raising twin girls.

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LOVETAZA sept1118-2

yes, it’s true. having newborn twin girls is terribly cute. like, all day long.  two babies. two girls! cue the cuteness! even when they are both screaming at me at the very same time, it’s kind of adorable. “twins!” they’ll all say as we pass by. “twin girls!” the pitch in which they express it almost goes an entire octave higher. i get it. it’s very cute.

but, as their mother, having twin girls has also been nothing short of terrifying to me. even before their arrival, after learning we were expecting two girls and during my entire pregnancy, i wrestled with knowing how hard their lives could potentially be at times for them both, simply because they are twin girls. sorting through and figuring out their own individuality when often being referred to as a unit, and then the never ending comparisons….oh, this is the chubbier one, the prettier one, the faster one, the better eater, the more articulate one, the softer one, the quieter one, the louder one, the sweeter one, the smarter one, the better at this one, or better at that one… it’s what we all tend to do as we peer over twins, often unknowingly, because we’re trying to sort out who is who, and what makes them them. still, it’s got to be a lot to navigate straight from birth.

long before josh and i even had kids, we had chatted about twins a lot because i have twin sisters. we also happen to know a lot of twins. because of this, we’ve seen a lot of the pros and cons of the situation up close. still, i can’t even imagine what it must be like to be a twin. to be a part of that miraculous experience of being raised right along side someone else. sharing a birthday, so many firsts, so much time and love and growth together. in so many ways, having a built in best friend from your first few breaths on earth. having witnessed my twin sisters relationship over the years, it’s evident that having that sort of connection is nothing short of being so very special. and i’m really looking forward to having them share that bond. already, it’s so very apparent that they calm one another in the sweetest way. when they are side by side, they find a way to connect their arms or hold hands almost immediately. when one is fussy or sad, being placed beside her sister can help quiet her. i know they will love each other deeply in the years to come, and that gives me such strength as their mother to know.

i would love to hear from other twin parents, twins themselves or anyone who has any insight from knowing or observing twins, what you have found most helpful when it comes to cultivating that special individuality from an early age while continuing to strengthen the bond of being a twin, as well as what works/what doesn’t when it comes to those interactions with others.

a few things we have read, observed and put into practice have started with simply not always referring to them as “the twins.” we try hard to call beatrice and madalena by their first names as often as we can, although i admit i sometimes accidentally replace “the twins” with “the baby girls” which is sort of from the same vein, so i’m working on it. i had read somewhere before their birth that it’s helpful to not get so hung up and focused on the fraternal/identical thing, so we’ve tried to shy away from it in addition to the whole “who is the older one” or who was born first. we actually didn’t share that information with anyone, not even our families after their arrival, so it won’t be a major focus in the years to come hopefully (i don’t know if this sort of thing really matters, but in the spring after sitting in the movie theater with my older three kids watching peter rabbit, i was glad we made this call after watching flopsy, mopsy and cottontail argue the entire movie about who was the leader based on who was born first). while the matching twin wardrobe is so much fun (and i love dressing them alike a lot!), i do want to be mindful that they may not always be into this, and even when they are little, they don’t have to always dress the same.

another thing we’ve been trying to do, and encourage our other children to do, is to not compare them. sometimes you think, “oh, this makes sense for when they are older. we won’t compare the big stuff, sure…” but i noticed it creeping in right after birth. maybe one had a few more wet diapers, suddenly i was worried about the other. maybe one met a milestone much faster than her sister, i’m in a panic all of the sudden! if there was only one baby, i’d have nothing else to compare the moment to and wouldn’t worry. but you have that instantaneous comparison because they are right beside each other all day long! so these sorts of things almost become amplified, everything they do or don’t do, since there are two.  and then i start to overanalyze, do i praise and get so happy for one who is accomplishing something big when her sister is struggling to do the same? do i diminish her success because i don’t want the other one to feel bad? i mean, it’s little things like rolling over at this point, but it has me thinking hard about the years ahead and how to navigate all of that in the most loving way that is right for everyone.

but the physical comparisons are what i want to get ahead of here. they may only be three months old and have no idea what is being stated around them, but the mama bear in me has come out in full force as i’ve observed family and friends and strangers the past few months begin to vocally call out comparisons that could be hurtful or dangerous in years to come. it’s such hard territory to navigate for everyone, but i really think we all can agree that calling one “chubbier” or “chunkier” isn’t very helpful. oh, but they are babies! someone will argue. yeah, but i have three other children listening to everything we say and observe, and we can get into better habits now of finding ways to differentiate them. i don’t need my seven year old daughter sitting beside you to start analyzing her own cheeks because you’re calling out her three month old baby sister’s.  right now, it’s easy to steer this sort of conversation somewhere else since they are so small by just saying, “madalena has the red headband and beatrice has the pink, actually.” or “madalena has longer hair right now, that’s how we can tell them apart.” many twins who are older have shared with us that those sorts of comments come at all ages. even in your teens or twenties or thirties, the comments can come. “i can tell you apart because you have fuller, rounder cheeks!” like, really?!?!?! one has long hair and one has very short hair. one is wearing a dress and one is in jean shorts. you can’t be serious.

i remember hearing an amazing example of speaking to/about twins that i think applies to how one might talk to/about siblings as well. it was something along the lines of trying not to use phrases like, “oh, she is definitely the creative one!” when you could instead say, “she is very creative!”  i think there is so much great insight packed into this example when talking about kids in general, not just twins. just like twins, two sisters who are a few years apart don’t need to be compared, either. or a sister and brother. or whoever it might be. i struggle with this a lot, because it’s easy to compare anything and everything against a sibling, and sometimes it feels natural to do so. but it’s been really helpful to try to pause before i say something out loud about one of my children in front of the others and think about how i am phrasing it. our words mean so much to them… we owe it to them to express our words as best we can.

so many thoughts around raising these beautiful girls and if i think about it for too long, i start to get really nervous. am i bonding with them both?! am i giving them equal attention?! how do i encourage each of their unique individual personalities while acknowledging the other? do we split them up straight away in school classes and sports/extra curriculars? is it best to keep them together and for how long? basically, it’s like all the mom thoughts i had with the births of my other children, just twice the amount of nerves around it all.  i would really love to pick anyone’s brain in the comment section who has had twins or is a twin or knows twins well and has great advice or insight to offer. thank you for being here and a part of this community and for being willing to share with me, too! i am so very grateful for this chance to raise these beautiful strong little girls and it’s insane how much love i feel for both already. a year ago now, we had no idea. i have never felt so blessed (and slightly panic-y, sure), but blessed feels like such an understatement when i really think about it.
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  1. Quinn

    i tell them apart for now because madalena looks like josh and beatrice looks like eleanor/samson :)

  2. Lisa

    You make some really interesting points here that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. I’ve found myself beginning to tell your little girls apart because one looks so much like Samson to me and the other looks more like Eleanor. How do you feel about comparisons like that?

  3. Melissa

    Hi! I feel that your thought on raising individuals is stop on. I have a twin sister, we are identical, and she was born first and have always know how far apart. Not once did that knowledge impact me or her in any way and especially not negatively. We actually spent a lot of time learning and had encyclopedias and books on twins and eggs and the whole science of it all, which was pretty cool. We were never referred to as the twins. Maybe hey girls but mostly Rachel and Melissa.

    Growing up (prior to dressing ourselves) my parents put us in similar but opposite outfits -think blue pants, red top and red pants, blue top. Then would have people identify us that way as opposed to physical features. I never felt like I had to compete or judged because of this. As we got older things got a little trickier (high school and beyond) as we would sometimes be compared by personality (she’s more fun/she’s more serious, etc…). Still it wasn’t enough to really have an impact on my feelings toward myself.

