Aideen Glynn’s weekly column as published in the Waterford News & Star Well! magazine
HAVING twins has been a blessing there’s no doubt. They have provided endless entertainment, constant drama and hilarious moments. They have provided double the love, hugs and tender moments too. However, being a parent of twins has meant that I have had to adapt myself and learn to react to things quickly. It has meant that I have to tailor my emotions to address the vastly different needs of two vastly different people at exactly the same moment. So now that we are here, at this particular moment, I am in a dilemma. For the Leaving Certificate Exam Results are out. The college choices are out. The start of the rest of their lives has begun. Exciting times. But maybe not. What happens if these are exciting times for one twin and devastating times for the other? What if one has done well and the other hasn’t done quite so well? What if one is delighted and one is despairing? How do I handle that? I want to celebrate with the one who is pleased and happy and who deserves celebrating. Yet I want to be consoling, supportive and understanding of the one who may not have done so well. So basically I have to split myself in two and at this crucial moment my reaction will forever be remembered by both of them.
‘This next stage in their lives will be probably the first extended period they have spent away from each other. They went to the same Montessori, started Junior Infants sitting side by side and entered through the secondary school gates together…’
Then once the exams are put behind them there is the issue of the debs’ ball. What if one gets a date and one doesn’t? What if one gets the outfit they have dreamed about and the other one doesn’t? Again, how do I cut myself in two and be what each of them needs at that exact moment? I think I might check myself into a home for the bewildered until September.
But the thing is, these feelings of confusion and conflict I may be experiencing are nothing compared to what they must be feeling. This next stage in their lives, this transition to college life will be probably the first extended period they have spent away from each other, should it occur. They went to the same Montessori, started Junior Infants sitting side by side and entered through the secondary school gates together. They have shared experiences of all sorts; they have supported each other, fought with each other and helped each other for all their lives so far. But this could all change now. In a matter of weeks they are potentially facing the biggest separation of their young lives so far. One or both of them could be flying the nest and settling elsewhere for the foreseeable future. How is that going to affect them? How will they manage without their other half? How will they cope on their own?
Well, there’s very little I can do as their parent to help them over this period of transition. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe having to separate will mean they become more self-reliant and independent. They will have individual friends, a whole new life without the other and will have a lot of chatting to do when they catch up. Plus it might be easier for me to support them, encourage them and be what each of them needs when they are separated. I have no idea. Time will tell how they and we cope with the new reality that faces us in September. They could be home with us or they could be away beginning their whole new life. Either way I wish them the best they can be, the courage to explore their new life and the confidence to know that they’ve got this… shh Mum’s the Word.
Parenting Fail of the Week
There was a little fountain in the middle of the beautiful hotel garden with a raised cement path around it. It was here that I watched a parent place a little toddler who was only barely wobbling. The little one was trying to run, trying to catch the water and trying to stay upright all in one. My heart was in my mouth as I watched, thinking that it would take just one distracted moment for the little one to fall into the water itself and be swallowed up. And one distracted moment is all it takes.
Aideen’s Parenting Hacks
Despite what it may often seem, most children do not get up in the morning plotting and scheming about how best to frustrate you. Every day is a new day and every day brings new challenges. Meltdowns and explosions usually mean that the child is tired, bored, frustrated or hungry. They need an adult to help them find the words when they have none of their own and sometimes a hug goes a long way, especially when they are at their most unlovable.