One of the things I read and heard over and over before my identical twin daughters were born was “don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell them apart.” I found it reassuring that as a parent, I would somehow be able to tell my babies apart. I trusted that nature would ensure I knew which child was which. I believed it when I read that each child would develop a unique personality making it easy to differentiate between two similar babies.
With over two years experience, I have to say this is not entirely true. Yes, I can tell my daughters apart but only when I am paying close attention. If S didn’t seem to prone to get scratches and bruises on her face, it would be hard! I often call them by the wrong names, or stop myself and replace a name with “sweetie” or “my love” because I’m just not sure. I have mixed them up and only realized it hours later. I have corrected other people, only to realize that they were right.
This could change soon since our girls are just starting to be able to say their names. They are still working on language skills because of their speech delays but they can say Mommy and Daddy, Nana and Poppy, and their brother’s name. We are now working on their names. If you ask directly, they will point to tell you who is R and who is S. Most of the time they identify themselves correctly, but occasionally they don’t agree about who is who either.
The girls seem to be aware of who is who. Last week, my mom was talking to R on the phone. Nana kept saying “Hello S!” R wasn’t saying anything in response but I could see her pointing at her sister, as if to say, “S is over there. She’s not the one on the phone.”
I wonder how multiple infants and toddlers learn who they are and what their names are. It must be challenging for them, too. Watching our girls develop their language skills, it seems that having names for themselves and each other is not their first priority. (The first “name” they learned was Mommy, then Daddy, then their brother’s name.) Even though we use their names so often, they don’t refer to each other by name yet.
To update previous related posts, their big brother still can’t tell them apart. He will ask them, “which baby are you?” or “Are you R?” But, he often just picks a name to call them.
I am still struggling with how to help people tell our daughters apart. It is helpful that the girls can identify each other, and will point to themselves or their sister when asked, “Where is R?” or “Where is S?” As their language skills improve, they’ll have more ways to express their identity and to be sure people know their names.
What advice do you have on telling your multiples apart? Does it get easier as they get older? When do your children start to be concerned with being called by their own name?