Kindergarten: Times Two
Here's what life is like with twin kindergarteners in the house
Photo courtesy of Fonda Ingram
Savannah and Sky, my twin daughters, are well into their first year of kindergarten. How are we surviving kindergarten times two? Well, we have days that are smooth sailing and then we have days where we enter the twilight zone in the blink of an eye. Some days are full of endless giggles that cause hiccups, toothless smiles, sisterly hugs and a few mommy hugs, too. On the other hand, we have days that include Sky and Savannah yelling at each other at the top of their lungs — “You are not the boss of me!” — tears from hurt feelings, brief but frequent visits from the whiny monster and the verbal cadence that is “Mommy, Mommy, Mommmmy, you are not answering! Mommy, Mommy, Moooommy!”
Our days are somewhat schedule-oriented now that we have school. In our house, the rooster crows at 7 a.m. — about 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to school starting. Plenty of time in my mind to get to school on time with a few minutes to spare, right? Silly, silly mom of twins. It is truly daunting to me how Sky and Savannah can go through a pack of gummies in 10 seconds, but getting ready for school is like trying to coax two turtles into urgency. These gentle creatures are just slow in the morning. Now that I think about it, they are slow all the time. They are slow to dress, slow to brush their teeth, slow to eat breakfast, slow to decide, slow to buckle/unbuckle — and getting them out of the car in car pool in the morning is truly an exercise in patience.
After school is my favorite time. We go over what they learned that day in school, or we talk about interesting and funny things that happened through the course of their day. As soon as they get in the car, I hear something like: “Mommy, Mommy we are the teachers. We are going to teach you something. Look in the sky, do you know what kind of cloud that is?” To be honest I’m not sure I ever knew cloud types, but they give me a great review and Google, Alexa and Siri help me with the fine details of cirrus (made of ice crystals), cumulus (puffy) and stratus (blanket) clouds. I also know a lot more about wildlife habitats, cool and warm color combinations, Johnny Appleseed and, best of all, I get a great refresher on the attributes of the fruit of the spirit.
As for temperament, Sky still likes to be first, and she has mastered the skill of three-part direction. The hiccup is that the directions are sometimes directed toward me and my husband. For example, as bedtime approaches, she says, “Daddy, can you please cut my nails? Mommy, can you please file them, then polish them? Then after they dry, I will eat my dinner and my dessert, and then Mommy, you can get me ready for bed, and then I can read a book while you listen for site words. Did you get that mommy? Pretty please?” Wait, I thought her kindergarten teacher told me to give her three-part directions. Did I miss something? As I look at that sly Sky smile, I remind myself that in a few years, she won’t need me so much, so I’ll just embrace my task list. After all, she said the magic words: “Pretty please."
On the other hand, Savannah has started to develop a sense of space and likes her private time. She is still my flower child and she prefers peace in her world. She steers clear of movies or stories with villains, and she will question you excessively on why people do bad things. This philosophy takes an interesting twist when she decides to do something she should not have done.
I asked her a few days ago, “Savannah, did you write on Mommy’s work papers on her desk? She tells me, “I did not write on them Mommy. I made decorations on them. Don’t you want beautiful decoration to look at while you work? That article I read on raising creative children did not cover this scenario. Page one of my notes has a drawing of a cat; page two has an ice cream cone doodle; page three is decorated with lots of colorful balloons and "Barbie" written very neatly on it, followed by some other words that I think were on her old Christmas list, followed by "Savannah Sky Mommy." I think I like decorations on my work notes, after all.
So, how are we surviving kindergarten times two? We don’t get it right every single day, but we do get it done every single day. Sometimes they have breakfast on their faces, and every now and then their shoes are on the wrong foot. We make it out of carpool with a few apologetic waves and a big smile from me to the cars behind us as my two turtles exit the car. Sometimes I get lucky and they will turn around and give me a hug, a kiss, a wave or an “I love you, Mommy.” Yes, those good bye gestures are slow also, but their actions are totally worth the wait.
As I drive away looking at them getting older, I exhale and remind myself of how thankful I am that we made it once again, and that they are in a place of learning and love. How are we surviving kindergarten times two? We are making memories — slow memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Fonda Ingram is a working mother of twins, Savannah and Sky, who appeared on the Carolina Parent magazine November 2017 cover. Fonda occasionally blogs for us to share updates on life with twin girls.