It’s no secret that I found raising twins very difficult, especially for those first two years.  I have no idea how I actually did that; it’s easily the biggest challenge I’ve overcome to date.  When Marin came along, I joked that she’d always be my favorite for not splitting herself into TWO PEOPLE.

Having a singleton after having twins was a breeze.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  For a long time, I totally credited the ease to the fact that she was just ONE BABY.  However, as she’s gotten older, I’ve reached a new realization:  Marin and I get along really, really well.

My twins and I have always butted heads.  They are both very strong, stubborn personalities.  They don’t back down for ANYTHING, EVER, NO WAY, NO HOW.  As they’ve gotten older, maturity has helped with this some, but if pushed they will RESIST UNTIL DEATH. It’s a trait I have deep respect for, really, because that kind of conviction– while hard to parent– will serve them well someday.

This is not to say that Kate and Joan and I are not close, because we are.  David and I practice (our own version of) attachment parenting, which has led to close and healthy attachments with our children.  My girls are very in tune with me, they need to regularly “check in” with me.  Both girls still require daily cuddles and “Mommy time.”  But there’s a certain tension that often exists when I’m with the bigger girls.  They are always nagging me, or pushing my buttons, or feeling disappointed if I tell them no, or whatever.  I love them fiercely, deeply, and I love it when they’re home with me on school break or during the summers, but being with them takes effort.

Marin, on the other hand, is really easy to be with.  She’s cooperative.  She backs down easily without a fight, not at all stubborn like her sisters.  She’s happy to be doing whatever it is we’re doing, never nagging me about the next thing or complaining of being bored.  She’s naughty to her friends sometimes, or mouthy, or whiney and clingy, or LOUD, etc (of course she is, she’s FOUR), but… I don’t know how to explain it other than to say she simply doesn’t get on my nerves.  She was an easy baby, an pink-cheeked and happy toddler, and a joyful preschooler. She’s a bold little girl that doesn’t allow her friends or sisters to take advantage of her, but she does it in a way that somehow often CHARMS the others.

I think it’s a case of Marin’s and my personalities meshing really well, whereas my personality clashes with my older two.  Actually, I think the older two are MORE like me, so that’s probably why we clash so often.  But I can’t think of a single other person that I’ve ever gotten along with as well as I get along with Marin.

This is not to say that I favor Marin over Kate and Joan.  Each of my kids can floor me in an instant with their simple uniqueness, with the fact that I get to be the one to witness them Become.  But I do really enjoy having a parenting relationship with a child that doesn’t take so much EFFORT, ya know?


13 thoughts on “Harmony

  1. What an interesting post! I love it!

    I think Tosc has had a similar epiphany recently…he always claimed to be sort of traumatized by the experience of raising twins, but now that he’s been around Ava as well, I think he’s seeing that some of the things he thought were twin-related are more specific to HIS kids’ personalities.

    ALSO, he’s been able to see how, SOMETIMES, having two is actually EASIER than having one (like when we have just Ava, and she’s hanging off us THE WHOLE TIME, instead of playing with each other like his girls do).

    Anyway, Marin sounds like me as a child (and now). Easygoing, people-pleaser type. Lots of pluses and minuses to that, of course, but I did find that it made me agreeable to adults, which can have its advantages.

    • YES, two IS easier in many circumstances (unless you mean two babies, because then NO, NEVER EASIER.) Also, I wonder if part of the tension between the twins and me is because they’ve always had to compete for me. I mean, the thought of that makes me sad (because lord knows I TRIED to be everything they needed, but there is only ONE of me after all…) But I know that not all of it is the twin factor, much of it is just THEM and ME and our combination of traits.

      And YES, Marin is very pleasing to adults. She’s CHARMING, which is a description I’ve over-used, but it’s TRUE. And she’s a people-pleaser of sorts; and also it’s like she convinces other people to please HER.

  2. I understand exactly what you mean. My son and I get along very well while his relationship with dad is more challenging. They are so much alike it can be difficult for my husband. I figure it’s not really a surprise that my son and I get along so well – I married my husband because I like him (including his personality) and after 14 years together I know (usually) how to navigate his personality, so navigating that same personality in my son is easy.

    It will be interesting to see how things go with my daughter. She’s only 18 months old, but she is already quite different from my son and I wonder if she is more like me and, therefore, my husband will have an easier relationship with her than he has had with my son.

  3. It’s so interesting to see their differences. Some of my children push my buttons more than others, definitely. I always seem to find the things that are MOST annoying are also things that are like me. My parents used to call me slow-poke all the time when I was a kid, and my own SLOW SLOW SLOW poke drives me bananas.
    Same for other qualities too, in the other kids.

  4. This is so fascinating. Having only one child so far, and just a baby at that, it’s so difficult to wrap my head around the idea that if/when we have another kid, he or she will likely be completely different from the first. And it’s interesting to think about how, as a parent, your relationship with each child can vary pretty widely.

    Love this post!

  5. My mom and sister have always butted heads because they are so similar. But my mom and sister also bond in ways that I just can’t because that’s not my personality. I’m not sure they realize how similar they are still. My dad and I used to discuss it behind their backs- because my dad and I are extremely similar. =) All through our lives, I’ve always been closer to my mom, and my sister’s been closer to my dad.

  6. On every single point you describe, I feel the exact same way about my boys. The older one pushes my buttons like you wouldn’t believe. My husband at one point asked me if I loved one of the children more than the other, and my response was, “I love them both, but the younger one is so much easier to love.”

  7. I experience a very similar thing with my two. Harper has been difficult (for me, almost always only for me) since before birth when she refused to be turned from the breech position. Michael has just always been easier. Even if he’s not easier on paper, I somehow find his behaviors less irritating than hers… I used to think maybe it was because he is a boy, but as he gets older I think it’s just him. Of course I love Harper and I’m very proud of her – I just find it amazing that she always knows just how to drive me up a wall.

  8. I wonder if it’s just an older child thing? It seems like all the commenters, as well as yourself (and me!) seem to have a harder time with our oldest kid. If I had to pick one that pushes my buttons or irritates me the most, it would definitely be the girly, despite the fact that on paper (as Kelsey said) Eli has been a far more difficult child to raise. I don’t understand it at all, but it’s undeniable. Certainly the love is no different, and I don’t feel like he’s my FAVORITE, per se, but I just find it EASIER to deal with him. Maybe it is the charming factor, like you said? Addy is more blunt and stubborn, whereas Eli often finds a way to charm me even as he’s being completely outrageous.

  9. I was just thinking about this the other day, and had described it to my sister as having different chemistry with each of my kids. There are many differences between the two that could account for the way I feel about them: boy v. girl, oldest v. youngest, special needs v. typically developing, etc. But there’s also the fact that my son, who I have a more complex relationship with, is much more like me whereas my daughter is EXACTLY like her father and I kind of can’t get enough of her. I almost feel like I am attracted to her qualities in the same way I am to those in my husband (uh, in a completely non-weird way). Goes without saying that I love my kids equally, but I was totally unprepared for how differently I would experience that love for each of them. Great post topic!

  10. Sarah, I’ll be the one to say that it isn’t a first-born thing. I have the biggest struggles with my middle…and it’s totally just her strong personality. My husband would say it’s because we’re alike…but I disagree 😉

  11. Oh this is so interesting. I have said that the transition to having two children was so, SO much easier than the transition from none to one, but maybe it’s more than that. At eight months I’m already starting to see glimpses that tell me that this baby is a very different person from her brother. From the moment we could clash, my son and I have clashed. I wonder if my daughter and I are meant for harmony. Until she’s 12 of course.

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