School starts next week. Usually, our identical twin daughters would be thrilled to start third grade. They love school.
At least – they used to love school.
But now? Now they’re nervous. Because for the first time since pre-school, they will spend their days in separate classrooms.
The principal insists that twins must be split in order to promote individuality. I understand the assumed logic in this philosophy. However, the very existence of identical twins defies common logic starting at conception.
General logic says:
- 1 egg + 1 sperm = 1 Baby
- 2 eggs + 2 sperm = 2 Babies with 2 unique sets of genes (fraternal twins)
But identical twins are a phenomenon:
- 1 egg + 1 sperm = 2 Babies with 1 set of identical genes
Therefore, assumed logic doesn’t apply to the emotions of identical twins. The only advice I trust when it comes to the emotional well-being of my twin daughters is the advice I receive from other identical twins. They are the only people with a true frame of reference.
As their mother, I can only project how my twin daughters might feel about a given situation. I am a singleton. I do not have an identical twin. I’ve never experienced this bond.
So I watch. And I listen. And then I try my hardest to respect the intricacies of their rare and special twinship as I parent through the lens of a singleton.
These are the disconcerting observations I have made thus far regarding their upcoming split:
- Until now, Sydney and Taylor have reveled in their individualities. They have refused to dress alike, even to go so far as to differentiate themselves with their preferred style of bathing suits. Taylor only wore a bikini, while Sydney deemed a one-piece as a more appropriate choice.
- While their favorite colors change like most children, they have always agreed to have different favorite colors. Taylor liked green, then pink. Sydney liked blue, then purple.
- The girls have enjoyed their own bedrooms since they were 6. They appreciated having space to themselves.
- They were both thrilled when Taylor required glasses, but Sydney did not. “For people can tell us apart now,” they explained.
- When Sydney required glasses too, she chose to cut her hair much shorter than her sister’s. Taylor took great pride in her longer locks. Again, they wanted to be recognized easily and independently of one another.
As the school year quickly approaches though, the girls are embracing their twinship like never before:
- For the first time since I dressed them alike as babies, Taylor and Sydney are choosing to wear the same outfits. They are planning to wear the same shirt on the second day of school. This public display of their identical nature has been unheard of until now. Taylor has given away her bikinis, choosing to wear one-piece bathing suits like her sister. They were eager to buy the same winter jacket, since “it doesn’t matter now that we’re in different classes.”
- Both girls now share the same favorite color of blue. This alone is surprising. But the fact that Sydney is allowing her twin sister to share her previously claimed favorite color? Again – unheard of.
- Last night I overheard Sydney telling her grandpa that she and Taylor are planning to re-combine their bedrooms into the bonus room. They want to be together again. She knows he is the handy-man who can make this plan become a reality.
- Sydney rarely wears her glasses, but plans to wear them everyday at school. “So when people see me in the hall, they might think I’m Taylor.” She is hoping to be mistaken for her twin sister. Never before have we faced this.
- Taylor cut her hair shorter earlier this summer so that she would look more like Sydney. Sydney was relieved when the beautician left Taylor’s hair slightly longer than her own. Last night, though, both girls came running in the house from soccer practice. “Momma,” Sydney said. “Only one person noticed we were twins tonight. I want to cut my hair just like Tay-Tay’s tommorow, so we look just alike again!” Taylor agreed with an emphatic nod. Sydney has not referred to her sister as Tay-Tay since they were 3 years-old.
Obviously, I am very concerned. Our daughters are identical twins – this is an integral part of their identity and it always will be. As a result of their upcoming 3rd grade classroom split meant to promote individuality, they are defining themselves as identical twins more now than they ever have before. They are abandoning their individualities in an attempt to preserve the integrity of their twinship. They used to love to be different, now they are desperate to be the same.
I can only hope this will pass once the school year gets underway. Because even though they share the same DNA, they are both very special little girls – both together and apart.
Too be continued…