Happy Monday! One of the hardest things for me is remaining patient, patient when my kids are annoying each other on purpose, patient when I have to repeat myself a hundred times, patient when my kids are fighting over what seems to me like the smallest thing, but to them is clearly not. I am always searching for parenting methods, tricks, and hacks that work, make our lives smoother, that my kids respond to, and that help me to stay calm and patient. One that has been working for us for years now is the “MY FIRST DAY” METHOD.
Being twins, the boys have had to share everything with each other from the very moment of conception, everything! Being able to do something first has proven very important to them (I think it is a way for them to express some independence) – like being the first to pick something out or being the first one to decide where they each sit whether in the car, the stroller, or the bath. I was having the hardest time remembering from one moment to the next who sat where last, who chose the last book we read, whose bed we sat on last to read it, and who last sat at the front of the tub near the faucet, and so on. The whose-turn-is-it disagreements were endless. My patience was being tested at every turn and it was running thin…
One day I suddenly remembered what my dad had done when my sister and I would fight over who got to sit up front and control the radio every morning. He gave me odd days and her the even. So when it was an odd day, I sat up front. I revived this parenting trick and made it work for me yet again 30 some-odd years later. If it is an odd day, it is G’s “first day” and he gets to pick things out first (he was born at 8:19am an odd time therefore the odd day). Naturally, if it is an even day, it is B’s “first day” and his turn to pick things first (he was born 1 minute later at 8:20am). It has proven to be the perfect solution, a day is either odd or it is even, there is no grey area to negotiate. A day is what it is, even or odd, no in between!
If you are passing by me and my children when we are getting in the car, or about to play baseball at the park, or going to the bathroom to wash our hands you will most likely hear something like “who’s first day is it?” “Is it my first day?” “It’s not my first day, it is his first day.” And of course, an echo in the cutest, sweetest baby girl ever, “no it isn’t! It is my first day!” Coconut doesn’t actually have a first day mostly because she believes everyday is her first day! This is bound to get more complicated as she gets older and begins to really want a first day of her own, that’s for sure! But for now, it is working…
Those three words, MY FIRST DAY, have helped me to maintain my sanity and my patience while raising twins and eventually three kids. The first two years were nothing compared to the minefield I have to navigate now, everything is a negotiation; they didn’t have much of an opinion back then. They didn’t seem to mind that they ate at the same time, they slept at the same time, they did tummy-time at the same time, they both fit on my lap at the same time to read, and I could carry them down the stairs at the same time. But now, they have stronger opinions and they have stronger desires to be the one to make decisions. I get it! They don’t want to do everything at the same time anymore. It has evolved a bit and they have figured out how to make it work for them; when they really want something, they each want it to be their first day, but when it is something they don’t want to do it is their brother’s first day. You name it, we defer to whose first day it is and many of the disagreements between G and B disappear.
I would love to hear some of your parenting tricks!