‘Mamma, I am going to the store with Nana. Could you give us some cash?’ Said Ojas.
Tejas was quick to pipe in, ‘We will get the blue Lays.’
In the face of such an incentive, I could hardly refuse them the cash. Moreover, they would learn to handle money, calculate the change and use their limited resources wisely. The boys left home happy to have wrangled the money from their tight-fisted mom.
Dissonance struck when they left and I was no longer sure whether I was raising them or it was the other way round. Oh wait, I have written a book on raising twins so I knew what I was doing, didn’t I? Little did I realize that the twins had grown up right after the book released. Little did I imagine that the ball-game changes when the children grow up.
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It had been easy so far. I had my rules and they were my clays to mould as I wished. However, the tween years require a different mind-set altogether. A friend asked me for advice on holiday travel with children. I advised, ‘Take them when they are old enough to understand and register, yet young enough to appreciate your gesture of planning the whole holiday for them….so never.’
As the boys turned twelve, I could sense things changing. They were no longer babies. At twelve, I could make tea, handle an infant and cycle to the market on my own. In those days, and those times, living in a small colony was not as challenging for parents and we grew up fast. Today, the same parameters do not hold good and it was hard for me to reconcile to the fact that being a mother in these times is not the same as being a mother four decades ago. Being a mother of twin boys also meant that I could not base my parenting on what I have seen so far as mine are the first set of twins in the family.
So as a mother of this generation, I learnt to form my own set of commandments.
They no longer want or need identical things
I cannot control their choice of clothes, food, activities and interests. Gone were the days when I could push my choice and make them their personal choice. They have their own bloody opinion on every aspect of life. They have no idea that they can sometimes afford to pick their battles and not fight every choice I make for them. Together they wear me down with their combined opinions which match, if I am lucky, and don’t on several occasions. Which means that I have to invest on two different choices and I can no longer shut my eyes and buy two of each. Twin bond notwithstanding, they are typical tweens on the brink of becoming teens. Their similar choices and opinions are being determined by their tween-ness rather than twin-ness.
The difference, as a mother of twins is that I have to battle two mutinous tweens instead of one and sometimes, just sometimes, they have an advantage of number.
Tween twin-boys still want a cuddle though or not
They are yet to become boys with facial hair that is not shaven during exams or IPL or for any other unfathomable reason. I still have a huge window of cuddles and kisses on smooth cheeks to be given. Ojas is still the boy who stiffens in the face of kisses and cuddles and Tejas still fits into my cuddling purview. I wonder if I am being fair to the two children because one gets several cuddles and the other does not. But I have learnt that it no longer matters that I am not equalizing my cuddles and kisses. They do not view it as unfair parenting.
Sometimes, the tween twins are my teachers and sometimes I am theirs
Parenting in google era is perhaps the biggest advantage and disadvantage that we parents have. As a true google-era parent, I research well and transfer that knowledge to my children. Sometimes I am more knowledgeable than the children and sometimes they are my teachers. The twins often spill out knowledge that I would have never researched and I become the taught and they the teachers. The twins have different interests and I find myself expanding my world view about matters that never interested me earlier. Often, it is quite a challenge to keep up with several genres of interests and variety of thought processes going in their heads. I am glad, it keeps my brains active and will serve me well in my aging years.
The twins often spill out knowledge that I would have never researched and I become the taught and they the teachers.
Tween twins no longer feel the need to be with their parents all the time, or not
The first time it happened, my heart went cold. No, they did not prefer going shopping with us. They would rather play with their friends. I was not prepared for this. I thought this happened when they become teenagers. Why, it was only yesterday that they had plopped themselves in between the husband and me. I thought they preferred our company more than anyone else’s. However, the sense of liberation after a few trips to the stores as a couple was worth this and I wondered if this was the start of a new ‘us’.
Tween twins have an ever –changing mindset
I can no longer send the early in the morning to a cricket coaching centre. Their interests are dynamic. We barely have the time to register their new point of interest, invest double the money on the accessories and equipment, the sundry bats gloves, guards and padding, and their interests change. One no longer wants to play cricket but is now interested in badminton and the other wants to play football.
Much as I want to club activities I often find myself wondering if the time has come to invest on different activities for them. To raise them as two separate individuals rather than a bundle of twins. Keeping up with the twins is the new challenge I propose.
Sometimes I wonder how long will I have to keep learning. Decades ago, a woman in her forties was marrying her children off. A few decades back, a woman in her forties was a mother of adults. At this juncture, she was dealing with adults and not tweens. Our learning curve has lengthened as we invested in our careers and married late. The paradigm has changed however we have no role models to model our own parenting. We are a new breed of parents raising a whole new variety of children. May the force be with us.
Riti Prasad is the author of Love at Second Sight, Double Trouble, Double Fun!: A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins, Wicked Temptations and Mathematics Fun, Fact and Fiction. She works in the Fragrance Industry as Creation Head.