Originally Posted by mama_tigress
I think our boys are about the same age (recently 2), and I think it's a really tough age with the fighting and working out their relationship.
Yes, I agree with your observation. And also have really noted the "amazing" or gratifying parts to watch in this "working out" process, a perspective that I think is helped by the ways I have started to offer my influence (I have gotten more strategic and intentional through an awareness of overall long-range goals, all of which helps me feel less like I'm just reacting to their "situation" in the moment and unsure overall of what I might want to offer them to help them negotiate it, that would perhaps begin to transform the negotiations so the bites & bruises are less and less a factor because of skills and strategies, not just because of "growing out of it.")
btw I'm glad to see you posting and I remember your sweet boys, and their big brother. One of my favorite stories from here was yours relating something like having the three year old in the basket of a shopping cart, one 1-year-old twin in the seat and the other one-year-old in your arms or a sling, and someone stopping to say "Twins?" You said "yes," and the person then said, "Which ones?" Ummmm, the two babies? Since there are TWO of them the same size???
(Like, is this three year old and that one-year-old the likely twin pair, or would it be the two babies, here?) (I do realize a sling can obscure size/age and people are not always instinctively savvy on that score anyway, but still so funny!)
With my two, I notice what you say about "checking with his brother's presence" more often for the apparently less dominant twin (who is far from a follower.) This distinction resonates for me very much, as I note similar things all the time in my guys. One simple example is from a recent walk when we were downtown, and walking along a sidewalk (no such thing as sidewalks for our walks around home, out in the country.)
My "louder" twin (who most often delivers the bites and initiates the "grab") was very excited about the construction vehicle and its VERY LARGE TIRES, pointing and exclaiming over and over in a very insistent way that wanted acknowledgment (so I was reflecting his excitement, acknowledging his desire to communicate what was delighting him and to have the specific thing he loved recognized in his excitement--basically doing a lot of validating of what was so amazing about that sight, those REALLY BIG TIRES that were almost AS TALL AS MAMA!) This went on for awhile as you might imagine, and finally we moved on down the sidewalk, where the process of communicating BIG EXCITEMENT happened again with a particular large lamp-post/flag pole.
There is a whole series of these poles down the sidewalk on Main Street, but one in particular caught his fancy and he really focused on it for a long while, apparently enjoying the texture of the concrete/pebble overlay, the fact of the light at the top (when he bothered to look up as I described what it was), the decorative flag hanging off, but really just the base of the thing with its bumpy texture most of all. As near as I could tell, his excitement was over this GREAT BIG THING coming RIGHT OUT OF THE SIDEWALK!!! And when you TOUCH it, it's BUMPY!!!
It was the same as his need with the tires on that big construction vehicle....he just needed to touch it and delight in it, and point out his delight over and over and over and be heard. So I reflected him in as many ways as I could to satisfy his need to communicate and be heard.
At one point (after many, many "false starts" when we would begin to return to our starting point and our vehicle, only to have to stop and experience that post again, or turn right back around and backtrack all the way to the post even when we HAD made considerable progress), I observed to the boys that there was ANOTHER post JUST LIKE IT ahead on the sidewalk. This seemed to support him enough to let it go and start walking.
But by the time we arrived at the post, he was chill and just looking around, noticing other things. His twin, on the other hand (I was carrying this guy) did his "wagging finger thing" which corresponds to his brother's "UUUUNNNHHHH???" way of noticing things and engaging us about it, except that it's much easier to miss or to ignore the "finger wagging" which is accompanied by a delighted little growly sound (which is sort of like Scooby Doo or Astro or probably any number of cartoon character dogs, and like the finger wagging is easy to miss if you are stressed or occupied with something else.) But he wanted acknowledgment, too, and since I was carrying him I noticed his overtures (that were right in front of my face.) He was pointing out the light post, the same kind his brother had been so nuts about.
Then we arrived at the construction vehicle again and that second twin again wagged his finger to call attention to "his brother's" truck tire. (Both twins were into the construction stuff, but this time the first twin was particularly taken with an orange canvas street sign they had in place to warn about construction. He wanted to touch it and point to it and proclaim his delight with his insistent "UUUUUnnnhhhh?" over and over. More validating and reflecting and verbalizing.)
After awhile we moved on again, and passed another light pole, which the second twin again acknowledged. And then another canvas traffic sign, which the second twin wanted to get down so HE could rush forward and touch, proclaiming it in his mellower but equally intent way. Again, "his brother's" sign. We rounded the corner where there was another light pole and another construction sign, and the second twin noticed these once again, while his brother was mostly looking around (noticing the clock on the large church across the street---the twin I carried had noticed that earlier, and had indicated it to me while I was carrying him, as well as some other things.) But the second twin never let up his "reporting" of his brother's passions.
It was very interesting.
My husband and I sometimes joke about the Apollonian and Dionysian between them (I don't like to impose such labels on them and I realize the reference does break down at a certain point, and really they are more alike than different, but the degree to which it CAN apply and can even be useful is sometimes startling) and this was one of those times when the description seemed to fit. The more reflective "Apollonian twin" was going along cataloging, organizing, and recording the dynamic experience of his Dionysian brother, who was "just being."