Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trading Places

Raising twins can be a bit of a challenge. Raising identical twins brings its own unique issues. For one thing, it is obvious they are twins and I get many comments about how I tell them apart as well as questions about whether twins run in my family. I should just say, "They do now," but more often than not, I launch into a long description about the different types of twinning and the chances of having twins. Fraternal twins happen when a woman drops two eggs during her cycle and both are fertilized, while identical twins happen when a fertilized egg splits. The tendency to drop two eggs is a genetic trait, and a woman who has one set of fraternal twins has a one in four chance of having fraternal twins again. Identical twins are a fluke of nature that happen at the same rate across all populations. My chances of having identical twins again are the same as any other woman, one in two hundred and fifty. Which always makes me feel as though I got struck by lightning or something. I already had my hands full when I found out I was having twins -- my kids were 4, 3, and 1 at the time -- and I figured sending me twins was proof that Heavenly Father had a sense of humor.

One of the first issues you navigate as a twin mom is whether to dress them alike. When they were babies, I'd sometimes dress them alike, but as soon as they are able, I've always encouraged my kids to choose their own clothes to wear.
Sarah and Allison almost never wear the same outfit, even though I buy two of everything when I find a good deal. One night this week the girls decided to wear the same pajamas. They were so excited about their original idea. Sarah came running upstairs first, “Mommy, I’m wearing the piggie shirt and Allison is wearing it too. We match!” Allison was equally enthusiastic about matching Sarah: “Look, mommy, we are being twins!” A bit later, as they sat on the couch next to each other in their piggie outfits, I told them that someday, they could try to trick people by wearing the same outfit. “Sarah, you could wear the same clothes as Allison and pretend to be her and no one would know!” Her eyes got all wide and excited about that possibility, then she said, “Yes, or I could pretend to be a bear!”

Allison & Sarah are mirror image twins; as they were developing, they often had features opposite one another. When Allison would get a tooth on the left side, Sarah would get it on her right. When they crawled, they each stuck a foot out to the side, but it was the opposite foot. What’s interesting is that while Sarah is right-handed, Allison is ambidextrous. She uses both of her hands interchangeably. In fact, she often uses them both at the same time. I’ve never seen a child color with two crayons or markers at the same time before, but Allison does it often:

My girls run the personality gamut from princess to boy scout. This morning, Allison asked me, "Mommy, can you make me more dresses? I really need more dresses to wear." Which is ironic because they own a ton of dresses and wear them nearly every day. There's nothing like wearing a dress to get you in the mood to dig in the mud, ride bikes, or search out creatures. No matter their attire, they are always catching snakes, roly-polys, worms, and the like, shrieking with excitement when they discover the smallest bug or the largest snake. Last week at our neighborhood dinner, Sarah ran around thrusting a praying mantis in everyone's face, exclaiming, "Isn't it so cute? Look at my funny guy" I silently closed my eyes and gave thanks it wasn't a snake.


April J. said...

It's is fun to read your experience with twins. I know our girls are pretty close in age. I always find if I label one then they switch, like Hannah is the "happy one". It is like their way of telling me not to compare them. It is really hard! I realize they are different but you can only see that by comparing.

alligood said...

Nate and Drew love to dress 'like twins'. :-) I buy lots of the same outfits, but they don't often choose to wear the same thing. The other day Drew wore the same t-shirt as Jake (they didn't have 2 of this shirt in Nate and Drew's size, so I got one for the twins and one in baby Jake's size). Drew went around the entire day excitedly telling anyone who would listen that "now I am twins with Jake instead of Nate." No matter how many times I try to explain that being twins means they grew inside me together and were born on the same day, being twins, to them means their clothes match!
Cute Post!


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