We attend the Twins Days Festival, and I fail to adequately twin it up

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Categories Activities, Behavior, Celebrations, Fraternal, Identical, Mommy Issues, Multiple Types, Other people, Parenting Twins, Relationships, SingletonsTags , , , ,

I’ve found that I mentally separate moms of twins into two categories. On one hand are the TWIN MOMS, who are really into having twins. They wear the t-shirts, have the bumper stickers, their kids always match, etc. On the other hand are the twin moms. Lower case. They are the ones who were always too strapped for time and/or money to order the t-shirts. Bumper stickers aren’t necessary, because any clever messages can be traced in the dirt on the back of the minivan. If their kids match, it’s because the last load out of the dryer was reds and everyone pulled clothes from the laundry basket.

The Twins Days Festival is really geared toward TWIN MOMS and their offspring. I’m more of a twin mom. Lower case.

We attended at our twins’ request. As we pulled into the parking lot, my boys were excited to see sets of twins in matching outfits. Attendees had decorated their cars as well. “What’s so special about being twins?” my 8-year-old singleton grumbled.

Oh, that’s a fun one to answer at Twins Days.

As we entered the high school where registrations were being taken, I was overcome by a wave of emotion at the throngs of identically dressed twosomes and threesomes. I was excited for my boys. In our quest to treat twins as individuals, I think we often go overboard and treat them as though being a twin is somehow a weakness that needs to be hammered out of them. We frown at sets of twins with rhyming or alliterative names. We tsk-tsk parents who dress their twins alike. We want them in separate classes, with separate friends. It felt good to be in a place where all the pressure to prove I’m fostering their individuality is removed, and their sameness is accepted for what it is.

The sameness is not just accepted, but celebrated. It seems a lot of effort is put into looking identical at the Twins’ Days Festival. These twins all matched completely – haircuts, clothing, shoes, glasses, hairstyles, purses, jewelry, etc.

I’d made a terrible mistake. Two terrible mistakes, actually. First, my boys were not dressed exactly alike. (This is because I am a twin mom [lower case] and just felt proud that I had the same shirt in two different colors clean at the same time.) Second, my boys have very different haircuts, due to a series of unfortunate attempts at saving money on haircuts. (Lesson learned.)

My hope that the boys would be recognized as twins was washed away by a river of candied apple slobber.

There weren’t many sets of twins or trips whose parents had made my mistake(s). Or if there were, they blended in with all the other non-twins. I was asked if my older three were triplets. I was asked if Miss A and P were twins, when G was standing right there next to them. The boys were not obviously twinnish enough, and I felt like I’d short-changed them.

This event highlighted how very lower case I am.

For most of the evening my kids’ social anxiety kept them very calm and well behaved. I received compliments. But as the kids got more comfortable with their surroundings, things escalated until they were having a four-way chasing/wrestling/punching fight that resulted in multiple minor injuries. As the violence progressed, I thought, “If there’s any public place where this probably won’t be unusual, this is it.” Based on conversations with the moms of multiples I know in real life, face-punching is sort of twinspeak shorthand for “hi, how’s it going?” But the whole evening, I only saw one other set of twins punching each other in the face. I have no explanation for this.

So, Twins’ Days made me feel inadequate. It made my daughter feel jealous. But it made my boys feel fantastic. Don’t mock me, but I’ve shed tears over how much they liked being there, and how they clearly identified so closely with all of these other people who sprang to the earth paired with another. It was such a powerful experience that it made me want to convert to TWIN MOM. Whether we subject the whole family to the festival in the future, we’ll definitely take the boys back each year, for as long as they want to go.

My kids, before G shunned his older sister for having failed to split after fertilization.

Aside: I had the pleasure of meeting up with Kim Schmidt, a HDYDI reader and mother to an 8-year-old singleton and 3-year-old twins, all daughters. She’s writing about the Twinsburg festival for American Way magazine, and I hope she’ll let us link it here when the piece is published. She blogged a bit about the festival here.

Next year, HDYDI meet-up in Twinsburg, Ohio!

Jen is a work-from-home mom of 5-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 3 and 8. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine, where she examines the finer points of potty training failure.

