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intransitive verb
: to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly
transitive verb
: to separate into distinct parts


I had trouble blogging today.

It’s not that I didn’t have anything relevant to say – twins have been on my mind all week, because of this family who just lost one of their twins very unexpectedly.

It hurts so much to even read about it, and I didn’t want that to be what I shared with you, but because of prematurity and pregnancy complications, loss is interwoven with abundance in the multiples community. I am sure any support, prayers, good thoughts, etc. would be welcomed by the Martinos.

Because of their story, the bond between my boys weighed heavily on my heart this week. My guys are not one of the sets of twins you hear about who are “total opposites.” They like the same things, to varying degrees but enough that they are always together. They discuss what they want to play. Each is heartbroken if the other refuses to “pay wif me,” and they defend each other against our discipline. They sleep tangled up together, closer than I sleep to my husband. Their top loves in life are Mommy, Daddy, and their twin. Their sisters are in another category.

It pains me to think of how we must begin to train them to grow apart. It is necessary, to be sure, but the bond between them has formed so naturally that it seems cruel – a sin – to deliberately weaken it. They have their sisters, close in age. They play with lots of other kids. They rarely dress alike. They’ve done things with us individually since they were babies, but each is always overjoyed to get back home to his twin.

Sometime this week I found a website for the author of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Your Twins as Unique Individuals; Joan Friedman, Ph.D. The page header said, “Creating a New Mindset: Thinking of Twins as Two Separate Children.” A twin herself, the author felt a lot of pressure to play up the twin bond in her life, and when she found herself pregnant with twins, she worried about how to avoid putting the same pressure on her children. The chapter online is interesting reading, touching on topics like “favoring” one twin over the other, and creating a fair and equal childhood (Friedman says it’s better not to!). I’m interested in hearing whether any of you have read Dr. Friedman’s book, and what you think of her advice – particularly if you are an adult multiple yourself. Do you think the bond between multiples is mostly due to a “twin mystique” myth perpetuated by society, or do you think it is something more?

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13 thoughts on “Cleave”

  1. I know most MoM’s will disagree with me but I think it’s a myth and something parents encourage. I was adament about them being separated from birth … not sharing a crib, or a room. They were separated for the first 11 days anyway when one had a need to be in the NICU. My thinking at the time was “Do I separate them now or wait several months and do it when they are more able to protest?”

    I’m not a twin myself but my 2 best friends are ID girls. They really disliked when anyone grouped them together and worked (and still work) to remain separate identities. They had a mother (a twin herself) who encouraged this.

    My neighbor has two adopted boys separated in age by only 1 week and leads everyone to believe they are twins. She loves the idea.

    My bottom line on this is I think any two kids, the same age growing up in the same household will have a close bond.

    … and as I said … I know most MoM’s do not agree with me. I hope this is a good discussion … I always enjoy the insights from the readers and writers on this site.

  2. I think it varies. Some twins seem to have that psychic bond, some don’t. I don’t think parents’ actions have much to do with it. If they don’t have that bond, you can’t fake it or force it, no matter how much you dress them alike. If they do, you can have them sleep in separate rooms all you like and it won’t matter one bit.

    I think the real question is, if the bond exists, does it interfere with their forming bonds with other people in their lives? It sounds like your twins have a healthy balance.
    .-= suburbancorrespondent´s last blog ..The End Of An Era =-.

  3. My brother and I are fraternal boy/girl twins. We never shared a special bond and were always at each others throats until we were separated at 12 through my parent’s divorce. I’m of the mindset that you don’t need to force any separation. If the boys get along so well, then I think it is an amazing relationship that they couldn’t get with another sibling or friend. They’re already showing some independence from one another with the way they dress and how they both like different things. I think you should foster their individualities just the same way that you are doing, but never force them to be apart if it isn’t what they want to do. Just my 2 cents.

  4. I think, like many things in parenting, it’s a question of figuring out your own children, and finding a balance. If the kids seem to be really close, let them be close. Still strive for some one-on-one time so they have some balance and are able to cope with being apart to some degree. But if they love being together, who’s to argue??

    As for your link… I read it last night, and I literally thought my heart had broken in half. I sat in my kids’ room for an hour while they slept, trying not to wake them up with my sobbing. Horrible. Just horrible.

  5. I read this book and wrote a review of it for HDYDI:

    And I agree with Goddess. I think you have to make parenting decisions based on the kids you have. My boys are like night and day so it has never been difficult to treat them individually. But I do feel the reality is they are in a two-kid family, and two-kid families simply spend a lot of time with their sibling.

