Question: How do you teach twins about the concept of being a twin?
What I mean is, how do twins learn they are different from other siblings? Not in a super-special-twin-relationship kind of way. I mean literally, how do you teach them what it means to be a twin?
I never thought much at all about this topic until well after the girls were born. I think we hear so much about the "twin bond" that it's easy to forget they won't just know they are twins, together from the very beginning. I know with my girls I very rarely use the word "twin", so I don't believe it even entered their vocabulary until the last several months. Jeremy and I, along with most of our family and friends, refer to Addison and Mackenzie as "the girls" most often.
I know I have told them they grew in my tummy at the same time. I have even pointed out which of them was positioned on each side of my tummy--which they think is hilarious. I have told them they are twins and tried to explain it a little, but I really don't know if they get it yet. I wonder now if they noticed that the kids in their MDO class don't have a sibling to hang out with at school? (I watched the DVD of pictures from the school year, and I was a little surprised to see A & M together, or at least very near one another, in most of the playtime pictures. It makes me happy, in a way, to see that they choose to play together.)
I know they realize that all babies don't come in a set of two. Addison & Mackenzie have grown up with their buddy Wyatt from the very beginning. He now has a little sister and I know they realize she is a baby and Wyatt is not. But I don't know that they see any difference in their own situation.
Not that I mind any of this...really, I don't! I never want to over-emphasize their twinship, or make my girls feel like they are just one of a "set". I myself don't forget about the "twin" aspect at times, especially as they grow into their own little personalities and I try to figure out what each of them needs from me the most. It's just interesting to think about them trying to learn the concept of being a multiple.
It was only recently that I heard the girls use the term "twin" for the first time. We were at a local airshow, checking out the rows of airplanes. One of the girls pointed to a pair of planes (I can't even particularly remember if they looked alike or not) and said, "Hey, they're twins... Twin planes!"
A few weeks ago, the girls were having trouble falling asleep at bedtime and each wanted me to rock them--separately. They were crying brokenheartedly, one in my lap and one at my feet. I pointed out that there was only one of me for the two of them, but they weren't really in the mood for rationality at the time. Finally, I just scooped them both up and said "It's hard being a twin sometimes, isn't it?" Poor little Mackenzie quickly agreed--yes, it's hard.
Incidents like that most certainly happen often even between siblings who are not twins, but sometimes I do feel bad that Addison & Mackenzie don't know what it's like to not share everything. Being a twin is a concept that they probably will not fully understand for quite awhile. And I'm sure there will be plenty of times when they feel like being a twin is unfair in some ways. Regardless, I hope the benefits of their unique bond far outweigh any negatives, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens.
Do your twins know they are twins? How do you explain it to them?