We've been encountering a fair bit of separation anxiety lately between Doodle and Buggie. At first, we thought it was stemming from Buggie, but other factors have led us to change this diagnosis. Doodle is a "spirited" child and very passionate about her feelings. It has been causing the day home a fair bit of grief and we needed to do something about it.
Enter: separate field trips.
Sure - we've split them up for short periods before. Doodle has her ophthalmologist appointments. Buggie will go grocery shopping. Usually pretty random. Now it was going to take some concentrating to give them more space. More time away from their doppelganger. We really want the girls to grow up as individuals so these field trips were absolutely necessary.
This past weekend, we decided to take two longer duration activities and turn them into fun days for each girl.
Saturday was Doodle's turn. We had to take Cancerhound to the vet for his check up and to try and figure out why he is vomiting non-stop lately. Since Doodle is CRAZY bout doggies we thought this would be a good choice for her. But first we had to get out of the house...
Doodle thought Buggie absolutely should be coming and, no matter how many times we explained to her that it was her special trip and Buggie was staying home with Gramma, she would ask about her again every five minutes. When we finally got to the vet, Dood surprised us by being shy. Ya - that didn't last long.
Soon she was walking around the room, meeting all the animals and telling people about the pretty flowers on her dress and about her sister who was at home with Gramma. She especially liked this ancient Siamese cat and had to go see it many many times. It might have been the 4 year old boy who was with the cat, though...she DOES have a thing for older men.
Then she found a matching game where she tried to find all of the posters that were the same. You should have seen her glee when she discovered that the "available payment options" sign matched the stickers of the same on the wall. Pure ecstasy for her.
She started to run out of steam by the time we got into the exam room and the tantrums lightly began. It was time to get her out of there and on to a new activity. So, once cancerhound was released, we headed to Starbucks for a snack and then back home.
All night, she kept asking me when we would go in the car again and see the puppies and kitties
Sunday, it was Buggies turn. MIL and I were going holiday shopping and the second midget got to tag along. Of course, her sleeping plan from the night before was slightly off ideal. Ok - way off ideal. Ideal may not even have been on her radar. Luckily, we left the house around 10 and she slept the whole way to our first stop.
...and she was an angel all day. Didn't ask for her sister until near the end. Just concentrated on having special time with mommy and gramma. She played quietly in the dress racks while Gramma looked for a dress (the girls in Melanie Lynn told her she should be a hat model in their catalog). She contented herself in the tunnel in the Disney store with some stuffies. She ate her lunch at the restaurant. People even told me how well behaved she was! I wanted to kneel and say "what did you do with my daughter?" to her.
Getting her away from her twin was really enlightening. It gave me much better insight into how much control her sister has over her. It wasn't that she didn't have challenges. She tended to run ahead of us in the mall. She wanted to stay in the change room at the dress store when we were ready to go. There was a meltdown in ToysRus because she was tired and thirsty (easily solved with some apple juice). But that is what you expect from a NORMAL child.
When we got home, Doodle was so excited to see her sister. They hugged and then took off to be twin terrors again.
Most importantly, these trips taught me something. It taught me that I am not losing my mind when it comes to Doodle's special challenges. Just this stark contrast between how my daughters behave in public alone was enlightening. It has maybe put me on track to manage Doodle's severe mood swings. It's given me a starting point, anyway.