One challenge raising twins is giving them individual attention in their development.
When you have multiples you work out a system that works for everyone, babies included. For instance, with my girls they both had different times they wanted to nap so I would make them meet in the middle, one staying up later and the other going down a bit early. I used this same system for their feedings. Putting them on the same schedule gave this mommy some sanity. For the most part this works great. Developmentally they did everything very close to each other. One walked at 8 months and the other walked 2 weeks later at 8 and half months.
When they began talking is when we hit a bump in the road. They both started with the basics; yes, no, mama, dada. Then the personalities that made them so unique became our challenge. Coppelia has a very dominating personality and Estee is more laid back. So when Coppelia started talking she wouldn’t stop. Just like most twins, ours had a twin language as well. Coppelia knew what Estee wanted or needed and would take care of her so Estee then had no need for using her words. Estee progressed much slower and had pronunciation issues. When Tyler and I couldn’t understand what she was saying she would get very frustrated.
That is what brought us to speech therapy.
Once a week we had a therapist come to our house and she would try and work with Estee. It became very evident that we were going to have to do something with Coppelia during this time because she was not giving Estee room to talk and I needed to be learning how to work with Estee too. Keeping them separated was becoming another challenge.
So I asked Coppelia what she would like to do and she says “Ballet”. Now if it were up to me I would wait till they were older but there happened to be a studio next to Daddy’s office and there was a class offered at the exact time we needed. So we enrolled her in a class and even bought her a pretty new skirt.
Then came the first lesson. Estee and I dropped sister off and got in the car headed home for speech. When Estee was separated from her sister, she had no one interrupting or talking over her, so she was given room to express what is going on.She bursts into tears, “I want to do Nall-Nays!” That is when my stomach dropped and my heart broke.
Estee loved her speech time and her teacher, but given the option she would have loved to take ballet too.
I knew how upset and hurt she was because I had very similar experiences in school. It was just like all those times, when kids got rewarded for doing good at something and no matter how hard you tried, your efforts were never good enough. Ballet classes became the reward for speaking well, and although she may have loved speech before, at that moment, it began to feel like a punishment. Learning should be fun and I couldn’t take that away. Because once you’ve lost it, it’s hard to find it again.
It wasn’t Estee’s fault she was struggling with her speech. So why was she being punished? Finding something for Coppelia to do so that Estee could get some extra help seemed like a logical solution, but with my decision I made speech time no longer as exciting. I tried to make it fun using activities like making cookies or play dough, all activities that were a big deal in our house. But her heart was no longer in it. Speech just wasn’t a special thing anymore. It was something she began to dislike.
When you have multiples it’s so hard not to compare. They are the same age and they eat the same things, see the same things, read and play the same things. But they are not the same person. They have the same parents and the same environment but completely different personalities and gifts. I know I will make mistakes and give them hopefully just enough dis-function to make them funny. But I don’t want my kids to ever feel like I favored one or loved them differently.
We soon dropped in home speech therapy and Estee went to the Elementary school (with the big kids) for her lessons. Estee had her own class, her own teacher and it was her special time. Something sister could not do. Coppelia would love to attend class with her sister, but instead she gets some one on one reading time with mommy in the library and she is happy with that. Estee can look at her homework and learning time as something of excitement and not be set back by a lack of enthusiasm.