Interpreting Behavior

When working with children, you quickly learn that child behavior can provide a kind of window into the family environment. If a young child swears a lot, you may guess that he or she is learning the vocabulary from the behavior of an adult or older child at home. If a child sits down at a classroom computer and, before she can get to her school work, defragments the hard drive and complains that the school should really be using a better operating system (Mac or Linux or Vista, take your pick), she is most likely being raised by a geek. If she periodically brings in new seat cushions for the classroom chairs and replaces the math posters with tasteful art, she probably lives with my wife (unless she is a boy, in which case you can only hope the parents are open-minded).

In our case, Grace’s recent behavior would be a dead giveaway about what’s going on in our home (that is, if Gracie ever actually left home). For example, Oinky (the pink pig pictured here – given to Grace by Grandma June) is not only sitting in a vibrachair, but has been carefully strapped in. Hmmm, either there is a baby in the house, or the parents are given to tying people into chairs.

The next picture clinches it. Not one but two dolls, one strapped into a car seat and one in a crib. At other times, you might see the dolls having their diapers changed, or stacked neatly in the crib together at bed time.

No doubt about it, there are twins in our house. Grace isn’t in school yet to give us away, but to a trained professional there would be no doubt.

If you know a child whom you suspect may live with twins, watch for these telltale signs:

  • The child does not eat in the cafeteria, but instead distributes food to the other children.
  • When the other children are done eating, the child attempts to burp them one by one.
  • When the other children are burped, the child falls asleep immediately
  • If you wake the child, she jumps up with at start and says “Do we have enough clean bottles? I’ve got to wash bottles.”
  • Any time the noise in the classroom rises, she begins urgently “Shhh”ing everyone.
  • The child tries to complete two school assignments at once, one with each hand.

If you notice any of these signs, give the child a little extra attention. And a sandwich. She may not be getting much at home.

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