Twins

When My Kids Play With Each Other, and Not Me

Toddler twins playing together at home.

Ever since my twin daughters turned 2 earlier this year, I’ve started to increasingly ignore them during the day.

I know that sounds bad, but let me explain.

Back when my daughters were first born, I was pretty much attached to them 24/7. Much of that had to do with the fact that I was nursing, and couldn’t manage to feed both simultaneously. The result? I slept very little, and spent nearly every waking hour with an infant in my arms. When I wasn’t feeding the girls, I was changing a diaper, or desperately attempting to soothe them to sleep so I could either catch a miniscule amount of rest myself, or spend a few minutes with their then-3-year-old brother.

Of course, things got easier over time, and once my girls stopping nursing a few months after their 1st birthday, I was able to gain a little much-needed space. But the neediness didn’t exactly stop there. True, I wasn’t their human food source, but I was still the one required to feed, diaper, entertain, and, at a certain point, mediate once they grew old enough to realize the concept of “mine.” (Let’s just say we watched that Daniel Tiger episode about sharing nearly 100 times before things finally started to sink in.)

But something changed around the time they turned 2. Maybe they matured a little, and realized we have so many toys in this house that fighting over the same ones constantly is by no means necessary. Or, more likely, they came to realize that playing together is much more enjoyable than fighting.

They’ve also realized that playing with each other can be way more fun than playing with Mommy. (After all, when Mommy’s involved, there’s no such thing as running through the house like wild maniacs, throwing blocks in every direction and removing each other’s clothing items for sport.)

So for the past few months, I’ve been ignoring my twins more frequently during the day—and by “ignoring,” I mean I’m not sitting there watching their every move or engaging with them every minute. Of course I’m still keeping tabs on them, thank you very much.

I haven’t been ignoring my daughters because I don’t enjoy playing with them, but rather, because we’ve reached a point where they know how to play with each other and therefore don’t need me as much. And while I felt guilty about that at first, I’ve actually come to realize what a good thing it is.

Not only am I responsible for numerous household tasks that, no matter what, never seem to go away, but I also have an actual job that, up until earlier this year, I only managed to do during nap times, after hours, and on weekends. And let me tell you, when you spend your days chasing after rambunctious twin toddlers, and then throw an older toddler into the mix (since, you know, my son doesn’t actually live at preschool), the last thing you want to do at 8 p.m. once those kids are in bed is go down to your office and hammer out content for three hours straight.

No, what you want to do is sit on the couch with a book, or maybe some bad TV, and erase the poop diaper explosions and the disaster that was dinner before wearily dragging yourself to bed at a reasonable hour so you have just enough energy to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

So yes, the fact that my daughters are growing more independent is a very good thing indeed, and while I know a big part of me will occasionally bemoan the fact that they’re not babies, another part of me is more than comfortable embracing this very welcome change.

In an ideal world, they’d invent a magic pill that busy parents like me could take to replace actual sleep, but until that happens, we all only have so many hours in the day to accomplish the things we need to get done. And while I do miss some of the time I used to spend sitting on the floor playing with my my daughters, I’m also beyond grateful for the fact that they have each other for company.

Ignoring my daughters, so to speak, for a period of time during the day allows me to feel a bit more like a functional human again. And as long as they’re happy, I figure this is a phase I can feel free to celebrate.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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