When we learned that the twins we were expecting were identical, Jason joked (I hope!) that we should raise them separately for a few years, then bring them back together to see what was nature and what was nurture. While I think he really just wanted to ensure that one child was given bacon versus veggie burgers in their formative years, this was not an idea that was left on the table. Therefore, our babies have been raised in the same home, with the same love, routines and of course, mistakes. Yet they are still so very different, so much so, that the other day Jason asked, “Are we sure they are identical?” While one look at their sleeping (aka no attitude) faces proves that they are, their expressions, development and habits prove that no children are truly alike.
When it comes to parenting, the urge to compare is great. This is particularly true when you have twins, and the one exhibiting “model behavior” (aka “The Control Group”), is side by side with the one you are struggling with. It takes time to realize that when what you are doing works well on one but doesn’t on the other, it doesn’t mean complete failure, just that you may have to adjust your approach from what worked with the Control Group. For me, this is most evident in mealtime, when Abel plows through his pasta while a slight change in texture in Calvin’s food results in heartache and laundry. So much laundry.
I often need to take a step back and remind myself that despite having the same DNA, these boys are two separate people, just like the babies I enviously watch eating like champs in restaurants are. (How old are they? Do they even have teeth?) Comparison is always tempting, but rarely ever helpful. So I will continue to let my littlest nugget develop his eating skills at his own pace, and appreciate that each twin is growing into his unique self – despite my rejection of Jason’s “great experiment.”
On a side note, if you are interested in what happens when twins are raised separately, check out Twinsters on Netflix. Identical sisters were separated at birth, and it is pretty amazing (and tear-jerking) when they find each other.