I am the father of identical twin boys. I have tried to get them to develop their own identities and not be considered the same person.

  • I have always dressed my twins differently and encouraged them to pursue different interests.
  • As children get older, they become less alike and appreciate being treated like siblings, not clones.
  • It can be a challenge to make sure they become independent people.

After a visit to the obstetrician at 12 weeks, we were told that there were two beats instead of one. It was a surprise because there was no Twins in the family, and we feel totally unprepared.

After hearing the news, I went to work and was speechless for the rest of the day. My coworkers kept asking me what was wrong, but I still couldn’t tell anyone.

Charlie and Thomas were born prematurely and between them weighed the same as an average-sized single baby. They were forced to spend the first week of their lives in a special care nursery, and even then I could see their bond.

They wanted to be next to each other at all times, and when the hospital staff had to take Charlie away for some additional tests, he and Thomas were uneasy. Neither of them would sleep until the two of them were reunited. It was an anxious time leaving our little babies at the hospital, but we were glad they had each other for comfort.

At the hospital, it seemed like I was the only one who could tell them apart.

For me, they had differences., which, while subtle, were noticeable. However, the two boys seemed identical to all of our family and friends. People were constantly asking if we would mix them up and if Charlie would become Thomas and vice versa.

At the time, he was determined that they develop separate identities and not be considered the same person. He didn’t want them to be known as “Copy” and “Paste.”

Many of the first gifts we received for children were from the same

While we were grateful to receive gifts for the children, we decided never to dress them the same. Charlie wore green and Thomas wore blue; this helped people tell them apart. I pushed for brown to be Charlie’s color, thinking Charlie Brown would make it even easier, but fashion options were limited, so it was green.

The author's twins.

The author’s twins.

Courtesy of Ash Jurberg

They are constantly referred to by the wrong names and have learned to respond to both.

The boys have gotten used to being called “Charlie and Thomas” or by the wrong name altogether. One story that still makes me laugh is the one about her sixth birthday party. I was standing next to Charlie when the boys’ 5-year-old cousin came up to me and asked where Charlie was. I pointed to my side and said that he was there. The cousin replied, “Not that Charlie, the other Charlie.”

We treat Charlie and Thomas like brothers who were born six minutes apart. When the children started school, we asked that they be put in different classes.

There were another set of twins at their school and they had requested to stay in the same class, but we felt it would allow Charlie and Thomas to be individuals, develop their own friends and make things easier for their teachers.

It was their first time spending a lot of time apart from each other and we were worried about how they would feel, but they thrived on being able to act as individuals.

As they get older, they become more different.

Now they opt for different hairstyles; one will have long hair while the other will opt for a shorter cut. His interests are also diversifying; Thomas has become obsessed with basketball, a sport Charlie has little interest in.

Perhaps the most significant difference is the professions they want to enter.

Thomas wants to work in IT or engineering, so his high school subjects consist of math and science, while Charlie aspires to become a lawyer and focuses on law, business, and finance subjects in school.

I think their divergent personalities and interests stem from the decision we made to dress them differently as babies.

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