Identity Crisis

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Categories Difference, Identical, Individuality, Parenting Twins, Talking to KidsTags , , , Leave a comment

I was folding laundry when my 7-year-old daughter J bounced out of her room to talk to me. She lay down on the carpet and looked up at me.

J: I feel weird.
Me: Oh?
J: I’m uncomfortable.
Me: What about?
J: M (her twin) has been eating dessert and I haven’t.
Me: I thought you didn’t want dessert.
J: That’s what’s making me feel weird. M wanted dessert and I didn’t. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Me: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Perhaps M has a sweet tooth like me, and you don’t feel like having sweets so often, like Daddy.
J: That’s possible. I love Daddy. This might hurt your feelings, but he’s my favourite parent.
Me: That doesn’t hurt my feelings. You absolutely should love him.
J: He’s my second favourite person, after M. But I still like sweet things.
Me: Sure, of course you like sweet things. You probably just don’t crave them as much as you get more mature.
J: Is M getting more mature?
Me: Absolutely, but not in exactly the the same way at the same time as you. You’re different people.
J: No we’re not. We’re the same people.
Me: Um.
J: It doesn’t make sense. It we were born together, it doesn’t make sense we mature and different times and lose our teeth at different times. I don’t like it.
Me: I can understand that it feels uncomfortable, but you and M have always been different people. You have a lot in common, and it doesn’t change your love for each other or your closeness to have differences.
J: I guess.

I’m sure that these are only the beginning stages of a long and bumpy road to individuation.

Have your kids ever expressed to you how they feel in relation to their multiples?

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The Unending Question of Classroom Placement

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I hereby declare that it will be high school before the matter of classroom placement will be resolved for my daughters. It’s now been three times that I thought things were settled, and it’s up in the air again.

Right now, my first graders in separate, but co-taught dual language classrooms. They’re apart for most of the school day, but together for language arts and recess. They have the same teacher for math and science, although they’re taught at different times. They sit at adjacent tables during lunch. They reunite immediately after school at post-school daycare and, once a  week, at group piano lessons.

On Friday, the first graders at my daughters’ school went on a field trip to the Texas State Museum and park. When I asked about their day, M went on for a good 30 minutes without pause about the NASA-related exhibit. She’s been fascinated by Neil Armstrong for years. J also told me about the great time she’d had.

Then both girls told me how much they’d missed each other. They’d made their way through the museum in classroom groups instead of as a single group, and didn’t get to see each other except briefly at the park. Even though their classes had occupied the same bus, they weren’t partnered up to sit together.

“Mommy, can we be together in second grade?” M asked me.
“Please?” J added.

I tried to understand how strongly they felt about this request, and they held firm.

I sent off an email to the girls’ teachers and counselors to get their opinions:

J and M told me this morning that they would like to be placed in the same classroom for second grade. While my preference has been to keep them in separate classrooms during elementary school for a number of reasons, I do think that they’re old and mature enough to have a say in the matter. I’m not yet sure if this was a fleeting response to missing each other during the field trip yesterday or is a considered request.
I was wondering if you could tell me how you feel about M and J being placed in the same classroom. Do you have any particular concerns about this prospect for next year? I’d like to make sure I have all your opinions before I determine how serious the girls are and make a request one way or the other.

As I have in the past, I’ll let you know where we end up.

Sadia and her identical twin daughters M and J live in the Austin, TX area. Sadia is a single working mom. J and M will be 7 years old next month.

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