Nature and Nurture

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Categories Development, Fraternal, Toddlers

It never ceases to amaze me how different my two kids are.  Of course, they’re genetically just any old brother and sister, so clearly they would be two different people.  But being twins, you still somehow expect them to be a bit more alike.  Even if you logically know there’s no reason for it.

There are the big differences: more than four pounds apart in weight, completely different body shapes, different coloring.  Their personalities are also very different from one another. My daughter is more independent and pushy.  My son, though bigger, is more sensitive and cautious (sometimes).

But what has made me laugh this weekend is the small things they do differently, and make you wonder why.  Clearly they’ve had the same mom this whole time, living in the same house, etc.  Their environment/nurture could hardly be closer to the same.  So is it really genetic that they would splash the water in the bathtub so differently?  Rebecca prefers a side-to-side wave motion, which my husband thinks indicates a future breaststroker.  Daniel is just straight up-and-down – maybe butterfly (or doggie paddle)?  They both do the sign for “more,” but Daniel’s is like two fists banging together while Rebecca’s is little tapping fingertips.

I know there’s no particular gene sequence that determines side-to-side bathtub splashing. But isn’t it funny, the things that seem to almost randomly occur?  We think so much about the influence we have on our kids.  And we do have a huge influence.  But then there are all these little things that you realize their little brains compute on their own, even if you’re trying to teach them the same thing at the same time.

What about you?  What funny little things do your twins do completely different from one another? Or what random things do they do exactly the same?

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12 thoughts on “Nature and Nurture”

  1. They do everything differently. Everything. Some days it is almost a joke that they are like night and day. They sleep differently (Alex is a light sleeper, Nate is a heavy sleeper). They poop differently. One is a picky eater, one is not. One is super brave about everything, one is scared of everything. One talks all the time, one rarely talks.

    The one thing they do the same is teething. Except for molars, every single tooth has come in at the same exact time.

  2. The most indicative difference between my boy and girl (22 months) is the way they wake up in the morning. Will wakes up boisterous, banging on the walls, jumping in the crib, calling “Open the door,” enjoying making his voice as loud as possible. Ruth, on the other hand, wakes gently, without any noise (unless it’s the creak of the crib springs as she turns over), and when we go in there, she’s often lounging on her back, sucking her thumb, one arm around her beloved stuffed Duck, one or both feet propped up on the crib rail. One blessed similarity: neither has tried to climb out of his/her crib yet! :^)

  3. Mine are complete opposites as well. Luke is laid back and keeps himself entertained. Taylor is hyper and wants attention immediately. Even though they were born at similar weights, (5lbs 3 oz and 4lbs 7oz) now at 5 months, Luke is 21lbs and Taylor is 14lbs. Taylor rolls and rolls while Luke is content just laying there. Taylor screams loudly while Luke hums quietly. Luke takes one long nap and Taylor takes cat naps all day. It’s fun to see them develop personalities. They truly are individuals.

  4. Mine do lots of things differently. Like yours b/g about 5 pounds apart. My son talks non-stop all the time, and my daughter talks when she needs to express/convey/request something. My son loves green, my daughter blue (this is convenient). They like different foods; one likes water, the other fears it. One likes animals, the other fears them.

    Other things are identical or similar. My favorite similarity is the way they run, legs wild, arms flapping, with an “ahhhh” sound to punctuate it.

  5. i think it would be easier to say the only thing they do alike is stay on the same schedule (and that by my insistence).

    we have come to the time when people seem shocked by the fact that they are twins. they have always been so different, but the one thing i notice is, though different, they learn very quickly from each other and assume ‘parts’ of each other very easily.

    my current fav difference is that owen is the organizer while mace is the destroyer. almost complimentary.

  6. My boys are different in this way:
    Luke looks and acts like a “little man”; Derek looks and acts more like a cute cuddly 16 month old.
    Luke has already caught (on accident) a long football pass that came his way while seated in his stroller, to everyone’s amazement.
    Derek doesn’t have the same daredevil tendencies!
    But Derek is plenty of mischief in his own, quieter way. And he cares more if he sees me going somewhere, Luke seems to give a darn where I am.
    So different!
    One stranger thought they were siblings, Derek has always been a pound heavier and a bit taller.

  7. I should have stranger thought they were NON-twin siblings. (of course they are siblings but they ARE twins!)
    I have twin brain.

  8. Oh man. I totally had an argument about the nurture vs. nature with my sister when my b/g twins were born. She thinks it’s ALL nurture. HAH! I laugh in your face. Burke is *all* boy. Whereas Maggie is so girly girl…and I’m so *not* girly girl – I have no idea where she gets it LOL

    They both sing the same wrong lyrics to songs. It’s quite comical, actually. And they correct US with the wrong lyrics when we sing them right. (And this isn’t something they’ve learned elsewhere, it’s what their brains have picked up from us singing to them…so they got the RIGHT words from the beginning…strange, huh?)

  9. So true! My almost one-year old (sigh) b/g twins have been like day and night from the beginning. He never had problems with sleep, drinking, pooping, etc. He’ll take whatever you give him. She had to be on probiotics, napped not so well, and is on again off again constipated all the time. He’s 24 lbs., she’s just over 18. He has a head full of wavy coppery hair, she has a smidgen of blonde stick straight locks. He’s laid back, she’s high maintenance. The list goes on and on. I get asked all the time how far apart they are. When I tell people “one minute” they get a very bewildered look on their face. Hello! It’s too funny. So, basically, the only things they have in common are their big blue eyes and their birthday!

  10. MommyBrain – I was thinking that as I was reading the comments! My ID twin girls could not be more different. Ok, they both have blonde hair and blue eyes, but my “oldest” (46 min) is taller, leaner (but heavier – go figure), has darker hair, a longer face, bigger eyes and that’s just physical differences! She is a total drama queen and is more of a “people person”. My youngest is mellow and curious, patient and shy. It makes me realize that DNA is truly a small part of who we are.

  11. Mine are SO different!

    Jack is my cuddly, sensitive boy and has been from the start. At times it manifested as needy, but as developed into easygoing. He’s content to sit and play with toys and does everything in his own time. He eats his food gingerly and puts things in his mouth one at a time. His smile equates sweet.

    Meghan is CRAZY! She was never cuddly and as soon as she could move she was out there. She’s a climber. A daredevil. She shovels her food in her mouth by the fistful (she does have the pincher grasp, but doesn’t use it to eat). Her smile equates FUN!

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