Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy tells us about her worries that her twins are still a little unsure about nursery...
'Am I the only one who struggles at the school gates? The only one whose heart rate starts rocketing, who's having to hold herself from breaking all the rules, who wants to rush forward to grab her precious girls from their clutches?
The twins have now been in nursery for a month, but whenever I pick them up, I always get a bit fidgety. As the parents and grandparents all form a polite queue outside the door, then file in to wait their turn to collect their charges, it's a battle to hold myself back. I don't want to be polite. I want to barge past everyone and scoop up my girls.
Although dreamy G is often distracted by something else, as I shuffle in, I always catch sight of T's little head bobbing up and down, as she searches the crowd for me. The cry of: ‘There's my mummy!' alerts everyone to my presence, before I finally get them back in my arms. I always used to be jealous of ‘Daddy o'clock' when the twins would go crazy and leap all over their father when he came home from work. Boring old Mummy never warranted such attention. Now, the girls cling on to me so tightly, it makes me want to burst. But I kind of wish I hadn't got what I'd wished for. I've got over my first-week weepies, and when the girls are away, I do manage to enjoy my free time. But the second I start that journey to pick them up, I can feel myself getting more and more twitchy. I just want them back. And the thought that they might want me back that much too makes my heart ache.
The twins do seem to be enjoying nursery. They've made a few friends, and both seem more confident. But it's still not quite, I don't know, clicked. I was talking to another mum the other day, after her little girl had been off sick.
‘She's been begging me to go back to nursery,' she laughed. ‘I had to keep telling her to be patient!'
It was great to hear. We know her daughter from playgroup, where she was very shy, so it's fantastic to see her emerge from her shell. But it's not quite like that for the twins. Although they undoubtedly have fun, a little disappointed look always seems to cross their faces when I enthusiastically remind them it's nursery day. They never kick off and always happily wave goodbye when I drop them off, but I still feel as though, somehow, they're putting on brave faces. That somehow, I'm abandoning them. I don't know, perhaps it's all in my mind. Or perhaps it's yet another ‘twin thing'.
Don't get me wrong, G and T certainly don't spent every nursery hour joined at the hip. According to the teachers, they tend to always sit together to have snack, but can often be found playing apart. But I guess for them, it's all just a bonus. Other kids love nursery because they finally get to mingle with children their own age. G and T have a constant companion already. Two companions, really, with M doing her best to catch them up. They've never had to play alone, so the novelty of playmates isn't really a novelty. But has all that twin time left them less well equipped for the real world?
I took heart from another mum, who I bumped into while she was waiting to collect her twins, who are in Primary 1. I couldn't help but pour out my fears that maybe being twins was holding them back.
‘It's like they have a comfort blanket, isn't it?' she smiled. ‘My girls have lots of different friends, but they always like to know their sister is there, in the background.'
That's it exactly, especially for T. She's taken to explaining to everyone we meet now that she is T and this is her sister G, and they have a baby M at home. I can only assume the girls have had to say which one they are so often at nursery, that she's taken to pre-empting the question. She's forever leading G forward when she hesitates, and confidently introducing her. But I know that if G wasn't there, T would struggle to speak up at all. It's like she draws strength from her sister's presence.
So perhaps it will just take time. The girls don't have to make friends, so they're in no rush. One day, I know, they'll barely notice when I come through that door. G will have her head in a book, T will be explaining her life story to some willing little friend, and there will be no; ‘There's my mummy!' announcement. I'll know that they're happy with or without me, and it will be a huge weight off my mind. It'll feel great. Honest it will. I won't be upset. Not even a tiny bit. No, not me. It's what I want. What they need. I'll be delighted, honest...'
Did your kids have any trouble settling into nursery? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below or on Facebook.
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