Not sure what the new Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years is about? We are launching a series of excerpts of the essays from the book to give you a taste of what to expect when you purchase the book. To kick things off, here’s a relatable essay by Whitney Fleming on whether to keep her twins in the same classroom or not.
This is an excerpt of Separation Anxiety by Whitney Fleming from Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years.
My husband and I felt that as long as our girls were in a classroom together, neither would feel alone. Except, what we really meant was Olivia would never be alone.
“Well, my plan was to keep them together, but, um, what do you think?”
“Well, Olivia is doing great, I mean, really great. But I don’t think she realizes how well she is doing as it’s never as good as Payton. When you have a sister that always finishes first, or gets a hundred on every test, your best doesn’t always seem as good.”
“Did Olivia tell you this?”
“No, but I can see it when I hand back papers sometimes. She looks at her sister’s grades when they put it in their folders or mailboxes, but doesn’t seem to care about anyone else’s scores.”
“Oh, I had no idea,” I respond sadly. My husband and I thought we were doing our daughter a favor, and never imagined she would get discouraged. “I think I’ll talk to my husband about it. And Olivia.”
The thought of separating my twins turned my stomach. How would we know if something happened to her in class? What if she was picked on or bullied? Would she be able to operate as well in the classroom without her sister?
I also contemplated the opposite. What if keeping Olivia in class with her twin was holding her back from even more progress? What did it mean for Payton to feel responsible for her sister? What benefited me and what would benefit them?
Were they stronger together or apart?
If separated, both girls would have to work on opening up, making contact, and finding ways to connect with other kids to make friends. This competence doesn’t come as naturally to Olivia as it does to her sister, but both needed the opportunity to strengthen this important life skill.
Additionally, now that Olivia was finding her self-confidence, I did not want her to predetermine her destiny by labeling herself as not the ‘smart one’ or ‘athletic one.’ She needed the opportunity to find out what made her special, as opposed to being special solely because she is a twin.
Later that day, after my girls jumped off the bus, I sat them down for a talk over a snack and a glass of milk. “What if you guys were in different classrooms next year for second grade? What do you think about that?”
I was surprised when my quiet, speech-delayed daughter spoke right up and replied, “I think it’s a good idea. But we’ll still get to share a room though, right?”
Surprisingly, it was the alpha female who looked sad. “But I’ll miss Olivia,” Payton shouted, near tears.
“You’ll still see her all the time, honey. And you’ll appreciate each other even more if you don’t see her for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“Okay then. I’ll do it,” she said bravely.
And the girls never looked back.
Pre-order the digital version of Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years for just $2.99 now! You’ll receive the book automatically on the launch day, August 4, 2017.
Whitney Fleming is a writer and social media/marketing consultant who enjoys life in the burbs of Chicago. When not working or chauffeuring her children to various activities, she enjoys traveling with her friends and family, cooking and wine tasting. When she can do all three at the same time, it is a perfect day. You can follow her on Facebook or her blog.