In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

One-On-One Time with Twins

One of the questions I get asked often is if we have one-on-one time with our twins. The answer to that question is yes.  We try to set aside individual time with our twins. As much as they love being together, we also feel it is important that they learn to spend some time.

Twins are born sharing everything.  Our twins shared my womb for 37 weeks.  After being born one minute apart, via cesarean, they immediately had to share their first meal.....and every other meal after that!  One twin attached themselves to my left side, the other to the right side....and when the food was gone, it was gone!  They didn't get to "switch sides", because Brother had already ate from the other side. They were not even outside of the womb for an hour, and they had already been forced to share.  

Our boys share a room, clothes and toys.....and unfortunately they share germs and sickness too!  They share the attention of family and friends.....and even strangers who gawk upon them for their twin status.  They also share me all day long while Daddy goes to work.  And when Daddy comes home, they have to share him too.  I'm glad that sharing has come naturally to our twins, but sometimes they need to claim things as their own. They need to find their own interests, and once in awhile they need some of their own time with Mom or Dad. 

For the above reasons, we knew we were going to be intentional about having one-on-one time with our twins.  One-on-one time with kids, whether you have multiples or not, I believe is important for healthy development.  When you have multiples, I believe parent/child one-on-one time is all the more important, because it is so easy for a multiple to feel like they can only identify with being a multiple, when in fact they are individuals who just happen to look alike.

We practiced one-on-one time with our twins when they were infants.  I say practiced, because I don't think my five month old really cared that he was going out with just Mommy and leaving Brother behind.  To be honest, at that age, "one-on-one time" was just a disguised term for "divide and conquer".  

"Hey honey, why don't you take Aaron with you to run a few errands, and I'll stay here with Ethan and spend time with just him."  Translated that means, "Hey honey, how about you take one baby with you, so I can get a break and know what it feels like to only have one baby to take care of for a little while."  

As toddlers, most of our one-on-one time is intentionally running errands with just one baby. My boys never get to go shopping like normal toddlers and ride in the front of the cart, because they were always strapped in a double stroller.  So when Mommy needs to pick up an ingredient for Saturday night supper, it is the perfect time to leave one baby with Daddy and let one baby come with Mommy to the store.  By the way, when I only have one baby, they think it is the coolest thing to ride in front of the cart and eat a snack.

Right now, one-on-time is pretty easy.  It can even be as simple as one baby being sick on a Sunday morning and staying home for snuggles and cartoons with Mama, while Daddy get the healthy twin ready for church and they got to church together.

When our twins get bigger, we've talked about planning more special activities for one-on-one time, and will keep their individual interest in mind as we make those decisions.  As they enter preschool age it could be a separate Mommy and me class.  When they get a little bigger it could be individual activities with Dad on the weekends. 

We don't necessarily feel as though we have to do something separate with our twins every week.  We don't keep track of it (other than knowing who did what with who last), but when an opportunity arises, we are intentional about spending separate time with our twins.  The entire point of one-on-one time with our twins, is that we are intentionally setting aside a small amount of time to purposefully give individual attention to our children.  

Our boys are still young, but hopefully we will learn to make one-on-one time an intentional habit in our home.

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