After our stay in hospital we are still dealing with the aftermath…
While both girls are almost 100% healthy now, they are both role playing their experiences during play as a way to deal with it all. The Dr’s sets are seeing a lot of action but there is also another thread to their play – about being apart.
Our girls have pretty much never been apart. It is only in the last 12 months that they have even shown an inkling of wanting to do things on their own and they have only twice chosen to do different things and actually followed through with it. Both occasions when they chose to be apart it was when one chose to go somewhere with Daddy and the other chose to stay with me, the time apart was less than 30 minutes on both occasions. I think there has only ever been two other times they have been apart, once when Izzy was moved across the hall to SCN while Zoe was still in NICU for about 24 hours when they were 6 weeks old, and the other when Zoe had a Dr’s appointment and we decided to make Izzy wait with Daddy…. Both times it has not been through their choice and both times they were not happy about it (ok I am guessing they were not happy when they were in hospital as babies, they were certainly more unsettled and our pediatrician made sure they got back side by side asap).
So for Izzy to wake up and suddenly discover Zoe was not within arms reach of her for the first time that she could remember must have been a bit of a shock, to say the least….
Zoe was too busy trying to breathe to really notice it but it was the first thing she asked for the morning of our first day in hospital. The nurses were trying to get her to eat some breakfast and all she could do was cry in my arms and say ‘I want Izzy’…. that was the the moment I realised how big a deal this was going to be, and not just because she was so unwell.
Izzy stayed with my parents (and Daddy when he was not at work) while Zoe and Muski and I were in hospital. She couldn’t have been better looked after or with anyone who loved her more, and she adores spending time with them and being totally spoilt. But from all reports Izzy had a really tough time. My Mum says that she’d never have believed a child so young could be ‘depressed’ but that was exactly how Izzy seemed. She would go upstairs to their room, curl up on the bed and just lay there for hours, talking to herself. They both often narrate their play but Izzy was talking to herself as herself and then replying as Zoe. She asked over and over where Zoe was, trying to get it all straight in her mind and was always anxious to come in and visit.
When Izzy first came into visit at lunch time on the first day she climbed up on Zoe’s bed and it was like they had never been apart. Zoe looked brighter and her O2 levels were better than they had been previously. Izzy was pretty sick too that first day and her and I spent a few hours down in the ED getting assessed and medicated before I took her home…. I had thought that if she arked up when I left to go back to the hospital that I would just take her with me, she could have slept in the fold out bed with me, heck what is one more child when I already had two there! But she was hungry and tired and sick and most of all angry with me and I think with Zoe too, so she stayed with my parents for the rest of the time we were away…and they both pined for each other.
Partly I love that they are so attached to each other. I can think of a lot of reasons why being a twin might not be so great, but overwhelmingly the good thing is that they will always, ALWAYS, have each other. But now I can see that this attachment can really have a downside.. especially when you have never been through it before and you are only three and don’t quite understand.
I have fairly strong opinions about forcing my girls to separate. I won’t do it. If they want to be in the same class at school, if they want to do everything together then I will fight for their right to choose that. But…. now that I have seen how hard it is for them to be apart when they have no choice I am wondering if I shouldn’t be trying to do something to make it easier? Surely it is inevitable that one day they will be forced to be apart again… and I don’t ever want to see my girls so heart broken.
Maybe having been through it once if it happens again they will be better prepared and I shouldn’t worry too much. I also don’t believe you should ‘practice something awful, just in case something bad might happen’… no one starves themselves to get used to it, just in case there might be a famine! So I am hoping that they are able to play through some of their issues arising from this, and we have and will keep talking about it. Still, I am left with the feeling that maybe now is the time to start offering more occasions for them to chose to be apart? Maybe they are ready for it and will choose it with joy? Maybe not. Maybe it is just me that isn’t ready to deal with my pair being apart!
Any twin Mum’s out their with experience?
I’ve tried googling but most of the study done on twins relates to the general population and is not specifically about twins which frustrates me no end. I know enough child development to know that my girls’ social development is quite different to that of your average singleton and I am sure being a twin affects other areas of development too, but do you think I can find any information or studies about any of it!?!? Maybe one day I will do my PhD on it! ROFL!