    One BIG thing was that our schools also REQUIRED that we be placed in seperate classes so from kindergarten on we had different teachers, made different friends, and could develop into our own individual selves. Still, we did have many of the same friends. THIS WAS THE BEST! We couldn’t use each other as a crutch/default friend. And while we have many of the same interests we were able to choose our own activities, I was a figure skater and she danced and we both did gymnastics. Our parents also spent time with us individually and still do even now at 29.

    My least favorite part is actually when people ask “how does it feel to be a twin?” Or say “I really wish I was a twin.” Its incredibly frustrating because I don’t think that is something I can answer. I imagine it is no different than having another sibling except sometimes people mistake you on the grocery store. I don’t feel that being twins makes us anymore special than any other sibling bond.

    To me being a twin is just part of life, I refer to my sister as my sister and she does too. We only state that we’re twins when people seem puzzled. My family has done the same which goes a long way. I don’t really think about being a twin or feel any pressure from it. Part of that was that us being twins wasn’t a big deal past the infant stage. We are just sisters experiencing life together, going through everything at the same time, which meant having someone to brainstorm with, get and receive support from, and bounce opinions and thoughts around with.

    Also, it seems that twins are way more common now and less of a “rare species” for lack of better wording than when we were growing up. Telling people we’re twins is less exciting for that person we just told because all their friends have twins and cousins kids are too, etc…

    I don’t really think there is a right or wrong way to raise twins, you just do what feels right for your family and buy two of everything!

  4. TwoSets

    I have both identical boys and boy/girl twins. We definitely referred to the first set as “the twins” a lot until the second set came along and made that irrelevant. We never dress the kids the same and their names do not “match”. I personally think that is important, but who knows what will matter to my kids in developing their own identities! The oldest just started preschool and are in the same class (there is only one class per age), but in kindergarten we plan to separate them. I do get so many questions about what differences I notice between them, and I just answer that every kid is different and I find each one of them to be delightful. As a FTM of twins, I actually found those differences in development to be reassuring. One twin would start rolling first but the other would be babbling up a storm, and I realized that though they may have been hitting some milestones later, they were developing perfectly at their own paces. I’m loving reading the responses from those that are twins!

  5. Molly

    I’m a triplet – two girls and one boy. The best things my parents did were give us a chance to do whatever activity we wanted. We never dressed a like unless someone else gave us matching clothes. The biggest thing? After kindergarten we were put in different classrooms. I loved this bc we had our own lives during the day with less comparison.
    We got to experience what we wanted to and have our own friends. It was really really nice. We all went to separate colleges but now we all work together (I share a desk with my sister… lord help me). But we all have our very own lives. Your girls will do great. They are two separate people and two separate kids, just like your other kids. Maybe take one out with another child so they know they are siblings but not a “unit”. I think that would be really important.

  6. Kathleen

    Let me know when you find out. I have twin 3 year olds girls and can’t take 5 steps into a store without being noticed and having comments and questions. It’s hard, they think it’s normal to get stopped every 10ft and ask if they are twins. I try to drive home to them that they are sisters. I don’t like when we enter a room and people say “the twins are here”. They have names, they deserve to be called by their name not “the twins”.

    I think the world needs to educated on all thing kids. Just because one of my daughters says hi and the other shy’s away doesn’t mean one is shy and one is outgoing. Imagine all day long you got titles. Like, today you’re outgoing and the next say you look sad. Can’t everyone just keep their comments to themselves? I’m just trying to buy a lot of things I didn’t need in Target, I’m not looking for a Q&A on my twins. And lastly does it matter who is older?? They will never know and I’m not telling a stranger online.

    Good luck! For the record I do smile and answer what I can and then when we get in the car I talk about it further with the girls.

  7. Zoe

    I am a twin! “Built-in best friend” is the perfect way to describe it! In my experience, splitting us up in grade school really helped us to bone with other kids and rely less on each other for social support. By the time high school came around and we ended up in the same classes, I absolutely loved it! It was so fun to be with her. It was always hard not to be competitive but we both developed different interests while always keeping a really special bond. I always looked up to my sister.

    My parents did dress us alike until we started picking out our clothes. I always had issues when I was younger with having to “share everything including a birthday!” but my parents did well with individual cakes and I eventually got over it and realized just how lucky I was to have a twin sister. People ask us all the time about who is older or do we look alike. But being referred to as a package deal ends some time in high school. Once you go to different colleges, you start forming your own life independent of the other and people don’t know your twin so they can’t compare you anymore.

    Family always does though. I can’t count how many times an aunt of mine has said “oh Addie is much warmer than you are.” Or replace warmer with more patient, sensitive, people-pleasing, smarter, less anxious.

    Now at 27, we both graduated from grad school (she is a pediatric nurse practitioner and me an orthopedic physician assistant – which always makes everyone in the medical field laugh) and we moved to the same state and live just a few miles apart. We see each other often and talk daily. We share the same sense of humor and a bond that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Being a twin is such a special thing once you get over the childhood feelings of jealousy and frustration with sharing everything!

  8. Gemma

    The comments and attention in the street does tend to die down by the time they are 3-4, it’s exhausting though!

    My ID twin girls are just about to turn 8, to foster individuality I always dressed them differently, supported their own interests and let their ‘favourites’ be sacred – I have one who loves pink and that has always been her colour only. Another who loves pandas and we have embraced these and other likes & interests. I’ve let them choose their hair styles to allow individual style. I found putting them in different classes at school (primary school from 5 years up in Australia) has made a huge difference to them as it allowed their teachers to know just one of them well.

    I have corrected anyone who calls them the twins or similar, and have supported them in different ways. One on one time is equally important. Remembering things need to be fair but not exactly equal for them.

  9. Liz

    I am an 18 year old girl and I have an identical twin sister. She is my absolute best friend and I seriously feel so lucky that I have her. Within this past year more and more people have started to ask us how to tell us apart (not really sure why?) I am about an inch taller then my twin and also am a bit heavier. My twin sister also has a gap between her two front teeth (she looks like a super model ;) every time anyone asks how to tell us apart we both get instant anxiety thinking “are they going to say something about my weight? About my height? Or my sisters fears “will they say something about me teeth?” Those are feelings that we both grew up having. In sixth grade my social studies teacher wanted to know how to tell the two of us apart. My twin wasn’t in that class with me. One girl piped up and said “She’s bigger. Not like taller, just wider.” That was definitely one of the worst moments in my life. I felt so humiliated. On another note I think you should for sure make a point to call them by there names. One thing that has just recently started to effect me was the fact that no one ever calls me by my first name. Calling someone by their name is such a basic human thing and it saddens me that when someone says my first name I feel special. My advice is to just let your girls grow up to be what they want (even if that means being identical) me and my twin love all the same things and are even going to college for the same career. We have the same hairstyle even though people constantly are telling us that one of us should cut our hair to make it easier to tell us apart. Also if you hear anyone saying they don’t care about knowing them apart correct them right away that is one of the most hurtful things a person can say to me and my sister. You twin daughters are so lucky to have one another. I can’t even express how grateful I am for my twin sister. We are so close and love spending time together. I really don’t think people truly understand how close the bond between twins are unless you are one. So don’t worry too much because even though at times being a twin can really suck, I would always choose to have my twin. Good luck to you!

  10. Cate

    My husband is an identical twin, and it has always been a huge part of his life and identity. He often refers to himself in plural, and has named being a twin as one of the most formative aspects of his life. He and his brother are very close, and I think it is their relationship that has allowed that close identity to be so positive. Since they are identical, and both outgoing, comedic extroverts, comparisons are really easy for people to make. But they are so “for” one another that they have cultivated a relationship in which they can both be excited for the other one. I don’t know if this is a credit to their two personalities or to their parents’ parenting skills (probably both!), but it seems like thinking well about how to cultivate the best possible relationship between your girls, one in which jealousy and competition don’t have a role, is a great start to helping them deal with a world that will often lump them together.

