From the moment I found out that I was to have two girls just fifteen months apart, I surprised myself with my sudden excitement for the endless possibilities of twinning. And although initially the girls didn’t twin very often, I’m very much a Mum who believes that babies should wear babygros for as long as possible, when they hit one and two I was all over it.
By three and four the girls wore the same dress size, the same shoe size, and even more miraculously, were the exact same weight down to the nearest ounce, and I simply decided to buy two of everything. Their wardrobes became a mirror image of the other – two of every top, every dress, every pair of pyjamas, tights and shoes.
Every morning they would get dressed in their identical clothes without any drama over one wanting to wear the pink top, or the blue shoes, or the pair of jeans with one tiny differing detail that only a three and four year old would ever notice. It made my life easier, and they loved that they looked the same.
“We are twins!” they would say, and still do. Arm in arm, my two little twins-not-twins, beaming with delight when random strangers stopped us on the street, “Oh how lovely! Twins!”, and I would explain, for the fifty millionth time that day, that no they were not twins and yes I was sure of that!
When Eva started school and Megan did not, our mornings became a little harder. “Why does Megan get to wear that dress?” Eva would ask. “Why can’t I wear that cardigan?” Megan would cry. “Roll on the weekend!” I would groan, missing the days when twinning was most certainly winning.
And then Megan started school and the two of them wore their matching uniforms and my heart could have burst. “Now we are twins again!” Megan had said, throwing her arms around Eva, my little twins-not-twins reunited.
So that’s just how it was, matching uniforms in the week and matching outfits at the weekend. Never once did they ask to wear something different until Halloween came around this year and Eva chose to be a mermaid and Megan a zombie bride. When I surprised them with their costumes I instantly knew that Eva wasn’t happy.
“You look beautiful!” I had told her, “You’re the scariest mermaid I’ve ever seen!”. And with her bottom lip wobbling and her eyes brimming with tears I knew exactly what was coming, “But I wanted to be like Megan!” she had said and, as I rushed off to Tesco to exchange her costume, I knew that I should never have deviated from the twinning formula!
And so this morning, as I read through my Instagram messages, I was taken aback to receive one from a lady, who shall remain anonymous, which simply said,
“Wow. You do know you’re girls aren’t twins don’t you? It’s very damaging to always dress them the same!”
Wow that somebody felt so strongly about the fact my girls wear matching clothes that they felt the need to message me to tell me as much. Wow to the fact that they felt the need to criticise my parenting choices and accuse me of damaging my children? Because believe me, if the worst thing I am doing to my children is dressing them in matching outfits then I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
My girls know that they aren’t twins. They know that they are four and five. They know, believe me, that Eva is the big sister and Megan is forever the baby. They know, in the same way they play at being princesses or fairies or Anna and Elsa, that playing at being twins is just pretend.
They know that they have a wardrobe just brimming with clothes and they have the freedom to wear whatever they like on any given day, within reason! They know that they are two very different people, with two very different personalities, who just so happen to look incredibly alike.
They know that at thirteen and fourteen they won’t be wanting to wear matching outfits, although they will most certainly want to share those outfits. They know that by their late teens they may have very different tastes, and very different figures, and what may suit one may not suit the other.
They also know that right now, at four and five, twinning is something they enjoy, which brings them comfort and a sense of sisterly solidarity. And if twinning is winning, which I have no doubt that it is, then I guess that makes those who have a problem with it……the losers??