Because my girls are identical, I try really hard to give them separate identities. For example, I never call them "the twins" (I use their names), I never dress them the same, and I give them different hairstyles. And on their birthday, I try to make each one feel special.
One Party for Two
I think it's hard, on top of looking exactly the same, for identical twins to have to share everything including the special day that is their birthday. I would love to give each of my girls her own party, but that's not feasible for a number of reasons. For example, how would we decide who gets to have the first party? And would her sister wonder why it wasn't her and feel bad? Plus, having two parties in a row with the same friends seems like too much.
So this is what I do:
- I buy them really cute special dresses to wear and let them decide who wears which one.
- I have two cakes made, one for each of them with their name on it.
- We take pictures of them separately with their friends, my husband Noel and me, and their grandparents.
- We sing twice. This works well because we are raising our girls bilingual, so we sing in English for one of them and in Spanish for the other.
- We let them open gifts and cards at the same time. (They are too excited to wait and take turns!)
- We give them one or two big gifts that are meant to be shared and smaller gifts that are theirs alone. When they turned 3, for example, we got them a little loveseat to share and each one got a doll that talks.
We have always had the girls' birthday parties at home. For their first year, we had a big party. We invited all of our friends with kids. The girls didn't know what was going on, of course, but it was a great party and we have tons of pictures to show them when they get older.
As they have gotten older, the girls so far have agreed on party themes and who to invite. Last year, I asked what kind of party they wanted and they agreed on SpongeBob. And because they are always together and have the same friends, they agreed on the guest list.
It is suggested to invite the same number of kids as the age of the child (or children!), and we have followed that guidance. The girls get lots of uninterrupted fun with three or four friends, and they talk about their birthday for the rest of the year.
I expect party planning to get more complicated as they get older. For example, they are already telling me that they want to invite their whole preschool class and their two preschool teachers to their next birthday party. They have also started getting more opinionated and saying things like "I wish I could have a party at so-and-so place" or "I wish I could have a so-and-so party." However, they don't always want the same thing. I see more and more differences in their likes as they grow.
Hopefully, I will be able to convince them to agree on a theme for a little while longer; otherwise, it will have to be the beginning of two parties. I'll cross that bridge when it's time.
In general, people get the girls gifts that are similar but different—such as clothes that are different but the same color—and for that I am grateful. If they get completely different gifts, sometimes one of the girls really likes what the other got and tries to pull it away. (Overall, though, I think twins are very good at sharing because they have had to share everything ever since they were conceived!)
I always feel bad that friends have to buy two gifts for them. I have been really tempted to ask people not to bring gifts at all, but that's a pretty radical idea for people who love buying something for them. Plus, a big part of kids' birthdays is the gifts they get, so I don't want to take that away from my girls.
After the party, we send thank-you notes to everybody who came to celebrate with us. I print a group picture of the kids, which has become a tradition, and send that along with a note. Now that the girls know how to write and they are into sending cards, they will be able to participate in writing the thank-you notes next time.
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