“Do you ever get them mixed up?” This has got to be one of the most asked questions that parents of identical twins get. But, the real answer might surprise you.
When a stranger takes a gander at two faces that look so amazingly similar, it’s hard not to stare. It seems virtually impossible to tell them apart from one another. Identical twins, indeed, turn quite a few heads. They are a random act of nature and ironically unique in their sameness. Although some identical twins are easier to tell apart than others, most people still want to know how parents keep them straight.
I’m a mom of three-year-old identical boys myself. And, I have to tell you, yes, I get them mixed up once in awhile. Just not in the way you might think. For example, there’s no chance that I would take one to the other’s doctor appointment, wonder if I’m really talking to who I think I am, or introduce one as the other. I have simply to look them in the face to know, without a doubt, which twin is which. Any parent of identicals will tell you pretty much the same thing.
So, how do we get them mixed up? Although infancy is the most problematic time, as we’re still getting to know our babies, we have developed some tricks for telling twins apart at this stage. But, how about those later years, when we know our twins well? It will usually happen out of the corner of an eye, when one twin runs past too quickly to discern. Or, maybe from behind, when only a difference in clothing or gesture will be the clue. And sometimes when they’re napping quietly on the sofa, with their expressions and mannerisms completely subdued. Still, it’s only a small moment of confusion. A strange feeling, for an instant, of uncertainty.
You see, parents can always rely on the subtle, sometimes minute, differences to let them know who’s who because of the amount of time they spend with their duo. Sort of like those puzzles you sometimes find in magazines. The ones that show two of what appear, at first, to be the exact same picture. Only to find several little discrepancies after keenly studying the details. Even some family members, friends and teachers that spend significant amounts of time with a set of identical twins will generally be able to make the distinction between the two over time.
So, there you have it. Mix ups will happen to parents of identical twins. But, little Timmy isn’t accidentally going to be growing up as little Tommy, and vice versa.
Originally published on TwinPregnancyandBeyond