Twins. So awesome. So challenging. So. Much. Of. Everything.
5. It’s like a never-ending playdate. “They’ll have a friend for life”, is one of the most frequently uttered sentences when people realize the boys are twins. Yes, they will have a friend for life. Someone they can always pal around with. Someone with whom to make up entire worlds and rules and languages. Always. Even when it is time to do chores, or run errands, or go to church, or any other time when playing isn’t exactly on the agenda. There is always someone to make fart jokes with or scream with laughter over anything. Someone to race around the house and wrestle with. Someone who NEVER HAS TO GO HOME.
4. Extra attention. While it isn’t as uncommon as it used to be, twins still get a little extra attention. People are fascinated by twins and like to talk about their twin-ness. Even if said twins are fraternal and don’t even look like twins. I’ve even had people ask me if I was sure that they were twins. Um, yup. Pretty damn sure. But the downside is the focus on the “twin-ness” and not on each individual boy. They get lumped together a lot as a unit instead of two units. Even I do it calling them “the boys” and referring to one of them as a “they” when I am really just talking about one or the other. Sometimes this seems to result in less attention to the individual which I have noticed occasionally with sports and things where it is almost like as long as one of the boys has received play time it is good enough. This is almost certainly subconscious, but it happens.
3. Early cultivation of individuality. I think a lot of people have to struggle much of their lives to become an individual and learn their strengths and weaknesses. For twins, it seems like it is a survival instinct from the start to carve out one’s niche. To help, I rarely dressed them the same except when I had a super cute outfit or if someone had given us something matching and nice. I always aimed for similar and complementary clothing rather than identical. Of course, they went through a period of wanting to wear the same thing although it was usually a case of wanting to wear or have what the other one was wearing or having and so it was just easier to have two of the same thing handy. As they’ve grown, they have definitely settled into their own styles and their own likes and dislikes. But I’ve noticed that while they do like to strike out and claim things as their own domain, it is also leading to labels like, “He is the one who is good at sports”, “He is the smart one”. We need to work on identifying specific strengths instead of sweeping generalizations.
2. Constant competition. This goes along with #3 to a certain degree and many may disagree that this is a “best” scenario. However, I think that competition can be healthy and inspire people to do their best and maybe work a little bit harder than they would if they could just be “good” and rest on those laurels with nothing to compare that “good” with. Perhaps if my twins were unevenly matched in everything or if they were in the same classroom where they couldn’t shine on their own, I wouldn’t think that competition was so healthy. But in some ways I do want them to think, “hmmm…my brother got a 95 on his test and I only got a 90. Maybe if I had studied like he had and didn’t play video games, I could have received 100”. Again, if the situation were actually that the capability of one child was such that a 70 was a great grade and the other received a 90 and the one was constantly feeling less than because he didn’t get the same grades, this would clearly not be a case of good competition. This isn’t the case with my twins, however, it does lead me to my own personal hell of EVERYTHING being a competition: who has been to the hospital more times, who sneezed more that day, who can count to 100 the fastest, who is shorter, who is taller, who can talk the most until mommy’s head explodes…
1. Double the love. OK, so there really isn’t a worst part of this. Except that maybe I don’t get to spend enough one-on-one time with them to give them the doting-on they need and deserve. When they were younger, I did my best to have a couple of special mommy days with each of them. Now those times only seem to happen when one of them is in trouble and we have somewhere to be and the other one can go on their own. I will need to make a special effort to start those days up again because they deserve my undivided time and attention sometimes. I am so lucky that I have two of the most amazingly loving boys (albeit they show it in very different ways) and if anything is the flip side of that, it is that I get double the trouble and double the grey hair and double the craziness…and I wouldn’t want it any other way!