So how do you keep from getting sucked into sibling conflicts? I can't seem to do it, and I've come to the conclusion that getting sucked in is a large portion of what makes parenting the twins stressful.
Today had a couple of good examples.
On the way back from dance class this evening, the girls started arguing. It started with yelling and screaming and soon there were a few slaps and hair pulls added in (to the degree that can happen when they're separated by an empty seat, and strapped into car seats) complete with oodles more yelling and screaming. Always a pleasure to drive down those county roads with no shoulders, where pulling over to the side of the road is more or less impossible. My approach tonight? I turned the radio up loud enough to drown out their yelling until they quieted down, and when I got home, they both went on the naughty seat. I doubt the punishment will leave a lasting impression, unfortunately.
Contrast that with the bedtime fiasco tonight -- we had round two of the who gets to turn out the lights dispute. I kid you not - Candace leapt out of her bed, and practically walked over Sarah in her bed to get to the stupid light switch. On this one, I decided to take the issue off the table by saying I would, from now on, be turning off the lights. That caused Sarah to launch into a baby-crying fit. What they really want is for me to keep track of who's turn it is to switch the lights off, but there are already so many of these let's take turns items that its become too much to keep track of. Just in the bedtime routine there is already turn taking on: picking the story, going to the bathroom, and teeth brushing. I'm loath to add light switching.
If I don't intervene, then I usually see one twin (usually Candace, but not always), unfairly treating the other in a cruel bid to get her way on things. Maybe I shouldn't worry about the fairness aspect, but when you hear one twin say "If you don't give me do X, I won't be your friend" or similar things, it's hard to just let it go.
Otherwise the day went fairly well, except for my vow of better quality food. I could barely get them to eat breakfast (one kid ate a single strip of bacon, the other -- five spoonfuls of cereal). After school snack was ice cream (a step up from the candy they demanded), and dinner was the golden arches, which they at least ate. Gotta work on this harder tomorrow.