I am a twin and I am also one of 7 sets of twins in my family. Yup, SEVEN! Sadly, no multiples but we almost have enough for a rugby team. So, I have a unique perspective when it comes to discussing how different people can be despite sharing a womb for 9 months and being born on the same day. If you are a twin, I suspect you hate this question as much as I do “What’s it like being a twin?”. To which I often want to answer in my most sarcastic tone, “I’m not sure what’s it like not being a twin?” How am I supposed to know the answer since I have always been a twin and cannot tell you otherwise! Similarly, if you have multiples, I suspect you hate the question “are they twins?” My sister (a mom of twins) often replies “No, I stole the smaller one – don’t tell!” The fact remains the world continues to be fascinated by us and well, who can blame them!
What the world fails to understand is that I am not exactly like my brother! For one thing, he is a boy and I am not. I am completely different to him and not just in the gender department – I am an individual and as such have my own opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes etc. And I don’t like being treated as one of a half, as if I am somehow incomplete without him. Possibly without knowing it, this characteristic of ‘uniqueness’ became a pillar of the Play Matters brand – every child deserves to be treated as an individual, especially when it comes to how a child develops.
As a parent of twins, it is possibly commonplace for you to be comparing your little one’s milestones and I know you have been told time and time again that you shouldn’t do this as they will develop at different rates. While it is true, it is nevertheless natural to do so. And invariably they will never be at the same stage at the same time in their lives: Owen will be standing independently while Julie is still using support etc. Only for Julie to start walking before Owen. Unpredictable … the common thread of parenthood!
We have one set of twins, Jake and Luke, who were 3.5 months old when their mom, Emma got in touch with us. Emma is self-employed and returned to work quickly after their birth. She opted to employ a nanny to assist with the care of the twins whilst she is at work. Luke suffers from severe reflux and a result needs a lot of one on one attention, as you can imagine. Sadly, without knowing it, Jake became somewhat ‘neglected’ in terms of his play needs as his bother needed more attention. His development was slightly delayed and Emma opted to employ a second nanny who could solely focus on Jake. However, Emma was uncertain about how to guide his new nanny with regards to optimising play time to ensure he reached his milestones. It was at this stage she got in touch with us. She completed the developmental checklist which highlighted the areas Jake needed to spend more time on and was then able to indicate to his caregivers (mom, dad and nanny) which games he needed to play a little more regularly in order for him to ‘catch up’. We are proud to tell you that Jake is 100% on track and in the process, his nanny has become a play aficionado!
Let me provide you with a little information about Play Matters… we provide caregivers with a Play Package that can be tailored to each of your children. We give you a book a games and are able to suggest to you which games s/he would enjoy given their current developmental level. While the games aim to work towards milestones, the point of the game is actually to provide you, the caregiver, with some ideas on how to engage him/her in appropriate play. We strongly believe that play is how little people learn, and playing age appropriate games is just a bonus!
We have had a number of multiples make use of the programme, and through the use of the developmental checklist, our Occupational Therapists have been able to suggest to their moms which games each child could benefit from playing so as to make it appropriate, fun and purposeful. We also provide these moms with ongoing support should they be worried about their little ones development and we are able to highlight concerns before they become truly problematic.
We are so thrilled that Emma got in touch and that we were able to be her partner on this journey of development. Perhaps we can do the same for you?
Occupational Therapist and founder of Play Matters