Thursday, February 16, 2012

Twins and Emotional Development

I am incredibly blessed to have twins.  It was a lot of hard work when they were babies, but now I think it's actually making my life a lot easier.  I love that they have each other to play with - they are constantly coming up with such creative play ideas.  Whenever they are playing together in their room and I peek in, they are making up a new game to play - cooking food for their stuffed animals, putting their blankets on the floor and pretending they are splashing in a bathtub, picking apples off imaginary trees, making an obstacle course for themselves, etc..  Sometimes I try to join in and they give me a look and ask me to leave so they can play with each other.  Having a playmate their own age, 24-hours a day, allows me to keep my work-at-home job and be confident that they are far from being bored.

It's also amazing how much having a twin has escalated their emotional development.  From developmental milestone lists I've seen, children at this age (30 months) typically still play side-by-side rather than cooperatively like the twins do.  They've also developed deep empathy for each other.  If one girl is crying, her twin will come up to her and give her hugs and kisses, telling her not to cry.  Although they do often imitate what I do, I can tell that they are genuinely concerned for each other.  My husband told me that one time when he was watching them, one of the twins bumped her head and the other one started crying. 

Sharing and taking turns is also a skill that I think twins are forced to deal with much earlier than other children.  The girls are constantly bringing each other their stuffed animals, sharing food and toys, and taking turns at games.  If one girl takes a toy from the other and the first starts crying, she will give the toy back.  They tell each other "thank you" all the time, too.   Last night before E went to bed, she gave L's teddy bear a kiss and then gave it to her.  L told me "I love sharing with my sister!". 

I haven't taken the girls to their usual classes (Little Gym, Kindermusik, Storytime at the Library) this winter because Baby H is still little and I don't want them to bring colds home, so they haven't done a lot of socializing with kids their age for the last 5 or 6 months.  I'm very curious to see if their advanced sharing and empathy skills carry into interactions with other kids outside the family.

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