It’s a question I get asked a lot about my twins: “Who’s the boss?”
I can honestly say that when it comes to my two, there isn’t one. More often than not, it’ll be Ez directing play (she has always been more independent and her imaginative play has developed faster than Fonz’s), but I wouldn’t say that means she’s in charge. If strong-willed Fonz wants to join in, he will, but make no mistake – it’ll be on his own terms. When he gets bored (as he frequently does), he’ll instantly stop cooperating and either leave Ez to carry on or, more often than not, wind her up by trying to change the game or the way it’s being played. Which infuriates her, obviously.
There are times when both of them are engaged for a long period of time, and there are times when it lasts a minute at most, and then there’s a dispute that brings the play to an end. Sometimes I step in, sometimes I leave them to try to try to reach an agreement themselves. That choice usually depends on the level of violence the disagreement involves. I draw the line at biting chunks out of each other, for example. But otherwise, I reason that conflict resolution is a good skill to have in their arsenal.
And when it comes to behaviour, or the often asked “who’s the naughty one?” question, they switch it up all the time too. When one goes through a challenging period, this often makes the other twin all the more obliging. It’s like they can’t wait to grasp the opportunity to show their sibling up, and so they suddenly become polite, responsive, helpful and generally delightful with the sole intent of highlighting the fact that their sibling’s lying on the floor, kicking and screaming because I’ve had to admit to them that I’m unable to ensure that there’s a sun in the sky instead of rain falling heavily.
I can’t quite decide if I’m better off having them take turns at challenging their boundaries, because having two of them doing it at the same time might actually be enough to make me give up getting out of bed in the morning, or whether it’s a pain because I never seem to benefit from two impeccably behaved toddlers at once (I can’t believe I actually just typed the phrase “impeccably behaved toddler”. As if).
This week we seem to be in a land of Happy Medium, where both twins are just content to be normal toddlers, with the usual unpredictable mix of extreme highs and extreme lows, but in short, sharp bursts rather than 24/7. It’s nice. I’m pretty sure they’re doing it because we have two nights away from them on a mini break to Brighton. Save the best behaviour for the grandparents, right?!