Monday, April 2, 2012
Next to "Wow, you have your hands full!" "Do twins run in your family?" and "I see double trouble." the comment I hear most often is, "How do you tell them apart?" I think Garrett and Gavin look similar but not exactly alike even though mono mono twins are about as identical as they come. They move differently, sound different, and make different expressions, but to most people they do indeed look the same. Garrett's face is narrower, his eyes a little smaller; Gavin's cheek's are fuller, his forehead broader, his eyes rounder. To avoid the 'hey you,' 'which one are you,' 'hey boy,' 'garrettgavin' (yes, one word), or 'the brothers' salutations I often dress them in certain colors. Garrett gets lots of green, gray, red, and orange (the connection being a gr in Garrett and a gr in most of the listed colors) while Gavin gets lots of black, blue, brown, and yellow. This doesn't mean I avoid matchy matchy outfits, though. We mainly get by on hand-me-downs and gifts so I'm the least bit picky. Most days they are coordinated (same outfit in different colors), occasionally they're just alike, and sometimes their attire is totally random. When they start to voice an opinion about what they want to wear I'll let that daily choice be up to them. A mom's gotta pick her battles. Which is also why the boys don't have assigned high chairs or car seats. It's first come, first serve around here.
So today I dressed them in matching overalls and different colored shirts: Garrett in gray and Gavin in blue. Gavin chose to wear the blue Crocs and Garrett chose to wear the maroon and orange VT Crocs. We had a busy morning around the house, at music class, and playing and picnicking at the park with some friends. As usual, the boys fell asleep on the way home and thankfully they can be easily transferred to their cribs for naps. I got Gavin out of the car, slipped off his shoes, carried him upstairs, and laid him down while fishing for his teddy bear that he loves only having to go retrieve it from his brother's crib. He rolls over to settle in, but instead of tucking in his hands under his tummy and sticking his tush in the air to snooze for the afternoon, he gets on all fours and scrambles around asking for his dog. Dog?!?! Garrett loves the dog! You're the bear kid! Nope, Mom. Ooops. I'm Garrett. And I go in the other bed. And I like to sleep with the dog.
Alas, for the first time since they were infants I mixed up my own kids. Note, the first three months home from the hospital we painted Gavin's toe nail black (black for Baby B) so we could tell the boys apart even in our bleary eyed middle of the night zombie-like state.
Today aside, it's rare I confuse the boys. I can usually tell who's crying in the other room and who ate what off their plate when I'm washing dishes at the sink even if it was Joe who sat with them at mealtime. Maybe I need to be better about taking lots of pictures of them separately; maybe Joe and I need to increase our efforts of spending time with each child one on one; maybe it will be a dilemma come school time when we don't know whether or not to keep them together or send them to separate classrooms; and maybe friendships are going to get tricky; but for now our battles revolve around who sits in the green or blue tailgate chair and who gets the toy bus and who gets the toy recycling truck. They might look the same and have matching DNA but they are indeed separate individuals. It's rare I call them 'the twins;' it's usually 'the boys.' And while I think self expression and honoring individuality is very important in the developmental process of identity and autonomy, one of my most favorite pieces of advice anyone has ever given me with regards to my children is, "Let them be twins." They're brothers and they're in sync and even before the age of 2 they were thinking of each other when most kids are just thinking of themselves. A great big sorry to my sweet Garrett, who could tell right away that he was in the wrong bed! But there's no doubt that one day you and Gavin are going to love playing switcheroo tricks on anyone you can. So have fun doing it. And being boys. And being brothers. And being twins.
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