Monday, May 15, 2006

Welcom to the Club!

A Break from Depressing Stories (FINALLY!)
Since I have been depressing the crap out of everyone for the duration of my last several posts, and because I don't want to lose my loyal readership base (all five of you!) due to such depressing topics, I thought I would break form here and post a segment on Life With Identical Twins, A Brief Glimpse at Twin Club. This is always a fun topic to write about since identical twins are somewhat rare in the general population and therefore mysterious. People always ask me silly questions about life with twins. I even get asked frequently if the older boy Eighty-Eight Fingers and the twins are triplets (he is two years older and has several inches and pounds on them, not to mention his more advanced walking and talking skills, but I digress...). Anyway, I thought I would clear up some of the mystery here.

General Life as a Twin
Imagine having a living breathing mirror of yourself. Someone with the same DNA, who shared the same womb-space and placenta, the same upbringing, the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner day in and day out. Someone who tried pureed peas the first time the very same day you did. Someone who walked within an hour of your first step. Someone who grew the same teeth exactly one week after you did (Let me interject as mother here that that was freaky!). Imagine having someone so close to grow up with, exchange "Yeah my mom's a real drag" stories with. Imagine knowing someone with such a similar way of thinking as you that you can just look at him across the room and break out laughing at a private joke no one who isn't in the Twin Club will ever get.

Personality Revealed
People always ask me, "Who is the nice twin, the bad twin, etc." I have no answer. My Fellers are unique in many ways, and similar in others. Personality traits are fluid at this age for all children and I think especially for twins as they have more of a struggle to develop an identity separate from this guy they have been stuck with since before birth. They, too, both have good days and bad days, just like all of us. I find it difficult to label them in such an extreme way. Actually, the Fellers find it difficult in some ways to distinguish themselves. They constantly struggle to develop their own identities. I have posted a few stories here and here about how my older twin, Boompas, is somewhat confused. He actually thinks his name is that of the other twin Stink. When he tattles on or scolds the other guy he always says, "Mama, Stink blah blah blah..." (I can't clarify that for you. Blah blah blah is always in Twinish, a language I will never know). On the bright side, he is starting to get his straightened out. I correct him and say, "No, you mean Stink did Blah blah blah." Then he will copy me in an interrogatory tone, his eyes clouded with uncertainty "Stink?"

Dressing Identical Twins
Part of the problem for Boompas must be that he does not have the benifit of understanding my Dressing The Twins Rules to figure out who is who. Usually I dress them it is whatever happens to be at the top of the Clean Laundry basket. Having to do laundry for seven people, there are always Clean Laundry baskets around as well as mountainous heaps in the laundry room, one of those chores that is NEVER caught up. So most days, outfits are mis-matched and willy-nilly only following the Rule that Stink usually gets the red or lighter or brighter color, while Boompas gets to wear blue or darker color. This is simply because they look so similar, same hair and eye color, same haircut (buzzed--it's lower maintenence and that is what counts with three little boys!), same cowlick, almost the same hight and weight (Stink, the second born, has always been a little lighter and shorter, but you really have to look hard to see it). I need to be able to quickly identify which hooligan is into what at a moment's glance without looking for the subtle personaliy cues or small blue vein on Stink's forehead. Also, there are certain, special outfits that are identical like the Spiderman Halloween sweatshirt, because they both adore Spiderman and it would be scarilege for one to wear it without the other. But those are rare, for selfish reasons, because it increases the difficulty of my job. There are also some specific shirts that each owns because it just fits his personality better. For example the Pooh Bear outfit is Boompas' because he is a big rolly lumpas who is anyone's friend. And Stink is a stinker like Tigger, so his outfit is the Tigger one. And Stink gets the "Attack" dinosaur shirt while Boompas gets the bright, cheerful dinosaurs.

Subtle Cues, for When Clothing Fails to Identify
One of the more subtle cues is how they grin. Boompas usually has a big bold everyone-is-my-friend, happy-go-lucky smile. He will "talk" to anyone, play with anyone, snuggle and snuggle often. Boompas is more of a "talker", repeating words and phrases, having conversations in Twinish/English with anyone within earshot. Stink, on the other hand, is more reserved. It usually takes him a little longer to warm up to people. Some of that may be an act though. He is a big tease and loves to play Hard to Get. You can usually find him slyly swiping a brother's toy then running away, brandishing the stolen booty triumphantly in the air, giggling with glee when he is busted. He is usually wearing a shit-eating-grin. Although he doesn't eat shit, he gives it. Often.

Feel the Love
For as much of a tease as Stink is though, he really loves his brothers. Boompas shows fortitude when issues matter to him. He has a real problem letting the issue drop so he tends to spend more time in time-outs to calm down. Stink is usually waiting by the door to the time-out room with Boompas' favorite toys to give him when he gets out. Stink is always fetching favorite toys, cups, etc. for his brothers.

Competition? Maybe a New Olympic Event
One more Glimpse at Life With Twins: there are lots of tantrums here, much screaming and yelling. It gets loud, really loud. Bring proper ear protection if ever you visit a house with twins. Since my guys are over two, I have had lots of time to try to figure out why. Here are some of my thoughts.

  • The first possible reason is that there are two little screamers, which equals double the screaming.
  • The second possible reason is sympathy screaming, a kind of altruistic screaming like, "Awww, my brother is mad! Then I am mad, too. Hear my anger, Evil Mommy!"
  • Also, there is the possible Competitive screaming, "Man, I can do better than that. Check this out, WWWWWAAAAAHHHHH--EEEEEEEEE!!!" to which his brother must increase his volume, and so on and so forth.
  • Finally, a possible cause is that I do a bit of yelling myself, mostly because I am usually up to the armpits in another brother chore when I spot the offending team member in the act of a terrible deed. Many times, I can't just drop the current child and dash to calmly instruct the offending child in propper etiquitte, so I say, "HEY, KNOCK IT OFF NOW!!!" or something equally clever and thunderous. It is all about striking the appropriate tone to induce instant compliance.

I Hope You Enjoyed Your Stay
So there is a brief peek at Twin Club. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Come back real soon. Oh, and watch your step on the way out. Those stray toys are real killers.


Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

Informative post! I especially liked the last two bullet points (competative screaming and busy momma screaming). They sounded reeeeeeeeeally familiar. Dunno why.;)


16 May, 2006 13:25  
Blogger Michele said...

My tots and I totally qualifiy for the club. We have competitive screaming sometimes, and definite very different personalities. I revel in their differences. Mine dont look at all alike so it is easier to spot who is up to what.

Thsi gives me an interesting perspective on what I have to dread, I mean, look forward to :)

17 May, 2006 12:19  

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