Here’s something unique about me: I am a twin. My sister and I are eight minutes apart, fraternal (but many would believe we are identical because we look so much alike), and we live just down the road from each other.
Here’s something else unique: I have my own set of twin daughters.
So, I’m a twin…raising twins.
Growing up, there were some things I disliked about being a twin. I didn’t like that my sister and I had “twin names”–Jennifer and Julie. As I got older, I also hated that we wore the same outfits when we were younger. Our clothing was always identical. If it wasn’t exactly the same, we had the same outfit but in different colors. Our hair was always done the same way. I know a lot of these actions were generational…other twin friends that grew up when I did had similar experiences, and we all have photos to prove it.
Seven years ago when I was pregnant with my girls, I had some rules about how I wanted me and Eric to raise our set of twins. My first rule: The girls would not be called “the twins”. They were two individuals and would be treated as such. My next rule: The girls would not have names that began with the same letter. That was too twin-like for me. A third rule: I would not dress the girls in the same outfits–only for pictures or special events. If they decided to dress alike as they got older, that was fine; but I would not make that decision for them. The result: I have two seven year-old girls who couldn’t be more different from each other. One is a girly-girl. She loves dresses, accessories, ballet, and make-up and is very particular. The other is Sporty Spice. She will only wear pants or leggings, she loves any outdoor sport or activity, and she stays calm no matter what the situation.
While I feel like I’m winning in the Raising Twins World, I sometimes wonder if I’m losing too…the dressy twin–she refuses, REFUSES, to wear anything but a dress. The other will not be caught dead in anything that resembles a skirt, has ruffles, or requires wearing tights underneath. They are so very different. Hair: if I try to give them the same hairdo, the dressy twin complains and asks me to change hers so she doesn’t look like her sibling. One loves school and enjoys coming home, completing homework right away, and talking about her day. The other twin…well, she has very little to tell me about how school was, she wants to go play as soon as she walks in the door, and getting her to sit and read to me is such a struggle. They don’t really play together. There are occasions where they will, but it’s not as often as I remember my me and my sister playing together. My girls are so different that I am often asked if they are sisters and which is older.
At the end of the day, though, I love that each of my twin girls is an individual; that each one knows exactly who she is and what she loves; and that each girl is celebrated for her own interests, talents, and skills. They might be twins, but they are two different girls with two very different identities. I’m proud to be raising these twin girls.