Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not Quite Yet

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.

Last day.

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.


Tasha said...

My heart is breaking for you, but somewhere deep, deep down inside I think you did the right thing.
I don't know when or how it could ever happen for my guys. They have never been apart....ever!
I think all children need time apart.

Kelly said...

Such a tough decision. I think one of the hardest parts is letting go a little and realizing they are growing up. I Haven't had to make that decision yet, but our situation sounds the same. Claire runs the show and speaks for Max often. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Samantha said...

So tough! Trust your gut, you know your kids better than anyone.

yetunde said...

I did this when my girls were 2 years old for pretty much the same reasons as yours. Logically, it was a good idea but I wasn't expecting the little things like 1) Spice not bonding with her room teacher 2)Spice becoming withdrawn and showing signs of speech and developmental regression 3) Sugar blossoming in her own room.

I had our daycare center move them back to the same class and I'm glad I did. I probably won't try separate classes again until they're close to KG age.

Long-winded comment eh?! I'm sharing to let you know that its a good decision but don't be afraid to change things around if it looks like Em and Drew are not ready yet.

Rory Bore said...

It truly is something so different and so hard on a mommy's heart - of twins that is.

there was a set of twin girls that lived across the street from me...and it took until Grade 1 for them to be willing to be in separate classes. they really did function better near each other until then.

But the triplet boys behind, yeah. teachers pretty much wanted them in 3 different schools. LOL

As for me....I want to separate mine several times daily! :)

Tami said...

I knew a set of twins growing up and they were in separate classrooms. At the end of the day they were back together again, all smiles.

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