When I was in high school, I was a leader for a preschool church group. One year, we had adorable, blond-headed, mischievous twin boys join the group. They usually dressed alike so it was really hard to tell them apart.
Their mom even told me a story once about how a babysitter had deliberately changed them into non-matching clothes so she could tell them apart. Those little hooligans when to the bathroom (they were 4 years old!) and switched shirts! haha! Classic.
I could never tell those boys apart either.
I tell this story because I know what it is like to see a pair of twins, scratch my head, and wonder, “Which one is which?”
However, now that I have identical twins myself, this question drives me crazy.
When my boys were babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers, I didn’t mind being asked “Which one is which?” My boys couldn’t answer this question for themselves and I was happy to set people straight in the identical twin confusion.
|Yeah…this one even stumps me. One of the rare times I dressed them alike as babies.|
My twins are almost 7 years old. They still look alike. So, why does this question bother me so much?
Because people ask me “Which one is which?” right in front of my boys.
My go-to answer has become “Ask them. They would be happy to tell you their names” as I sigh inwardly.
|Micah likes to wear his hair long. Benji? The shorter the better!|
You are probably clucking your tongue right now thinking, “Brittany, they are TWINS! You shouldn’t get irritated.”
And I really try not to. But if you think about it, most people would not approach a mother of two boys, who were typical siblings who were playing two feet from her, and ask “Which one is which?” This question always just pinches me a little bit because, in some way, it strips my boys of their personal identity.
I want each of my sons to be known and recognized for being himself, not for being one half of a whole. After all, Micah and Benji have different interests, likes, dislikes, personalities…even their voices are different. They aren’t even the same height or weight! (Micah is taller and heavier).
As identical twins, this is a battle that my boys will have to engage in their whole lives. It doesn’t really bother them a whole lot now so I guess I am “fighting” for them at the moment. But I know the time will come when they will realize that people constantly can’t remember their names…maybe perhaps because they see Micah and Benji as two parts of a whole, not as individuals.
So, what’s the solution? For me, I need to continue practicing patience and graciousness and teach these virtues to my children as well.
For others, what do you do when you really cannot tell a pair of twins apart, like those two little boys in my preschool church group?
I would love it if people, children or adults, came up to Micah or Benji and said, “I can’t remember your name. Could you please remind me?”
This question is personal and sensitive. And it would make the heart of this twin mom glow, because you would be recognizing my son for the unique person that he is.
PS. For those of you know my boys, another tip for telling them apart is that Micah has a cowlick and Benji doesn’t. In fact, Micah will even point it out to you himself! 🙂
|See that swirl of hair on Micah’s forehead? That’s his special feature!|