Sunday, January 31, 2016

Twins and Teamwork

Our two oldest are fraternal twins.  They share a birthday, they share a room and Lego, they share clothes, they share common interests, and they share friends.  But they do not look alike.  Nor are their personalities remotely alike.

When I need someone to fetch me something when I'm arm-deep in the middle of a task, I ask James.  He knows where everything is!  And if he doesn't, I can explain exactly which shelf/box/bin it is in, or which colour/shape it is, and he will find it.  He's been like that since before he turned two and would help me by getting a diaper or a fresh sleeper for our newborn Evan.

When I need someone to help take care of one of the younger boys or do make something caring for someone, Morgan is the man to go to.  He takes responsibility and caring very seriously.  When they were tiny toddlers in our first home just beginning to toddle around, Morgan would always wait expectantly for me to hand him two sippy cups or two snack cups - one for him and one for James.  He was never happy unless he knew James had exactly what he needed too.

I love watching and learning the intricacies of each one of my boys and what makes them who they are.  Often they still baffle me, but knowing them the best I can helps me parent them individually.  Just like every other parent out there, I need all the help I can get along the way on this parenting journey.

Along with having twins came a whole set of unique child rearing attributes that I definitely found to be different than raising the three singletons I have.  And it's not only because they were born six weeks premature - that's a whole other experience that comes with it's own set of unique challenges and circumstances.

There have been many significant moments throughout their lives that are simply because they are twins.  I remember when they were about eight weeks old I had them lying side-by-side beside me when I noticed they were clutching each others' hands.  I pulled their hands apart to see what would happen and within a moment their hands were joined again.  Then there was the first day James walked across the floor on his own at 13 months.  Within hours, Morgan was toddling right behind him for his first walk alone too.  They each cut their first tooth on the same day.  I'm going to refrain from mentioning the times that being twins got them into mischief though - that's a whole other post.

Through it all though, I think one of the most significant attributes I've noticed about them being twins is their teamwork.  From the moments early in their lives when one boy would drop a toy and the other would hand it back to him to their quiet moments in their room now when they take a toy apart and figure out how to put it back together.  Teamwork takes them places.  Morgan bolsters James's self-confidence when they are in a new, uncertain situation.  James organizes Morgan.  They split up their cleaning and chores to cover more in a shorter timeframe.  They challenge one another and encourage each other to do better.  They make a great team.

The school they attend emphasizes a specific virtue each month of the school year.  At the end of the month there is an assembly where a few students in each class are recognized for how well they display that virtue in their daily lives.  The virtue for January was Teamwork.  James and Morgan were chosen in their class along with one other boy.  Besides being proud of them, I had to smile to myself.  It's not the first time they have received recognition for this virtue and I highly suspect it won't be the last time. 

Twins make teamwork easy.