  11. Ashley R

    I don’t have twins, but I have two daughters that are just a few years apart and I’m terrified of this exact same thing happening. And when it does, it’s subtle right now but I feel the fact that it’s subtle makes it even harder to correct! Like I don’t want to seem as if I’m overreacting but I have to protect my kids! I’m so glad that this conversation is happening.

  12. Yvette

    I have twin 18 month old girls and also have 11 year old nieces. One thing my husband and I try to do at least once a week is separate them during an outing. For example, I’ll take one to the grocery store with me while my husband takes the other to get coffee. The immediately notice the attention and really embrace it. I think every so often it’s important to make them feel like an individual vs a unit.

  13. Laura

    My parents didn’t know they were having twins so my sister was always the “surprise.” We started getting along about age 22 and 1000 miles apart. We were just so different and always in competition for attention and constantly being compared. Even to this day people compare us and how our lives have turned out. Now we text/talk a few times a week.
    I think not comparing is hard but you also have to realize the differences that all children have are so magnified with twins. You can’t parent them exactly the same. They have different needs and wants from you. I’ve always been outgoing and she has been painfully shy. My mom would have to talk to me about not approaching every stranger while my sister was rewarded for saying a few words to anyone. I was so much lazier about chores and school work while my sister was diligent. In high school she lied often and partied…I was going with my mormon friends to dances. I didn’t need a curfew, she was required to have her friends mom call my mom. Im sure you will deal with this with all of your kids but I think this was the hardest part for my parents.

  14. Maggie

    I have a twin sister and what really helped us is the fact that we were involved in different activities. As a parent I would recommend to encourage the differences but to not make it important that they have them. If one child is better at math, sports, dance, etc… instead of saying she is better say something more along the lines of they are good at it while also telling the other one she is good at something else equally.

  15. April

    First of all great piece!! My mom is a twin and I have watched her compare herself against her twin my entire life. The best advice I can give is build their confidence in self! Help them fall in love with themselves. You’re already doing it with your other children. Lastly, redirecting comparisons is huge, way to go. An important practice for all of us. Something I’m personally working on! Thanks for inspiring and being an awesome mom!

  16. Amanda

    Loved your thoughtfulness and think this applies to all kids and siblings and it’s amplified for twins. From a strangers perspective , I’ll say one’s expressions remind me more of Conrad and the other more of Eleanor and Samson but I bet that shifts through the day and as they age!

  17. Megan

    We got glasses on the same day in 4th grade, braces on the same day, wisdom teeth pulled the same day. We both had bad haircuts, were both late with our period. We got to share everything, which makes all the tough stages easier. Always have a partner and friend. We studied hard together, played sports together (sometimes skilled at different positions). Both played instruments, but by high school I pursued art while my sister pursued orchestra. We scored differently on SATs, chose different colleges, lived separately for a few years and are now both in New England. We have the tightest bond ever and no one else understands…our friends learned to put up with our arguments and we didn’t always get invited on vacations or to be bridesmaids bc people felt they had to include both of us. Had one tough moment at a party in 7th grade. A “mean girl” told someone “she was only invited bc of her sister” and that stung…but my sister was there to make me feel better. Having a twin is incredible!

  18. Betsy

    I am a twin myself! First, you nailed it when you mentioned not calling them “the twins” because it is so important that they are seen as individuals. My father is a twin also and he made it a point to never call us that.

    My parents also made sure to give us separate birthday cakes, different clothes, etc. this really helped. We found our own style and interests this way. Just because one of us wanted to try gymnastics, the other wasn’t automatically enrolled. In fact, my parents told me they actually encouraged us to do different things and that really worked for us. We were also never in the same class and I am very thankful for this. It helped us make different friendships and I truly believe it helped me feel like I wasn’t being compared to my twin.

    Another thing I loved was how much my parents celebrated our differences. Later in life my parents even used those differences! My twin is amazing at math. When I needed help, my mom would tell me to ask her for help etc etc.

    I also think it’s imporant to remember that as much as you want to give them their own identity, and you should, part of their identify IS being a twin! It will always be a part of their life and it’s SO COOL. I love that is makes me feel unique, like I am part of a special club :)

    As a now seasoned teacher (go NYC public schools!) and parent I have learned that we can worry so much as parents but what truly matters is loving them and trying your best and that’s exactly what you are doing. You got this!

  19. Shoshana

    Hi Naomi! I’m 27 and have a twin brother (fraternal, obviously, but you’d be surprised at how often that comes up LOL). I love the idea of calling B & M by their first names instead of ‘The Twins.’ My twin and I have another brother just 16 months younger, so it was often “The Twins and XXX” and it would have made a huge difference for our names to be used.

    For our birthdays, our mom would always make sure we had our own cake with our own candles to blow out. That was awesome :)

    When people find out that I’m a twin, they get super excited and ask if we are super close. We aren’t actually. And that’s totally okay. We are really, really different and have always had different interests and personalities. But we are still friends! So even if B & M end up just doing their own thing, don’t worry! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – they will figure it out!

    I love seeing pictures of B & M, and especially enjoyed reading this post. Been following since before E was born :)

  20. Kathleen V.

    I’m a twin! We are both girls, 24 years old. I completely appreciate the time and thought you are putting into how you are going to raise your girls as individuals. It is so important. As a twin, I can say comparisons can be so toxic. Twins already compare themselves to each other, it’s natural, but when other people make comments, it used to make me very uncomfortable. Especially about our appearances.
    Some advice I can give is to never call them “the twins” or “twins” when you can refer to them by their names. Also, if possible, try to encourage other people to use their names. In general, keep things separate, separate birthday cards or separate toys (they can share toys but not every single toy) some toys should be special to the individual. Also, my mother never dressed my sister and I up the same. She thought that was creepy a la “the shining”. If I were dressed up identically to my sister, I would feel like we were a matching set of dolls. So definitely try to vary their outfits, at least make them different colors.
    I hope my advice helps, being a twin is the greatest blessing I could receive, but it is also really challenging to feel like your own person. I think the fact that you’re already thinking about these issues is a really good sign that it will all work out.

  21. Kristen

    I have three year old identical twin boys…with red curly hair :) …and I’ll be honest – the questions and comments you’re receiving never stop! Not a day goes by that I don’t have some kind of discussion about twins. I think it’s siper fascinating and exciting so I love talking with people about twin stuff, but like you am always trying to steer the conversation in a positive and helpful direction. People often want to know how their personalities are different which I feel is such a complex question. They’re three! Their opinions and preferences change by the minute. Sometimes one is quiet, the next day outgoing. Just like any other kid. Like other siblings, they often want what the other has, but lately we have lots of preferences – one likes meat one doesn’t, one wants a blue cup the other wants a green cup. I do feel like most of the time people are just curious and want to talk about them because they’re interested. This summer we got the boys completely different haircuts – one a buzz cut and the other long. After the initial hurtful comments “oh no you cut off his curls!” “It’ll grow back” “who’s that?”….I find that it’s really helpful for our friends and family to connect with each boy individually because they can finally tell them apart. If down the road they want the same haircut that’s fine of course but for now they both like their cuts!:) and same with clothes – we don’t dress them alike unless they just both want to wear the same shirt. They usually don’t! Also, I think with babies in general people could use some restraint in expressing their opinions. I used to get so offended by people calling my boys huge or chubby or giant. I got worried I was doing something wrong or that there was something wrong with them. Many times people just say the wrong thing. I think posts like this are helpful because it opens peoples eyes about comments that can be offensive! Your girls are adorable. XO!

