I was blessed with a pair of twins 10 years ago - a boy and a girl - and I began a journey of discovery in the dynamics of twin relationships. As expected, many things changed in the months and years after I brought my babies home. My son was the timid one the first couple of years, crying whenever a stranger came in the room and clinging to me as if he were afraid I might disappear. My daughter, on the other hand, was a social baby and didn't seem bothered by much of anything. By preschool, she was battling shyness and her brother was the outgoing one, never missing a chance to tell his life story in a public setting.
Many other things, however, remained the same. My son was always bigger, stronger and kind of protective of his sister. And my daughter, born a mere two minutes earlier, was always a bit more responsible and just a little bit controlling. Now, at age 10, my twins are beginning to reach a new phase of their lives. Puberty may be about to twist their relationship once again.
Girls mature earlier than boys
For the first time in their lives, my daughter is exactly the same height as her twin brother. For years, he has maintained a steady two inch height advantage over his sister. He also hovers near the top of the growth chart in weight while she struggles to maintain a place in the 10th percentile. He was a strong, healthy eater when he was born, while we battled just to get enough nutrition in our daughter to keep her off a feeding tube.
In the last few months, however, my daughter has been asking for seconds at almost every meal. She's also showing all signs of puberty, along with an accompanying growth spurt that has allowed her to close the height gap on her brother and put on a few much needed pounds. My son has not made that jump into pubescence yet, and it is strange to see him being overtaken in height by his sister, even if it is probably but for a season.
Entering the second decade
Although my daughter is heartily resisting the very notion of growing up, I know it is just a matter of time until her thoughts, interests and emotions begin to change as much as her physical attributes. I remember puberty, not so fondly, and I know that perhaps one of the most challenging portions of our lives as mother and daughter are about to begin.
My son, the hopeless romantic, has been girl crazy for years now. I have no idea what effect the added pressure of teen hormones will have on him. Somehow, I think we're in for more than a few challenges there, as well.
So, too, I expect the dynamics between siblings to change. My twins have always been very close, as twins often are, and they are close to their little sister, too. But as the chemical soup of puberty begins to affect their brains, I can only really wonder what the next few years hold in store. All I know for sure is that I love them both with all my heart, and I am proud of the kids they are today. That leaves me pretty optimistic about the next decade with my twins.
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