Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Want attention? Dress them alike.

It's rare that our twins are dressed alike.
Sure, we did it now and then when they were babies.
It was cute, especially for photos.
But it confused us and others and, as soon as they were able to grunt in the direction of a particular piece of clothing, Matthew and Jonathan made their own preferences clear. At this point in their lives, they find the idea of dressing alike generally repulsive.
So it was by mistake that it happened last week.
We were headed out to Target and the mall, intending to Christmas shopping and meet up with a friend for pictures with Santa. Neither twin wanted to wear his jacket. I agreed only if they each grabbed a sweater.
They grabbed precisely the same ones.
Coincidentally, they were both wearing gray sweatpants of slightly different shades.
I didn't think much of it until we entered Target.
Most often, passersby don't even realize Jonathan and Matthew are twins. I always assumed that we had naturally passed the phase where people cared -- when they were babies, sitting side-by-side in their stroller announcing their identical DNA to the world.
Babyhood was tough.
I always had to build in extra time for oglers. I didn't mind much because the twins were too young to understand that they were a side show of sorts. Besides, they made people happy. It was nice to see previously frowning folks stop and smile.
But I should have built it in extra time that day.
It started the moment we walked through the doors.
Two women walking toward us stopped, blocking our way. They stared at the twins, slightly stooped for a better angle, looking them up and down. Then they stood up straight and one women said with a bit of a puzzled look, "Are they twins?"
"Yes,"  I answered.
"I knew it," said one.
"Me too," said the other, and the two women carried on a conversation about Matthew and Jonathan's likenesses and differences as though none of us was there. I maneuvered the twins around them and kept walking.
Once we grabbed a cart and the twins were walking freely, not holding my hands, I figured we were safe. Certainly, no one would stop us if they were not on display side-by-side and if we looked really busy.
Would they?
They would.
Similar incidents occurred at least 6 more times during our 40-minute shopping excursion.
Some people were polite and brief. Others were a little more intrigued, yet still polite. No one else was rude like those two women. Shoppers just seemed attracted by the twinness, like they couldn't help themselves, and I found that kind of amusing.
When we left Target and arrived at the mall, Jonathan stripped off his sweater.
He was hot.
Matthew kept his on.
We attracted not a single comment or stare during our 90-minute trek through the halls, food court and arcade.(Okay, maybe a stare, but that probably had more to do with the rather "active" behaviors of Matthew and Jonathan and their preschool-aged friend.)
Not even Santa noticed.
At least, not until we were preparing to leave and Jonathan pulled on his sweater.
Their friend was gone by then, so it was just the two boys standing there, waiting for me to get my act together. Santa had risen from his chair and was greeting a children in the common area a few yards away. He looked at Jonathan and Matthew, who caught his stare and galloped over.
Santa gazed at them, and then lifted his eyes to me.
"Are they twins?" he said.
I swear I saw a mischievous twinkle.


MotherRunner said...

Ugh - I don't dress my twins alike for that same reason. I hated getting mobbed by people when they were babies, and the identical clothes make it ten times worse. Most people are pretty friendly and brief, but I've actually had people grab my stroller to stop me from walking away.... weird!

twinboys said...

I just came across your blog while googling...I really enjoyed reading your posts and relate to everything you experience with your boys. I have 3 yr old identical twin boys. I wish I could come up with a good response for those that compare my boys from head to toe...it is rude and annoying with strangers but worse when friends and family do it. "he a tiny bit taller? He has chubbier cheeks? Is he more outgoing?" Etc. Etc. I am sure you have heard it all.
I also love your post on separating twins. I am always getting the advise that it is best to separate. I am not opposed to separating but I want to be able to make the decision. My boys are together in preschool and are thriving. I will take one yr at a time.
One more thing...while cleaning house today, I listened to my boys engage in imaginative play..pretending to be at a firehouse. It can go on for hours a day. I love listening to it! They play soo welll together 90% of the time..the other 10% can get pretty ugly!!
Thank you for posting about your experiences and advise on the issues with identical twins. We are both so doubly blessed. Happy holidays!

Twinsmom said...

MotherRunner, I had a department store clerk block my stroller once and then continue to block it every time I tried to go around her. A co-worker had to pull her away. It's amazing!
Thank you, Twinboys! Thankfully, my boys are pretty vocal. If they are annoyed by someone, they let them know. I have no doubt they have a strong sense of individuality. They assert it constantly. We're doing the same thing with school -- keeping them together until/unless we find a serious reason to do otherwise. Each has his own best friends and the teachers have make huge efforts to avoid confusing them. We've had no problems at all. As for the imaginative play, it only gets better! That's part of your reward for all the struggles that having twins can bring. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Anonymous said...

I have identical twin boys - nearing 3 years - we suspect they are mirror image due to their parts and the way their teeth came in. We dress one in something usually blue (sometimes purple) and the other in pretty much anything that is not blue. Sometimes their outfits are similarly striped, or pattern - but always a different color - helps daycare keep them separated. They are just now using 4-5 word sentences - a little behind the girls in their class. Definitely different personalities - one plays jokes and loves the girls, the other is the jock and a little advanced with his language skills. My wife and I can immediately tell them apart from clues, but hard for anyone else to do it without obvious clues.

Unknown said...

I'm an identical twin, I have twins, and my twin has twins. We've gone to the mall a couple of times to get the "twin pic" done.. if you want to attrack attention, that is the way to do it! 3 sets of identical twins, in matching oufits (only for the photo mind you!) strolling through the mall.. good times!

Twinsmom said...

How awesome, Xianfern!
That must have been so much fun!