How do you help other people tell your multiples apart?

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Categories Family, Identical, Other peopleTags , , , , 21 Comments
Our Little Girls Wearing Pink and Yellow Dresses

Last weekend, we were at a family wedding and some other related family events. Of course, everyone wanted to know which baby was which.  This is a common question since we have identical twin girls, who look very much alike. Friday night, one baby was wearing a pink outfit, and I knew she’d have a pink dress on Saturday for the wedding, and it would be easy to dress her in pink on Sunday morning so I let people know she’d be the baby wearing pink all weekend. Her sister wore yellow and green. They are only 8 months old, so they couldn’t complain about my clothing choices. But, it raised the question of how you help other people identify your multiples.

Right now, we (Mom, Dad and the few other people who can tell them apart) have a few ways to tell the girls apart but they are based on:

  • Comparisons – when both babies are together you can see that one is a little bigger, but when they are separate this doesn’t really work
  • Context – at mealtime one of the babies is usually more interested in food than her sister, so this only works when they’re eating and it isn’t really reliable
  • Temporary characteristics – right now one baby has 2 teeth and her sister doesn’t have any yet, but that will change soon
  • Artificial characteristics – we painted one baby’s toenails pink when she came home from the hospital so we wouldn’t mix them up

I rely on the girls’ birthmarks to help me tell them apart, but those are starting to fade and are only visible from some angles.  So, we’re thinking about assigning each girl a colour (probably pink and yellow) and then making sure we dress them in those colours, at least when anyone else is around.  I’m concerned that doing this will make it easy for people to rely on their outfits to tell them apart rather than focusing on what makes them unique individuals.  But, I also want the girls to feel they are welcome and included and that people know who they are. Maybe assigning them colours will make it easier for people to focus on the babies as individuals because they will know who is who.

I do see some potential problems with this approach:

  • Most of the girls’ clothing was received as gifts or hand-me-downs so I don’t have a lot of control over what is in their dresser
  • I think I’d have to assign groups of colours to each baby (pink/purple/blue and yellow/green/white) because they have lots of clothing that isn’t pink or yellow, which could get confusing
  • The feminist in me has problems with dressing baby girls only in pink clothing
  • At some point they are going to want to make their own clothing choices

I guess the biggest issue is that really have problems making my parenting decisions based on what’s best for everyone else rather than what’s best for my children. So, is assigning each baby a colour a decision that will be good for them or not?  Can anyone share their experiences with this issue or other ways to help family and friends tell your multiples apart?

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