Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kids' Individual Identities

I'm feeling inspired today. Seraph and Angel have twin cousins, Pirate and Professor.  Their completely amazing mommy is so good about answering M&M's question of the week.  I really enjoy reading Safire's answers, so I thought I'd start doing it too - hopefully before I read her answers so I can't steal them.

This week's question of the week is:

How do you encourage your multiples to develop and maintain their own individual identities?
This is a funny question because my twins are already very distinct because of Seraph's heart defect.  Angel is walking/talking.  They are identical, but Seraph is noticeably shorter and puffier.  The nurse asked me last week if Seraph copies Angel.  It's actually the other way around - Angel copies Seraph.  She mimics her sounds, she plays the developmental games we teach Seraph, she sneaks off with Seraph's cords and gnaws on them just like Seraph does. (Angel copies everyone, though.  It's how she learns and she's really good at it.)
Do you plan to, or already separate them in school?
I'm sure I'll change my mind by then, but I think I'd like them to be in the same class in kindergarten. Let's see when Seraph's next surgery/recovery goes before we get into this.

Do you encourage your kids to pursue separate interests, or try to keep them in the same activities?
I have 5 kids.  I'm pretty laid back about activities.  I try not to bunch Angel & Finch together either because that's too easy to do, too.

What are your feelings on dressing multiples alike? Coordinating names?
I like to dress them alike...and I like to include Finch (who's about 18 months older than the twins)...but I don't do it all the time.  I like Angel in toddler clothes...and I like Seraph in onsies because it makes her feeding tube less likely to get pulled out.

My girls DO have coordinating names...and while they start with different letters, people mix up which name goes with which girl a LOT more often than I'd expected.

What specific things do you do to help encourage your children's individuality?
We take each of the kids out individually--trips to the store, walks around the block, errands, etc.  Mostly DH does this...but I do it too when I have a chance to get out with just one of the kids.  I think this is very important for non-twins, too.  All kids need to develop that sense of self.

I also have specific nicknames and praises that I repeat.  Like Finch is always my princess. Bear is always strong. Rabbit is always beautiful. Angel is always little Roo.

Seraph just started connecting "mom" with me.  So whenever she says it, I drop everything and run to her because I'm really excited about that connection and want to reinforce it. All my other kids said Dadada first, so I really love it :)

....and I spend time with Seraph each night after the other kids are in bed - just playing (which I like to count as her physical/occupational/speech therapy).

Ooooooh - there's one more thing I do with the twins.  I plucked a day off the calendar for each of them that they don't have to share with each other.  We celebrate Seraph on the first day of Summer...and we celebrate Angel on the first day of Fall.  (Yes, it is clever, thanks for noticing)  It's not really a birthday party - we just do stuff they like to do, make and share treats, take some time to look at pictures and talk about things she does or likes that's "just so her!!". Sometimes we invite friends and sometimes it's just family or extended family.  I'm sentimental like that ;)


    Safire said...

    Yeah, now hopefully I won't steal your answers either! Although I do like to read the other people's entries if I'm struggling with the question and see what they say before I form my own opinion enough to write.

    And people get my kids names mixed up more than I thought they would too. And they aren't even matching names!

    cheri said...

    i dont have multiples, so i raise my cup of coffee to you! i'm always amazed how you do it. i'm sure God knew which woman to pick when he made multiples...

    i love that you celebrate each of your twins on their own special day :)

    Angela said...

    I love the special days you do individually for your twins!


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