Friday, May 30, 2008

Parenting Multiples, Pt. II

It seems, as I continually crawl the interwebs and ignore all I have to do pre-finals week, that there sure does seem to be plenty of parenting advice out there.

And me? I'm trying to give out parenting advice? I'm still in college and childless! I'm no expert, not even a parent, just a multiple who lived through being raised to tell about it. Consider that my disclaimer for this post, OK?

Dressing the twins alike. Oh, how my maternal grandmother loooooved to dress her twin grandbabies alike when we were younger. When we were little, we didn't even notice. But as we got older... I'm not going to lie. I won't even sugarcoat it for you. Sometimes, we felt like a freak show. But it brought my grandmother and many of her friends joy, so we grinned and bore it.

Mom, that merciful woman, put her foot down on the ridiculousness once we grew out of all of that. However, there were plenty of occasions where Mom would say, "Look. I know you girls are too old to want to dress alike, but if you did, Grandma would be really happy." And so we would oblige. Sometimes we'd match everything but the shoes, or wear the same outfit but in different colors, or things like that.

We did not hate dressing alike so much that we wouldn't. Wearing the same shirt on the same day (usually a coincidence) wasn't a big deal, and sometimes we chose to. We just didn't always want everything to be a big twin production.

Dad, on the other hand, dressed us alike out of convenience. As a single dad who had us on weekends, we would go out and do things together, run errands, go to baseball games, go to bookstores. (Wonder why I included bookstores? Please refer back to "Parenting Multiples, Pt. I" and mourn the mounds of reading materials the twin terrors left in their wake). It was always easy to spot us in the crowd.

It's true that when a kid gets lost in a crowd, he or she often can't give authorities an accurate description of what their parent or guardian was wearing. Same thing with parents; in a panic, remembering what their child was wearing can be difficult. When we were dressed alike or similar, all Dad would have to do in a worst case scenario would be to show the police the one for them to get a pretty accurate idea of what the other one looked like. Luckily, Dad never had to test this technique, but I honestly think this was a fantastic idea.

So, bottom line: Baby A and I have mixed feelings about dressing alike. We have to admit, we go a little baby-crazy over multiples dressed in coordinating or matching outfits. And for safety, it's top-notch to have twins dressed alike if, heaven forbid, one ever got taken or lost. But when your multiples speak up, it's time to let them dress differently. Unless they have a grandma who just can't get enough of the matchy twinness, in which case, convince them to do it every so often. It just needs to be balanced.

And yes, matchy twinness is a technical term.

Here's looking at you, kid,
Baby B

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