How refreshing it is to write about a mom who understands what her identical twin sons need. Much of her success is rooted in the healthy relationship that she has with her identical twin sister. What moved me when we were chatting was how often she emphasized that her sister gave her space so as not to impinge upon or interfere with her happiness or success. Although they live miles apart, their strong emotional bond and easy intimacy allows them unfettered emotional access to one another whenever they need it.
I asked her how she felt about having identical twins. By the time these children were born she had already given birth to a singleton and fraternal twins—a boy and a girl. So, being an experienced mom and an identical twin, she was very much attuned to the importance of each child’s individuality. She shared a story about how she handled a situation that emerged when she put her sons into preschool. The head of the school recommended that the three-year-old boys be separated so that they could be treated as individuals. Intuitively knowing that her sons were not ready for this separation, she firmly informed the head that it is up to the teacher to figure out each boy’s personality and temperament and help them develop their individual selves.
Another incident that illustrated this mom’s twin intelligence happened when just one of her sons was invited to a play date and not the other.
The child who was invited told his mom that he was feeling bad that his twin was not included. His mom lovingly explained that his twin does not have to be included because it’s important to do things on your own. Even though the uninvited twin was eventually invited, the invitee decided not to go. Mom understood that neither of them was ready to take this step. Nonetheless, in a few more months, one boy was invited to a sleepover. He went without hesitation and without any remorse. Mom said that she spent a fantastic time with the son who stayed home while his brother enjoyed his sleepover. As an aside, she shared that she purposefully breast-fed the children separately to carve out some alone time for each of them.
She showed no hesitation, doubt, or guilt about her decision making—and she has never read my books! Her sense of what is appropriate and necessary for her twin boys reflects how separate and yet how connected she is to her sister. Her story shows us the beauty of respectful boundaries and balanced beliefs about twin relationships.