Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To dress alike or not to dress alike

A new mother of twins recently vented her anger on an online bulletin board.
She had expressed her desire early in her pregnancy to always dress her babies differently, yet her mother-in-law continued to give them gifts of matching outfits. She wondered whether anyone could help her get her point across.
"This is something I have strong feelings about," she wrote. "I do not believe they should be dressed alike. No offense to anybody out there who does it, this is just my opinion."
That was me 14 months ago.
I was determined never to dress our guys alike, especially since they were identical. Coordinating outfits, I could handle. But nothing that fully matched. I wasn't going to be that person and they were not going to be those kids.
Then one day it happened.
I dove into their dresser to search for an outfit. I had planned to take them on errands and I wanted to make sure they wore the same weight clothing so that each would be as warm as the other. The easiest solution was clothing that matched.
Guess what? I did it and nothing happened.
They didn't start answering to each other's names. They didn't eat with each other's hands. They didn't confuse their feet or fingers or their toes with the other's. Matthew still seemed to know he was Matthew and Jonathan still seemed to know he was Jonathan.
It was a miracle.
What really happened is that I learned to relax. I don't stress out about the fact that they rarely go anywhere separately. I don't get worked up when someone mistakenly calls them by the wrong names. I usually dress them differently, but every now and then, if I am in the mood or if I am out of clothing, I dress them alike.
I give them plenty of space to develop their individuality, but I don't force it on them. Matthew and Jonathan already have personalities that are as different as night and day, so why should I interfere?
By the time they are three, or maybe even two, they will develop preferences and they will assert them. One day they will demand different clothing. Another day they will get great pleasure out of dressing alike. The choices will be theirs, not mine.
And I will do my job.
I will listen to my two very different little boys.


The Myers Family said...

I agree...dress them how you like. I dress mine the same when we go out...but at home i could care less what they wear. I dress them alike at school...really b/c i think it's funny and challenging to see if their teacher will have the right one with the right name. LOL! Everyone makes their own choices...and who cares what anyone else thinks. It IS kinda fun to dress them alike when we go out...then we become a major spectacle because they are identical and people are so amazed with that. Your boys are precious by the way...

Twinsmom said...

Thank you! I just found your blog. All three of your girls are absolutely adorable!

Naz said...

I dress my boys the same (or matching) most of the time. Like you, when I was pregnant with them, I was adamant that they would be dressed differently as I wanted people to see them as individuals (this was esp important to me as they were identical). But once I had my boys, I realised that it doesn't really matter how I dress them, they will always be individuals. Their personality & individuality doesn't depend on how they are dressed. So I relaxed and I'm having fun with it. Dressing them the same is so cute. I might as well do it now while they are young. But the moment they show a preference and are able to choose for themselves, I will let them decide how they want to dress.