Are twins behind the curve?Jane Roper
Most of the time I feel — and always have felt — like my girls are right on track, developmentally speaking. They weren’t born prematurely (36 weeks is considered full term for twins, and mine were born at 37 weeks on the nose) and have always been smack dab in the middle of the height and weight charts. They walked, talked and hit all the other milestones within normal range. And they’re doing just fine in preschool. In some areas, I feel like they’re even ahead of the curve a bit. Verbally, for example. (But as children of a brilliant, writerly type such as myself, well, what do you expect?) They’re incredibly observant and imaginative, and have pretty rockin’ manual dexterity. (See exhibit A, recent artwork.)
And yet, I feel like in some areas they seem a little younger or more baby-like than other kids the same age. They seem a little clingier / cuddlier. A little sillier. A little less self-sufficient.
They have a sort of puppy-like sense of exuberance, and an endearing lack of inhibition. All of which is wonderful. But many other kids their age seem downright world-weary by contrast. Way more stoic and circumspect. Which makes them seem more mature. But maybe they’re just quieter?
It’s very possible that it’s all in my head. It’s tough to be objective about your own children. However I will say that when we hang out with the two other families-with-twins we’re friends with, whose kids are all about the same age as Elsa and Clio, the level of maturity seems much more on par.
But maybe it’s not even maturity; maybe it’s just a certain dynamic or personality tendency that comes with twin-dom. I sometimes wonder if, because twin children are so used to having their sibling around and so used to vying for their parents’ attention, they aren’t quite as fully individuated as other kids their age.
I’m not even sure if “individuated” is a real word, but I like the sound of it. Work with me, here.
What do you think? Or has anyone read or heard anything on the subject? Are twins developmentally a step behind — or just a step different — from their singleton counterpoints? Or just it all just depend on the individual kid(s)?
Bonus points for using the words “individuated,” “symbiotic” or “inchoate” in your reply. Minus two points for mentioning the Olsen Twins.