You try not to compare your twins, but it happens. It becomes especially hard to avoid when Baby A is crawling and Baby B isn’t. Baby A is walking and Baby B still isn’t crawling. Baby A is feeding himself and Baby B isn’t. And the list can go on and on.
It is hard to see one twin get “left behind” while the other is making all their milestones. You want them to be able to do everything together and have this amazing twin bond, but then you start to realize this isn’t going to be what you thought it was going to be. It starts out as a two week skill difference, then 4, then 10, then 3 months, then…. Nine months. You know your twins are going to be two completely different individuals, but you didn’t expect it to be quite like this.
We have often wondered: is Baby A going to resent that we have to spend more time working with Baby B to get him to reach his goals? Or is Baby B going to resent that Baby A gets to do things he can’t do yet? Are they going to feel like I am favoring the other?
A pediatrician explained it to me this way; “The differences are more noticeable to you as a parent than it is to them. To them they have always been different. They have always done different things. Baby B has always been ‘the baby’ while Baby A has always been the ‘big brother’ in their eyes.” Hearing this helped me get over some of the guilt I felt for treating them differently. I knew if we treated them the same at their differing learning levels, THAT would be more unfair than expecting too much of one or not enough of the other.
Still, there are times that you feel guilt. Guilt when you share your excitement the new things Baby A is doing! Why? Because then you know the next question will be “what about Baby B, is he doing that yet?” And you may even feel your heart sink. You know Baby B isn’t even close to reaching those same milestones. But what I have learned is that when Baby B finally reaches a milestone, he had worked a whole lot harder to earn it and that is worth bragging about ten times more!
The little things mean a whole lot more to us. Just last week my Baby B, who is now nearing age four, finally recognized his feelings and vocalized them to me! He can now tell me in words when he is happy and sad. I know this may not seem like a big deal to others, but to a mom who has watched him struggle with language and expressing himself, it means the world to me!
So, why am I sharing this? I want other parents to know that there are many others out there who struggle with the feelings of having one twin who is “different.”
Accepting that your child will be different (whether it is a learning delay or another disability) is a hard reality to come to grips with as a parent, for some it’s harder than others. I know for me there are some days I just wish I could snap my fingers and make it all better. There are some days I wish for “normal” so I didn’t have to translate all my son’s words because he can’t articulate them correctly or even express himself well. So I didn’t have to carry a screaming child out of a public place because he just lost it. So I don’t have to have the bruises that come along with his tantrums. But I know that acceptance from me is the first thing he needs. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can learn to embrace his differences and help him work to reach his potential. If you accept this, then you will become a better parent, a better person. You will be able to get on his level and help him be all he can be.
Maybe you have come past the point that I have and don’t wish things could be “normal.” Maybe I will get there someday. I don’t know, is that a possibility?
For now, we take it day by day. We will have our good days, we will have our bad days. But we will always love each other with all we have.
Jill Marcum – Twiniversity Community Manager