Who's who? The big brother edition

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It has been interesting to watch our son get to know his little sisters.  From the beginning figuring out which baby goes with which name has been a challenge.  In the hospital (age 27 months), he would introduce them as S and OtherBaby.  S was a familiar name to him because a girl at the dayhome had the same name.

As the girls got a little older he learned what their names were but he still couldn’t tell them apart.  He would refer to them by the colour of their blanket or coat.  That led to embarrassing situations when he would announce in his defiant 2-year-old voice in a public place, “I don’t want to sit next to the brown baby.”

Later he began to hyphenate their names.  They became R-S and S-R.  To him it didn’t seem to matter now because they had the correct name somewhere in his label.

He seems to like their names or maybe he’s still trying to figure out who is who because he has named his stuffed animals and imaginary friends after his sisters.  The interesting thing is that has named them R, S and R.  For some reason he reuses R’s name all the time.

Our son is now 3.75 years old.  He still can’t seem to reliably tell his sisters apart.  Sometimes he’ll get it right but not more than the 50% that comes with guessing. He’ll ask, “what’s this baby’s name?” and then talk to her by name.  Then he’ll ask what the other baby’s name is.  I wonder if he thinks we reassign their names and that each girl might not actually go with the same name all the time.
How have your siblings of multiples done with identifying who’s who? Do you have any suggestions for helping him to tell them apart?  This won’t be an issue long because the girls will likely soon be talking, so I”m sure they’ll correct him.

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9 thoughts on “Who's who? The big brother edition”

  1. I would not trust them so much to correct him in the beginning. My girls have different names, but since they started talking at roughly 1yo (21mo now) they have called each other a couple babytalk nicknames, only it is always the same nickname for both. Currently, Baba. It started with Ma. It appears that they are trying to say a version of their names now, but I don’t know how long it will be until they really stick with that.
    Julia Aidar recently posted Brincadeiras na hora de comerMy Profile

  2. How fascinating! I just assumed that siblings would be like parents – easily able to tell twins apart. In fact, I’ve been annoyed at the fact that a couple of of kids in my daughters’ class can’t tell them apart after four years. I’ll have to be more understanding.

    One thing I do, especially when my daughters are going to be around people who don’t know them very well, is ask them to wear clothes with their names or initials on them. If your son knows his letters, that might help. Also, my girls now have different haircuts, so that’s a good clue to give folks.

    I wish I had more age-appropriate suggestions!
    Sadia recently posted Seeing the dust bunniesMy Profile

  3. The little twins my twins babysit called them “Abby” and “Kaggy”. The boys get very upset when they see Sesame Street. Abby? Abby! (Abby Cadabby) But then they start looking for “Kaggy? No Kaggy. Kaggy?! NO Kaggy?!” which apparently drives their mother up a tree. Oops?

    My nephew couldn’t tell my girls apart, either. He called them both Abby. His little sister called them both Kallie. And I swear they don’t look anything alike.

  4. My son (2.5 y/o) has been pretty good at telling his sisters apart since the begining. In all fairness, they look very different, so it isn’t that hard. He gets very excited when people come and look at his sisters because he gets to tell them what their names are! He thinks it is his job, and he is very good at it! :)
    Great Post!
    Dolli-Mama recently posted My Ky at 2 monthsMy Profile

  5. I have 17 m.o. fraternal twins that look remarkably similar– so much so that strangers think they are identical and I frequently confuse them if they are not looking directly at me. There’s one person who always keeps them straight- their 4 year old sister!
    Mama Mama Quite Contrary recently posted One of Those DaysMy Profile

  6. I have the “Which one is which?” question about my two girls. Especially when the question is coming from a relative. One has dark brown hair and brown eyes and the other has blond hair and blue eyes. Come on people! At least they always get my son’s name right!

  7. My fraternal twin boys are now 3.5 months and their almost 2 year-old sister does the same thing as your son. She only gets the names right 50% of the time when she guesses right. I also wonder how long it will take until she can reliably tell them apart. I don’t worry about it too much and figure she’ll get it at some point.

  8. Interesting. My oldest son (3.25 years old) is the ONLY ONE who can consistently tell my 2 year old identical boys apart. He corrects me, my hubs, Grandma. Everyone. Although, now we’re starting to play the “Where’s Tristan?” game and the “Where’s Tyler?” game so the twins can start telling people which twin they are on their own…

  9. Jenna, I’d love to hear an update on your son’s ability to tell his sisters apart now that he must be nearly 6. I read your post way back in 2010 as I was experiencing the same issue. Now two years later my son is 4.5 and his brothers are 2.5, and no progress has been made in the name department. I’d love to hear if and when your son became able/willing to tell them apart. Thanks!

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