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Twins Turning Ten – More Than a Double Digit Year
Sharing a room and clothes, not much else to name but two toy drives, three shelves of books, a toothbrush, shoes, some tools and other miscellaneous treasures (which I call “junk”) , grown old to Jacob and Aaron Kagon. So, to celebrate turning ten, they each had separate birthday parties for the first time. Parties together were not an issue before because we both agreed on the theme of the party and guest lists, and it never occurred to me or my husband to do anything different.
When they were planning their big bash this year, Aaron and Jacob couldn’t decide how they should celebrate. Although compromise is an experience they know all too well, this was one I didn’t want them to have longer for their birthday. Singletons enjoy being the center of attention for their birthday, but for a couple, being in the limelight only for their birthday is a foreign concept. . From not dressing them alike to encouraging them to pursue different interests and nurturing their individual talents, my husband and I have always strived to help the boys build on their strengths their special So why stop at their birthday?
Marking the transition from a one-digit year to a two-digit year had to be recognized not only as entering a new stage of development, but also as furthering the transformation into a true – self-identity. Jacob gets to taste that one moment of the year at 12:05 am when he is not a twin like Aaron was born at 12:06. Jacob’s only regret is that he is always asleep at that particular time. In his imagination, it would be awesome to be awake to celebrate this magical moment!
Since kindergarten, Jacob and Aaron have been in separate classes. This has helped reduce their competition academically and socially and allowed them to grow on their own.
Their excitement about their own party was like giving them a glimpse of single life for the first time. Each person could invite twelve friends. Their guest lists had a few duplicates that showed how their friendship has evolved on their own. Jacob’s party was first and he had a James Bond movie marathon slumber party. At first, Aaron didn’t realize that since Jacob’s party was first, he would be opening presents a week earlier than him. Unfortunately, Aaron eventually accepted this reality knowing that Jacob would have no presents at his party to open. Aaron’s party was a whale watching trip, a more extravagant bash than Jacob’s pizza and popcorn gathering.
Treating twins as children with equal needs is not a concept that my husband and I have followed in raising our boys. They are dealt with individually according to their needs which change every day. Raising them as equals would not help them grow as individuals. Every child has special needs in some areas and less in others. For example, for their birthdays, we don’t spend the same amount of money on each boy. Last year we bought Aaron a used box because he wanted to learn how to play the “squeeze box” while Jacob got a less expensive gift. This year Jacob got an expensive video game gizmo while Aaron’s object of desire was much cheaper. So far (and we’re keeping our fingers crossed) the boys rarely complain or question why one of them didn’t get the same treatment or money spent on them as the other did.
The evolution of our boy’s development mirrors my own. At first, I was relieved when it became clear that I was having trouble getting pregnant. Having children was a life cycle event my husband wanted more than I did. During Jacob and Aaron’s first year, what seemed impossible turned into downright difficult. Now, ten years later, I can’t image life without them. I savor our time together, even when I’m at my destination with one or two of them. I am glad that I have made more sacrifices than I would have dreamed of before for the sake of my boy. The exotic vacations to faraway lands or the extra rooms in the house may never come, and that’s fine with me.
It was a big leap for me to go from wanting to be a parent to embracing motherhood. And the fact that I am the director of a non-profit child development organization worries me. Ten years ago I was working in the health field and had no interest or experience in child development. Now I am committed to helping parents face the challenges of parenting and gain the confidence and skills to raise resilient children while accept their own difficulties in being a parent.
Today, I can see how different the boys are from each other and how different my feelings are since I found out I was pregnant. From the shock of seeing twins on the ultrasound screen, to the anxiety of thirty days with the boys in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after their premature birth, to their tenth birthday and coming together in the mood at their birthday parties, we have all come to this double-digit year is more blessed than two.
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