Most of the literature expectant Mothers of Twins find to read encourages you to allow your children to be individuals and yet still foster the bond they share with each other.
I know Moms with Twins who ALWAYS keep them dressed exactly alike! And you have to admit, there is nothing cuter than twins dressed the same! The problem with that is when one of your babies spits up on themselves, or has an accident, or spills food on their clothes you have to change two complete outfits EVERY TIME! That gets old!
There is also the train of thought that no two people are exactly alike, not even twins. And we should never try to lump them together as one unit (or person!) This belief system leads you to believe that no matter how cute it is, they should never look alike.
As the Mother of Beautiful Twin girls I fall somewhere in the middle! I recently Blogged about my baby girls starting Jr. High School, and mentioned the color of the clothes they were wearing in their first day of school pictures for both Pre-school & Jr. High. You can read it here. And it got me thinking about this issue once again. And something many Mothers of Twins do which is to Color Code your kids!
When I was pregnant with my girls I read books that told about families who's Twins looked so much alike they had to keep one toe nail of their daughters polished with the same color at all times, to know who was who. I guess then you'd just have to remember which twin had which color! :) Or they put bracelets on them at birth to differentiate between the two. But, as fast as babies grow that's a little scary to me!
Though most of time I liked to dress my girls similarly, but not quite the same. Even when they wore the same outfit, I would put different color tights, shoes or headbands on them. But my favorite was dressing them in the same thing just different colors. Or in the same color, or fabric, but different styles!
And we've never had a problem telling our girls apart. At birth Erica was born with a little more hair than her sister Lexi. So people started calling her "Hairica" to remember that the one with more hair was Erica! But, it didn't take Lexi long to catch up. So that wouldn't work anymore.
One of our baby shower gifts were Pacifier clips. An invention straight from God! If you've ever had a child spit one out, or drop it out of a stroller, and panicked when you couldn't find it, you know what I mean! We had one that was pink & one that was purple. (Good choices for girls!)
Erica's was the Pink pacifier clip, and Lexi's was the purple one. I never thought much about it until one time as I was putting them in the nursery at Church and was explaining (like all moms do) what they would need. I always made it a point of pointing out who was who. And one of the workers said to me Oh we know "Lexi Lavender!" Knowing which pacifier clip they each wore (at all times!) made it easy for them to associate the color with the baby! Brilliant!
And so pink became Erica's signature color & purple Lexi's! People started buying them gifts in those two colors. That's just the way it was. Now of course you can't find every outfit, every toy, stuffed animal, Barbie doll, etc. in those two colors. So eventually it shifted to warm colors for Erica & cool colors for Lexi. If someone gave them outfits that were Red & Blue for instance, no matter which girl opened which package, everyone knew Erica would wear the Red & Lexi the blue! It's just the way it was.
I remember one shopping trip with the girls a few years ago, after their Birthday when they had their own money to spend. Like all girls they love picking out their own clothes. And Lexi found a dress she really, really liked but she decided not to get it, and when I asked her why not, she said "Well, I really like it, but it's Pink!" Meaning to her mind she couldn't wear it because it was her sister's color! I told her that's okay, your allowed to like pink too you know. But she wouldn't have it.
And over the years I've noticed this is the trend with twins. We had a family in our Church, years ago that had twin boys David & Drew, and their catch phrase was "Drew in Blue!" Zach has some good friends that are Twins and when ever I see them, though they are college age now, I know if one of them is wearing Green it's Ryan & the one in Blue is Christopher!
My girls almost never dress alike any more. Except maybe for Twin day at school. (But, sometimes even then they will each dress to match with their friends rather than their actual Twin!) But, whenever we look at pictures of them when they were really little and looked a lot alike, if we can't tell right away who is who, we look at the color of the clothes they are wearing, or of their head bands, or pacifier clips if all else fails, & we know right away who is who.
Sometimes when they are shopping and both happen to really like the same thing, they will start arguing over which one gets to get it, and I've been known to remind them, you know you both can get it, it's not unheard of for Twins to like or even wear the same item! And I almost always hear (in unison of course) "Oh Mom!" And they go on to decide who gets it! Or if they do get the same thing, like a pair of Jeans for instance, they usually wont wear them on the same day.
Their colors have shifted some over the years, Erica really likes Orange now & Lexi loves Green! (Notice how they still manage to stay within the warm & cool color schemes though!) I have friends who knew us when the girls were little & haven't seen them since, but when they get our Christmas card & family picture every year, they still know who is who due to the color they are wearing! If you are the Mother of Twins, or if you even know some Twins, you probably know exactly what I am talking about, if not, you might think how horrible it is to color code your children. But I would argue, would you rather go through life being forever called the wrong name, or worse yet, just being called "Twin?" It's only happened a couple times but I've heard people call out "Hi Twin" and I cringe. They are people, they have names! Use them. (Sorry, that was just a Mom moment!) And there are many worse things to be known for than what color you like to wear. And if I can help educate people on letting twins be unique & express themselves as individuals, while still celebrating the fact that they are a twin, and how special that is, then I've done a good thing. No matter what color it comes in!