Identical Twin Toys

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My daughters love their stuffed toys and can play with them for hours, imbuing each of them with a distinctive personality and interpersonal challenges and relationships.


I took this picture last night, at the tail end of a stuffed toy fashion show.

A few years ago, Santa got my girls each a Beanie Boo they’d been eying for several months. J and M absolutely adored them and still play with them, although they’re not members of the family like some of their toys.

Years later, both M and J decided that they were going to spend some of the allowance they’d saved up on new Beanie Boos. The excitement built all week, and we finally made it to the store. Both girls walked right up to the display and grabbed the toys they wanted.

I was flummoxed when M selected a toy that was exactly the same as the one Santa had given her. I reminded her that she already owned that particular pink puppy.

“I know,” she told me, then completed her purchase.

I finally got it once we arrived home. M ran off to her room, and I heard her introduce her puppies to each other. “Princess, this is your twin sister. She is your identical twin.”

M and J both tend to refer to the matching toys as “the twins,” even though I’m careful not to do so when talking about my human twins. When we were at the Lego store yesterday, M informed me that the collection of minifigs they assembled included a set of identical quadruplets.

Do you children reflect the reality of being multiples in their pretend play?

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

10 thoughts on “Identical Twin Toys”

  1. This is really interesting! I have identical girls who just turned 5 and they play like this all the time. Their favourite toys are a pair of stuffed dogs and a pair of stuffed puppies (so we have a total of 4 “grownup” dogs and 4 puppies at our house). Everything has a twin.
    On a related topic, do your girls ever pick out things that are different? We have huge problems here if something is given to them that is a different colour, style etc. and they always choose the same thing if we’re out (often to the point that one won’t make a decision unless her sister voices an opinion first). I try hard to encourage individuality, but I’m starting to just go with it, as I realize the way my girls play and interact in the world is different from non-identical twin children.
    I love reading your stories about your girls. Many parallels to what we see in our own family!

    1. Mine tend to like to have different things: different colours, different flavours etc. They hardly ever choose exactly the same thing, whether we’re talking toys, food, clothes or books. They’d rather choose slightly different things that they have individual ownership of, and then share with Sissy.

      As you say, they are who they are and they like what they like. I, too, tried hard to encourage individuality and discourage focus on their twinness, but the fact is that J and M’s twin relationship is a huge part of how they see themselves right now.

      1. My girls rarely choose different things. They are also extremely shy, so I wonder if it has something to do with temperament, rather than just identical twinness. {I recall you mentioning in an earlier post that your girls are quite extroverted} Regardless of the reason, focusing on individuality doesn’t seem to be making the slightest difference in our house. We are also struggling with separate vs. the same classroom at school for next year. So many decisions!

        1. My $.02 would be that you have a really good reason to split them up if they’re very close. If this is their first year at school, there’s going to be plenty of change for them to contend with without being torn away from Sister. The mom of the other set of girl twins in my daughters’ classes said that one of her girls cried EVERY DAY for the first 6 months of kindergarten because she didn’t want to be without her sister. Mine, on the other hand, did fine apart but now want to be together.

          And yes, my girls are super outgoing, and so opinionated that I think they get different things out of necessity to avoid spending every waking moment arguing.

  2. I have 4.5 year old boys and they haven’t done any “twin play” in a long time, but I remember when they were about 2, a couple of the ladies in my toddler co-op started giggling and grabbed me. My guys were playing with the tiny shopping cart and managed to squish two baby dolls in the seat! It was really cute.
    We have had more than one occasion of choosing the exact same toy however. I try not to buy duplicates, but if it’s something they choose, I don’t say no. And that’s how we ended up with two of these monstrosities!

  3. Ned was excited to see that the bug spray we got was a “twin pack”. But normally they don’t really play any twin games – perhaps because they are boy/girl or because they have a younger sister? There are lots of “mommy and baby” games and sometimes there is a little sister involved. Ned doesn’t really play these games – perhaps a gender divide?

  4. This is so interesting! I will have to see if my (fraternal) boys exhibit this kind of play as they grow. Right now they tend to like the same thing at the same time (typical 9 month old behavior, I think)!

  5. Yes! My 4 yr old twins do this all the time. Whenever they play house the have two babies who are twins, twin stuffed animals when they play vet…it really is fun to see!

    1. my 5-year-olds do this as well. When they were younger, they used to look for other kids at the park and it took me awhile to realize that they were looking for every other kid’s twin. They thought children all came in pairs!

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