Again with the “You’re Not Identical”

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Categories Identical, Other people, Parenting Twins, PerspectiveTags , 6 Comments

If I ever do a standup comedy routine, this will be my opening joke.

NPGS: Are they identical?
Me: Yes.
NPGS: No, they’re not!

I understand where this comes from. I really do. The vast majority of the time, I take it with grace and give a short explanation about how “identical,” when it comes to twins, really means monozygotic.

My children aren’t always with me though. They attend public elementary school and after-school care. They’re 7 years old and not yet ready to defend the identicalness that is near the core of their senses of self. They’re okay with handling kids, but when adults question their claim to being identical, they’re put in a tough spot.

This week, my daughters had a substitute teacher who made them feel very awkward about their claim to being identical twins. J, she told them, had larger eyes, so they couldn’t possibly be identical twins. Interestingly, she made no such accusation to the other set of identical girls in their class. They have a much larger height difference than my daughters, but their faces are far more similar than my girls’.

J and M were pretty upset about this interaction when they got home. I offered to print out my post on how identical twins might not look alike to give to the sub’s son at recess to pass along to her, but they declined.

As a brown-skinned Brit, I can’t help noticing the parallels between people’s own sense of ethnic identity and people who try to argue with them about it. Living here in the US, I frequently encounter people who try to tell me that I’m not Asian, because “Asian” here means from the eastern and southeastern parts of the continent. But I don’t consider myself “Indian”, which is what people want me to call myself. Bangladesh, where I lived for 10 years of my life, and India have been distinct countries since 1947. (Bangladesh split from Pakistan in 1971). If I’m going to generalize, “Asian” is my preference.

And yes, people will try to argue with me over my self-identification, but identity is personal. No one but you gets to say who you are. And no one gets to tell my kids they’re not identical twins, not if that’s the identity they choose.

Again with the, "You're Not Identical."

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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Favourite Colours and Shared Bedrooms

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At around age 3.5, S and R selected their favourite colours. So, like I did with their brother, it was time to paint their bedroom.  Their favourite colours were purple (R) and orange (S). I looked on Pintrest and searched the internet for ideas to combine their favourite colours in their shared bedroom. Eventually, I gave up. There was no way with my limited skills in decorating that I could make purple and orange fit together.

Fortunately, S also liked green, which I could combine with purple.  After quite a bit of searching, I found green curtains I liked.  From there we chose the paint colours, and we happened upon some flower art that matched perfectly.  The final touch was the rug that Santa snuck in to their room while they slept on Christmas Eve.

As with their brother, the girls got to help paint their room.  On the first day, we painted two walls purple paint:

Painting in Purple
Painting in Purple
Working hard
Working hard
They got a little messy, but it was fun
They got a little messy, but it was fun

The next day, we painted two walls green:

Painting green
Painting green, you can see the purple in the background
Teamwork!
Teamwork!

If you decide to let your three-year-old twins paint their rooms, here are some suggestions:

  • I got all the taping and trim painting done before they started helping.
  • They did the first coat of paint.  I did the second one after they lost interest.
  • They wore their “paint clothes” which definitely got dirty.  They were barefoot to keep socks clean.
  • There was newspaper and cardboard on the floor.
  • Right after we finished, I carried them straight to the bathroom.
  • I kept extra paper, a roll of paper towels and garbage bag close by.
  • We did this project over two days. One day for each colour.

The girls love their room.  They show it off to everyone.  The girls seem to believe they each have their own rooms now – R has a purple room and S has a green room. Here are photos of the finished room:

S's Green Room
S's Green Room
R's purple room
R's purple room
The curtains that started the whole colour scheme
The curtains that started the whole colour scheme
The perfect rug
The perfect rug

 

The artwork that tied it all together - 1
The artwork that tied it all together - 1

 

The artwork that tied it all together - 2
The artwork that tied it all together - 2

 

The closet with the doors removed is a great place for the dresser
The closet with the doors removed is a great place for the dresser

 

Jenna is mom to a six year old singleton son and 4 year old MZ twin girls.  She rallies all her artistic skills and lots of patience for projects like this one.

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