The First Rule of Twin Fight Club Is…

November 18th, 2021

It’s 7am on a Saturday and I am seething that we don’t sleep in on weekends yet. The girls are already fighting over their little Maileg mice that their friend Isla gave them years ago. They haven’t played with them in at least a year, but after rediscovering them on a shelf last night, they’re hot property. There is a battle of supremacy going on over who gets the yellow striped pillow to tuck the girlie little mouse into her matchbox bed.

There are actually two yellow-striped pillows, and Phoebe has both. Eliza is livid at the injustice, and Phoebe is rationalizing this hoarding maneuver like a true sociopath. I’m staying out of it, mostly because I don’t care but also because I can’t possibly fix this.

Suddenly, Phoebe glances over to the corner of the living room, and deadpans, “There’s a mouse.”

She pauses. “I mean, a real mouse.”

Sure enough, there is a little gray tail sticking out from behind the umbrella tree. I run into the kitchen and grab a container to try to scoop the mouse into, and thus ensues a hot pursuit which ends with me tipping up the couch so Jon can trap it and bring it outside. We both know this mouse probably lives in the cellar and will be back lickity split. But at least my daughters aren’t fighting for a moment.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“If I get your twins something for Christmas, should I get them two different colors or the same color? Will they fight?”

Yes, they will fight. They will fight whether you get them one thing, two of the same thing, two of the same thing but in different colors, two wildly different things, or nothing at all. They’ll fight if it’s Christmas. They’ll fight if it’s just about who gets to wear the hand-me-downs from Ryah and Lucia I made the grave mistake of revealing in the back of the car. They’ll fight about who gets which bowl of yogurt, who gets which piece of pie, who gets which carrot stick.

(Sidebar, we love presents, and thank you.)

Most mornings lately, they fight over who gets to wear which nearly identical purple pullover to school. One is light purple and one is medium purple. Would that I could just put a name on each, but for obscure reasons, they both favor the slightly lighter purple pullover. I got these at a tag sale from my friend Michelle (Michelle, we love these pullovers! Too much, though!) so I can’t exactly just go buy another one.

Plus, on principle, I don’t want to. I think these arguments are silly, although I know a parenting self-help book would probably shame me for this point of view.

That morning, a tearful standoff ends with a very complex negotiation about who gets to wear which purple pullover on which holiday, and I am pressured to remember that it’s Eliza’s turn on Easter. I refuse to agree to this level of mental burden, but she doesn’t hear me say, “I’m not doing that,” so we’re good for now.

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A few mornings later, we’re in our usual routine where I rush around making myself coffee and letting animals in and out and sporadically shouting up the stairs for my daughters to GET DRESSED! BRUSH YOUR TEETH!, I march upstairs to get serious with them. Just as I’m about to bring the hammer down, I realize that… What is this? … They are not fighting!

In fact, they are both sitting on Phoebe’s bed, having picked up an activity right where they left off the night before. They’re sculpting clay rainbows with little blue clouds on the bottom to stick to the walls above the beds. At bedtime the night before, Eliza had been very frustrated with trying to get hers to look right. Phoebe’s was a model of rainbow perfection, and this morning, here is Phoebe, patiently showing Eliza how to do it. Eliza is asking amicable questions and actually listening to the answers. 

I want to freeze this moment in time so I can superimpose it over my ears and eyeballs every time I have to listen to them bicker or brawl over a hoody, headband, or some totally immaterial thing like “Who had the idea first.” 

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Not such a good ending for the mouse, I’m afraid. We came downstairs this morning to a real, but very dead, mouse on the floor. 

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