For us, this makes sense. Sometimes.
I don’t think separating twins at school needs to be a hard-and-fast rule that happens every year. Parents—who know their twins best—should be the ones making that call. (And I get super annoyed when parents’ wishes are overruled—but I’ll save that soapbox for another post).
The point is, sometimes my twins need space and sometimes they don’t.
In preschool, my twins were separated.
Back then, Jorai was The Decision Maker. She decided everything and she also did all the talking. “Joss wants milk with her lunch,” Jorai would announce to the teachers. Or, “Joss wants to read the same book as me.” She also kept track of Jasiel’s bathroom needs: “Joss needs to go check for ‘potty-drips.’ She needs her PRIVATE-SEE!”
For the most part, Jasiel was content to go along with Jorai’s plans. That is, until she discovered she preferred water with lunch, liked math better than reading and could use the potty by herself (without Jorai standing watch nearby).
The preschool teachers also noticed that my girls needed some space and asked if I would agree to separating them.
Wanting to encourage their individuality, I agreed.
At first, Jorai was devastated. What would she DO without her twin? Who would she check on and protect?
Jorai was so determined to keep tabs on Jasiel that one day she convinced Jasiel to switch teachers. She later explained that she “just wanted to see” what Jasiel was working on in the other classroom. You know, “make sure” Jasiel was doing OK without her.
It took half the school day day before the teachers realized what had happened. Both twins were absolutely delighted they had successfully tricked their teachers for that long and spent the ride home from school cackling maniacally about the goings-on in each other’s classrooms. They were very pleased with themselves.
I chuckled, too. It was a pretty clever little trick for a four year old. But still, I’m the Mom and it’s my job to teach the twins that lying to teachers is not OK.
“That’s lying?” Jorai was stunned. “B-b-but we were just having fun!”
Jasiel, seeing an opportunity for one-upping her sister, snootily declared: “Oh, YES, Jorie. That was a lie and lying is a siiiinnnn!”
What a little stinker.
“Oh, please, Jasiel,” I said. “You went along with it. Now, no more tricks and lying to your teachers, ok?”
Begrudging ‘oks” from the backseat.
Eventually, the twins settled into their new, separate routine at school and developed their own friends.
But when they reached Kindergarten, they had individualized enough and I requested they stay together. So, they were reunited and it was a relief. I didn’t have to keep track of two different homework assignments, different teachers, different classrooms. This year, I requested they stay together again. But I forgot that first grade is when little girls start making best friends and because the twins are in the same class, the Girl Drama is multiplied.
Jasiel has come home crying three times because another girl wanted to play with Jorai but NOT with her. I usually don’t get too caught up in the Little Girl Drama because I know how quickly and easily these things resolve themselves. One day there could be a huge, life-shattering OH-MY-GOSH-SHE-WON’T-TALK-TO-ME drama and five minutes later, everyone is BFFs again.
I also rarely intervene with other children because it’s my philosophy that we can never control what other kids do. We can only control ourselves. I tell my kids that if they don’t like the way so-and-so is behaving, go find someone else to play with.
But with twins, it’s a little trickier.
Repeatedly, other little girls are attempting to get between my twins. I didn’t see that coming.
It’s not that Jasiel minds if Jorai plays with other girls. But she does mind being intentionally left out.
Jasiel: “Jorai said there wasn’t room for me on the monkey bars but there was! I saw it!”
Jorai: “Well, so-and-so didn’t want Jasiel on the monkey bars with us so I told Jasiel to stay off!”
Jasiel (crying): “Jorrriiieeeee! That’s so MEEEAN!”
This has happened several times so yesterday, we had a Sit Down Talk. This is what I told the twins:
Jorai, who will be your sister after first grade is over? That’s right. Jasiel. She’s your #1 Friend because she will be your sister after first grade and after second grade and all the way through high school! She will always be your sister. Jasiel will be with you for your whole life. I’m glad you like to play with so-and-so. I’m glad you’re learning to make new friends. But making new friends doesn’t mean excluding your #1 Friend, your sister Jasiel. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to leave her out. You need to treat each other like best friends because you ARE best friends! If so-and-so only wants to play with you, then you say: ‘Me and my sister are a package-deal! When you make one friend, you get two!
The twins loved this. They have started calling each other “#1 Friend!”
I think that’s super cute—as long as they don’t start calling other kids #2.
Twins. What an adventure.