  22. NY Twin

    As a twin girl I love this. Until my twin and I went to college (separate ones) the default in my life was always being compared to my twin. For the fires time people knew me first as me and didn’t know me as part of “The [our last name] Twins.” It was such a joy! One thing that will help is to urge people to call then by their names and not “The Twins.” Also, one of the best things my parents did was to almost never dress us in the same outfits (sometimes matching in different colors but even that was rare). It seems like just a fashion choice but to us it helped. Even an adult it’s so hard for me to not compare myself to my sister. This is a great reminder that I shouldn’t be doing that! Fun fact – we always told people we were fraternal because even though we didn’t know, we thought we looked different enough that there was no way we could be identical. Well, a few years ago a DNA test showed we were totally wrong – identical! And yet we are so different in personality, politics, style.

  23. Kimmy

    I’m a triplet with two brothers (we are on our 30’s now). Some
    Of the decisions my mom made was to split us all up in school right away which I think was a good decision. We all had our own friends and developed vastly different interests. On our birthday, she always made us each our own individual cakes. She didn’t think it was fair to make us share one. I had it easier because I was the girl among two boys. I think my brothers did get compared a bit and it likely had some negative effects (especially for the brother who was less athletic and social). We all turned out okay and your little ones will too.

  24. Happymumzie

    I am an older sister to twin brothers. My brothers are 44 and married and have children. I do not have much advice as it would be out of date, but they wore matching outfits. They did everything together! They have a bond that is unexplainable! It is truly special! One of the fun things we like to kid them about is when we have a family gathering or they attend a wedding The boys will walk in and have the same exact shirt on or very similar style. They had no clue what the other one would be wearing. Growing up with them was fun and was a very special! I think you are doing a great job of processing how to be s parent to twins!! I loved being a big Sister to my twin brothers life was fun and crazy with them.

  25. Julia E

    They are adorable! I am an identical twin and it is truly a special and magical experience. My twin and I are 40 and are each other’s best friends though we have an older and younger sibling. We were roommates all 4 years at Duke and even when we went to graduate school in different fields- one summer we both landed internships in South Africa even though we totally had not tried to end up the same place.

    Twins are naturally competitive in a good way, I believe. Also, one interesting thins is that our personalities would totally switch to each other’s. We did not notice but our sisters would notice.

    Of course there is all the fun stuff like discovering we have eaten the same thing or painted our nails the same color on the same day even though I’m in Maryland and she is in Wisconsin.

    It really is a very special bond that they will share forever!

  26. Anna

    My mom let me and my twin sister be individuals by calling us/ introducing us as “sisters with the same birthday” especially in periods where things were harder. This helped me not see myself as a package deal or feel too much comparison

  27. Abby

    Hi, older sister of identical twin sisters here! My thoughts…

    1. Love that you’re not falling into calling them the twins. I think the semantics is subtle but think about how many zillions of times you’d say that phrase throughout their lives? Best to never let it be a habit within the fam- outsiders will call them the twins plenty.

    2. Yes- no physical but especially sized based comparisons!! One of my twin sisters struggled with an eating disorder in college. It was awful for her but it also did a number on the one- who (despite being remarkably fit and a size 4) became “the fatter one”.

    3. Make sure they get plenty of one on one time with mom and dad but also with their siblings. It wasn’t until later in life that I formed relationships with my twin sisters as individuals, because growing up if I was hanging with one I was hanging with both. To this day they both reference or few one on one memories as foundational to them.

    4. Make them do things on their own young!! I went to daycamps, was on sports teams and had sleepovers with friends on my own all the time
    Growing up. My sisters rarely found themselves in situations where they didn’t know anyone else- they always had each other! Being on your own in social situations as a kid really helps you figure out who you are.

    5. I totally see where you’re coming from with not sharing who is “older” but for what it’s worth I think this actually helped my sisters feel unique. The one who came first we would always joke was the middle child- the peacemaker, the calm one. For the one who came 15 minutes later, she was always “out littlest one”. I think in a lot of ways, it was one of the things that gave them different identities from the beginning.

  28. Lindsay

    I love this. So wise and insightful and necessary. These gurus are lucky to have a momma caring for and rooting for them in so many ways.

    If you have the time, check out the Bush Sister’s book, Sisters First. Regardless of political views, they largely wrote about growing up as sisters and the comparison they faced while being in the public eye. And how hard it was to form their own identities because they were cjbtantly labeled by the public. They made the point that, if you hear it enough, you start to live in that as truth.

  29. LoLa

    I am a mother of five and have twins too. We never refer to them as “the twins” and have always ensured they were in separate classes at school. They have their own personalities and different friends. We don’t ignore the fact that they are twins but we certainly don’t dwell on it any more than we would highlight that they have other siblings that also share a special bond with. Each kid is happy and confident in their own skin as a result.

  30. Brittany

    My twin girls are 8, so I don’t have a TON of experience, but the book Twinsight was really helpful in helping me see ways I could get myself (and everyone) to truly see them as individuals. I was treating them like a unit in ways I didn’t even realize, in spite of me trying to be intentional about NOT doing that.

    Before I read the book, I was doing things like not dressing them the same, not referring to them as “the twins” and as really deflecting the “who is more…” you get (you know what I’m talking about. Sigh) lots of other great tips were shared in the comments, so thank you for that. What a great community you have created! 💜

  31. Brittany

    Oh! And technically we don’t even know if our girls are identical or fraternal. I had two sacs and two placentas, but the doc said there is a small percentage of di/di twins that end up being fraternal. They look a fair amount alike, but my son looks a lot like them too and looked JUST like them as a baby sooooo 🤷🏼‍♀️ I haven’t had their dna tested mostly because it drives everyone crazy because they feel like they HAVE to know, but really, why does it matter? And especially why does it matter to them?

  32. Marie

    I struggle with this and mine aren’t twins. My oldest was a social butterfly from day one, early talker, confident, the list goes on. Her sister is 2.5 years younger and completely different. No frills or make-up, quiet but very smart, little shy. One is naturally skinnier than the other. The other will be taller. I never thought much about any of this…until my youngest started school at the kinder her sister had just graduated from. Daily I heard “well she’s just not her sister…” and it started to bother me. Of course she isn’t! We decided we would try very hard to never compare them, turn one against the other, etc. But it is still hard. People just naturally want to name their differences. 😕

  33. Rachael Peeters

    My sister and I are twins. My older brother and sister are twins. My husband has a twin and my twin sisters husband is a twin!!! My nieces on my husbands side are identical twins too! Growing up my twin and I shared everything, I never really felt like we were compared to each other but because we were twins I’m sure we were. When we became teenagers my parents started making sure we had separate cars, interests, lives, etc. It seemed so natural to do our own things but we always had our birthday, common milestones (graduation, college, etc,) we always did at the same time. Eventually we moved to different cities literally on the other side of the world from each other. It’s where we became the most independent and learned we were. Before I left, we bickered and went away to our separate friends. But over time every time we saw each other we would have the bestttt time and that’s when we realized just how similar we were. We needed that separation to realize our true selves. I guess in short: you think now they will be labeled as the same or in competition but all you need to do is encourage their indepdendence separately and they will fall into it as they grow up and explore without each other. But they will realize how important it is to be a twin (that’s another twin thing: people ask how it is to be a twin but you don’t know, you don’t know anything different :) haha). And they find a way back to each other yet nothing has changed…you each just grew on your way but u still need your other half no matter whole you are. No matter what happens in my life, my twin is there…no matter what.

