Tuesday, December 27, 2011

National Geographic

Identical twins are on the cover of the December National Geographic and the subject of NPR's The Picture Show blog.

Looking at the photos is fascinating. I love to look at the subtle differences in their features. I try to decide if I would be able to tell them apart if I knew them in real life.

We spent Christmas with extended family, most of whom don't see the girls on a frequent enough basis to be able to tell them apart. I'm convinced that, as identical twins go, mine are on the easy-to-tell-apart end of the spectrum. Sometimes I wonder if all parents of identical twins feel that way. But then I hear stories of parents that require nail polish to distinguish their children apart.

I cannot imagine what that would be like. Telling them apart has always been easy. I recall the days in the NICU, Tristy under the bili lights, calming her with my palm over her wispy white-blonde hair. Jaeda lay in the neighboring isolette, with her signature dirty blonde mohawk atop her head.

Who's this guy?
2007 (8 months old)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right  (note the mohawk)
On Christmas eve, my husband's cousin (interesting fact: he is genetically his half brother because his mom is my husband's mom's identical twin) came for a visit. Its been a few years since he's seen my girls and they had just dried off from the bathtub and put on last years snowman pajamas (seen below in the 2010 Santa photo, which are now totally high-waters).

They obediently stood in front of Lenny as I took a sideways glance at them to introduce them each by name, as I try to do.

And wouldn't you know it, I introduced them wrong. Me. Their mother. *sigh* My only excuses are that they were wearing the same outfit, had wet hair and I was looking at them sideways instead of head-on. Ok, those are pretty good excuses, but I still felt horrible (and a little embarrassed).  Because I'm usually the one doing the correcting. "That's Jaeda" or "You mean Tristyn" when someone refers to them incorrectly.

Traumatized (I love that Santa is laughing)
2008 (Age 1 1/2)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right 
On the trip home, we had settled into the ridiculously cramped play room designated for kids on the ferry from Nanaimo (Vancouver Island) to Vancouver, which is a 2 hour journey. The woman sitting next to me (who was obviously miserable) had a rambunctious older boy (maybe 6) and a precocious (read: bratty) little girl about the same age as my girls.
Feeling a little shy
2009 (2 1/2)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right 
We had managed to ignore each other, as parents of young children tend to do whilst stuck on a ferry with strangers for 2 hours, until I heard her son ask if my girls were twins. My ears perked, of course, to hear her answer. She replied "I'm sure they are sisters, but I don't think they are twins". Stunned, I turned to her and asked if she was referring to my girls. "They're actually identical twins" I heard myself say, and I realized that I felt almost a little defensive. So, I want people to tell them apart, but I also want people to recognize them as identical twins? Hmm...

Over the moon! 
2010 (3 1/2)
Jaeda on the left, Tristyn on the right 
One relative, whom they don't see very often, admitted to me that he 'still can't tell them apart'. I told him the newest "trick", which has saved their pre-school teacher and their gymnastics instructors; Jaeda's bangs are wavy, like the letter "J". Tristyn's are stick straight, like a "T".
Do you see the bangs?
2011 (4 1/2)
Jaeda on the left, Tristyn on the right 
But to me, its quite silly to even need this mnemonic. Their faces are quite different, their hair, even their voices. I've written about it before of course.

identical twins
You see what I mean, don't you??
I understand that these subtleties are lost on most people. Take any two children of the same gender and age and ask people to tell them apart.

My girls are lucky to have twin boy cousins that are just 5 months younger. They are fraternal, and are very easy to distinguish by hair color, eye color and height! While the four of them took turns playing Angry Birds on my cell phone, I overheard Tristyn ask her cousin Gabriel, "Which one are you?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The picture on our Christmas card shows my hubby and me crouched on the balcony of the Old Faithful Inn (Yellowstone) with these long-limbed blondies on our knees. Their big feet hang from their bony legs and they both happen to have a spoonful of ice cream poised at their mouths. So many friends and family members have remarked at how big they have become.

Its true, the once teeny preemies have sprouted into oversized pre-schoolers, matching height of kids 2 or more years older than them, and towering over kids their own age.

They are hungry all the time, often telling me they are hungry shortly after we have finished a meal. The other day, I realized they had finagled two breakfasts and two lunches. There are times when, at dinner, they eat more than I do. Like tonight, when I could barely finish two tacos but they each devoured two over-stuffed, daddy-made tacos, and then asked what was for dessert.

Socks and shoes have become a topic of much angst and debate in our house. They both refuse to wear socks, citing that they are "too small" or that their feet hurt when they put their shoes on. And we are down to one pair of shoes each - from probably 20 available pairs in the shoe basket by the front door - that they will actually wear. The other day, in a war of wills between Jaeda and myself, I would not let her leave the house until socks and shoes were on. I won, but at the cost of my calm and composure. She dramatically complained, feigning inability to walk due to the discomfort. In my frustration, later that day, I impetuously purchased four used pairs of size 13 shoes from ebay, hoping to avoid a repeat of the earlier scene.

When bedtime rolls around, and they have been instructed to put on their pajamas, they will sometimes re-appear downstairs in just their underwear and ask if they can be "super-baby" (I have no idea where that came from), which basically means no pajamas, just undies. I occasionally acquiesce, too tired to argue, as I watch the Manute Bol-esque cuties skamper up the stairs to brush their teeth.

This rapid growth, of course, makes them clumsy. I can't count how many times I've heard the disquieting thump of Tristyn falling off her chair at the dinner table, followed by a frustrated howl from the floor. And I'm constantly being kicked in the face or kneed in the kidneys when we rough-house, tumbling around the living room floor. We sometimes call Jaeda "Long Limbs La-Jaeda" (a spin on "Long Limbs Lenora", the New Year's Eve working girl from Forrest Gump) because if there is something to knock over with her legs, she will knock it over, despite our warnings to be careful.

It goes along with the theme running through my head these last few months, that they are growing up all too fast, as children tend to do. I thought I had until the teenage years before this awkward stage??
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...