By Akemi Bourgeois
How are the twins doing? Are the twins going to be princesses for Halloween? Look at the twins! The twins, the twins, the twins... we parents of twins hear it all the time. We say it, even. The twins.
We dress our twins alike, or in complementary outfits. We send them off together on playdates and to the same activities. We anguish over whether to separate our twins in school. We fear they might lose that special closeness.
Eventually, we start to see our twins as individuals. We hit milestones like the first separate playdate. Our twins outgrow that tell-tale symbol of twins, the double stroller. We start to see our twins cultivate separate friends and interests. Many of us eventually enroll our twins in separate classrooms.
Logistically, all of the togetherness makes sense, especially when the twins are very young. We parents of twins have to weigh the benefits of logistical ease for the familiy against the individual needs of each twin. But recognizing twins as individuals is essential for their emotional well-being. That one twin is passionate about gymnastics while the other prefers to play chess can be a good thing. It might drive mom crazy to have to shuffle her twins around but in the end, a bit - or a lot - of separation can be a good thing. Sometimes, a twin might make a point of presenting herself as distinctly diffferent from her twin by changing the style of her hair or the way she dresses.