“Split Personality” Not Uncommon for Twins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 26-10-2009

Imagine being mistaken for someone else… every day!  Would this make you feel a bit unsure of yourself, a little uneasy with your personality or who you are at your core?

This case of mistaken identity is one that my monozygotic twins Alex and Simon face all the time.  From grandparents to daycare providers to classroom teachers, those who are able to accurately tell them apart are few and far between. Even though the boys typically wear different clothes, they look so much alike to folks other than myself and my husband, that they must spend a large portion of their day correcting people or clarifying their own and each other’s identities.

Just the other day, as I dropped my twins off at the daycare, one of their favourite ECEs looked at their shoes and said “Good!  Red and blue!” (We sometimes ensure that Twin A wears something red while Twin B sports blue—in this case shoes–, but the preceding few days, the boys had been wearing different footwear, and it hadn’t occurred to me that this was causing identity problems at school!)

I smiled and shared some other strategies for telling the twins apart (Alex has a gill on his left year, as well as several small scars on his face from various injuries in the early years, while Simon’s voice is a bit more chirpy than his brother’s.)  But as I left the daycare and drove off to work, I couldn’t help wondering about the long-term impact of repeated misidentification… the boys love one another, being twins is something they generally relish, but even in utero, I often got a sense of the brawls that were to come, and the boys kicked and shoved one another in my belly!  This sort of bickering and fighting still occurs today, at almost age six, as the boys periodically fight for top position in the twinship.

Thinking back to when I was pregnant with our twins, I recall that this sort of thing was not something that was covered in our multiples-specific prenatal course, and yet, as a professional educator myself, I wonder that “the whole child” was not addressed.  Expecting twins, triplets or more ends with labor and delivery, but parenting multiples is a life-time challenge.  Why does this topic not hold a spot on most prenatal course agendas?

I know one thing: Considering the special needs of the multiple birth child is something that I try to weave throughout the online prenatal course I now teach!  The importance of supporting each individual child as well as the twinship is something I try to share with parents early on during my multiples-specific prenatal classes.  I wonder if topics like this are sometimes overlooked because most classes are typically taught by nurses (whose involvement usually ends at birth) rather than a parent of multiples (who is necessarily involved for the long term)…

If you or someone you know is expecting twins, triplets or more, I encourage you/them to consider a good quality, twins-specific prenatal course, like the one we offer at www.joelrendall.com/babiesinbelly, taught or co-taught by someone who knows!

Medical information is easily accessible online, in a book, or from your OBGYN, but the “real dirt” on raising twins, triplets and more is best harvested from fellow parents of multiples themselves.

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