|Those are not balloons between their legs.|
I see my two little 4 year olds as complete individuals, so much so that I sometimes forget that they are actually identical Twins and that people may have difficulty telling them apart.
Having another set of identical twins in the house last weekend reminded me just how hard it can be to tell twins apart. It also reminded me how far we had come with our own. For the first couple of years of their lives their Brother Charles, who is 2 years older, couldn't tell them apart at all. He would regularly be heard saying things like "Mum, the red one hit the green one!" or "the blue one is crying" or "the striped one put a fly in his mouth and ate it". One night in between spoonfuls of Spaghetti he declared that he could now tell the Boys apart. They were 3.
Because of the special bond that Twins naturally share, we have tried hard to balance that by treating them as the individuals that they are and letting their own personalities develop organically. Without sounding like we are undertaking our own social experiment, it has been really fascinating watching them form their own identities. It still intrigues me that there are any differences in personality at all given that they are genetically identical and have barely spent a second of their lives apart. As far as the nature versus nurture theory goes, they have had the exact same experiences. But different they are, even if we are splitting hairs.
It usually takes a stranger to bring me back to the fact they are identical. We were recently at the Barber and were asked which Twin wanted the "Bieber" and which one was going to have the "Buzzcut". The Barber clearly thought they needed a different hairstyle to make it easier to tell them apart. "Oh! Can we just do the normal short back and sides today?". Sheesh, they're only 4, plenty of time down the track for them to decide whether or not they want to follow the teen celebrity of the day.
I've never wanted to purposely distinguish them from each other with a permanent feature such as a hairstyle, clothing style or tattoo (I've seen people do this!) and up until this year there hasn't been a need. Friends and family can tell them apart (now) and if we are with someone new, I will introduce them according to how they appear at that moment "Noah is Superman today" or "This is George with the massive bruise on his shin".
Now that they are at School and wearing identical School Uniforms, for the first time they are encountering people getting them mixed up all day long. It's mostly their school friends but the boys are getting used to correcting them. Their Teacher usually picks out something in the morning and remembers it during the day, usually one has his socks pulled up to his knees and the other rolled down to his ankles.
Although we have spent much time encouraging and focussing on their differences, today I was reminded that it's also important to celebrate their Twin-ness too. At the bottom of George's school bag was a crumpled drawing. "It's my self-portrait", he said. "It's me and Noah. We are Pirates holding our treasure maps". So cute I almost cried.
EDIT: After reading your comments I felt the need to add that before I had Twins, I fell into the trap of just saying "hello" to an identical twin and even having a conversation with them without even knowing which twin I might be talking to. Having spoken to others about this, I know it's a fairly common thing to do because you feel bad that you can't tell them apart. As a Mum of identical Twins now, my biggest worry is that people will similarly not bother to address them at all because they are worried or embarrassed about getting them mixed up. I think it is better to have a go (there's a 50% chance you'll get it right!) or just ask them what their name is rather than not make any effort at all. They are fully aware people don't know who they are straight away and will be happy you're trying :-)
|I have no idea who's who when I look back at this photo. Just saying :-)|