Play Dates Reconsidered: Twins Need Them TOO!
After over 3 years of eating, sleeping, and playing together, my twin boys entered separate Pre-K classes. Six hours a day, five days a week. Just like that, they were on their own. I never heard them complain about missing each other. Everyday for months, they walked into their separate classes without a fuss. After school, they chatted about their day and the different things they did. I assumed that everything was going smoothly. That is, until parent teacher conference last week.
Without knowing it, both teachers expressed their concerns about my boys social interaction with the kids in the class. Owen's teacher described him as shy at times. For example, when a kid says to Owen, "You can't play with us!", he accepts the order and plays alone, instead of sticking up for himself and saying, "Yes I can!". When Oscar's teacher asks everyone to find a partner, he doesn't know who to choose. It broke my heart when Oscar's teacher told me he usually gets the "left over kids". So sad! To think that the term "left over" could be applied to kids! But I understand her point. He's never really needed to seek out a partner. He always had his brother.
Here's the kicker. Oscar's teacher asked me, "Has Oscar ever had a play date with someone in the class?" Nope! Not one. Sure, he runs around the playground after school with his classmates, but he's never actually had an official play date. His teacher suggested he should start having play dates with classmates to form solid friendships outside of the school setting. This will translate to stronger friendships in the school. Ohhh. So play dates aren't some awful invention made up by modern moms to make life more difficult? They actually have a real purpose? I must have missed that.
After skimming over articles about twins, I realized it's really common for parents, like me, to assume that their twins don't need play dates. Why should they? They have a built-in best friend. But that's actually not true. They have a built-in brother. A friend is something entirely different.
Perhaps the same could be said for siblings close in age?
So yesterday, Oscar had his first play date with his classmate Jared. Alone! He was so excited. They played in the park, got flavored ice, and went back to Jared's penthouse (oh la la) to play with toys. I picked him up at 4:30. In the mean time, I relished my time with only two kids.
This morning when I dropped off Oscar at his classroom, Jared let out a huge, "OSCAR! Hi!" That's never happened before. I guess play dates work. Lesson learned. Owen's next!