The funny thing about twins

I read with interest the National Geographic article on twins.  The portrait gallery featuring sets of identical twins was particularly compelling. Although the article addressed identical twins specifically, I found many similarities to my own fraternal twins. Most people cannot tell my twins apart. Even my mom mixes them up. Their preschool teachers often remark that the only way they can tell my twins apart is if I dress them differently. A few months ago my twins tricked their teachers into thinking they were the other twin and spent an entire day in opposite classrooms.

To me, my twins have always looked very different from each other--which is funny since before I had twins, I always had difficulty differentiating between other twins I knew.

Still, the similarities are remarkable. They both like wearing the same clothes on the same day. I've tried to switch things up and present different outfits but then they both decide they want the same outfit and argue over who gets to wear it. It's just easier to dress them the same.

Ever since they were babies, we've called them the Synchronized Poopers. As soon as one goes, the other follows shortly thereafter. They often get the urge at the same time and have to race for different bathrooms, yelling: "I gotta go poo-poo!"

When they were about two, they called each other the same name: Jorie. Except it sounded like this: "Jo-wee." I'm not sure if they thought they were the same person but they both answered to Jo-wee. Now Jasiel is very clear that she is JOSS-EEEE-ELLLLLL.

They both love to sing although Jorie sings off-tune with vibrato while Jasiel can keep a tune and likes to correct Jorie on the lyrics. Their biggest argument right now is about the proper way to sing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"(yes, they're still singing Christmas songs around here): "No, Jorie, you don't sing 'he'll go down in his-STOR-Y until the end! MOMMY! Jorie is singing the END FIRST!"

Whenever they play House--which is usually everyday--Jorie is always the parent and Jasiel is always the baby. Or the pet duck. Sometimes I'll hear Jasiel calling, "Mama! Mama!" and when I answer she says: "No, not YOU, Mama. Jorie-Mama."

Jasiel is very articulate and uses words and analogies to describe her feelings. A few weeks ago she got in trouble with Daddy and when he was putting her to bed she said: "My heart is very sad because this is why I'm not smiling." Daddy kissed her and she smiled, "Now I'm MORE happier again!"

Jorie relies on body language and facial expressions to relay her emotions. While Jasiel loved watching the live-action Peter Pan movie (and narrated it as it went along), Jorie's face looked terrified most of the time and she ended up hiding under a blanket.

They've recently entered the tattling stage and love to come running to me with various tales of woe. "You know! You know! You know Jorie marked on the wall!" Before they figured out tattling, they bit each other instead. I think tattling is an improvement.

Disciplining twins is a challenge because they are so attuned to each other that even when only one of them is in trouble, the other one cries as well. Last week when Jasiel fell out of the window, Jorie's screams were just as loud. But they also get in far more trouble than my older children ever did. We've come to call it the "Gangster Effect." They are co-conspirators who enable each other. The mischief they get into together is a hundred times worse than if they were alone.

They're always obsessively interested in what the other one is doing. Despite being in different classrooms at preschool, they still bring home similar projects and if one of them starts making world maps, the other one decides to do it, too. They're forever checking to see if they are getting the exact same outfit, hair accessory, dessert, snack, etc. And if one of them gets something the other doesn't, it's a massive, epic meltdown. Still, I've tried to wean them off this by occasionally dressing them differently--if only a little different.

The one thing that always remains the same, though, is their deep, abiding love for each other. What an incredible gift: a best friend for life.