If you’re looking for a scientific explanation for how twins form their own identities, I don’t have one for you. This is only my own thoughts as my twins grow up and become more and more distinctive every day. This blog was prompted by the comment of a very sweet but elderly lady who noted that the girls were dressed too much alike. “Sure they look cute. But they’ll never form their own identities that way,” she admonished.
Their Own Identity
I used to assert with authority that I wanted my twins to form their own identities. It sounds good. Indeed, many parents of twins feel so strongly about this ‘individual identity’ thing that they go to great lengths to make sure this happens. I know one mom who will not sign her kids up for any of the same classes at the Y so that they get treated like individuals apart from each other. If they’re interested in the same thing, she says she’ll take the other girl somewhere else.
If you press any of these parents on why they decide this, they’ll say, “Well, you know–it’s good for their identities.” I’m not brave enough to challenge this sage wisdom but I can’t figure it out to be honest. What exactly does that mean?
It is true that everywhere my girls go it’s Lizzy, Alex, Meghan and ‘the twins’. They do know their own names and if asked they’ll point appropriately. Unless of course they want to blame the other for some nefarious deed.
But that’s what they are. They are twins. That is not their only identifying factor of course. However, the label ‘twins’ aptly describes both girls. They are different because they are twins too in addition to all the other things that they are. They relate to each other differently than they relate to the other kids in the house. While the other kids in the house definitely relate to them as a group. . .they don’t do it to the exclusion of each girl. The girls wouldn’t allow that.
As they’ve grown we’ve done very little to encourage this individual identity thing. Not on purpose. . .I’ve simply been too overwhelmed to give it too much thought. You know what? Somehow, they seem to be individual little people with unique personalities, mannerisms and idiosyncracies! Imagine that! I wonder how that happened?
So the question is. . .
I’m not exactly sure how one can say that it is great that they are twins and then say that they must forge their own identities. Isn’t each girl’s identity wrapped up in the fact that she’s a twin? It’s a very unique bond and to be honest. . .if they decide that for the rest of their lives they want to dress exactly alike well then so be it. If they decide they want to pursue the same career then so be it. They will always have things that make then unique as individuals. . .as well as the fact that they are twins.