As Emily and Andrew would say, not quite yet.
I wasn’t prepared to make this decision—not quite yet.
I thought I had at least a few more years before making the decision that seems to divide many twin parents into two camps—
Those who think separating the twins in school is a good idea and those who don’t.
If you’re not a twin parent, you might not realize that this decision is a hot-button topic. A little internet research revealed that parents have even sued schools over this issue!
Those in favor of separating them say separation can allow both children to develop as individuals and can reduce competition, comparison, and conflict.
The other side worries that separating twins can cause undue emotional stress and anxiety.
If you’re not a parent of multiples, you might think the whole issue is much ado about nothing. Why not separate, or why does it matter one way or the other?
Honestly, even as a mom of multiples, I haven’t given the issue much thought. I've been taking things as they come, and lately, potty training has been enough to keep me occupied.
But, a few weeks ago, our preschool director pulled me in and explained that they would soon be splitting the two year old room into two separate rooms, and she wanted to know if I was open to the idea of separating Emily and Drew.
My first reaction was to ask, “What is your professional opinion?”
I wanted to hear the reasons, and I hoped the rationale wasn’t solely based on the fact that Emily was more potty-trained than Drew.
“I think separating them might give them both the opportunity to develop friends and interests outside of each other.”
“Emily has a tendency to speak for Drew. Like today, Emily said to the teacher, ‘You didn’t give Drew his apple sauce.”
“Drew’s speech might take off faster if he wasn’t so reliant on Emily to talk for him.”
“By moving Drew to the smaller class, the teacher will be able to give him more attention to support his potty-training.”
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I agreed on all accounts.
I told her I would discuss with Marty and let her know within the week.
“No pressure. We are certainly willing to keep them together if you want, and we can always put them back together if it doesn’t work.”
I left feeling... sad.
I knew the answer but I wasn’t ready to say it—not quite yet.
Separating them was in their best interests, but admitting it left me facing some realities I don’t always vocalize.
Even though I know they are individuals, I also see them as a pair. As twins. And, pairs and twins, by definition, come in twos. Unless you have experienced it, you can't understand the bond between twins.
I’m not the only one who sees life as a pair—Emily and Drew have never known a minute without each other. While they fight and resist sharing, who else would say at naptime, “Drew, rub my back"?
While I know they have different talents and will continue to develop at different rates, it has, hereto far, been easy enough to ignore that these differences are going to lead them down different paths.
Even though I want them to make friends as individuals, somewhere, deep down, I know they are okay, because they always have at least one friend in the room—each other.
And, let’s not forget the practical side of things—two rooms, two drop-offs, two supply lists, two parties, one mommy. Again, I knew this would happen one day.
Just not quite yet.
So, with mixed feelings, we agreed to separate them.
As I stood outside the class, after drop-off, watching anxiously through the window, I knew in my heart we had made the right decision. For now.
I saw Drew, playing with a truck.
I saw Emily, grabbing a book from the shelf.
Two parts of my heart. Separate.
At the end of the day, I picked them up and put them back together.
Smiles, Words. Fights. Hugs.
Two parts of my heart. Back together again.