Wednesday, February 3, 2016

TwinsDay Wednesday: Twin on Twin Violence

These girls of mine have always been risky.

They were risky from the very beginning, when we went to the midwives' office certain that we were losing our baby only to find out there were two babies (and that they were still in some danger).

They were risky when they started trying to be born at 19 weeks, ending up with their mother on bedrest to wait out their gestation, almost afraid to breathe as I counted days and weeks and months while lying on my left side.

It was a very long summer.

Once we all survived their birth, they were pretty safe for a while, until they started moving...and then they crawled off sofas and fell off beds and climbed into each other's cribs and broke the latches on bathroom cabinets to steal toilet paper and roll it down the hall.

Now, the dangers are a little different.

As any pair of preschoolers will tell you, learning to share is not an easy thing. How can I give this thing to you when I very much want it for myself...especially now that I know you also want it?

I can't. It's simple. And if you persist in trying to get it from me, I might punch you. Or shove you. Or smack you in the face with a toy suitcase and give you a bloody nose.

Last week in the back seat of our van, pushed beyond her limits by one of the most persistent, precocious people I know (who happens to be her twin), Nora blew a fuse and gave Lucy her first nosebleed. It bled on and off the rest of the day. After the initial shock, Lucy was rather matter of fact about it (being no stranger to bleeding from her face, unfortunately). We watched it and waited to see if anything serious would develop. When it didn't, we figured it was an isolated incident.

Oh, how silly we were.

Since that day, there have been many blown fuses. Lucy pushes and pushes and pushes Nora's buttons until Nora can no longer hold her temper. Nora erupts and shoves or kicks or bites Lucy. Lucy screams and runs to me for help, and although I'm very much in the "it is never, never okay to hit" camp, I feel a little bad for Nora.

She has all the big feelings. Lucy has a knack for exploiting this. It doesn't seem fair.

People at Costco used to ask if the girls had a special secret language because they were twins. Like so many things that people say to parents of twins, it was a stupid question. Still, they do seem to have a weird connection. Three times yesterday, they got up from the floor at exactly the same time in separate rooms and went running down the hall toward each other, only to collide head first and fall down, each holding her head and crying.

The final time, just before dinner, Nora got a huge goose egg on her head that immediately swelled and turned purple...and Lucy got what I believe is going to be a very impressive black eye.

I can't wait to hear what the people at Costco say about them now.

Is being a twin a lifelong risk factor? Are they always going to be hurting each other? Will it get worse before it gets better? The bigger they get, the more powerful their punches...and they don't seem to be developing much restraint. I never got into a physical fight with any of my siblings, so this is new territory for me- do your kids fight like this? Tell me your stories. I need some perspective!