As a parent of identical twin girls, a common question people tend to ask is, how do we tell them apart.
This can be easily rectified when they’re newborns by putting nail varnish on the finger nail of one baby, however, make sure you note which one has it, as otherwise, it's a bit pointless!
While this might be a trick to make sure you have the correct name on the correct baby, parents very quickly just know who's who. It's probably designed that way by nature. Twins are bound to be slightly different, whether it's something physical such as a birthmark or the shape of their head, or one may have a habit, such as which thumb they like to suck.
Just remember if they suck their thumb, avoid the nail varnish on that one! No doubt every parent has some reference that works for them. A handy trick too is to put one particular twin always on the left - whether it's in their Moses basket, cot, buggy etc. and also have everything you'll use for them on the left. It actually somehow makes things a little easier for whatever reason.
When (and if) to buy two of everything and/or two of the same thing, is likely to be a conversation parents of twins will have on an ongoing basis.
As there are lots of factors to consider before making a decision - a mental checklist might be a handy thing to consult beforehand. Cost, size, convenience, space, cost (again!) are just some of the things to review. But what's perhaps one of the "little" things that you'll get most of, are toys - cuddly ones in particular.
To make life easy, get two of the same thing in order to avoid confusion about who owns which one and then with other items, get two variations of the same thing so that there's no doubt about who owns which one.
Can you see how it can get confusing? Either way, with experience, you figure out when it’s logical to buy just one of a certain toy or game. What has fascinated me is how the twins remember who received which toy. For example, when they unwrapped presents of little ponies (which were different colours to each other) - from then on they knew who got which one.
Even if there’s only a very slight difference between other toys, they always both know who received which one and stick to that “ownership”. Sometimes even I can’t remember.
Another question I get asked is, do we always dress them the same?
This is usually when they see them in identical clothes. Before I answer this for you, I should say ‘never say never’. Years ago (pre-children), over a coffee break in work, the subject of twins arose and we had a discussion about whether any of us would agree with dressing them alike. I remember doubling over in laughter when my work mate said she would put them in the same clothes until they were around 15 years old.
I don’t know why I found this so funny. Perhaps it’s because I thought they'd have minds of their own way before then (I’ve realised now that happens at around the age of 2 and a half) and it would be a ridiculous situation to force upon twins. Little did I guess back then we would have twins ourselves and I’d nearly always end up buying two of the same item of clothes for them.
This has happened for a couple of reasons. First off, when one twin sees her sister putting on a particular dress or top, she inevitably wants the same one and refuses to wear the item I selected for her. It works both ways and no amount of persuasion gets around either of them.
For the sake of peace, ease and their happiness; I give in. On a practical level though I've discovered that it’s quite handy and saves time. Shops don’t always have two of the same item in stock but they will order and even have it there by the following morning; which is a great service.
While I’m on the topic of making purchases, it’s no harm to ask for a discount when buying items for twins (especially when it comes to shoes). I always get something off the price. Anyone who does it will tell you it’s very satisfying and gets easier the more you do it.
In general, I’d ask the assistant in advance of actually confirming the purchase, whatever it was. On the odd occasion when they said they couldn’t give anything off, I’d ask them if I could have a have a word with the manager and they would usually oblige. OK, you’re not saving a fortune, but costs mount up where twins are concerned so why not be mindful of that. Plus, you can always use the savings to buy some cuddly identical OR non-identical toys!
It is tough going but I can tell you that it is twice as fun as anything I ever imagined it would be!