from hospital ankle bracelets to sports jersey numbers

I’ve written a little before about my efforts to help the boys’ teachers and friends tell them apart. I’m happy to report that their teacher, by mid-October, had found some tiny freckle on one boy’s face that he can use to tell them apart. Their friends still have no idea and arbitrarily call them by one name or the other.

But now, let’s talk about sports!

like the scarlet letter, but white

My boys played tee ball last spring, and their coaches learned which boy wore which pair of shoes so they could call them by name. Yes, their coaches were that awesome, because both sets of shoes are mostly grey and black, and just have tiny bits that are green or red.

They played flag football this summer, and that was trickier. For one thing, black cleats were pretty standard. For another, it’s not like tee ball where the kids are mostly coached one by one, or assigned a spot. The boys had big numbers on the backs of their jerseys, but from the front it was anyone’s guess.

To help the coaches (and everyone), I took to putting an X in surgical tape on one boy’s shirt. I felt so weird about this — first because I was afraid he wouldn’t like it, but he didn’t mind. But I still felt like I was branding him in some odd way. I also felt like maybe I was making a bigger deal out of this than it needed to be.

It turned out to be a good thing. Their coaches were great about remembering which boy got the X (the one who has an X in his name, which made it easier) and my boys benefited from being called by name. And I have to admit, I relied on that X to keep track of who was where from the sidelines. It saved me from a lot of, “YAY! GREAT JOB– (who was that?) – GREAT JOB, um, SON!”

When your look-alike multiples are in uniforms, what strategies do you use to help other people tell them apart?
Jen is a work-from-home mom of 7-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 5 and 9. She also blogs at Minivan MacGyver, where she freaks out about every single thing that happens at school.

4 thoughts on “from hospital ankle bracelets to sports jersey numbers

  1. My boys wear uniforms for school, not sports, and the only thing I could think of to differentiate them for the teachers is different colored shoes. Not sure if that is an option for sports, or if their feet would be moving too fast to see anyway. :)

  2. My boys are 3.5 and all the kids wear nametags at Sunday School, so I’ve just made my own nametags for other events where it’s important for people to tell them apart. They love it, because they think nametags are awesome and love to show people their initials that they recognize. However, I can’t imagine that will work when they’re in grade school.

    They wore matching Halloween costumes (their choice) and it was dark when we went trick or treating – I just called them both “sweetie” all night, cause I wasn’t always sure who I was talking to :)

  3. This is perfect timing. We’re planning on signing our identical boys up for judo. Um…..white robes and barefoot. Can’t think of any solutions on that one, and am just pretty much laughing at picturing how the instructor is going to deal with them.

  4. We haven’t got to this point yet, but I like your idea of using a tape X to help the coach. Sometimes it doesn’t require a lot of effort but it has such a big impact.

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