Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Fabulous world of twins

Funny how being a twin keeps people fascinated.... The other day I heard from a mother of a boy in JJ's class that she overheard a conversation of her son and a friend from the same class. They were comparing the girls on their latest Xmas card... Who was prettier?.. Who had the most beautiful smile, eyes, etc... ALWAYS the comparison!! Must be hard on the girls, because now they are noticing that more and more... even between themselves, the competition is starting... at age 8! What happens when they are 14, 18, then it will become a fierce competition, I better prepare myself for the battle :-)

This is the picture they were comparing the girls, Jezz on the left, JJ on the right.

People always ask me if they are totally opposite, is one the shy one, the outspoken one? And a comment I get a lot is: "But they don't look THAT much alike, I CAN see differences!"
Yes, and that is normal! Because twins are not CLONES!! They are still different people, they just happen to share 1 egg (if they are identical) and look a lot alike, but it doesn't mean there are NO differences.

I find the girls looked more alike when they were babies and toddlers, since their hair was not grown yet and I also had a hard time to keep them separate... so I checked for differences in their tiny bodies... Jezz had a birthmark underneath her belly button, so I would check into the diaper to make sure. Then I started to dress Jezz into pink and JJ into blue, to this day this is what happens. The girls are so used to having either pink/orange/red clothes or the other one blue/green/purple clothes that if I buy something and it is the same outfit but in a different color, without discussion they each choose their own set. It makes it easy for the teachers, even for me who knows the difference if I see one of them across the hallway, or outside in the yard I know if it is Jezz or JJ because of the color of the dress/shirt!

Here at 3 months of age... not easy to see who is who, but Jezz on the left, JJ on the right, just like the picture above!

Here at 1 year old, their hair is almost the same so hard to see, now JJ is on the left and Jezz on the right. Did you guess correct?

Here it is easier, at age 2,5 now the color coding was done most of the time, so guess who is JJ and who is Jezz??

With twins people always like to give their 'advice'. The one I hear a lot is: "I shouldn't dress them alike, it will hinder their personality."
Well, I don't believe that clothing can hinder any personality it is more a result of the way you feel. But be honest a 2-3-4-5-6 year old is mostly getting dressed by their moms so why not twins?
Yes, there is an occasional child who really only wants to choose themselves, but in general the mom chooses.

Picture yourself in my position, you see a beautiful dress/shirt/shoes in a shop, but people tell you you HAVE to dress them DIFFERENT. So who do I give that beautiful dress/shirt/shoes to? To JJ or Jezz, there is NO other dress/shirt/shoes that I find as equally beautiful, so I just go for the easy option.... the same dress/shirt/shoes in a different color! Voila... problem solved!

Their true identity can come out when they are teenagers and they won't let mom decide which clothes they need to wear, till then believe me it is a lot easier to buy the same clothes in just a different color or pattern! A mother's life is already hard enough especially when you have twins, shopping for 2 whole different outfits... with in mind the personality of the child... makes life too complicated!! And another handy side-effect is that you will find/recognize your children in a crowd a LOT EASIER when they wear the same outfits, because believe me twins get lost all the time when you are in a mall or at a play ground or park. One cruises off in the right direction and one runs off in the left direction if you just let them loose for 1 second!!

So that 'advice' that mostly comes from friendly people, but have no clue what it entails to have twins is not always the best!

Below Jezz decided she wanted to be different.. so she cut herself some bangs ;-) Well... we had to go to the salon to make it more even...

What are identical twins?

A general stereotype about identical twins is that they are clones. They act alike, look alike, and are expected to be "identical." However, the term identical twins actually refers to a type of twinning, and describes how they form, not what they look like.

The correct term for identical twinning is monozygotic. Monozygotic twins form from a single (mono) fertilized egg (zygote). The zygote splits into two parts after conception, resulting in the development of two individual embryos. Because the two embryos are the result of a single egg/sperm combination, they have the same genetic origins. They have the same DNA.