  34. Briar

    This is such an eye opening post. I am not a parent ad. Also a female with only a brother as a sibling so I never experienced a lot of assumptions or comparisons as there was one of each etc etc. It really reminded me of the importance of individuality and encouraging it from the get go. It really has me pondering how to interact and generally support peers children and adults. PS can’t wait until I can tell the girls apart in pictures they are toooo adorable

  35. Briar

    Also very curious if your sisters are open what advice they have given to and your parents as you have that context. It’s clear some knowydoesnt clear away concern but how has that valuable advice from trusted family directed your parenting etc specific to twins

  36. Holly

    Hello! I am 28 and I have an identical twin sister. One thing I have noticed over the years is how different each set of twins I have met have been. All with different experiences or thoughts growing up as a twin. For my sister and me, I never remember feeling compared to her in any way. We were definitely known as the twins, but honestly it was to be expected. We weren’t just defined by that, though. We are unique in our own way, but we shared many things, did many of the same things, and had all the same friends growing up. We decided to go to different colleges because we wanted to be an individual, rather than a unit. I remember it feeling so weird to make friends without her near, but it was so good for me, and for her! It actually made us a lot closer and she is truly my best friend. Even after college we lived in separate cities and now we live in different countries.

    Your concern is real and I totally get it. But, from my personal experience, comparison wasn’t something we struggled with at all. I would imagine the comparison would be a lot harder for ferternal twins since they would most likely not look alike.

    Your girls are going to learn navigate it as they grow up and they will have you/your family and each other to lean on :) Twins are the best!

  37. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: No. 202 | Luv in the Bubble

  38. Kris

    Their smiles light up the day! So cute!
    I recognize so much your saying but then in, just, the sibling comparison. And in the way we judge girls in this society by trying to push al girls and women in an absurd mold of outward appareance.
    Being the bigger sister, in fact being very elegantly tall did not give me very nice remarks growing up. It did damage to self esteem.
    What would have helped was of my parents would have called me tall, not big. And beautifull in my characteristics.
    That’s what i try. To tell my children, and myself, that the way you are, look, look, work, move, communicate, all of it, is special. Beautifull and a joy to be around.

  39. This is such a powerful post, the thoughts you have put across are so relevant – like you say – not only for twins, but for siblings too! I understand this comparison as I’ve experienced it myself with my older brother. People in our extended family do tend to draw comparisons about me and my brother which, as you say, if reworded, could have a positive effect on both individuals; rather than just building one sibling up against the other.
    As I am only 6 weeks off my due date with my first baby, a little girl, I can only begin to imagine how difficult it must be when you have two or more children as it is so easy to compare. It’s ingrained in us to draw comparisons because that is all that we have experienced and so to step back and take a minute to think about what it is that you’re saying is such an incredible thing to do.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog article, it’s really stirred up a discussion which is fascinating.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love, Kate x


  40. Jess

    Hi Naomi! First of all congratulations on having twins! Being a twin myself I I can imagine what a great experience having twins is!
    So many good points in your article and such great comments. Just wanted to add a little something myself. I have a twin sister myself, we are identical and it never bothered me a bit. And to be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I don’t ever remember anyone ever compare it is in a sense ‘she’s the clever one / she’s the prettier one’s etc. I wouldn’t say that about normal siblings,and it works the same for twins. The only thing that would always bother both of us is when people, not just family, referred to us as ‘thr twins’. We would be treated as one person and expected to have the same opinions or taste. So glad to see you are treating them as two separate individuals! And as for people asking how it is to have a twin? I would always answer with a question ‘how it is not to have a twin?’ congrats again!

  41. Jasmine Kelly

    Hi Taza,
    I read your post I am an identical twin and I have the longer face and my twin has the chubbier face. I am the first born so that makes me the bossy one and Nicole was the quite one. These were the things that surprisingly don’t make any sence as we get older because actually my twin has always been the more slight build and funny I am not the nurse and she is a police explosive dog handler so not so quite now!. My mum didn’t encourage these comments it just happened and yes I was the bossy one but I actually didn’t ever find it upsetting. I think when your a twin you don’t really care about outsiders comments just your twins and you live in a twin bubble where you just look at each other and laugh. Jasmine jewellery was what my mum used to say and I wore a necklace. I don’t think you need to worry so much about all this you have beautiful girls and I agree about what your saying for your other children and it is wrong but the twins will have each other’s back on a level that no one in the world unless they are a twin will ever know. We weren’t split up until secondary school and even then the school tried to push it I wouldn’t recommend splitting twins up in primary because this would be for the benefit of everyone else but twins them self. We had our own identities because we made them together both very sporty and athletic. Hope this helps you just enjoy having twin girls and if they are anything like me and my twin 30’years later they will have a best friend for life

  42. Katarina Powdhar

    Hey, it is so great to read your thoughts on this! I have four month old twin girls, and this topic is something I think about from time to time. By the way, I have followed your blog and insta since I had my two and a half year old daughter, and it was so cool to see you having twin babies around the same time as myself! You seem like an incredible mum and truly an inspiration! Now back to the topic, I think the fact that you are thinking this through and striving to distinguish them in positive ways right from birth shows a lot of promise in helping them develop as individuals. Your family seems like such a happy and healthy one, and I am sure Madalena and Beatrice will be the same! Thank you for writing in depth about all this. I am sorry I dont have anything to add, but really that is a compliment to you! I look forward to following you and your family, what a lovely lot! -Katarina

  43. Twin

    I am a girl and I have a twin brother and we have always been something unusual for people ( I guess different gender twins are just rarer in general) so it was always a thing to mention when we were kids. But the thing is that we never took it to heart, we actually felt kind of more special because of that. All those stories about who ate more or cried more as a baby became just a very fun thing to tell friends. Of course it’s hard when people start to publicly compare our achievements at school.
    The thin I am trying to say is that there are way more positive aspects of being a twin that negative ones. You can’t avoid the comparison when you have any kind of siblings, twin or not. And sometimes it’s for the good – mt biology teacher used to say “your older brother was so good at biology, you can do it as well! I believe in you!’ so you take it as a challange to learn more. The same is with a twin – constant development and growth together is great:) Not to mention a friend for life who is unable to be mad at you for longer that half a day and if you really need a night drive for cookies, he would take you without a question, even if you were fighting in the morning. Good luck with the twins and keep in mind that it’s a great gift for both of them, no matter of all the comparisons:)

  44. Rachel

    This blog post brings makes me SO happy as a triplet girl! There are 3 of us – all girls!
    I think the best thing my parents did was encourage us to always be ourselves and follow our dreams. They never pushed us to do what the other two were doing or to be like one another. I am now a nurse, one of my sisters is a bilingual teacher and the other is a graphic designer! We are so different and yet so similar at the same time.
    Yet, it is always going to be hard as triplets or twins. We were lumped together in school as “the triplets” and we constantly compared to one another by our peers. It has fostered a lot of individual identity struggles in my own life, yet I know that the Lord is healing much of those hurts and pains as we grow older as sisters! As we transitioned into college we became the best of friends and realized how much of a blessing it has been to have “best friends” built in our whole life. College was a time where we were able to do our own things and be our own people for the very first time and we LOVED it. It strengthened our relationship as sisters and friends and now we are all living in the same city post-graduation. One of my sisters lives several miles away from me and the other is married and lives next door to me!
    My advice to you as a twin girl momma is to love them fiercely, don’t compare them unintentionally or ask them to be more like one or the other (even when disciplining), remind them that they are the Lord’s and He made them perfectly (when those comparisons come because they will), encourage them to follow their dreams, give them outlets to express their interests and gifts ( because they will be completely individual and unique!), avoid referring to them as the “twins” towards to teenage years, teach them to fight for one another and remind them that they will always be one another’s biggest cheerleaders!
    Most importantly, just ENJOY each day! Enjoy each milestone. Embrace the laughter and the tears and the pain because there will be a season for each of those.
    Praying for you and Josh and your sweet girls as you grow on this journey!

