The concept of being a twin

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.

I mean, it takes a special bond to sleep like this, right?

Do your twins know they are twins?  How do you explain it to them?


  1. I explain to mine that they were both in my tummy at the same time.

    They told me the other day that Thursday and Friday are also twins. LOL (the bears)

  2. I tell my girls how Mommy had two baby girls at one time, whereas most mommies only have one baby at a time.

    It was really funny to me back in the fall...we were waiting to see the pediatrician, and two little girls came in with their dad. A and B were watching them, and said, "Why is she bigger than her?" It took me a minute, but I realized (or guessed, anyway) that the girls didn't understand why the sisters weren't the same size. HA! I told them they weren't twins, that the girl in pink was probably born a couple of years before the girl in purple.

    I think that's probably related to the majority of our friends being twins. ;)

    I'm sure some things will start to sink in more when their start preschool and aren't surrounded by other multiples.

    Definitely an interesting topic!

    Hope you have a fantastic long weekend with your sweet family!

  3. I think Abby & Jack have some idea that there is something to their sibling relationship but I think the fact that they have an older brother has helped them along- I certainly don't feel like they truly get it though. In time I think it will come- I still don't think Luke has a full grasp on what exactly it means to be twins sometimes. And I laughed about the picture CD- I found the same thing with mine. They don't have a super tight bond at home and more times than not, Luke & Abby play together and Jack hangs alone- but at school, they are always togther! Go figure =)

  4. I can tell you that my ladies have no concept of being twins. I don't think they know the word. We are very much a sisters-born-on-the-same-day kinda house. When I found out we were having twins I quickly shied away from defining them as such. My mother and aunt are very fraternal and all of their lives they've been "the twins" despite being polar opposites.

    And so far not much as come from them in the way of questioning. All of their cousins/friend have no siblings, and I don't think they yet understand the concept of siblings. So now I really curious how they view themselves!! I have no intention of bringing up the twin issue other than to address any questions they might have about being born on the same day.

    I've also noticed that when ever we go out and play in groups, the girls will follow each other. If the separate it's not long before one is usually looking for the other. This make me nervous thinking about school!

  5. I'm not entirely sure how much my girls grasp the meaning. They are quite used to telling people they are twins. They really like the "twin day" episode of Sesame Street. I'm pretty sure the girls don't even realize that they look so similar- they tend to be more indignant if called by the wrong name as in "why are you so daft that you are calling me the wrong name?!"

    I have a feeling that when they split up into different classes that they will start to understand what being a singleton is like, and how that differs from what they're used to.

  6. Funny... when I thought to myself "When did I realize that I was a twin?" I really couldn't think of when it sank in! We knew from early on that we were "different" than the other kids. We also realized that we looked alike probably before we started school. I remember running through a store looking for my sister and thinking that I found her when I saw my reflection in a mirror. My girls answer YES when asked if they're twins, so they somewhat know. And they will call things TWINS if there are two of the same. But if your girls are anything like my sister and I... they will NEVER think that they are at a disadvantage or wish that they weren't twins! It's the BEST thing in the world ;) I could go on and on but my little twinkies need some attention now! LOL

  7. I was just talking about the girls being in my tummy yesterday, and they were like WTH lol. :) they just don't get it.
    The girls preschool pictures from the year were awesome for me too. Alex has always been the social one, and Abby not so much. It was nice seeing them together, but a lot of the time in the beginning Abs was by herself. You could see she was always "by" her sister though, just making sure she was still there.
    I think they get it..kind of. But like you said, it can be hard sometimes. When they both want something from me, snuggle time OR playtime...it's tough to make one wait. :)

  8. My triplets are 2 1/2 and they "get" that they are unique (it helps that we're a sideshow everywhere we go where their cousins and friends are not). They also have a very special bond, and are incredibly affectionate with one another, although having the divided parental attention is particularly challenging for them (and us). We have tried explaining that they are special and get to share a birthday and will always be the same age where their cousins and friends don't have that. But my friends with triplets seem to have their kids begin to really grasp the concept at four.

  9. I don't know if they realize they are twins. But I know they love being with each other. When they are apart, they spend a lot of time asking for the other one. But I think they do know they get A LOT of attention. I think they think it's just cause they are so cute! LOL

  10. Great topic! My twins (www.doubleblatts.com) just turned two and I often wonder the same thing! I don't think they quite get that they are unique yet.


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