - so they are all in a row!

Next year we're going to leave it up to the academics - if they are meant to be a in certain class then they may end up in the same one, maybe not. I'll let them have their own path from here on in - they may co-incide and if there are issues with that, we'll deal with it then and there.


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