Lessons in Twinland: Should I Purchase Two of Everything?

It’s the age-old question asked by many parents of multiples: Do I need to put two of everything in my shopping cart?

When it comes to buying toys, clothing and school supplies for twins, parents often believe that if they don’t purchase two of everything, their children may feel less special or lose their sense of individualism. Although this may be true in some cases, it is a belief that is mostly untrue. In fact, asking your children to share (whether they are twins or not) is a life lesson that is far more important than anything money can buy.

To approach the topic more wholly, let’s break the issue down into three major purchasing categories: toys, clothing, and school supplies.

Toys

No matter how you look at it, toys can (and should) be shared. This is especially true if your multiples share the same gender. For twins of different genders, ask them to share non-gender-specific toys, while also purchasing a few (and an equal amount of) gender-specific toys.

The only time when you should buy two of something is when it is an activity that children enjoy doing together (for example, riding a bicycle). To keep your finances in check, use birthdays and other gifting holidays as the time for buying your twins their “own” toy/s.

Clothing

If they are the same gender, you should absolutely consider having them share some parts of their wardrobe. However, as they grow older, this can become an issue (teenagers don’t exactly like re-wearing an outfit that their sibling wore last week). Save as much money as you can, though, while they are young by having them share clothing until they begin to ask for their own wardrobe. Give them their own underwear and socks, though, and differentiate them by writing their initials on the tags or linings.

School Supplies

This is really the only category where you should always buy two of everything. Sometimes it may not even be necessary to purchase two because some supplies are already packaged in multiples (for example, glue sticks usually come in pairs). This is also a great category for establishing individuality because lunchboxes, backpacks and folders often carry unique designs. Let them display their own uniqueness by allowing them to pick out the design that they want. If both happen to like the same design (which they very well may), you can always have these items monogrammed or use a marker to write their names on them.

In the end, making purchases for your twins is really all about common sense and separating what they truly need from what they only want. We all want to feel special and loved, but this does not come from a toy or department store. Give your children what is sufficient enough to keep them healthy and enriched, and the rest will follow.

Katheryn Rivas is a freelance writer for OnlineUniversities.com. She covers topics related to education, parenting, lifestyle and the home. In her spare time, she enjoys reading mystery novels and biking on the weekends with her cycling group. Send any and all comments or questions to her email at KatherynRivas87@gmail.com.

Mixed Race Couple Has Second Set of Unusual Twins

by Susan M. Heim

In 2001, Alison Spooner of Britain gave birth to fraternal twin girls who were strikingly dissimilar. One daughter had fair skin, blue eyes and red hair like her mother, while the other daughter had dark skin and hair like her black father, Dean Durrant. This is an extremely rare phenomenon, but the couple did it twice! Alison recently gave birth to a second set of fraternal twin girls. Miya is dark like her father; Leah is fair like her mother. Scientists say there’s no way to know the probability of this occurring as there are so few known cases.

Twin Communication

by Vikki Stark

Family therapist Vikki Stark interviewed hundreds of women, teens, and girls all over the world for what she termed “The Sisters Project.” Her goal was to explore every aspect of the participants’ relationships with their sisters, both as children and adults. This passage is excerpted from a chapter entitled “Wombmates: Twin Sisters” in her book, My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship That Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves, and Ourselves.

Twins are well known for having private means of communication. The women in The Sisters Project described that special interchange in two ways.

Idioglossia. A large percentage of participants referred to “that twin language,” the technical name of which is idioglossia. That’s the baby talk between twins that seems to be a kind of internal messaging system that others can’t understand. Jeannie, who had a “theatre boyfriend” while her sister had a “cowboy boyfriend,” was sent with her twin to a speech therapist as a young child because her parents were concerned about their language development: “We had a special language when we were babies. Our mom took us to a specialist because we would talk to each other in ‘jibber-jabber.’ She would try to figure out what one of us needed, but when it wouldn’t work, the other would start talking in the jibber-jabber and come back with a teddy bear.”

Another woman told about not using recognizable language until she and her twin were three and a half. Until then, they just babbled together in a direct call-and-response style from separate cribs. Later, the girls were put in a special education class because the school thought they were slow, though they were eventually moved to a class for talented and gifted kids.

As adults, some twins continue using a modified idioglossia. Thirty-three-year-old Darla wrote, “We don’t even use full sentences when communicating, but rather a series of invented sounds and code words. We try to be subtle about this when we’re in public, but sometimes we forget. At times, we don’t need words at all-facial expressions are enough. This afternoon we were walking in a parking lot, and my sister started to wander off in the opposite direction from the car. I guided her back by a series of tongue clicks.”

Just Knowing. The second manner of communicating goes beyond language or sound. Like Megan and Aviva, some sisters don’t require much in the way of communication; they just know. As one woman wrote, “Our souls are somehow intertwined.” Twenty-five-year-old Chase said, “Since we shared a bedroom for seventeen years, not to mention a womb, I think we have ways of understanding each other that don’t depend on language. I am able to predict fairly accurately how something will make her feel, how she will explain a memory, and the moments of her past that she will choose to explain her present.” That mysterious communication even transcends consciousness: “When we sleep next to each other, we dream of the same elements.”

Twins describe a kind of mental telepathy when they’re together (“You mean, you didn’t just say out loud that I should close the window!?”), but some also say that they know what their twin is going through, even when they’re apart. Marsha, who lived in a different state from her sister, wrote, “I actually had morning sickness for three months when Nathalie was pregnant. I had gone to a doctor and was going to have tests when the symptoms abruptly stopped at her three-month prenatal visit.”

Excerpted from My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship That Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves, and Ourselves, by Vikki Stark. ©2007. Reprinted with permission from McGraw-Hill Professional. Visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble or www.mhprofessional.com.