Thursday, 4 July 2013

Flying solo

G (right) only had me to herself for one minute before her little sister came along!

The first few months and years with your firstborn are wonderful, aren't they? Just you and your precious little one night and day. Getting to know each other. Feeding, cuddling, playing... Just the two of you. Well, unless your firstborn is only your only child for one minute.
Twin mums don't get one-on-one time. Ever. In the three-and-a-half years since my girls were born, I can count on one hand (well, hold up for one of them to count on one hand) the number of times I've had either of them to myself. Even then it's been to go to the doctor or the supermarket.
But this week, with the nursery on summer holiday and Granny on hand for babysitting duties, I packed up the towels and costumes and took my eldest swimming all by herself. G loved it. Usually a bit nervous, taking her time to analyse every situation, she threw herself in (not literally, obviously). Despite the fact that, with the schools off, the pool was busier than we're used to, she was in her element.
When we've gone before as a family, she's taken things slowly, hardly daring to brave the little slide, and getting no closer to swimming than walking round the baby pool. But happily gripping my hand, clearly delighted to have me all to herself, she marched straight into the water, giggling and insisting on being swum round to the outside pool to practise jumping in. Encouraged by her enthusiasm, I laid down a challenge.
'Do you want to try swimming?' I suggested. 'You're such a big clever girl now.'
A flash of uncertainty crossed her adorable little face. But it lasted no more than a second or two.
'OK,' she smiled. 'But don't let go!'
I mauoeuvred my way round in front of her, and held her under her arms. She clung on to me for a second... then spread her arms wide and soared! Kicking her legs delightedly behind her, her face lit up.
'It's like flying!' she giggled. 'I love floating!'
We circumnavigated the pool more times than I can count, floating round the wild water time and time again. It was wonderful. When G finally tired herself out, we giggled our way to the changing rooms (so much easier to get dressed with just one rather than three in there, by the way) then up to the cafe for lunch. My shy little mouse went up the the counter by herself, chatting sweetly to the lady behind the till as she handed over her money. She was flourishing.

Someone's having fun!
When we got back to Granny's, she couldn't wait to regale T and M with her adventures. And I couldn't wait to regale Granny.
I'm honestly not sure who loved our morning more. I've always been very careful to not treat my twins as a set, never dressing them alike, playing up their different looks and personalities. But in truth I'm probably more guilty of seeing them as a pair than anyone else. They've always done everything together. I often have M to myself when the girls are at nursery, or the twins and I go somewhere while the little one is with a grandparent. Why haven't I done this before? Each one of my girls is so different and so special. It was fantastic to get to really know G as just G. Not as a twin, or a sister, or a combatant in the latest fight I'm refereeing. Just G. And a wonderful little G at that.
And tomorrow, I get my T time. Will she let loose like G? Or just want to sit quietly, proving how different she is from her sister? I know I will never be able to stop comparing them to each other, or to M for that matter. The ways they are alike and differences between them, their strengths and their weaknesses are what make them all so much fun. But they're not a set. They're three fantastic little people who I can't wait to get to know.