Same Different: A Constant Pull

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Just as we are working to affirm and encourage individuality in our daughters, they seem committed to being more definite about being treated the same. For example, if one is wearing a sweater to go outside, the other one wants her sweater too. If one is wearing her brother’s shoes or bike helmet, the other wants to do the same. If one of them is reading a book with me, the other one goes to get a book to read. Or, even harder yet, if I’m carrying one, then I’d better be prepared to carry the other one next.

Wearing the big kids' bike helmets

So, I’ve started experimenting to see how they respond to different situations. I’ll admit I’m as curious about multiples and the “twin connection” as the next person. So, I’ll get one girl dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Then I’ll offer her sister a choice of outfits that is either similar to her sister or different.  Now, I can’t say they always choose the same or always choose different, but I can say they are definite about their choices.

At snack time, if one does the sign for milk and her sister does the sign for water. I’ve noticed that if I get water (or milk) for one girl, her sister will change her mind and want the same. If one finishes her snack more quickly and asks for more, her sister will expect more even if she hasn’t finished what she already has.

The other day, I tried switching their cribs to see how they responded. About the only consistently different thing between the girls has been their cribs. Since we moved and set up two cribs in their bedrooms, they have consistently slept in the same crib, unless we get them mixed up, unless the nanny isn’t as concerned about this as I am, as far as I know. So one day when they were playing around a nap time, and neither wanted to get in her crib, I plopped them in to the closest cribs, which meant they were in the “wrong” cribs.  This didn’t seem to bother them at all. Nap time went without any problems.

Riding on the same toy car

So I’m left wondering do they have a sense of individual identity or shared connection or not? Do they care who sleeps in which crib or who has which blanket, or does it only matter when someone is getting special treatment or extra attention?

And most importantly, I continue to wonder how do we foster individuality when they spend so much time together and they seem so much alike?

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3 thoughts on “Same Different: A Constant Pull”

  1. Interesting questions. It’s tough to foster individuality when they’re so young but trying to get some alone time with each one is a step in the right direction. Even if you take one out to the supermarket for 20 minutes once a week, it’s a help. I always found it amazing that my twins had two personalities: the twin persona when they were together, and then the individual persona when each was alone with me.
    Christina Tinglof recently posted Sex and a Twin PregnancyMy Profile

  2. I think some of it is age and some of it is your girls’ personality. My girls are 2.5 now, and they very much know whose crib, whose blanket, and whose carseat is whose.

    While they have very different personalities (which eases the fostering individuality aspect), they are similar in that if one has something, the other likely wants it as well. Food is the biggest area where that is a concern. Toys is becoming lesser of a thing, since now they want to play with their own stuff, while their sister plays with something entirely different. Personal space is becoming more of a thing.

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