As you may have remembered, after spring break Grace and Mia were going to be split up into separate classes at school. This was all due to them being disruptive at school and not something that the school had asked us permission to do. Rather, I asked the school if they could be split apart. Their extra-crazy antics during the school day along with Grace's pant wetting during nap time just got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, twins don't need to be attached at the hip. I can see how it might appear that way - that twins must operate simultaneously and in sync. But the truth about Grace and Mia are that they are NOT the same in any way. Sure, they do look a lot alike. But it really does stop there. Most days I feel like I gave birth to two completely different children but with only 2 minutes apart. Though they both have different personalities - Grace is calm and touchy-feely and Mia is Dance Party USA - they do have something in common. They are very independent and not at all co-dependent on each other. And ultimately, that is why I thought that separating them at school might solve more problems than are even transparent to me.
Case-in-point. Yesterday Grace started her new class and Mia stayed in her old class. Andrew and I dropped them off together to encourage both of them to be strong and good and to remind them about their new independence, a class of their own. We dropped off Mia first and then went to meet Grace's new teacher. Neither Andrew or I felt comfortable when we left. The teacher was not at all nurturing nor did she welcome Grace with a smile or even a smirk. She simply told us that if Grace peed during nap time that she simply could not stay at school. Which made Andrew and I think that this teacher knew about Grace's history of peeing and she was not very delighted to take this pee-pee person into her class. Anyway, Grace was very shy and timid after her un-warm welcome but she managed to toddle her way into the room with the other kids and try to play. "Ugh"
, Andrew and I said as we left. The chances of Grace wanting to stay at school were bleak meaning she would definitely pee in her pants during nap time so she could come home. Andrew and I parted ways, fingers and toes crossed, hoping for the best.
I went home after dropping the girls off at school, as I had about 10 loads of laundry to do after our vacation. All this laundry gave me ample time to think about the day and how it might end for all of us, for Grace. I was sick with worry, wondering if Grace would be able to pull an all-dayer with no pee in the pants. Based on this new teacher's welcome, I knew there were no second chances for Grace. She pees, she is history. And that means she gets exactly what she wants, which is being home with mommy, and she misses out on the education that all those other dry-panted children will receive. I had to find a solution, fix this problem.
Would you like to know what genius plan I came up with during laundry sorting? It was very simple and it was the only possible solution. I walked over to the school, just after they finished lunch. I had in tow Grace's favorite stuffed animal and the biggest bribe you have ever figuratively carried. That's right. I shamelessly bribed my 3 year old with the hugest strawberry ice cream cone she had ever seen if she managed to keep dry pants all day long. And to keep this message at the forefront of all Haverkampf minds - creating a support group so to speak - I then bribed Ella with the hugest vanilla ice cream cone and Mia with the hugest chocolate ice cream cone ever known to man - if they encouraged Grace to stay dry and they themselves stayed dry. After all - this can't be all about Grace. Otherwise, Ella and Mia will start figuring out a way to get this added attention and let me tell you - if this turns to a pooping situation I might lose it!
So off I went, having bribed my children with sweets and stuffed animals, still skeptical but hopeful about what might happen. Proudly, I tell you that Grace delivered - no pee during nap time. And I could tell the teacher was surprised by this - but I do hope it gave her a new respect for Grace. On the way home from school, as promised, I bought them all the biggest ice creams ever and they couldn't have been more excited....or messy. They were turning heads of all passer-byes, both because of their white-blond hair and their faces smudged with ice cream delights. It was quite the sight!
Last night, the girls all got along well and the mood was much less chaotic. Andrew and I agreed that it had to do with the fact that Grace and Mia didn't see each other all day and were not sick of each other. That they hadn't been fooling around and causing problems most of the day. That Mia hadn't been picking on Grace. And to me it proved some of what I was thinking earlier. That Grace and Mia are better off apart at school. Having them separated means they can have their own identities, have their own friends and portray their own personalities without being monitored or squashed by the other twin. And I think that is what Grace needed to be able to thrive and learn at school and what Mia needed to help her concentrate and learn.
Today Grace also delivered a pee-free day. I did go to school again and bribe them after lunch, but this time I went sugar-free and promised 2 rides on the carousel for all if each of them managed to keep dry pants. I think I frightened Andrew today when we met for lunch and I mentioned that Nintendo DS's might be a good next bribe.....
Pictured above: Mia and Grace