A few days ago, when my teenage fraternal twin sons and I were headed out the door for the day, Twin A went for the front seat of the car while Twin B took his spot in the backseat. There was no confrontation or arguing; no jockeying for position. How did this happen (and with teenagers no less)? Simple. It was the 17th, an odd day. And Twin A is odd while Twin B is even. And they’ve been that way since the day there were born.
Don’t get me wrong—Twin A isn’t really odd. It’s just what we assigned him when he was born. If it’s an odd-numbered day, it’s his turn. If it’s an even-numbered day, it’s his cotwin’s turn. Period.
You see, in the weeks before my twins’ birth, my husband and I thought about ways in which we’d organize our lives and theirs. Yes, we implemented color-coding ideas which helped tremendously but we knew there’d be more to it than that. We tried to anticipate ways in which having two kids born on the same day may cause sibling strife. Taking a lesson from our own childhoods, we quickly realized that taking turns or “going first” was important to a kid and may present a problem with our twins. Thus, the odd and even system was born.
When they were young we used it mostly for singing Happy Birthday. On odd years, we’d sing to Twin A first followed by Twin B. On even years, it was just the opposite. On occasion when the kids couldn’t decide on a video to rent, we’d implement the odd-even system, too. It’s really no different from using the games Odd Man Out or Rock Paper Scissors when deciding who gets to go first. It’s just faster.
But the odd-even system began to fade when they hit grade school, only making a yearly appearance during their birthdays. Recently, however, I’m finding that we’re using it a lot more now that my guys have gotten older, especially when it comes to the car. Most teens want to sit in the front seat, not in the back seat so the odd-even system has come in pretty darn handy as illustrated in my opening paragraph. But that’s not all. My boys are 16 and learning to drive. At the same time. (Gulp!) They got their learner’s permits on the same day and they’re both eager to drive any chance they get. Still, we don’t have arguments thanks to the odd-even arrangement. (I think you get the idea—Twin A can drive on odd days; Twin B even.)
If you’d ask my sons what they think of the setup they’d tell you that they like it because it totally cuts out arguing as the calendar doesn’t lie. “But,” my son is quick to add. “It can suck to always have to share everything.”
Amen to that. Just ask their younger, singleton brother. He’s still trying to find a way to get in that front seat of the car!