I love blogs. I love reading about other people's experiences, kids, lives. Perhaps it's voyeuristic. I would like to think it's because I enjoy learning about people, learning from them: people who may or may not have very different lives from me; people who, quite obviously, all have something to say.
Of course, this also brings out the criticism in other people. 'Mommy wars'…blah blah vomit. Just seeing that term makes me want to gouge my eyes. The people who instigate it (the extremists who emerge and yap yap yap about nothing because they have too much time) bring out my evil alter ego. When will they realize that it's pointless? That my kid is different from your kid is different from their kid? That we all have something different to offer? And isn't that what makes us all so interesting?
Having twins is a social experiment in this philosophy. They learn, play, reach milestones at essentially the same time. The live parallel lives. But how we treat one evokes a completely different reaction in the other. Three years into it and we know now how to subtly adjust ourselves in order to effectively address the needs and personalities of each twin. But pre-birth, I was so naïve. I stupidly believed I could parent them the same way — one-size-fits-all parenting!
I'm not talking about doling out uneven punishments, or favoring one over the other. I'm talking about two kids falling at the same time, hurting the same exact knees, and having the same exact scratches; two kids who are both clearly hurt but Twin A almost always crying inconsolably while Twin B almost always just stands and watches Twin A cry. And I realize that my reaction to both of them (tallied along with my reactions during many incidents just like this) may have lasting impressions. Always console Twin A, gloss over Twin B? This theory: “Make a big deal of it and they will too”? Uh-uh — not true. I am obviously with both of them during these incidents. How I react may have some impact, but their reactions…? All theirs.
'Nurture,' I used to think, would be my parental base; i.e., the way I parent will dictate the people our little ones will become. Now I realize how dumb that was. Don't get me wrong: I believe our parenting provides an outline for our kids' behaviors/manners/morals. But these babies come hardwired.
I should have given nature more credit. I know better now.
Recently, I asked my husband and his brother about a specific topic from their childhoods. They're only two and a half years apart, but their recollections are vastly different from one another's. Two children who grew up in the same house, with the same parents, the same morals and upbringings…two children who have two very different perspectives on the same memories.
Hardwired indeed. They absorbed the material differently because they are two different people. You would think I could have grasped that concept before the twins were born. Alas, I am no genius. In fact, you may conclude that I am quite dense. But am I the only one who is fascinated and intrigued by this?
Our twins are deliciously different. I watch them, a little bit perplexed, a little bit in awe. I try and look at the world through their eyes: one looking behind orange sunglasses, the other behind purple ones. The view is the same but the hue is different.
I love learning vicariously through them. Their emotions, their sympathy, their reactions — all there but coming from two completely different places. I wish the rest of the Internet (*ahem* the extremist parents) could look out through my kids' eyes as well. Maybe then these parents would understand that everyone is different, that their choices — while fine for them and their kids — may not be suitable for the next person. My kids and their awesomely differing perspectives are the most shining examples of that philosophy. Seriously. You should come take a peek. The views are both beautiful.