How to Tell Identical Twins Apart

5:00:00 AM

How do you tell identical twins apart?

I hear this question a lot. And I promise, it is possible. I would love it if you took the effort to figure it out (that’s if you really do know us…you know, in real life, not in the blogoverse). But you may know other twins, so I thought you’d be interested, anyway.

And I won’t lie. Sometimes I get them mixed up, but only briefly. Depending on what is going on in a given day, I sometimes feel like Mrs. Weasley in the Harry Potter movies when Fred and George  purposely mix her up. But seriously, if you want to tell them apart, you really can tell.

1.  Remember what they are wearing. We have only dressed them the same a couple of times in their lives, and even then, their shoes were different. Most parents don’t set themselves up for failure in telling their children apart. My girls don’t have separate clothes closets, but their shoes are assigned to them. Example: this past winter Sweet Pea wore pink boots. Princess Pea wore black boots. When they were very little and weren’t wearing shoes, I painted one’s toes. Maybe one twin has her hair done differently. Trust me, the parents are much more afraid of mixing their children up than you are. Promise.

2. Look at them. I mean really look. If you want to tell them apart, you will find something. I spent hours in the NICU looking at my girls, unable to hold them. So I looked at them, trying to find identifying features…you know, while they still had nametags on them. We found different ways to tell them apart, some of which have disappeared over time, but nonetheless, worked at the time. My girls had storkbite birthmarks on their faces at birth which helped tell them apart, but they faded over time. One of them has a cyst on her skull. Their ears are shaped differently (I guess ear shape is not completely genetic?).

3. Ask them. My girls will tell you their names if you ask them. If you give them the wrong jacket, chances are they will tell you. Listen to them. It’s amazing what any child will tell you, if you are willing to listen. I had one (new to them) preschool teacher ask me how to tell them apart. I told her about the shoes, but then I just said, ask them. They’ll tell you who they are.

4. Observe how they act. Guess what, my girls look alike. That doesn’t mean they are the same person. It is so easy to treat them the same, but they have different likes and dislikes, different personalities, different habits. Until recently, we had one paci girl and one thumbsucker. We’ve taken the paci away, but our thumbsucker is still going strong…and still has scars on her thumbs from chewing on them while teething.

So my answer is…if you really want to know how to tell them apart, all you have to do is spend time with them. It’s really like any other pair of kids that you’re getting to know…it may just be a little more confusing.

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  1. I've never thought about this before, but now I will. Thanks for the tips. :)