As I previously mentioned in ‘Toys for Twin Toddlers‘, my boys’ first birthday brought with it a sudden surge of squabbling. Unfortunately, it hasn’t improved, and we have a major case of twins behaving badly. They’re adorable when they play together, giggle and cuddle each other, but they’re pretty infuriating when they fight over everything in sight, including Mommy cuddles. So… what’s happening, is it to be expected, and will it ever end?
Twins Behaving Badly: High Chair Theft
The double trouble pretty much started when they started feeding themselves. The temptation to snatch a little snack from your brothers high chair is just too much. The grass is always greener, and you’ll be sure his mac n cheese tastes better than yours. Drinks too, why bang one cup on your chair when you can grab your brothers sippy cup and have a full percussion kit? To start with there was little reaction from the inflicted twin, but as time went on they soon realized this is pretty annoying, especially when you want two cups to play with yourself.
Things have got progressively worse, and I even caught George stealing Arthur’s ham to feed to the dog below him last week. Naughty George, although quite genius – you wouldn’t want to waste your own ham on the dog now would you? Obviously this is easily remedied by increasing the distance between their high chairs, although Arthur has mastered the high chair shuffle which really is quite a talent.
And it’s not just high chair theft we’re dealing with either, I Tweeted this a couple of months a go…
Yes, poor George thought his brother was coming in for a kiss, when in fact he was after the cracker hanging out of his mouth at snack time. I now see why George wanted to feed Arthur’s ham to the dog.
Twins Behaving Badly: The Airplane
Despite the success of their shared toys, there is still always something to fight over. Santa made the grave mistake of thinking the Little People airplane was of equal stature to the Little People tractor and trailer. I assure you it is not. Everyday we have tug-of-war over the darn airplane, good job Santa. They will fight over the plane until one gives up and cries, only so they can press the pilot’s chair which plays the exact same tune as the farmer’s chair on the tractor… I’m happy they’re both aspiring pilots though, does that mean I’ll get free upgrades?
Twins Behaving Badly: Just Outright Territorial
The TV seems to be a hot spot for the Twins behaving badly. Despite the 40″ screen it seems there is only space for one of them to stand immediately in front of it at the TV stand. One will barge the other out of the way with an impressively tough butt smack, knocking their brother to the ground in a snotty pool of tears.
Then there’s Mom and Dad, the best prizes of all. When Arthur comes for a cuddle he will glance around to get his brother’s attention, just so he can pass him a smug grin… “Look, Mommy is cuddling me and not you.” Of course this is retaliated with the immediate requirement for a double cuddle, just darling you might think. And yes, there’s a moment when you have two adorable bundles in your arms, a head on each shoulder. Living the twin mom dream.
But it quickly gets competitive. Who can get closer to Mommy’s face? Who can climb higher onto her shoulder and get more direct body contact? It seems winning this Contest of Mom Hugs depends on three things:
- Maximum height reached while climbing Mom;
- Amount of eye contact with Mom;
- Surface area of baby body making direct Mom contact;
Because it is impossible to take a photo during a Contest of Mom hugs I have constructed a diagram to help.
As you can see, at this point I can still see out of one eye, but soon the second baby will catch up and it will just be a big bundle of competitive face hugging.
Twin Escalation Syndrome: It has an Actual Name
“Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES) is the tendency for multiples to intensify and expand their behaviors in reaction to each other. For example, when Twin A cries, Twin B cries louder. In turn, Twin A cries even louder. And so on… Until the parent are crying the loudest of all.” (Pamela Brindle Fierro, verywell.com)
Yep, that pretty much sums it up Pamela, who goes on to say it’s ‘incurable”… sigh.
But, all is not doom and gloom, Pamela does offer sensible suggestions on how to control TES:
- Separation. Now I’m sure no-one is suggesting this as a permanent measure, but I did find it necessary on occasions when Arthur’s screaming was so loud it used to make George cry. More on that here in ‘A New Challenge Every Month‘.
- Distraction. We find the ‘high five’ works well at the moment. And if all else fails there’s always Cheerios.
- Reduce Competition. Hmm… this is a tough one. It’s not like I’m sat there saying “look, George is covering more of my face that you are.” I can see when they’re older I can explain it is time for George’s cuddle, and time of Arthur’s cuddle, but for now I think I’m just going to have to deal with the face scramble and referee where possible.
- Remain Calm. Well, yes, wouldn’t that be nice.
If there’s no cure… Will it ever end?
I’m pretty sure the answer here is no. Twins are inherently competitive, even though it is common for one to be dominant over the other. The identical twin NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly claim there is no competitiveness between them, however in interview with Time magazine…
“Scott flew first,” Mark says,
“but I flew twice before he got his second flight. Then I flew my third before he did.”
(Interview with Jeffrey Kluger, Time)
Come on boys, you’re both grown men and successful astronauts, time to stop fighting over the Little People airplane.
Don’t worry, I can’t leave without some twin cuteness…
Despite all the whining and fighting, the Twins do absolutely adore each other’s company and make the best play companions (when food, the plane, TV or Mom are not involved). Even the dog agrees…
Have you got competitive twins or siblings? If so, do share!