The girls are very into "Sameness". When given a choice, they'll most likely choose to wear the same clothes, eat the same thing, play with the same toys. Nearly always.
Most of the time we go along with these choices. They are making them. We're not forcing it. It's their relationship, we stand back a bit. Playing the role of interested observer in a different culture.
But we do offer and encourage difference between them, allowing them an opportunity to make different choices. If they want to. We do. Honestly.
Then there are the occasions where we will feel the need to make a choice of difference for them; to thrust difference in their laps without necessarily obtaining consent first.
Let me say this clearly: in our case, this almost always backfires. Gloriously. Leaving us in a state of sheer agitation, wondering why we ever tried to force a choice anyway.
Our current issue is with a toy bought over the Christmas holidays. A Clarice doe from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer to be specific. In a moment of what we considered to be "Parental Knowing", we bought one Rudolph and one Clarice. I guess we figured, "Heck, they're both reindeer, and isn't the main character cooler than the side-cast? Surely the girls will enjoy having one of each.
Oh. We were wrong.
At the time, it all seemed to be okay. Ashlyn took to Clarice and Caedance had a begrudging acceptance of Rudolph, despite his not being tan and not having a bow on his head. Peace was maintained. (Of course, the threat of Santa skipping the houses of squabbling children may have helped).
Flash forward several months later and all pretense of accepting the clearly "sub par" reindeer (aka Rudolph) is gone. No amount of reasoning will convince Caedance that she doesn't want Clarice more than anything in the world. No amount of trickery or bribery on our part will make her stop fighting for it, attempting to pull it from her sister's vise grip. No amount. At all.
For Ashlyn's part, she's doing a fine job of rubbing it in too.
"Oh, look at this soft tan reindeer." Batting her eyes.
(Caedance: "I want a tan reindeer!").
"Look at her polka dot bow!" Gush. Gush. Gush.
(Caedance: "I only want a toy with a polka dot bow!")
"See how this toy has a soft white belly?" Wink. Wink.
(Caedance: "I ONLY want toys with soft white bellies!")
Shooing them from the room only means they get louder. Walking away from the fighting/whining only means they'll follow you around; Ashlyn silently daring you to take action against her rightful claim on said toy, and Caedance quite vocally insisting that you do just that.
Ignoring them only works for so long before you begin seeing flames and clutching your hands.
The only thing to do is to deal with it. Head on.
"Caedance, Clarice belongs to Ashlyn. Go find another toy. Or go to Time Out."
"Ashlyn, stop antagonizing Caedance, or you're going to your room. Without Clarice."
End of story.
I wish I could say it is the end of the whining. But there has been some improvement. Caedance has decided rolled up socks make an adequate substitute for tan, white bellied, polka dot-bow-sporting reindeer. She has emptied out the sock drawer and is laying all their new, brightly colored socks out in order of preference.
Ashlyn has tired of trying to entice disobedience out of her twin, and has settled on playing "Steam Roller" with Clarice instead. Watching her lay the reindeer on the rug and then roll over her while saying, "Bye-Bye, Clarice" in a high pitched voice has a certain entertainment value.
And so with this temporary truce, Dan and I are left to question our judgments in light of our daughters' apparent preferences. They prefer "Sameness" right now. And maybe they will for awhile. Perhaps not all twins are like this, but at this moment, this is what we've got.
I could choose to be annoyed. But I'm not. I like dressing them alike. I like seeing two little clones prancing about. I do, and I'm not ashamed to say that. I doubt they'll always be like this. (And maybe some part of me wishes they could be). But right now I accept them just the way they are.
Same. Different. It's all good.