We've reached the part of parenting where you feel like you're trying to train a dog. Where behavior is no longer 100% instinctual and necessary for survival, but rather for fun and for learning what is and is not acceptable.
This means we're also starting with some tantrums. Middie Biddie hit the tantrum stage first but Teeny Tiny is catching up quick. We've had a few lying on the floor as the crocodile tears flow tantrums, but those only last a few minutes and that's mostly Middie Biddie getting pissed off that I had to put her down. Teeny Tiny tends to tantrum the hour before bedtime (she really loves her sleep and Middie Biddie doesn't let her get as much of it as she wants) and hers are more in the style of "This toy has pissed me off so I'm going to show it how pissed off I am!" complete with foot stomping and toy throwing.
For a while, Middie Biddie was throwing a tantrum whenever she wanted me to pick her up. No request first that I could say yes or no to, just tantrum with arms in the air. I refused to pick her up when she did that and it was difficult finding the opportunity to reward the behavior I wanted to see. I tried to tell her to calm down and would do things like blow in her face to make her smile and try to guide her into really deep breaths so I could find a moment of non-whining to reward. She's now coming to me with arms up without those annoying toddler noises and I'm doing my best to pick her up very quickly when she does that so she knows it will work.
We've baby proofed the girls living space so much that there aren't a whole lot of rules to follow. The big one is not to stand/walk on the couches. Now that they can climb up, we're trying to teach them to only sit once they are up there. Ok, they can crawl too, but I don't want them standing, walking, or climbing. We've been very consistent with "Sit!" and "get down!" and then physically putting them in the position we mean by those statements. It's hard to know what they do understand and what they don't understand in terms of language, so it really is like dog training. You say "sit" and then put them in a sitting position. You say "down" and then move them to the floor. Whenever they stand, firm unhappy face, when they sit, clapping and "yay!!!" so they know they're are doing what I've asked them to do.
I'd say we've been working on that one for about 2 weeks and I'm pretty sure they get it now. Teeny Tiny will grab a toy, climb onto a couch and sit to play with it even when we're not specifically looking at her and she could probably get away with a lot more. Middie Biddie is crossing over from thinking this whole thing is a game to knowing that she's really not supposed to stand on the couch. She'll walk around on there while I'm trapped doing a Teeny Tiny diaper change and she'll laugh at me when I tell her to get down, and then finally do it a few seconds later.
I have some insecurity about the fact that things are baby proofed so much and that the girls are kind of caged in. I fear people will judge me as lazy or something. But the other day, as Middie Biddie was running across the couch and I was stuck with Teeny Tiny up on the changing table it occurred to me, with twins, there really are moments when I'm not physically capable of saving one from themselves because doing so would be unsafe for the other one. I couldn't run to save Middie Biddie from falling because doing so would probably make Teeny Tiny fall. That moment made me feel a whole lot better about all of the work I've done to make sure that any possible damage they could do to themselves would be minimal. Yeah, she could have fallen, but anything she might have cracked her head on was moved out of the way and the worst that could happen would be she'd tumble to the floor and be a little startled and perhaps a touch bruised. When you have two, there are simply times when you're trapped doing a diaper change the other one knows it! So I'm going to enjoy my freedom to pee in peace and not having to look for cell phones in the toilet which is a side effect of keeping them safe. Oh, she followed instructions and actually got off the couch without falling.
My cousin told me that kids only hear the last 2-3 words of a sentence. So when you say "you're not allowed to walk on the couch", they hear "walk on the couch". We're trying to reframe our language to only 1 or 2 word statements that communicate what we want rather than long sentences communicating what we don't want. So, it sounds like we're training dogs here. Sit! Stay! Come here! Ask nicely!