  45. MaLeaha Semerad

    I have a fraternal twin sister, and we had to be in the same classroom throughout school because we are in a rural area. What helped most was when I took dance and she had her own activities because we could each have our own thing! What was the worst was that we ended up having to dress alike (because it’s “cute”) too late on and I always wanted to differentiate with clothes and haircuts to have my own individuality. I know it’s fough living in NY but maybe even giving the girls the space to make individual “nooks” by their beds or on their bunk bed to help them cultivate that individual style and space would probably really help too!

    Your an amazing mom, Naomi, and I have no worries about you tackling this new parenting realm of twins!

  46. Latu Anitoni

    I don’t have twins, and growing up around twins, I did all the things you discuss without thinking. However, this post has made me think about “purple forest language”. I’ve usually used it with people with disabilities, because you use the person’s name or pronoun before their descriptor. You would say “a boy with autism” rather than “an autistic boy”. I’m wondering if it could have a place here “Madalena and Beatrice are twin babies” or “girls who are twins” vs “the twin babies” or “the twin girls”. I think that you being so mindful is going to help all your kids so much as you all travel this road together!

  47. Lottie

    I’m not a twin, but the comparison thing did plague my childhood with my younger brother, so is something I’m super conscious of when I think about future children (and have been conscious of with my cats and dogs, even though they don’t understand a word I’m saying, haha!)

    It’s so easy to make passing comments about how one sibling is ‘x’ more than another, and forget about it. But so many kids internalise what you’ve just said, and then end up developing issues because of it. With the best intentions, my mum always used to refer to me as ‘the clever one’ and my brother as having ‘gotten the looks.’ She meant it in a way to compliment us both – but we both were very aware of the (accidental) implied insult underneath. AKA that I was smart but unattractive, and he was pretty but dim. Growing up, he would always refer to himself as dumb, when he wasn’t. And I went through a long period of time of hating looking in the mirror, and having my photo taken, because I couldn’t stand my face. (I’m in my late 20’s now, I’ve made peace with how I look, thank god – no more running from the camera for me)

    My best friend has twins, and I do find myself telling her off at times for making these kinds of comparisons when talking about her kids. It’s just so easy for these kinds of things to slip out, but every person is an individual, and it’s so unfair to think of them as anything but

    It sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job with Beatrice and Madalena (absolutely LOVE the name Madalena, by the way), and with the older kids – your point about Eleanor listening in is so spot on. You’re doing great :)


  48. Cathy

    I’m a twin and I have to say my sister is the best thing that ever we happened to me. There’s no closeness to describe our relationship other than to say she’s ‘my person’. My sister and I are both married with 3 kids each and live 200 miles apart. We dream about being neighbors, but since that’s not possible, we talk every day and our kids are as close as any cousins I know. Looking back at childhood, I remember always being called ‘the Hall twins’ and it was hard to share an identity, and be different from our peers, but then again middle school is hard for everyone. I only wish my mom hadn’t separated us in Kindergarten because it was so hard for me. I cried and cried and felt so alone those first weeks. My oldest son just started kindergarten this week and I’m realizing just how different that transition can be as a non-twin. It’s special being a twin and guys are doing a great job!!!

  49. Kara

    They are adorable and I love to see large families. Unlike other commenters I had a different reaction to this post. I have a twin sister in a family of seven. As I was reading it I was thinking about my mother. I am VERY sure my parents did not contemplate (agonize) all of these thoughts. They were too busy making a living (thank you farming in the 1980’s.) My twin sister and I are great, productive, confident women. So my advice is – just be! Don’t over think these things. In harsher terms, my mother would tell you to get over yourself. I do think you are spending more thoughts and energy on something not necessary, as I am sure having two babies at the same time is hard enough.

  50. Mandy

    I feel you! Our twin boys are six now. We try to preempt some of these by saying to people they are ‘like chalk and cheese’ (cliche I know but to get people to remember they are two individuals with their own personalities) and Then mention a positive thing that is “different” about them e.g x is an excellent reader and y is so organised…
    We thought we would split them in activities/birthday presents etc earlier but then we realised that, while they are still young at least, there was a certain understanding they had that they were entitled to the same thing (equal share, same age, ha!) in other ways they certainly get to make their own choices but we had to laugh that this one we had to go with the flow and double everything!
    We’ve been big on telling them “they’re the same age” whenever they ask who was born first (we do tell them – they’re so keen to know and as they have an older brother and a younger one it’s not quite as big a deal as it could be if they were first or last!)
    I never thought I’d put them in matching clothes but…they let you know when they’re ready not to so I embraced it as much as I could. The other day I asked them both to get the same shirt and one said “but we’ll still be twins, even if we don’t have the same shirt!” So cute.
    Do what’s best for you and yours all the way x

  51. Melanie T

    Such a great read! I just had fraternal twin boys (3 months old now) and I find myself in the same boat. One is chubbier, one has a bigger face, ect. Same with milestones (these are my first kids so I have nothing else to compare them to but eachother). One lifts his head stronger than the other, one has more crying fits than the other ect. From the moment we found out we were having twins me and my husband promised we would never favorite a child. Thats proving difficult when one crys less than the other! Lol (sad but true)
    Hoping and striving to help them find theirselves individually as well as together cause I love the fact that they have a BFF for life!

  52. Danielle

    My twin brother and I are best friends! He’s been my life-long companion. Although we may live in different cities (Him in Boston and my in NY) it’s as if we’re never really apart. We are constantly texting or calling one another — even our mom will say we call moments apart or often say the same thing. We call it our twin-sense. We even have matching ‘twin’ tattoos. It could be because we’re different sexes but we never felt competitive — we also went to different high schools, had different friends, and interests, yet we have the same exact personality. We also have two older siblings and were never referred to as the ‘twins’ or allowed to be within the same class when we were younger which I think helped us become more separate.

  53. I love being an identical twin! My sister and I are best friends even though we live all the way across the country from each other.
    All growing up we never really compared ourselves to each other. We celebrated each other’s talents and personalities. We are definitely very similar but different! At 28 we have definitely come into more of our own identity! She is a 2 and I am a 7 on the enneagram. I’m an EnfP and she is an ENFJ. Honestly here are my two thoughts- don’t make being a twin the biggest identity marker! Don’t put them in the same class at school- this is good for people to recognize them as individuals and for themselves as well! We had a lot of the same friends growing up but it was important to Learn how to not be invited somewhere that my sister was invited and be okay! We would choose to be together more often than not but we made “twin rules” when we got older. We were noticing some interdependence that we didn’t think was healthy and so we made rules to help us! They were like- “your plans don’t have to be my plans” “don’t compare your success with mine and same with failures” we just decided that as teens and adults we had to actively break some patterns formed in being a twin. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. We have had some really difficult seasons but for the most part it is a literal dream to be a twin!!

  54. Ann Metler

    Hi Naomi! So fun to see your cute family! Our twin girls (#4 and #5 in our family too~) are 8 yrs. old now! Twins have been such a fun blessing in our family. All the suggestions you talked about I have found to be spot on! When they were little I was focused more on their schedule, feedings, diaper changes, and sleeping…making a big effort to keep them on a similar schedule, which was a life saver for me. As they got older and started having developmental milestones, don’t be concerned about comparing them…as I have found that they would trade off reaching milestones at different times and they seemed to go back and forth between who was taller, had more hair etc. One daughter walked a few months before the other and it was so fun to see them help each other and sit and clap for each other as they toddled around! Realizing that it is not a competition and instilling in them that they can rejoice in each other’s successes has been super helpful. I have found that I just try and be in tune with what the girls are comfortable with. For example, at 4 years old my girls just decided they didn’t want to wear the same clothes anymore and started to really develop their own styles. I was a little sad about no more “matching” clothes, but also felt it was important to support their self driven individuality. My girls started pre-school at 4 years old and after the suggestion of the school director, I put them in different classes. After a few months it was just not working so I had the girls put back together in the same class. I kept them together in kindergarten and first grade, but by second grade the girls were ready to be in different classes. My girls have naturally just gravitated to different interests but they also have some of the same interests such as soccer. We are still navigating through things as they come up such as friendships, sharing a bedroom, sharing clothes, and even personal items. I try and follow what they are comfortable with and be open to give them the space they need from each other if that is what they want. Birthdays have been a little tricky as they get older and have different ideas. I always bake them their own cake or cupcakes specific to what each one wants and we sing happy birthday to each of them separately. Although there are some extra challenges with a twin relationship in our family, the blessings far out way the challenges. My girls are still best friends and enjoy spending a lot of time with each other even if they occasionally have normal sibling disagreements. You are an amazing mama! Just enjoy all the beautiful things about having twins in your family and you will realize the things you worry about will naturally work themselves out. We all make mistakes as parents but kids are amazingly resilient. Trust your mama bear instincts and they will guide you!!

