One of my big takeaways from Abigail Pogrebin’s book on twins, “One and the Same”, was “don’t over-romanticize the twinship”.
I think this idea can apply to so many aspects of parenting. In one of the easiest examples, Pogrebin cites the tales of twins, living in separate geographies, who instinctively know when something has happened to the other. A stabbing pain in one’s leg prompts her to call her sister, who just fell down the steps.
Such occurrences may happen to some sets of twins, but Pogrebin cautions not to “expect” those supernatural powers of our twins. If A doesn’t grab her knee on the playground with Mommy at the exact moment B stumbles while riding her bike with Daddy, it doesn’t mean she’s failing her twin sister.
I try to think about my girls as two kiddos, who happen to share a birthday. And they seem so different to me, each with her own personality, strengths, and challenges. Sure, I keep them on the same schedule and feed them the same things (careful to make sure they each get the same number of grapes), but I hope and pray I’m nurturing their development as individuals.
For as intentional as I try to be with my girls, though, all bets are off when we step out the door. Every mom of multiples can relate to the random…sometimes maddening…sometimes outright intrusive…comments we get in public.
The most bizarre to date happened last week. We went to one of our favorite restaurants. It’s the definition of shabby-chic in my mind…mismatched chairs, displays from local artists on the walls, a collection of books and games like Scrabble and Jenga on a bookshelf in the corner. We’ve gone there for years, and I always envisioned bringing our kiddos one day…engaging in a rousing board game while we awaited the delivery of The Best Pizza in the World.
As we aren’t quite ready for family Scrabble, we walked over to speak with another family while we were waiting. We didn’t know them, but they looked nice enough…Mom, Dad, and a couple of daughters, maybe 12 and 8…playing Jenga. We thought A and B would enjoy seeing them playing “blocks”.
Sure enough, the family was nice enough to illustrate a few moves for the girls, and then we started to chat. The older daughter got up to talk more directly to Baby A, whom I was holding. “Twins?” she gasped. I introduced the girls. “You know twins are supposed to feel what the other feels!”
Before I realized what was happening, she PINCHED Baby A, and then asked B if she felt it.
I’ll give the kid a bit of a break…she was 12, after all…but seriously??? You don’t touch my kid, much less PINCH her! It wasn’t a hard pinch, but still!
Fortunately, we saw our pizza headed towards our table so we quickly parted ways.
I’m adding this to my list of things to beware of in public…as if I needed another phobia!