Sunday, September 13, 2009

Separate, But Hopefully Somewhat Equal

If you've been reading here for awhile, you may remember my post about wanting the girls to be together for kindergarten. After "fighting my battle", I got my way, and the girls were placed together in a classroom. They were, as far as anyone could tell, the first twins to be placed together in the history of our elementary school.

Their teacher last year was a woman who has twins herself, and who kept her twins together through first grade (though they attended the private catholic school in town). I first met her when Joan and Kate were still newborns; she was my "parent mentor" in a local community ed program. It was great, back then, to have another twin mom to talk to.

And it felt absolutely right that *she* was their kindergarten teacher. The girls did not remember her from their infancy, but my immediate comfort with her surely helped them adapt to all day kindergarten. Also, she completely supported our decision to keep them together.

Since she kept her twins together through first grade, I think I'd always had it in my head that my girls would also be together until then too. As the school year progressed, the teacher and I had several conversations about how the girls were doing together.

Essentially, their being placed together was a non-issue. They behaved like all the other children in the classroom. Kate wore a rainbow pin everyday to help the other students (and the teacher!) tell them apart. (Joan wore an apple pin in preschool for the same reason, so it was Kate's turn).

I was ready to go full-steam-ahead with them together for one more year, at least.

But then, right at the end of the year, things changed for the girls. The teacher noticed more bickering between them. And if I'm being honest with myself, I noticed it too, both when I volunteered in their classroom and at home.

When I talked to their teacher about 1st grade placement, her opinion had changed, and now she recommended that they each have their own classrooms.

She thought they were ready to have their own identity, to not simply be "Joan and Kate". She lovingly believed that it was TIME.

This was hard for me for a short time because THEY WERE GOING TO BE TOGETHER THROUGH FIRST GRADE.

But then I had to set my pride aside, to be humbled, to realize that the teacher and her professional opinion was right. That she actually knew what was better for my children than I did, in this particular situation.

So, (*GULP*) separate classrooms it was.

Up until then, the girls had insisted that they wanted to be TOGETHER. When I broke the news to them, bracing for the worst, they amicably and eagerly responded "Yeah! We want our own classrooms!"


Not how I expected them to respond, but good none-the-less.

Last week, the girls had their first few days of 1st grade. I was a tiny bit nervous for Kate, as she took a long time (2 months!) to leave me in the morning without tears.

But this year? She is fine. And they are both content being in different rooms and are happily exchanging stories and comparing notes after school. Their rooms are right next door to each other, and they see each other at lunch and recess and various other times throughout the day.

I am so proud of them for spreading their wings a bit. For having such a unique bond, but for also having the ability to form bonds with other people too. I'm excited for them to have their own adventures, their own stories, their own "truths".

I am thankful for the time they had together, because I think it was a gentle and safe way to first taste the world outside our home.

And now, they are ready to step into their own.

So, how about the obligatory First Day of School Photos:

Funny, I think Joan (on right) had the same nervous/excited look on her face in last year's picture! (<--She's on the left in that one.)

Marin didn't want to be in the pictures "because I'm not wearing a very beautiful dress!"
Oh, but your sunglasses are very fancy, sweet girl.

They were so excited and happy to get to school that we didn't need to prod them to get ready.
Yeah, that will be short lived, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

How exciting! I'm so happy the girls are finding their own way in the world. & look at how big Marin is! You have such a beautiful family!

GreenStyleMom said...

My goodness you have beautiful girls!

Glad the decision feels good. I'm curious if two different teachers means more work for you. Do they have different homework?

d e v a n said...

What great pictures!!

Tess said...

Aww aww AWWWW! So sweet. Love their little outfits too.

Kelsey said...

Oh I think this will be so interesting - from an observer's standpoint, to hear how things go for them. They are at the same school so they should meet the same goals in each classroom, even if they do it differently.

My second year of teaching I had one twin in my class and his sister was next door. That teacher and I were about as polar opposite as we could be, but the mom commented to me once how well suited I was for her son, and how the other teacher was working out fine for her daughter. I hope you have the same kind of positive experience!