From the moment we found out I was carrying identical twin girls, it has weighed on my mind to make sure that each girl grew to be strong, independent, and completely herself. No rhyming names. Embrace their differences while acknowledging that being a twin is very cool. Close but not co-dependent.
It was obvious from the get-go that the girls had very different personalities. Of course, there are some striking similarities (after all, they are sisters), but they are also very different, unique individuals.
Lately I've been trying to figure out how to parent them separately. Sometimes you can (and have to) parent them as a duo, and I feel confident in that. Any parent of more than one child knows that at some point, each child demands their very own brand of parenting, and I was feeling it with the girls.
Last semester Thursdays were drum days. It's kind of a special 5th grade thing to get to take a drum class after school, and both girls wanted to participate. About Thanksgiving, Brooke started telling me that she didn't want to continue with drum during the spring semester. I ignored her, humored her, listed all the reasons why she might miss it, reminded her of how excited she was to start...she stuck to her guns.
In January, when it was time to make her final decision, I let her stop. I pick her up after school every Thursday and leave Mary Tutu to go to drum class. For 2 hours every week, it's just her and me.
At first I thought this time had to be structured and packed with "just you and me stuff". We unboxed her very own, brand new sewing machine that she got 2 Christmases ago. We baked cookies, watched the DVR, cooked new recipes for supper...all stuff that I had planned.
And then I began to realize I had it all wrong with all the structure and the organizing. What she really needed was some space...no partner, no agenda, no activity. Just some room to breathe in her own Brooke air.
She has the run of the house, the TV remote, and room to stretch. I don't make her start homework right away. Sometimes she wants to go to the library, sometimes she watches TV, sometimes she hangs out in the sun room and chats with me, sometimes she wants to sew, sometimes she draws pictures of what her handmade gifts and sandwich shop will look like someday.
In her own way, she let me know what she needed.
It's been good for her. Quitting drums was a good idea. I'm so glad I listened to her.