On fighting twins, and needing their independence

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Our new life is so amazing here at the moment. A lovely new house, a new area to discover and excitement still very high for our family.

And next month the twins turn three. Three-years-old. Wow. Where has the time gone?

They are funny. Laugh out loud funny – and so silly. They still find things exciting, amazing, thrilling and wonderful. Even simple things, like a walk. Or a trip to the local park.

But the tantrums and ‘diva strops’ are currently rife. And the fighting between them is truly relentless. And honestly – it’s wearing me out.

We seem to go through phases of arguments. For weeks it will be horrendous, and then it is all rosy again. And then another stage will come – and bring with it another level of arguments. We are currently in a really difficult phase of not even being able to be civil to each other at times.

A friend once said to me (about the twins arguing) that it must be so hard being in the same space as another person, all day, every day. And she was right. If I was in somebody else’s pocket from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep SOME element of that person would annoy me. And boy oh boy does that apply to Harry and Lottie.

But. The problem is, that Harry and Lottie just cannot seem to play (or be) alone. They always need to be in the same corner of the room, the same square of the bouncy castle, the same cushion on the couch or next to each other at the kitchen table. And, as much as I try my best (I try SO hard) to encourage them to split up, and spend a little time apart, they always, always migrate back to each other.

“Play alone” I say. “OK Mummy” they nod, and then will end up rolling around the floor screaming and fighting again only minutes later. I will even physically split them up, and put them into separate rooms and even this does not deter them. Seeking each other out again. This part baffles me. Because why do this if the other person annoys you so much? Maybe they just cannot bear to be apart, even if it is in a negative way.

I cannot work out if this is a twin-thing, or a sibling-thing, or that they are only three-years-old. For they still really are very little. They are my first children too, and so I have nothing else to compare.

I have always been pretty good at taking them out and entertaining them. Soft play, the park, walks. And they are better when we are out. But with all the best will in the world you cannot spend every minute of the day out of the house. And the moments where we try and have down-time and ‘relaxing’ are the worst.

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I think a lot of it stems from dropping their nap lately. They are still pretty tired during the day, but will not go down anymore. Because the afternoon seems the hardest time. And this behaviour is probably also that it is the summer holidays? Boredom and a lack of routine perhaps. And maybe it is partly due to the house move and this huge change that we have been through in our lives. Playing up for attention maybe?

Whatever it is – I am drinking far more latte, complaining to Hubby more, and taking MANY more deep breaths in and out. I have tried the naughty step, taking away favourite toys, and saying “Wait until your Father gets home”. Nothing appears to work.

Hubby and I have therefore this weekend just discussed trying spending more time on our own with one of them – to try to encourage a little more independence and for them to develop themselves away from each other a little more. Whilst we love the fact that they have an amazing twin-bond, we also believe that they need some time apart each week. Even if it is only a few hours. We have therefore decided to try an activity at the weekends – separately. Perhaps Harry starts football, and Lottie tries ballet. Hubby and I will swap who we attend with each week so that we get to spend time with each one regularly. If anything this will be a nice way to spend Saturday mornings, and then get back together and all discuss what we have been up to.

I have no idea if things will improve, or if it just a phase, or if it makes matters worse. Who knows?

However if anyone does have a magic wand then do please send. Or answers on a postcard please.

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13 Comments

  1. August 24, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    Oh Jess I’m feeling your pain and anguish through your post. I know how difficult it was with one three year old, let alone twins. It’s so hard but I think all the things you are doing are right. I love the idea of the two separate activities too and then changing which one you both go to each week – great idea.
    I’m sending wine, chocolate and hugs your way lovely lady xxx
    Sammy at Seize each day recently posted…Larmer Tree Festival 2015 – the best bitsMy Profile

    • August 24, 2015 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks and am much appreciative of it!! I know, I realise we’ve had a lot on this Summer, and three isn’t an easy age – but they can drive me mad! LOL! Thanks goodness for tea and wine. Hurrah! xx

  2. Nicola
    August 24, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Hi Jess, I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while & enjoy your blogs. My first comment as I remember entering this stage (I have just turned 4 year old twin girls), one thing we did was implement a reward system for good behaviour (the focus is on good rather than bad behaviour) they get 3 treats (a marshmallow, a pack of raisins, hair clips, whatever they’re into which are small) every day if they’ve been good. They get 3 warnings before they lose a treat so get plenty of chances to stop what they’re doing. At first we had the treats in a clear plastic bag in the kitchen in clear sight so they would be reminded of them & if they lost one, they saw the treat being removed. It’s worked wonders for us, we still get the naughty behaviour but it usually stops quite quickly. We started it when we moved out girls to beds (3.3 years) & are still using it today. I dread the day it stops having an effect!! Sorry for the long essay!

    • August 25, 2015 / 8:28 pm

      Thank YOU so much!! Trying this out now as I type. Amazing advice and really, really appreciated the comment. Needed it so much! Bad days are hard to see through the fog. Big loves and kisses to you! xx
      Jess recently posted…Decorating the children’s bedrooms with Laura AshleyMy Profile

  3. August 24, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    Jess my two have a five year gab but at time have bene horrendous, they are so much better now they are older but still go out of they’re ways to aggravate each other at times. Yes when they get on they are so great together. When I think back I was the same with my brother. My Mums laughs and says it mothers revenge ha ha x
    Sarah Christie recently posted…Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World, Our VillaMy Profile

  4. August 26, 2015 / 2:20 pm

    I understand this so much, my boys have been very much the same! They’re not twins but they’re very alike personality wise but have driven me mad plenty of times – I had a 3 day girly break to escape only on Sunday and it’s helped me to come back and be more relaxed 🙂 I think it’s a mixture of all things, boredom & beimg in each others pockets constantly! summer hols are nearly over .. We can do it!!! Xxx
    Imogene @ little and big recently posted…Freddie’s First Toucan BoxMy Profile

    • August 26, 2015 / 7:20 pm

      We can. Only 2 weeks to go (deep breaths!). Ahhh thank you, that really helps. It helps knowing it isn’t just Harry & Lottie who can’t get along at times. Thanks for your comment xx
      Jess recently posted…Home Etc #15My Profile

  5. August 27, 2015 / 1:19 pm

    My boys are two and have already started with some major fighting, yet they do exactly the same thing. They seem to have an imaginiray bungy cord between the two. You move them away from each other whilst playing, bathing, coloring, watching television and eating and they just shoot back right to where they were irritating each other. It must be a twin thing. I dont know.

    Let me know if you ever find a solution that works.
    In the meantime, good luck and enjoy those extra lattes.
    Christine Kenny recently posted…10 Things to Expect in a Twin PregnancyMy Profile

    • August 28, 2015 / 11:03 am

      Thanks 🙂 Good to know you find the same thing. Must be hard to be apart, but highly annoying sharing toys!! Good luck to us both xxxx
      Jess recently posted…Home Etc #15My Profile

  6. October 14, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    Oh Jess! Same boat ! My boys will be 4yrs next month and I am posing as a Refree / Judge for 24 hrs minus their sleep time. They cannot stand apart eachother yet cannot play more than five minutes together! Fight , hurting, crying, complaining. Uff ! I am totally drowned ! I have tried many tricks and nothing would work for long time. I hope this will wean out slowly as they grow up and get matured. Fingers crossed 🙁 Till then all I urge for is more patience 🙂
    Janani Viswanathan recently posted…#InfertilityNotATaboo – She is not a Barren Woman but Tough and StrongMy Profile

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