There are certain things I'd worry about a lot more if I had only one kid. To put a finer point on it, there are certain things I'd blame myself for more if I had only one kid, or if I had two kids who were more alike.
Take food, for example. Tonight's dinner was smoked salmon (served cold), steamed white rice, nori wrappers, corn on the cob, and sliced watermelon. Upon seeing the dinner, Maddie exclaimed, "Oh! I LOVE seaweed!" She proceeded to eat a good number (four or five?) of salmon and rice wraps, most of her corn, and two slices of melon. Riley ate at least ten slices of melon, two servings of white rice, and, when asked to choose some kind of protein, a SmartDog. He's a vegetarian by choice, and his go-to proteins are any and all dairy, SmartDogs, hummus, raw almonds, eggs, and peanut butter.
My point here is that Maddie is an adventurous eater and a combiner. She'll try almost anything and likes all kinds of somewhat unexpected things. She has an especially keen taste for sour and bitter things. She loves to mix things together. When we go out to eat, my best strategy is to just order a meal for myself and share it with her.
My best strategy with Riley is to ask for a refill on the bread basket. He loves carbs, which Maddie could totally live without. He won't eat meat, Maddie's favorite food group. Grapefruit is his least favorite fruit, Maddie's top choice. He's a pretty healthy eater, Riley, but he's adverse to trying new things and he has a fairly limited repertoire.
If I had just Maddie, I'd be all about taking credit for having fed her a variety of foods from the very beginning and for not having catered to her whims when mealtime comes around. If I only had Riley, I'd wonder what I'd done wrong to create someone who is so limited in his preferences and so generally nervous about eating anything new.
As it is, I have them both and they've been presented with the same offerings. My only catering has been to accommodate Riley's preference not to eat meat. Otherwise, what's served is served, like it or lump it. And yet, two totally different palettes, one adventurous eater and one who falls somewhere on the spectrum of "picky."
I choose to draw the conclusion that I didn't have much to do with this outcome. I think Riley could be pickier if I let him dictate his meals and Maddie would try even more things if I were willing to take the time to broaden my quick meals repertoire. But in the end, I deserve no credit nor do I feel any failing.
Sleep is the same. Oh, how I wish Riley would sleep more, or at least later in the morning! But I've tried everything, and in the end, Maddie has always tended to need more sleep and sleep later and Riley has an internal clock like mine, which means he thrives on predictable to-bed and wake-up times.
It's easy as a parent, at least for this parent, to feel guilty about every little perceived negative or problem with one's kid. And it's sometimes equally easy to feel pride for every little positive and success. I certainly think that how kids are parented has some influence on their behavior and certainly on their world view, but having two rather temperamentally different children who have been parented in largely the same way at the same times in their lives has taken off some of the heat for me.
People often say that I'm lucky to have twins, and in many ways, I agree. This is one of the more selfishly practical ways in which I find having twins to be a boon.
And on that note, I shall now go assemble two desks from that pinnacle of consumerism: IKEA. I would make a lame joke that double the furniture assembly is a negative about having twins, but the truth is that I am one of those nutters who actually enjoys putting together IKEA's wares. So I guess it's just another reason to be happy about the twin situation.
Now just don't ask me about the first two years of the kids' lives. Those stories, at least the ones that were not already documented on this blog, are for another, perhaps less positive, day.