  6. My fraternal boys, age 26 months, don’t seem “close” at all! This will probably evolve and change with the times as they grow and develop. For now, they usually play “around” each other, not interactively. It is rare that they acknowledge each other, I’ve never seen them seek comfort from each other. So their bond is unique to them, and will be ever- changing, I’m sure. Keep in mind, they are never separated. Our lifestyle doesn’t enable us to separate them so maybe its like “here’s my shadow, a part of me, always there, that needs no special acknowedgement…” It has me thinking, that’s for sure.

  7. Here is my two cents. I think parents should take the clues from the kids and raise them the best for those two individual kids. Some people in life need more bonds and closeness. Maybe that is why Heavenly Father let them be born into a twin dynamic. Some kids are natural loners and being born into a twin dynamic helps them to form bonds in this life easier then if they were a single birth. There are always exceptions to any philosophy.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..30 days of summer – Day 14 – shopping, cleaning & fun =-.

  8. I agree with those who say it all depends on the kids. My daughters spent between 62 and 87 days in the NICU, so I didn’t even have all four of them home until nearly 3 months after their birth. They share a room, due to space issues, but have never co-bedded. They are extremely close, but also extremely independent, if that makes any sense. In other words, they have a tight bond, but put them in a situation with other kids (ie: school) and they’re off in four different directions. I work to have others see them as individuals, but I also embrace their need to be a unit (when they want to, of course).
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..The Aftermath of a Lazy Sunday =-.

  9. Twins run in my family, and as one half of a b/g twin set myself, I totally think that you should go off of the kids themselves. My brother and I (like Amy) were always fighting, and, until I moved out, honestly hated each other. So when I heard kids find out in high school that I had a twin, I was glad– I didn’t want to have to be associated with him like two of my friends, fraternal g/g twins, were. Though, that was only because they were the best of friends and were always around each other.

    So, it completely depends on the twins. If they love being around each other, keep them together (in my opinion, until they get to school). The g/g set I know of were separated in elementary and middle school, and because of it, they were usually treated as individuals with different tastes (but they were usually grouped together when getting party invites or something since they were ALWAYS with one another).

  10. What I’ve observed is a strong connection between my twin boys…which not unlike the strong connection they have with their big sis. Although there may be times that I’d like to think they have a super secret, special “twin” thing bond going on, the truth is they interact as children that spend 99% of their day together naturally would.

    When I was pregnant with my twins I actually worried constantly that my daughter would always be the outsider out because of the “twin bond” the boys would have. Happily though they seem to have a relationship like that of any other group of similar age siblings.
    .-= Cristal´s last blog ..To: Sophia.Alex.Max =-.

  11. I totally related to what you just wrote. That surprised me since mine are b/g. You’d think they would have the same bond as identicals or same sex twins but they are so interdependent on each other…in a healthy way, I think. In a way that makes me long for a twin myself. Makes me want a twin for my singleton…oh wait, maybe not. That would make 4 kids!
    .-= kp´s last blog ..Is This Journalism? =-.

  12. I don’t agree with the world’s obsession to “separate twins.” I try to just let mine be themselves. They’re only 16 months now, and sometimes close, sometimes not. They sleep in the same room, which is great, because in the morning they tell jokes to each other (in a language I don’t understand, but is apparently hilarious) and start the day smiling. Those extra minutes of sleep this routine gives me makes me smile too :) When they grow older, I will follow their lead. If they want to be BFFs, great. If they want separate rooms, more independent lives, that’s fine too. I don’t think it’s for me to decide. Why shouldn’t they choose who they want to be close to?
    .-= Jungletwins´s last blog ..Mini Vacay IV : Paradise Lost…then Found. =-.

  13. I have read the book and our twin club had the author come down to speak at our club meeting. I appreciated her perspective and both a parent of and a twin herself.

    I have identical twins and am always concerned that we and ,more likely, others treat them as one unit. Right now, they call themselves by one name (we’re working on it).

    People like to think they should have polarizing personalities; they say comments like, “It must be so neat to see their different personalies” when in reality they actually are quite similar for the most part. Which only reinforces the perception that they are the same. I prefer to think that they have “unique” personalities which is what Joan talked about. It’s the uniqueness of each twin that should be fostered and not necessarily their independence from each other. Their uniqueness can be brought out alongside of that their twin bond. One on one time is a way to obviously bring atttention to it, and keeping it “unfair and unequal” as the book talks about it is something to keep in mind. It’s a tricky thing trying to bring up 2 individuals who are so similiar physically and mentally, we can only hope to try to do our best and hope that it is enough.

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