  55. My dad is an identical twin. My grandmother dressed my dad and uncle alike when they were babies up until they reached adolescence. My father and uncle are very close, often talking on the phone for hours. However, they have their own groups of friends and don’t live in the same state. So, they are able to enjoy their own lives. I’ve never heard my dad or uncle complain about being twins. It’s just a part of who they are, not their whole identity.

    Happy Friday

  56. Cyndi

    I’m not a twin, but I’ve read about raising them.

    Someone else may have already said this, but another blogger I’ve followed in the past had twin girls. Rebecca Woolf at Girl’s Gone Child – you might have to search and explore but she writes about it often and well.


  57. Emily M

    Lots of good insight on here. The good news is that it seems like you and Josh love your kids in supportive and intentional ways – and it’s no different for twins. :) My twin sister and I are different in many ways, but we’ve always complemented each other wonderfully. I thank God for her all the time – I always say she’s the best birthday gift I ever got. :) Besides the not referring to us as “the twins” thing, our parents always gave us space to be ourselves – and as a result, I think we naturally gravitated towards each other. We are mid 30s now, but still have the same close group of friends from HS, lived together in college, and not a day goes by where we don’t at least text each other. If you’re loving and supporting your girls where they’re at, you’re doing a good job in my book. I could go on about the topic, but I honestly don’t think you need much information b/c it sounds like you’re doing it right. :) Funny side story though on the impact of not using “the twins” thing – when I met my boyfriend for our first date (we had only been talking/texting before), I knew he had two brothers and he knew I had two sisters. Within the first few minutes, he mentioned running with his brothers and added a, “they’re twins” – to which I excitedly interrupted “I’m a twin!”. :) Neither of us grew up in homes where it was a part of identity, but it was such a fun realization when it happened. :) His brothers are identical and extremely close to this day too – I felt like the Lord blessed me in such an intentional way by introducing me to a man who understood what the unique and special relationship many twins have is like. You’ve been well equipped, too, by having the experience you do with your twin sisters. It’s going to serve you well. :)

  58. My younger brother and I are two years apart and our teachers were always comparing us, which made it hard for him because teachers would always compare him to me, as I was the older one. I didn’t realise this when I was little, but I did later on. The way my brother would deal with it is that he would pretend he didn’t care; he would put on an apathetic persona. But from that alone, you can tell that he cares and that it affected him. My parents realised this later in our childhoods (earlier than I noticed haha) and one of the “pivotal” decisions they made (I mean, quite a dramatic word but…) was that they encouraged us to learn different instruments; my brother chose the drums and I chose the guitar. Up until then, we were both learning violin and our parents often had to force us to practise haha // Anywho, I think it’s amazing that you’re so thoughtful about raising your children, and because your heart is in the right place, I am sure that you and your family will flourish beautifully -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  59. Leyla

    I have 8 week old identical twin boys and the thoughts have crossed my mind in terms of making sure they have a great bond but also have their own individuality (i.e., it’s okay to have different friends, different interests and different style). I haven’t thought further than that. But I appreciate some of the things you discussed on the post and think we will be doing some things similar. Thanks for the honesty and insight!


  60. Alicia

    What if we were to flip the script a bit in chubby cheeks? I completely understand being protective of body image, especially in young girls, but could the solution instead be to embrace chubby cheeks as a neutral, special part of what makes people different and special? I know you’ve alluded to your own self esteem and body image hurdles as a dancer – maybe one good way to combat the same in your girls could be to celebrate the chubby cheeks, instead of silencing the observation. <3

  61. Carole

    From the other side:

    My daughter and her husband adopted a child who is two weeks younger than their birth child. Their birth child is a boy, with dark hair and dark eyes. Their adopted child is a girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes. They when they were younger, they were quite a striking duo. When in public, they were often asked if they were twins. Their adopted daughter would often pipe up and say, “We we born two weeks apart!” That response usually got some puzzled looks, and stopped the line of inquiry as the person was too busy trying to figure out exactly what that meant.

  62. Hannah

    I have never thought about the difficulties twins might face in life! Thank you for sharing! I am sure that with parents like you and Josh, the girls will grow to find their own identities and become confident and strong women, much like their mama and sister!


  63. Sally

    This is my favorite thing you’ve ever written on here. You’re such a thoughtful mama ❤️

  64. Robyn

    Promoting confidence, a sense of self, and individuality is so tricky -especially while also trying to establish a team mentality (family sticks together!).

    I agree that trying to minimize comparison is definitely the way to go.

    I find it sad that we live in a world where that saying something like “she has the chubby cheeks” is viewed as a potential negative. How is it that saying someone is shorter and stouter (for example) is any different than saying someone has longer and darker hair? Of course, I understand that in our society it is different. And that’s my point. Tall, brunette, blonde, heavy, short, fair, thin, dark, they are all descriptors. No more, no less. What a shame that our society assigns differing value to each 😢

  65. Paula

    This might be off-topic since I am not really a twin. I have an older sister and we often get mistaken as twins but we aren’t. She’s 14 months older than me and yet, the constant stream of comparisons, even if it was with good intentions, took its toll on me.
    We are both amazing individuals and yet, following a very musically inclined, straight A student, that speaks 3 languages and memorizes facts for fun, studies law and will graduate as top of her class, was very hard on me.
    We went to the same school and there is no denying my sister is a super-brain! She is incredible, everything is interesting to her and it comes quite naturally as well. Teachers expected the same from me and showed open disappointment when that wasn’t the case.
    My mom, who is very much like my sister in her choice of interests, drove my sister to all her violin lessons and orchestra meets and went to every performance. I was a theater nerd, rode horses and joined a professional shooting team, and I was excellent at all three. Yet, my mom showed up only a few times to cheer me on. That really was devastating and to this day, haunts me.

    I am convinced my mom had the best intentions and just naturally felt more inclined to go to my sisters things as they share so many interests.
    And still, it makes me feel horrible.

    just hold your girls as tight as you can. And show them that no matter what they decide to pursue in life, you will be there to cheer them on, always.

  66. Tily

    I really love the message behind your post. I can imagine the daily comments you get from acquaintances and strangers alike. I had a similar experience with being pregnant the second time around. We are very excited about having a second little boy and couldn’t be happier to meet him – hopefully on time sometime in December. But everyone who found out it’s a boy had to mention.. Well.. If it’s not a girl.. What can you do.. They felt disappointed for us and that was very disturbing for me. All we wanted was a happy and healthy baby and hopefully a good time waiting for the little dude. You are doing a great job at highlighting each of your kid’s personality and showing their similarities and differences.
    Each child is unique and wonderful – even when they test our patience on a daily basis. Would be great if everyone could focus on that. :)

  67. Marie


    I have 5 1/2 year old fraternal twin girls & and an 8 year old boy. I sometimes put them all in to the same activity & sometimes I separate. I do a home school hybrid. I did put them in separate kinder classes & that seems to be working well. They pick out what to wear now & never dress alike. :) Enjoy!

