Sometimes I forget that I am the mom of identical twins. I mean, I know I have twins, but I forget sometimes how different our family dynamic is from most others.
Rachel and Claire have a special bond that I will never truly understand. But I think what I love most about it is that they don’t know any different. They’ve been together since conception, save a 38 day separation in the NICU. They are always on each other’s radar, the first person they want to talk to when they wake up in the morning or come home after running an errand with one of us. They can’t help it; they are each others’ person.
Being identical comes with its cons though. Even though they have distinguishing characteristics – Claire cut her hair into a short bob at the beginning of the school year, while Rachel still insists on her long ponytail every day – it’s remembering who is who that stumps most people. Kids at school often come up to them and say, “Are you Claire or Rachel?” or they simply address them by name – a name that’s not theirs. And I wonder, since they look completely different to me, what it must be like to look at them and see two faces that are seemingly indecipherable.
Their P.E. teacher admitted to me one day that she calls both of them Torres, because in the moment, it’s just easier than trying to figure out which one is which.
As a mom, this makes me cringe. But as someone who has several friends with twins, I get it. Over the years I’ve devised little tricks in my head to help me keep my friends’ twins straight. Even with fraternal twins that look nothing alike, remembering which name goes with which child can be super hard for someone as brain dead as me. For example, we know a set of twins named Wyatt and Nolan. Wyatt is blonde, so in my head I said, “White Wyatt.” I never said it was a genius method.
I try to see these instances of mistaken identity as opportunities to talk to them about it and see how badly they are being scarred for life by being called the wrong name all the time.
Me: “So what does Mrs. M call you again?”
Them: “She calls us Torres.” (Notice how I am referring to my kids as a unit here. Like they are completely indistinguishable from one another. See? Even we twin parents do it too. Adding to the therapy fund now.)
Me: “Why do you think that is?”
Them: “Because it’s our last name!”
“Yeah, but WHY does she call you Torres and not Claire? Or Rachel?”
“Because she calls us Torres!”
“I KNOW. But she calls you Torres because you guys look SO MUCH ALIKE, she doesn’t always know which one of you is which.”
“You guys know that you look exactly alike, right?”
Yes. My girls are 7 years old and know they are twins, but until this conversation, they apparently had no idea that they looked exactly alike.