The kids started preschool a couple of weeks ago and it has been kind of a tough adjustment. They only go twice a week (Tues / Thurs) for 3 hours, so it is hard to establish a routine with that, plus we missed a day because Apple got a cold bad enough to need a nebulizer, so although (between nebulizing) he seemed fine, we kept them home.
Anyway, it has been a tough transition. They have a hard time going to school and saying good-bye. Banana, my brave little girl, was totally fine the first 3 times they went to school, but today she cried when I left. Apple, the second day of school, had an iron grip around my neck – now, he will let go of my hand and allow himself to be led by the teachers, but he cries and cries. I stick around outside the door so I know he stops crying soon after I leave.
But the adjustment isn’t just the dropping off. It’s the other times, too. They are feeling insecure because I have left them at school, so they act out in other ways. Mostly with a lot of crying and tantruming and irrational requests.
Friday morning was hard. I had to make challah and some extra dough for Sunday’s baking for Rosh HaShana. I needed the kids to be patient and independent – something I often need them to do on Friday mornings, and I get it more than half the time. But this week they weren’t. Apple cried the whole time I was making the second dough (start to finish is about 15 minutes, it’s not so bad). Then I spent an hour hugging him. Friday morning he learned to say “need hug.”
“Need hug.” This is very smart.
It feels manipulative sometimes but only when I am trying to get out of paying attention to him because I “need” to do something else. But he is clearly saying he needs a hug. So Friday I gave him a lot of hugs.
The thing is, I am pretty sure Banana needs hugs too. She acts fine for me when Apple is an emotional disaster, but then as soon as my husband comes home she falls to pieces. I feel like this is because she can’t get her emotional needs met when Apple is around and there is only one adult (me).
Today I tried to get her to ask for a hug – and, more importantly, to ACCEPT a hug when Apple is around. She will ALWAYS allow Apple to get a hug, even if that means letting go of her own hug. I also taught Apple that we can take turns hugging, that Banana can have a good long big hug before it is Apple’s turn. And I emphasized to Banana that she deserves a big long hug and Apple can wait.
Later, she came up to me out of the blue and asked for a hug and I gave her a nice big hug, and then she walked away and did something else.
It is hard having twins, I feel like singleton firstborns don’t have to deal with this kind of sharing mommy thing. On the other hand, any siblings do eventually have to go through this, whether they were born at the same time or not. My challenge, I think, is to recognize when Banana needs something (emotionally) from me, even when she is trying to hide it, because she is very good at being independent.
I really hope they settle in at school. They seem to be having a good time while they’re at school (at least from the pictures). They know about dipping apples in honey, and about shofar, and raisins in challah. And today they spontaneously burst into song, a song that is usually sung at shul, I couldn’t believe it. So I love that they are learning and spending some time away from home. Hopefully soon things will settle down and I won’t spend significant portions of my day hugging crying children (although honestly there are worse ways to spend a morning).