Dizygotic twins (often referred to as fraternal), are the result of two eggs fertilized by two separate sperm. Although most women only release a single egg in an ovulation cycle, sometimes multiples eggs are released. Dizygotic twins share about 50% of their genetic traits, the same as any other siblings born at different times.

Some interesting facts about identical twins:

The causes of monozygotic twinning are generally unknown and unidentified. No one really knows why an egg splits; technically it's a malfunction of the normal development process.
There's no hereditary trait that influences a predisposition to having identical twins. Identical twins do not run in families. Although there are families with a high incidence of identical twins, it is due to chance, coincidence or plain good luck.
Identical twins represent about a third of all twins. Dizygotic twins are twice as common as monozygotic.
Birth rate statistics for identical twinning have remained stable over the years, despite the overall increase in twins and multiples since the late 1980's. The odds of having identical twins is about 3 in 1,000, whereas the birthrate for all twins is about 32.2 in 1,000.
Identical twinning is not generally influenced by fertility-enhancing treatments like drugs or in vitro, although monozygotic twins have been produced in pregnancies that were the result of such treatments.
Birth rates for identical twins are consistent across populations; it is the same regardless of race, geography or maternal age.

We adopted Jasmine Isabel (Jezz) and Juliet Janelle (JJ) when they were 3 months old, while we were living in Thailand. Our world changed from one day to another! Having twins is busy... hard work! But what you don't realize is that it becomes so much easier later in life than having 2 siblings. After the first 2,5 - 3 years the girls realized that they have a sister and can play with each other! First they just play side by side, then it is hard work. But as soon as they become a team they don't need you as much anymore and there is ALWAYS a friend to play with. Even to this day I can compare the friendship, the bond, the strong feeling they have for each other is so different than just having a sibling.

Most kids this age want play dates, friends to hang out with, YES, my girls want that too, but not as frequent as the others, they are content and happy with each other, they don't necessarily need another friend to have a good time! That makes life so much easier. So having twins is such a blessing!! The support they find in each other weighs out much more than the competition that maybe will follow later! For now they are best friends, with such a strong bond - nobody can break! or come in between!

Another plus I find in having twins is that since we are an expat family and we move every 4-5 years, the girls ALWAYS have somebody to share their experiences with. A new school, a new house, a new country, that is OK, because her sister goes through the same, is in the same grade, so they can help each other with everything!! In their short lives they already lived in 3 continents, and 3 different countries (Thailand, USA, South Africa), but it doesn't rock their boat at all. They are fine with it, because they are together!!

Do you have twins or know any twins? And how is their bond, does it change when they are older? Do they start looking more different when they become older, because their personality is different? Do people compare, do they compare themselves with school work, friends, hobbies? Tell me your experiences! I like to know.

Greetings from South Africa,


Maci Miller said...

Great post about the girls. Each is totally beautiful in their own right, but I do think they a LOT a like. I'm sure after spending more time with them I will see all the little differences that you see!

I think it was brilliant to color code their clothes. Both are still the most fashionable 8 year olds I know! :-)

Leah and Maya said...

A friend of mine had a set of twins and then 8 years later one more child. she always said the twins were so much easier because they had eachother to play with. Having just the one meant she was the person they wanted to be entertained by, I understand that since I just have one child.
so true and how neat they do have eachother when you move, same age and everything.
Who cares if you dress them alike, I would imagine when they don't want to do that they won't.

Anonymous said...

Great post on twins. I love all the interesting facts. My girls (4 years old) are identical too and I had the most bizarre conversation with them the other day about if they were one or two people.

I am in ore at their closeness and connection - it seems like a lovely way to grow up and be.

Lacock family said...

You're girls are both just beautiful!! All of us are unique, different individuals! I am sure they will grow up to love the uniqueness in each other rather than focusing on comparisons (some people without realizing can be cruel)

Anyway, love reading your posts and looking at your fabulous pictures! Hopefully soon, we will have our own little Thai princess!



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