Celebrate the Similarity

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Categories Behavior, Development, IdenticalTags , , ,

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was determined to raise them as independent little people. I never referred to them as “the twins” and preferred that other people avoid that as well. When they were born, I tried my hardest to avoid dressing them in matching outfits (which was hard because people REALLY like to give them as gifts…and see them worn!) in an effort to emphasize that they are, in fact, two seperate beings.

As they grow – and appear to be very, very much alike physically – I find myself trying hard to point out their behaviorial differences. Sometimes they are true observations, such as “Aaron is a much faster crawler and Brady goes more slowly, trying to work on technique”. But lately I’ve also found myself guilty of saying things like “Aaron is great at self-soothing, Brady is not as good”. I didn’t think too much of it at first, until I was awake and rocking Brady at 4:30 am in the morning. And I had to wonder: Did I do this to them?

For all my talk about Aaron being better at self-soothing, is it because I have a tendency to pick up Brady first? Have I forced Aaron to be more independent (and wait it out) while encouraging Brady to be more dependent on the cuddle, the rock, the touch of a parent while falling asleep?

I have also heard myself proclaiming “Brady will eat anything, Aaron is more picky.” Is that true? Or, do I subconsciously give up on new foods faster with Aaron because I have labeled him in my mind as the finicky one?

I’m not sure. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation I guess. But I am starting to worry about the danger of labeling my children in a desperate attempt to find the differences between them. All this labeling seems to be actually driving and encouraging those behaviours that were perhaps not really there before.

One thing I will have to start working on is accepting that they are, in fact, identical twins. They will look alike. They will behave in a similar fashion. Their personalities will come alive on their own and their differences will shine through.   In the meantime, perhaps, I should start celebrating some of these special similarities instead of trying SO HARD to force them to be different people.

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4 thoughts on “Celebrate the Similarity”

  1. So tricky, isn’t it, to always try to do the right thing! I think that as long as you are thinking about these issues, you are doing great. I often consider myself lucky that my twins are different genders, simply because it is easier for me (and others) to see them as individuals. Of course, it’s also easy to gender stereotype them. It’s always something!

  2. My girls are nearly 13 now, and I have struggled with this for their entire lives. They funny thing is … as soon as you think you’ve “defined” them in some way (she’s more outgoing, she’s more shy), they will switch!!! They are who they are, at turns shy or outgoing, finicky or adventurous, clingy or independent, leader or follower, grumpy or happy. Especially as new teens, you never know what you will get from day to day.

    Don’t think of them in absolutes … one of them is THIS and the other is THAT. They are incredibly similar and amazingly distinct at the same time. It’s one of the most fascinating aspects of being a mother of twins.

  3. i can see how with identicals it would be even more important to mama to see them as individuals. we have the enviable position of watching two (or more) establish themselves as little people, but it also challenges us to let them be….ahhh, tins (or more).

  4. I have fraternal 7-month boys, but I still find myself thinking, “Josh is the fussy one,” or “Nate is the one who doesn’t warm up to new people as quickly.” Then I realized that I shouldn’t think of it in relation to each other – I’m trying not to make everything a comparison between them.

    I think there’s a pitfall in thinking that twins have to be opposites in everything. One’s outgoing so the other has to be shy. They can both be outgoing! I’m sure this is nothing new to other twin moms, but it took me several months to figure this out on my own…

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