Today was (finally) the first day back at school (hooray!) for the 4 year olds (yippee!).

And I didn’t sleep a wink last night.

All summer long, as we trudged through gymnastics classes, swimming lessons, and day after long day here at home, I’ve said that I absolutely cannot wait until these two are separated in school for a few hours a day. Spending every waking moment together is taxing on them, and spending every waking moment with them has had me locking myself in a closet to escape the unholy dramaz.

Last year when our preschool director asked if I would be interested in separating them because they were such a distraction to each other, I tucked her concerns safely in my pocket, but the answer was “Not yet.” I just wasn’t ready. Even as the school year ended and I knew I would have to make a decision for the next year, I still fidgeted when I thought about it.

But this summer made it clear that times were a changing. The girls need some quality time apart so that the time they spend together will hold even more quality and less beating each other over the head with My Little Ponies.

Still, I tossed and turned in the nights preceding our first day.

Despite having talked about it, there was some apprehension on Claire’s part during orientation when we split them up to meet their teachers. This girl, who is so brazen and even bossy at home, she’s the one who thrives on the twinship more. She gets more upset when they fight. She seems to need it all more. And as their mother and the one who is mostly responsible for making sure they grow up to be sound, confident individuals, it’s both heartwarming and terrifying at the same time. I couldn’t help but lay in bed at night and imagine her sitting in her classroom, playing apathetically, and missing her sister.

I know I made the right decision, but my apprehension and worry surprise me.

When my girls were born 9 weeks early and thrived in separate isolettes in the NICU for five weeks, I worried the silly worries that they wouldn’t bond like twins that were together from day one. Even twin moms get caught up in the fantasy of having children with such a closeness that nothing can shake it. Do they miss each other? Do they even remember the constant presence of another being right next to them since conception? Does it even matter?

But then there was today. The first day. And things seem to have fallen into place perfectly. Both girls have familiar aspects in their class that will give them a dose of comfort. Rachel knows and loves her teacher, who we started with last year before moving to a new class. She gave her sister a big hug and kiss, and wished her a good day. She missed me some towards the end of the day, and nearly knocked me over when she saw me.

Claire’s class boasts the name of her very favorite animal — the Frogs, and upon quietly entering and finding her name on the wall, requested to play with some. Her teacher pulled out a whole bin of green frogs of all shapes and sizes, and she was in heaven. She got to see her sister at recess, lunch and music class. The teachers told me that they reunited like they’d been apart for days. But they did well.

I know my worries aren’t silly, but they’re lessening. These girls have a bond that I will never understand, but I must respect. Still, they need to be separated from the unit that often makes twins inseparable in other people’s minds. They each need the opportunity to express themselves apart from their sister and show what they can do. These days with less distractions will allow them to shine as Claire and as Rachel, not ClaireandRachel.

And these girls? They have a lot of shining to do.

I think they’re going to be okay.


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  1. The pictures are beautiful.

    I keep thinking about how much we worry about our kids. So many things keep us up at night and most of the time it all turns out OK. I never know for sure when I am over thinking things or worrying about the wrong things. Worries aren’t silly, but I do wish I could let go of having so many of them! I am so glad your daughters did well and I am so glad you have one less thing to worry about (at least as much). You must be so proud of your girls!

  2. I’m so glad they did well! I think that separating them, even though I’m sure it’s the toughest decision you’ve ever made, will be good for them and allow them to grow as individuals and become more independent and show everyone what they are each capable of in the short time they are apart each day. I love the pictures! They are beautiful and look so grown up.

    1. I think you will know when it’s time. Even 3 months ago I was very unsure, but knew the school thought it was a good idea. But with the activities we did this summer, it really became clear to me. So you will know. 🙂

  3. I don’t have twins, but I constantly hear from twin moms that separating them for a bit is the best thing. Their bond remains and they have a little time to miss each other (similar to us parents getting a small break then the knock-us-down greeting in response). A lot of times one twin is dominant and the other needs the time away to perhaps do things their sibling never liked.

    They will be awesome, but I think mother DNA is programmed to worry about everything.

    If you were to look at my behavior, you’d think kindergarten is the most important grade in the world right now…

    1. Well it IS important! And if you think about it, they’re only separated for 8 hours a week. Not exactly the end of the world, and a good warm up for when they go to kinder.

  4. Mine still hug- no more kissing in school- when they see each other at recess. Their rooms last year, in 1st grade, were adjoined by a bathroom and Elizabeth snuck over to wave at her sister several times a week. The teachers were so sweet and encouraging. It’s everyone’s personal decision, but for my family there is not another decision that I can look back on and so assuredly say, “I did the right thing” .

    1. That’s great to hear, Courtney. I hope their teachers always hold some understanding for their relationship. 🙂

  5. a friend of mine has twins, and while they will always have each other – to play with and fight with – she also tries to let them be different, too…so glad your girls are doing well. they’re super cute.

    1. Thanks, Mommakiss. It’s funny how it’s so much harder than you’d think it would be to foster their individuality after so much of letting/making them so the same thing in the baby years.

  6. They are so cute!! And I just love that curly hair!!

    I bet that they’ll have a great year at school and different classrooms will be great for them… they’ll learn to be their own person and strengthen their bond!

    1. Thank you Jackie! I think they will benefit greatly. And they definitely lucked out in the hair department. 🙂

  7. I’m so glad their first day went well! They are such sweet girls & they definitely have a lot of shining to do!!

  8. Frogs are Claire’s favorite animal? Mine, too! 😀

    First separation is hard. When mine went to PPCD for the first time, they had different teachers, but in a shared classroom. I don’t know how well he would have managed had he been put in a strange place without her. (As it was, he spent the first two weeks exploring every inch of the room, and until he finished, he wouldn’t participate in anything in the room. Once he was comfortable with the surroundings, he was able to then do the activities they wanted him to.)

    I can’t imagine NICU and separate isolettes- she could not relax unless someone was touching her for about 2 months. I’d put them both down together, and she’d be wedged between something solid and her twin. She outgrew that need, but he got rather attached to her. If she’s sick and he has to go to school without her, he’s upset on the way there and for the first hour or so, and then looks for her as soon as he comes home.

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