  68. Shannon Merrell

    Impressed by your mama-ing skills! I bet these will be your favorite years in life.

  69. Carolyn

    I have 7 year old twin girls now. Its been the best adventure yet. Even when they were born I was very aware about treating them as individuals – they will get compared by others all their life, but I do my best to make sure they are heard. I never wanted to dress them similar because I think that sets the tone with others treating them as one. As they grow you will notice how their personalities and likes develop -thats where you can start to focus and grow their individual likes. As for school, I started with them together in kindergarten and since then have kept them together, mainly because every teacher has said they are very independent of each other. Eventually they will go their own ways, but for now, its what we are comfortable with.

  70. Becca

    What a lovely mom you are! Sending best wishes as you navigate a tricky and joyful path here:)

  71. Annalisa

    Curious to know why you chose the Madalena spelling as opposed to the Italian version of the name, Magdalena?

  72. Kristina

    I feel like I could’ve written this post! Fellow twin (girl) mom. Same questions and concerns. I have a mother who is a twin and friends who are as well. I take in their advice, just as you are doing but I’ve learned you can’t put their ‘stuff’ on to your kiddos.
    I feel like as our girls are getting older (18 mths now), and more of their personalities come out it is easier to enjoy both as individuals. Not comparing is a constant challenge, so when others say something like ‘Hazel is way more talkative’ – I’ll chime in with ‘right now yes, but they change all the time’ or ‘you should’ve heard Frankie the other day’
    I try to do special things with each of them, even if it is a target run with just one. Or if one gets up first in the morning or from nap I try not to do anything else but snuggle/read/engage. You are doing great. Just as you have, you gotta trust your gut.

  73. Britta

    My brother-in-law is a twin and he and his brother don’t know who was born first! Their parents made the decision to not tell anyone so that there wouldn’t be competition while they were growing up. Their parents always said that they would tell them when they turned 18, but when that birthday came, neither one wanted to know. They are 25 now, still don’t know who is older, and have no intention of ever finding out. I love that!

  74. Marlies

    I have twin boys, 2 years old now. I totally get you about the “chubbier” comments and I try to correct people by saying – the shape of their faces is different, which is actually true. About splitting them up in school, etc.- mine just started kindergarten and I wanted them to be together in one group which was supported by the kindergarten. But they said they would observe them and if they only play with each other (or fight too much) they will try to involve them in separate activities at times. And I think when they are older they will be able to tell me if they want to stay together in one class or if they would be prefer to go to different classes. One step at a time!

  75. Carmen Mortley

    I’m the girl in a girl/boy twin set, and can relate to a lot that was shared here. I will say that it’s important to make them feel unique on their birthday even though you’l inevitably have shared birthday parties (which isn’t a bad thing) I only know that it’s so important that each feel specifically celebrated on that day.
    In terms of school, we were always separated but it was mostly for the benefit of my brother. I academically excelled, but he struggled and was always compared to me. I would say see how it goes, and be in communication with the teachers to see what works best for them. I do know that being separated from me benefitted my brother though.
    Also, I totally agree with the idea mentioned that the identity of “twin” fades as you grow up. It more shifts towards a normal sibling relationship.
    Good luck Naomi and Josh! You’re doing a fantastic job, and I love seeing you go through this journey of parenthood and life :)

  76. I love that you are raising your kids with intention. I think that giving them their own identity is key to having an independent adult who can make decisions but can also be apart of the “pack” sometimes. One thing that I definitely agree with is that you should always try and give each child individual attention once a week or every other week. I know this can be hard with multiple kids but it’s something that I see paying off in the long run. It could be as simple as taking one kid to the neighborhood park or playing a board game for 30 minutes with just one parent. Kids love to be seen and heard. Thanks for sharing your parenting perspective!

  77. Paul

    Such a cuties

  78. Melanie B

    I’m a twin, we’re both in medical school, and let’s just say that comparison has been part of our daily life, every single day we hear all those types of comments you mentioned! Everyone ask about our grades, or why do we both chose that career. As you said, it’s kind of annoying being called “the thin one”, or “the one with the dimples”. But just to know that I will have an eternal bestfriend with me is the greatest feeling, also to know that all the phenomenal process that goes scientifically to make twins, it’s such a miracle. It’s an overwhelming feeling of pure gratitude and love. So don’t you worry, despite all the comparison your twins will grow up and be forever besties, but have their own interests and passions. They will learn to deal with it, all twins do it!! Regards! :)

  79. Catie

    I am the mom of what I think are identical twin boys (shared sac with one membrane instead of two and shared placenta). However, they were borderline TTTS the whole pregnancy so they look very different in terms of size. At 9 years old, they have identical features but one weighs 30lbs more and is 4 1/2 inches taller. People always mistake them for brothers a couple years apart and this drives them crazy. They hate feeling like they have to insist to people or “prove” that they are twins. One man who was introducing them in a room full of people even made a joke saying, “yeah right they’re identical. I’ll let everyone here be the judge of that.” Anyway, it has sort of created a reverse effect in my sons. They are so proud to be twins and happy to talk about it or explain what they know to anyone. They are both shy but are way more likely to branch apart from each other if they know the other is close by. This has caused us to keep them together in school. We separated them in 2nd grade and found that they became less likely to play with other children than when they were in the same class. I like discussing these issues though because it always good to re-evaluate and question my parenting motives. Things and people change year to year.

    The height thing is hard. We go to a roller coaster that they have both been begging to ride and one is still 1/2 an inch too short. So I don’t let either of them ride but then wonder if the other will always feel resentful as though he is being held back. To be fair, none of us rode deciding that we would wait until all of us could. Also, I never pressed or explored this further, but I’m pretty sure one of them was not selected for a school play because they didn’t want to accept both of them. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. What I am thankful for though is that we talk through all of these issues as they arise and they seem to truly be best friends.

    Oh! And we don’t tell who was “born first” either! It seems so dumb. They were made at the same time so neither is older. Plus we had an emergency c section so there were only 30 seconds in between. I really wish the birth certificates said the same time but they are one minute apart on there.

    I am actually having a hard time with my 4 year old son and I would love to know what it was like for you growing up with twin sisters. He plays well with both of them and has individual relationships with them but he knows they have a special relationship. I am always paranoid that he sees them together and me and my husband together and feels alone. We are so careful to not have separations in this way but I still worry about it a lot.

  80. Lauren

    You are such a good mother Naomi! To take the time to be so thoughtful of that. Beatrice and madalena are so lucky to have you. Thank you for bringing. These things to my attention so I can speak more respectively around twins and children

  81. Fiona

    I’m a twin! I love it – it’s a special bond. Being called “the twins” has never bothered me or effected me negatively, and in fact I love being referred to this way – isn’t it similar to sisters being called “sisters” or brothers being called “brothers” – it is, after all, a correct term?

    One on one time with each parent makes a huge difference and is something I think helped us to develop individually :). I do agree that saying “the prettier one” or “the smarter one” and hurtful, subjective comparisons like this have a negative impact, but you can’t necessarily control what others’ say – just can reinstill confidence and self worth in both of the girls as individuals. I am sure that they will grow up to be independent and amazing ladies with you as their mom – don’t over think it.

    Fiona (www.instagram.com/fionavirginia)

  82. Thanks so much for sharing this post! As a newlywed, we’re thinking about when’s the right time to start a family… how did you decide when you and your husband were ready to try? And how did you decide you were ready to try again after 3 kids?!

    We’re waiting for the “right” time, but I’m not ever sure there will BE a right time…


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  85. A new sight about twins! Hello from Indonesia. I love to read your article about twins. I totally agree with your words that even twin don’t have to wear the same all day long. It will be good for them to dress them differently, since they are different individual. Thanks for sharing Taza! God bless you.