When I was pregnant I knew I was having identical twins. I made vows never to dress them alike and NEVER entertained the idea of naming them with same letter or (gag) RHYMING names! I was determined that even as identical twins, I would raise them to be independent individuals who had a strong sense of self.
However, I had this horrible fear that I wouldn’t be able to tell my babies apart–I just knew I would have a moment, hours after we had clipped the hospital id bracelets off, that I would stare at my children and have no idea which one was which. My daydream took on a panicked tone at this point: “Oh no. What if I call them the wrong name? What if I never know which child I am talking to? They will grow up never knowing who they are!!!! AHHH!” (the delusions of a highly hormonal pregnant woman).
Aaron and I actually joked about tattooing the boys’ names on their feet. Half joked.
Well, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I never have had trouble telling the boys apart, especially when they were first born (one was red; one was white). I thought that the identity crisis had passed. My boys would grow up with a strong sense of personal identity since I, their mother, could easily call them by the right name 100% of the time.
Well, as every mother with more than one child knows, you never call your child the right name all the time, even if you don’t have twins. My children’s names often come out “Mi-Benji” or “Benja-Micah” or even “Goldie-Mikie-Benjacah.”
But that is just a slip of the tongue. I, of course, as their mother have NO problem knowing which twin is which.
The problem is, the boys don’t know which twin is which. Especially Benji, who thinks he and his twin are both named “Benji.” He frequently calls for Micah: “Beeeen-jiiii! Beeen-jiii!” to which we reply, “No, Benji, that is Micah.” He will then call him by the right name once but will then slip back into his old habits.
After Benji called Micah “Benji” at the library today (and every day for the past….oh, 3 years?) I decided to have an intervention in the car by drilling the boys with this question: “What is your name?” The answers were even more problematic than I thought:
Me: Benji, what is your name? (yes I said, Benji, what is your name. I though I would help the kid out as much as possible)
Benji: My name is Brother.
(Oh. No. We frequently ask the boys to “give such-and-such to Brother” or “Play nice with Brother.” We may have to stop this in order to divert this identity crisis.)
I then thought, “I will ask Micah his name. Micah knows his name. Maybe it will point Benji in the right direction.”)
Me: Hey, little guy, what is your name? (See? I am getting more tricky with my questions)
Micah: I am a boy.
Me: Yes, honey, you are a boy. But what is your name?
Micah: My name is a Boy.
So there you go. We have one twin who thinks both their names are “Benji” but when asked will say his name is Brother. The other twin thinks his name is “a Boy.”
Apparently, the identical twin identity crisis is still alive and well in the Meng household.