¬†There are many sets of twins in my family. Not on any one side to say that it “runs” in my family, but there are plenty. I have twin sisters-in-law, and cousins who are twins (all in their 40s). My cousin has twin boys (9 years old now) and my brother had twin boys a year before my oldest was born. When I found out I was having twins, I was happy yet terrified at the same time. I knew how much work it was. I knew a lot of the challenges. Yet I still had no idea how different or difficult it would be.

Raising twins comes with its own set or challenges and rewards. I think some of the challenges can vary depending on the birth order as well. Because every child is different, every situation is different. No answer is a one size fits all, but when it comes to twins, there are a few surprises in store. Here are some of the fun and challenging things I faced when parenting twins.

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Attention

No matter the age, gender or appearance, twins attract attention. People walking in the mall will beeline towards the children and always ask “are they twins”? regardless if it is glaringly obvious or not. Be prepared with answers to the typical twin questions: are they identical? Were they natural? (Don’t get me started on that one!) Just smile and nod during their twin stories. Everyone always has twin stories.

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Comparing

When two kids are born on the same day and raised in the same house it becomes obvious when they learn things at different rates. No matter the type of twins or even if they look alike, people seem to always compare them in an attempt to remember which name goes with each child. The danger with comparison is that it can make a child feel inadequate because they are different. When asked what the hardest part of being a twin was, Heather said it was the comparing. “Because I am not a math prodigy like my sister, the ‘smart one,’ that must make me…. the dumb one?”

For infants, prepare a simple way to help family members to remember which name goes with each child. Colour coding each child (Ryan wears red, Ben wears blue) can help when taking them to family events. Some parents like the colour system to keep bottles, soothers, blankets, and other items separate. Sometimes at 4 in the morning you won’t remember which child ate last. Lucky is the baby who gets two meals while the sibling gets none!

Another method is a simple saying, such as Bennett is blonde and Jack is a ginger. Grier has grey eyes and Henry has dark hair. It may seem silly, but it saves the hurt feelings when a rude stranger names ones child the “pretty one” or “fat one” or any other offensive comparison.

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Birthdays

How will you handle parties and presents? Individual presents for each child is a given, but would you host two different parties? What about when the kids are older and have different groups of friends or different interests? Decide what works best for your family and set your own traditions. Two cakes? One cake with two names? The one thing every family can agree on is to sing the birthday song to each person. Every deserves their own 30 seconds of attention!

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Twin Talk

Sometimes its a special bond, other times its because they are the same age and at the same level of communicating. My boys are not very verbal yet, so they will often hold hands while walking in public. They worry about their brothers. When one is sad the other will come tell me about it. Others seem to have a special form of communicating, or can sense when they other feels a certain way. Either way, it’s very interesting and I think it’s cute when they worry about each other.


BrookeBerry_headshot Brooklyn Berry is a interior designer, blogger, and mom of twins. Her friends call her the Loop Hole Queen. She wants to do it all and is always on the hunt for a shortcut, a less expensive way, or a trick to make life easier. She runs a design and lifestyle blog, BrooklynBerryDesigns.com.