One of the things we’ve been struggling with recently is twin identity. BalletBoy’s thing has always been… well… ballet. At the start of the fall, Mushroom decided he wanted to join BalletBoy’s ballet class. After an initial hesitation, BalletBoy agreed, but at the end of the term, he was clearly relieved that Mushroom intended to drop it. Then, just before the re-enrollment deadline, their ballet teacher moved away and they got a new one. Mushroom decided to stay in the class after all and BalletBoy spent a full week moping about it. He was wonderful about expressing his feelings. He just felt sad. Then, after some heart to hearts, he accepted that his brother wanted to stay in the class and moved on from thinking about it.
I’m really proud of him, but it brings up some issues. First and foremost, I want my kids to be able to find their own paths yet still celebrate their twinness. We are completely unsure of whether they’re identical or fraternal*, but either way, I want them to forge their own paths. However, if they want to follow each other, that’s okay as well. But it has to be okay for each of them. It was clearly important to BalletBoy that he have something that was all his. Now that Mushroom has honed in on that, I’m sure he’s feeling his identity pressed upon. Yet I don’t have the heart to discourage Mushroom.
When Mushroom and BalletBoy were tiny, I thought that by the time they were six years old, they would have separate rooms, separate clothes, separate toys and separate personalities. They are very different in some ways. I’ve written before about how they read on radically different levels with reading and often approach learning very differently. They also have different outlooks on life in general. Where BalletBoy is usually sanguine, Mushroom is decidedly a miniature pessimist. But the rest of those separates never came to fruition. They sleep in the family bed with us and couldn’t care less about their rooms. They draw from the same dresser of clothes and have never said they want it different. Other than a couple of items, like their DS’s, they share everything. World leaders could learn a lot from listening to these two negotiate and take turns. They’re so brilliantly mature about it most of the time, it boggles my mind sometimes. But in a way, that makes it all the more important that when they want to do their own thing, that I help support that for them.
There’s no simple answer. But I’m thinking about it, working on it and trying to be aware.