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14 thoughts on “We attend the Twins Days Festival, and I fail to adequately twin it up”

  1. Lower-case here … except in blogland. In day-to-day life, we only discuss twinship if our daughters bring it up or strangers ask. In my blog, it gets mentioned every other post or so.

    Food for thought.

    I think my girls would enjoy Twinsburg, but then again, they seemed relatively unimpressed at the family reunion we attended recently, hanging out with two other sets of twins and a set of triplets.
    Sadia recently posted Twin equilibrationMy Profile

  2. Another lower case twin mom. But I’m married to a TWIN DAD and his mom is a TWIN GRANDMA. He’s responsible for dressing the boys on the weekends so 95% of the time he chooses matching outfits given to us by his mom.

    I’d love to go to the Twins Day Festival but only because I lived in Cleveland for 10+ years and always heard about it or saw the news stories. plus then I’d get to show off my boys to friends I haven’t seen in years.

  3. I’m a twin mom for sure. Matching outfits happen by chance, we don’t have matching names, but I do wonder how to balance the uniqueness of identical twins with individuality.

  4. I went last year with my one year old b/b twins. It was great. The first night at the high school can make everyone nervous…everyone knows each other and how to behave, and here we are. Kinda awkward.
    Did you walk in the parade? That was great, I loved staring at the normal “NONTWIN” people!

    Skipped this year due to moving/life/etc…but we can be there next year!

    PS Did you get the scoop on the teenage parties? Thats the scarey stuff!

  5. My twins are only 2 months old, and all of their outfits are the same right now, but that’s just because it’s easy, and everyone I know bought them some matching outfits! My girls are fraternal and look nothing alike. Their body types seem to be very different too, so I don’t think I will continue dressing them alike as it will help point out that “one is tall and skinny and one is short and chubby”. Are there twins at the Twin Festival that don’t look “the same”?
    Dolli-Mama recently posted My Ky at 2 monthsMy Profile

  6. Theoretically it’s supposed to be for all twins (and all multiples) and there are even contests for the twins who look least alike. But it mostly appeared to be sets of identical twins… of course they’re more noticeable when dressed exactly the same.

    I LOVED dressing my boys alike when they were babies and we had matching outfits. I still would love to, except their clothes are mostly hand-me-downs, they dress themselves, and I struggle to tell them apart when they have the same haircut/same shirt color. Please don’t feel like I’m ridiculing anyone who manages to dress their kids alike — no way!
    Jen recently posted posts up elsewhereMy Profile

  7. Only a year into it, but I think I’m a tWiN mom. With fraternal boys + an older singleton, I don’t think I could ever truly be a TWIN MOM. But there’s part of me that loves the novelty of my brothers that are identicals and the shared experience with my mom and other friends with twins.

  8. We took our 9 month old twin boys to Twinsburg this year, we happened upon it the weekend we were driving from Chicago to Philly for a wedding. We had a lot of fun and met some really great people. I think we will be going back again when they can get more out of it. My boys are fraternal, but we didn’t feel left out, to me it was a nice celebration of the twin bond. Made me sort of jealous that I am not a twin and I missed out.
    I didn’t think I would dress my boys alike when I first found out I was pregnant with twins, but I LOVE them in matching and corresponding outfits. At least for now while they are babies.

  9. I’m a lower-case twin mom, although my 21mo girls usually wear mix-and-match (never 100% matching) outfits, which will be discontinued before they’re in preschool.

    My mom is a lower-case twin mom, too. As the older sister of identical twins, I would have HATED that festival. I always felt that the twins were the first to be noticed and received plenty of attention — they still do. In the future, perhaps you can plan a special outing for each daughter while the boys stay at home.

  10. Yep, definitely a lower-case t.m. here, too. Have never been to such an event, but am curious, in an anthropological sort of way. And I know my girls would probably get a kick out of it. They’re starting to get into a sort of “twin pride” mode, always eager to tell people that they’re twins.

    One of my big pet peeves as a twin mom is when people refer to my daughters as “the twins.” God, that drives me nuts.

    The punch in the face comment cracked me up. If we’d been there, you definitely would have seen some face punching. Or at least some hair pulling.

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