The Accidental Punishing of Nolan Evans

When people meet me, they often say how hard it must be to have twins. Usually I nod and agree with them, though sometimes if I was feeling modest I would say that I get a lot of help because I have twins.

Since the twins started kindergarten for 3-year-olds recently, I am meeting a lot of new people (mostly mothers) and I am often without Peter, as I don’t need a second pair of hands as much, and so I am getting more people making that same remark.

Now my response is that when they were babies it was like having two babies at once, often one hour off schedule with each other, so twice the work; but now that they are 3 it is like having a constant pair of playmates. They always have a friend to play with, which takes a lot of stress off me. Also, when I compare myself to people who have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old (like many of my parent friends), I realize things have become relatively easy: I can put both my boys in the same Music or Swimming Class.

Then I came across a twin problem I didn’t see coming.

In order to get our kids potty-trained we made a sticker reward chart. When the novelty of getting stickers wore off, we decided to allow them to ‘cash in’ their stickers for a toy.

Carl had already gotten quite ahead of Nolan so we decided to set the goals in such a way that Nolan too could get a toy soon, which meant Carl had already earned one and was heading to his second.

We took Carl shopping for his toy, a Thomas the Tank Engine, and explained to Nolan what he had to do to get his own toy.

Then everything went wrong.

Suddenly, Carl had a toy he didn’t have to share. Carl was on a power trip. He declared Thomas the Tank Engine off-limits to Nolan.

For days my life was full of Nolan screaming how much he wanted to play with Thomas. Carl's response? “Carl says no."

What had meant to be a reward system had suddenly turned into a punishment system and a punishment system was what I had been trying to avoid.

At current count Carl has three reward toys and Nolan has one. Each time Carl gets a new one, I have days of crying.

Next time someone says, “It must be hard having twins!” I am going to say, "It is."

Posted by Grant Evans

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