Being a parent of twins is great; two babies for the price of one pregnancy, a full-time play mate and the realisation that so much of kids’ personalities and behaviours is down to the individual child, not how you raise them.
Saying that, when you find out you’re having more than one, it’s hard to get past the first twelve months; How do I feed two at once? How do I get any rest? Will I be able to cope?
I’ve found that although those times are hard and thankfully become a bit of a blur when you look back, there are still issues to be faced when you get to school age.
I met with the principal of the school the boys will attend here in Boston, and I asked for them to be placed in the same class. There is quite a bit of international research stating that it’s best for multiples to be kept together for the first year of school, then it should be reviewed by each family with the school, each year. Given we’re a long way from home, we don’t know anyone here and that we want school to be a happy secure place I put my case forward to the principal.
He stated that he’d read the research but didn’t necessarily prescribe to it. Would I be open to a compromise of having the boys in adjacent rooms if he couldn’t put them together? Me, being a first time school parent said ok, but as I tried to go to sleep that night I realised I really wasn’t ok with that solution.
I hadn’t told him that I was Chairperson of AMBA, just that I was heavily involved, and I didn’t push as I didn’t want to come across as ‘that kind of parent’. As I thought more about it, who else is going to push for what’s best for my kids if it’s not me? Sure they would adapt if they were in separate classes, but there would potentially be two or so weeks of transition difficulties which wouldn’t happen if they were together.
The next morning I drafted an email to the school outlining my concerns and asked for another chat with the principal. Of course we didn’t have a phone organised at that stage so I waited until Monday afternoon. We spoke for about 10 minutes and he acknowledged my concerns and confirmed the boys will be together, and in fact it was a decision he’d made before he received my email. I felt so much better, I know they would have been ok apart, but it wasn’t my preference and I’m not used to not getting what I want 🙂
Interestingly, if they were to be starting school back home, I was much less concerned whether they would be together or not as there’s about a dozen kids from their daycare centre attending our local primary school and they would have had friends in their class regardless. I guess that just proves why the best policy is a flexible one that needs annual reviews.
We’ll see in two weeks how it goes, look out for some starting school photos in early September!