Are Your Children Twindividuals or Individuals?
When the time the ultrasound technician shares the big news that there are two babies on the sonogram and not one, there are many decisions to be made that parents of singletons never have to give a second thought. Just a few are:
When selecting your children’s names, should they rhyme or begin with the same letter? Do you need one crib in the beginning or two? Do you want to set up separate nurseries or just one?
The big one in the twin world that receives a lot of discussion is deciding if you should dress your children alike or different. With boy/girl twins, there are many adorable outfits that are the similar, just in different gender appropriate colors. I had tons of these pink and blue ensembles given to me when our twins arrived. But when they got older, these kind of outfits ceased to exist.
Parents of identical twins or fraternal twins of the same gender at some point have to decide if and when to stop this practice.Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The Pros of Dressing Your Twins Alike
No other exhaustion can be compared to the one that parents of newborn twins face. If you think taking care of one baby is tiring, try taking care of two colicky infants on different sleep schedules! Part of the early months of caring for twinfants is making life as easy as possible for the tired parents, the mother in particular.
Dressing your twins in the same outfit can cut down on decision making. Shopping for two children is more expensive and time consuming than shopping for one. If you like something, it is an easy decision to simply buy two of them and be done!
By choosing to put your children in the same outfit, you can be out the door much faster. Simply select one ensemble for the day and be on your way.
Putting away and sorting laundry is made easier, because you are not dividing up the clean clothes into separate piles. It just goes into a singular big one!
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For the mamas, dressing your twins alike answers the ever present question asked by strangers when you take your children out in public, “Are they twins?” They can just get to the “Oooh, how adorable” part of the conversation.
Quite frankly, if I have to admit the truth (and many mothers of twins will agree with me on this), it is fun to dress them alike. I guess you just have to be part of the club to get it.
Moms love to promote thier children's twinship. Being a twin is special-you have been with a person since conception, and that is a very special and unique bond that singletons simply do not understand.
When your twins are mobile and you are going to a crowded place, dressing them alike, or at least in the same color, helps you keep track of them more easily. Two kids in bright orange shirts are more identifiable and easy to track in the park than one child in green and the other in yellow.
As children get older, twins may actually fight over the same outfit, and if you only have one, good luck! Having two of something can lessen the amount of arguments you have when they are younger.
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Reasons Not to Dress Your Twins Alike
Although there has been no big psychological study on the effects of dressing children alike for elongated periods of time, there are a lot of anecdotal stores from twins that say that many disliked it immensely.
But is that because there was overkill? Or was it because their mother could not give up the “twin” factor and the attention it brought her when they went out?
Many parents of twins expend great effort to have their children seen as separate entities and not lumped together as “the twins”. Just because you are born at the same time, it does not mean that you are alike in any way at all! With my own children, no one was permitted to refer to them as “the twins” (at least in front of me)…they had to refer to them by their names or be admonished.
Some parents of multiples never dress their children alike at all, even when they are infants and toddlers and cannot express their opinion on what they want to wear. They do not buy into the concept it is cute to dress their kids alike. After all, if you have children who are a year apart, would you consider dressing them alike all of the time?
Of course not.
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In the case of identical twins, it is really frustrating for those who do not know them well to tell the difference between the two children. When I taught elementary school, I found it easy to tell identical twins apart because I only had one in my class. I saw that child for hours every day and s/he was an individual, not part of a set.
But the teachers who did not either child singularly had a hard time telling who was who, especially when they were dressed identically!
An issue that can crop up is that identical twins may get so used to dressing alike that they answer to either name, because confusing them is a normal part of their lives.
Another potential concern with dressing twins alike is that they get so used to it, they do not want to dress differently at all. Their identity is enmeshed with their sibling’s, and this is not healthy for either child.
Children have different tastes in clothing, and as they get older, they want to express it. Forcing them to dress alike is a form of control and may breed resentment because they could not express themselves.
If you have an older child, s/he is usually out of the limelight when you go out as a family. Twins just bring all sorts of unwanted attention. If you dress your duo as a unit and leave the other child out, it can cause issues between the siblings. They may feel left out and resentful of their look-alike brothers or sisters. Is that what you want?
Is There a Compromise?
Parents of twins do not have to go overboard either way when it comes to dressing their multiples. It is perfectly acceptable to dress them alike some of the time if that is what they want. Having them wear the same color scheme really makes for an adorable photo that you will treasure when they are older and will only wear raggedy jeans and tee shirts.
As long as it is not forced and children are permitted to dress as they wish, there really is no harm having your twins dress alike some of the time.