Sharing a post today from my friend Barb, mom to five-year old B/G twins Jacob and Sarah, and almost-three year old Adam. She writes about the relationship between her fraternal twins, coupled with the brother / sister relationship among her three children.
Lately, I feel like I’m sitting in on some Sociology experiment. Twin Stereotypes vs Gender stereotypes. As my 3 children grow and develop their own personalities and interests, it’s been really interesting watching how they interact with each other.
Twin relationships are always an interesting topic for people. People always wonder do they have a special bond, do they do twin talk, do they complete each others’ sentences, can they sense emotions? etc. I think having twins of any kind – but in my case – fraternal boy/girl twins – has been an interesting experience as a parent as you try to avoid gender stereotypes, try to give them their own unique opportunities and encourage their own individual personalities. It is special to watch the friendship that my two share – how they get along, how they take care of each other, how they play together, how they are stronger together. It’s even more interesting for me, now that they are in school, to hear from others on how their relationship is perceived and what other people observe about them as individuals and as a duo.
When Adam came along, part of me wondered and worried if he’d ever feel left out – would Jacob and Sarah build up a relationship so strong that he couldn’t join in? I think their close age has helped avoid that – they don’t really remember life without Adam in it. But what I didn’t really think about was how would they all mingle together? We’ve heard “2’s company and 3s a crowd….” – is 3 a tough combination to handle??
Well – it’s been interesting. I’m very fortunate, that at this age/stage – all 3 kids get along very well together. Sure, we have plenty of moments where Adam is into his siblings’ stuff and they don’t want him to touch it…and other times when Jacob is rough and tumble and too much for Sarah…and many times where Sarah is bossing the other 2 around. But in the big picture – all 3 play well together, help each other out and generally have fun together.
There are times when all 3 are engaged together – some game or make-believe scenario – but many times – they end up in a pair and a singleton and it’s interesting to observe at those times.
Many times, it’s Jacob and Sarah together – making up some more elaborate story or game, something that requires more complex imaginations and vocabulary where Adam just can’t keep up so he wanders off and does his own thing. He doesn’t seem jealous. He’s content to grab a book, play with his trains or play a game by himself (his new thing). He will occasionally try to work his way back into their ‘game’ and see if he can figure out what they are doing and where he fits in. They usually allow him to enter, but at times do gang up against him and get upset that he’s in the way of what they’re doing. He retaliates as the pesky little brother – grab their toy and run.
Almost as often, I find the boys joining forces – in very gender-stereotypical ways. If either boy wants to play trucks or trains – they ask the other boy – not Sarah. Jacob is more likely to ask Adam to play outside with him because he seems to know Adam is more into the running and climbing than Sarah is. She’d rather be inside, near me, coloring or playing a game. Sarah does join in once in a while during those times, but again, she doesn’t seem to feel left out or worried about the boys doing their thing. I have also noticed, if she does try to join in, they are not resistant like she and Jacob sometimes are to Adam.
It’s pretty rare to find Sarah and Adam joining forces. If they do, it’s in a ‘motherly’ way as she helps him do something. Adam invites Jacob to play with him more often while Sarah is more his ‘backup plan’ if Jacob isn’t interested in what he wants at the time. Sarah seems more likely to ask Jacob to do something with her. Jacob seems to be in a win-win situation as he has good options either way, depending on what he wants to do.
It’ll definitely be interesting to see how their relationships evolve as they get older. I hope they all continue to be close friends and not just siblings – especially when they’re older.
For those of you with boys and girls, multiples and singletons, how do play patterns evolve at your house?
Thanks again to Barb for such great insight! Barb blogs at My Sweet Life with Two Twinkies and a Cupcake.