The Individuals Within the Group

Posted on May 6, 2017. Filed under: Multiple Birth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Our multiples all arrive at the same time (obviously).  Not so obviously, because they have (inadvertently) been identified as a group because of their births, they are also individuals within the group.   They are not a package and you, as the parents, have the capability to make sure that their individuality is also celebrated.   Some great hints to encourage their individuality while also respecting their special and unique bond, are following.

If you have any ways you helped encourage your babies’ individuality, please let us know.  

~Don’t give them rhyming names, or even names beginning with the same letter.         ~Don’t continually dress them alike.  Once is a while won’t hurt, but not continually.         ~Have a Baby Book and Photo Albums PER child.  Otherwise, who does the one book belong to?                                                                                                                                                 ~Always have a birthday cake PER child                                                                               ~Always sing Happy Birthday PER child                                                                       ~Encourage family and friends not to send cards for Twins.  Who opens the card?  Who owns the one card?  WW3 could start here.                                                                              ~Do not compare the children to each other (your brother uses the potty, you need to as well) nor let others compare them.                                                                                                  ~Because there is a built-in comparison with multiples, take the word “Twin” or “Triplet” out of the situation and deal with the solutions on individual basis.  AS LONG AS EACH CHILD PROCEEDS AT HIS OR HER OWN RATE AND CONTINUES TO MEET MILESTONES, DON’T PUSH THINGS.  BRINGING UP MULTIPLES IS NOT A RACE OR COMPETITION.  Each child needs to be who they are, even in the multiple-birth setting.

Enjoy those babies and children!!!

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Twins, Triplets and more are Also Individuals

Posted on February 19, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

A parent’s challenge is to respect the multiple-birth bond, but also encourage their children to become happy, healthy individuals.  It can be easier to do things within the group and there is certainly much less pressure to socialize multiples, but are we doing them a favour when we constantly see them only or the majority of the time as a part of group?  I don’t think so.  I also think it is better for the children to be introduced to their separateness while they are still young, the younger the better.  In that way, doing somethings without their co-multiple(s) becomes a natural part of their lives and who they are.  Here are some ideas on encouraging your multiples to also go it alone:

1.  Encourage individual preferences, likes and dislikes amongst the children.  This can range from food choices, to book choices, to sport choices, to course choices.  Letting them choose their own clothes for the the day can also help them feel comfortable with choices that pertain to each of them individually.

2.  Grandparents may take only one for a sleepover.  This is so win/win for children, parents and grandparents.

3.  Going on an errand?  One on one time can be hard to have happen with multiples, so work that time in in the natural flow of things.  Take only one child on the errand: to the bank, for groceries, to the drugstore.  These little times apart present opportunities for parents to learn about each child’s particular ideas, thoughts, fears, and interests.  Helps with bonding as well.

4.  Don’t constantly dress them alike.  When they look like a package, they will be perceived as a package by everyone.

5.  This also goes for rhyming names.  We can do our children a huge disservice when we chose their names.  We are not always present to protect them as Larry, Harry and Gary need to go it alone sometimes.  Don’t help make them a target of ridicule over something they have had no control over even though the names may be a family tradition or because the parent thinks it is “cute.”.

6.  Separating their school classrooms can be an obvious choice.  They still see each other at lunch and recess but lessons are separate.  Stories at the end of the day are individual, with no competition between them.

7.  There is another very important reason to help our multiple-birth children also be able to be apart.  They arrive in the world together but they most likely will not leave the world together.  Giving them tools to learn to be separate from each other may be an important step in helping them deal with the future when their “We” will become “I.”  I have worked in multiple-birth bereavement support for nearly 25 years and it breaks my heard to hear from grown-up surviving multiples who cannot accpet or go on without their co-sibling.  They are stuck, in unbearable grief and cannot go.  Some are also suffering from survivor’s guilt.  Of course they will miss this very close person whom they have been together with since the beginning, that is natural.  What we don’t want is an inability to move forward, live a good life, and be happy just because their co-multiple has died.  A worse case scenario would be if the survivor(s) wished to join their deceased multiple.  Giving them some tools to be separate from each other at the beginning of their lives, while still enjoying and celebrating their bond, could be a gift that will present itself many years down the road.  You, as the parents, may not be alive to console and hold, so it will be even more important that the survivor(s) be able to work through their grief in a healthy manner.   Please remember that your children are individuals and multiples.

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Treating multiples as individuals

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A good rule of thumb when dealing with twins, triplets or more and you are having challenges with behaviour, bedtimes, mealtimes, curfews, allowances and so much more, is to ignore the fact that they are multiples and ask yourself:  “how would I handle things if they were singleton children?”  Very often treating each child as an individual with individual interests, focuses, ideas, behaviour, growth and more, offers the solution.  Example:  a mother with triplets, two girls and a boy, shared that her son required less sleep (they were 15 months old) than her daughters and as they were all in the same room, he woke earlier and then bugged his sisters until they woke up.  In essence she was left with 3 cranky children for different reasons (one had no playmate and the other two needed more sleep time).  I advised that she had a natural split between the 3 and that at a certain point they would need to separate the children for privacy reasons, why not do it sooner rather than later?  She responded, “But they are triplets…..”   The parents were so stuck on the fact that they were triplets and ‘needed’ to be together, that they were unable to see that the children needed, quite early in their lives already, a different response for their individual needs.  If they had all been singletons, I suspect the answer of giving them separate rooms would have been more obvious.  Multiples do not need to be together just because they are multiples.  They need to separated for little periods of time to get used to being separate and enjoying the freedom of discovering their own interests and abilities; and they need to be together when there are family events, special occasions, mealtimes and so on, just like any of our children with benefit from.  Cheers!

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