I've always tried to make sure that the boys have had their own identities. I wanted, from early on, to make sure they were known as separate people. Separate boys. With separate personalities, despite their identical looks. Which is why, from the very beginning, I dressed them differently.
I didn't have to dress them differently in order to tell them apart because Auggie has been 2 lbs. lighter...always...to this day.
They would sometimes wear similar clothes. But rarely, the same.
There were exceptions, however. For example, if someone gave us a gift I felt obligated to take pictures of them in their presents.
Or if Gramma was buying p.j.'s, it was just easier to buy two of the same.
Or if, let's say, Patagonia only makes a blue and pink jacket...you really only have 1 choice.
I don't know who is who in these photos. I can't tell you which one is which. I don't recognize my own children. At the time, I could have told you who was crying in their crib, just by the intonations of their wail. Or I could have told you who was crawling around the corner by the way they slapped their fat hands on the ground, just as I know who is coming up the stairs in the morning by the way they lay their feet on the ground.
I've always been grateful to anyone who takes the time to figure out who is who, which one is which. I've laughed at their guesses. I've empathized with them if they get it wrong and celebrate with them if they get it right. But I'm happy they are trying to know the boys as individuals, because that's all I ever want them to be.
I struggled with the decision to keep them together this year in Kindergarten. We went back and forth about maybe it's time we should split them up. When I got a call from their preschool last year that Timmy bit Auggie and then Auggie turned around and bit Timmy, I thought, "well, okay, I guess they're ready". But when it came down to it, I know they are best buds and the idea of splitting them up during this crazy transition to kindergarten, it broke my heart. So, we kept them together.
On the second day of kindergarten the boys brought these home:
This is Auggie's picture of Chester Raccoon. They were learning "about shapes and the proper way to use our glue sticks."
Here's Timmy's example of Chester Raccoon.
Any similarities? I was trying to picture the teacher telling them where to put the nose EXACTLY, and where to put the heart EXACTLY, and where to put the smile EXACTLY. My heart broke and I was struggling with the fact that I should have split these boys up. How are they going to be individuals when they pack their backpacks full of work to bring home to show me and Paul Bunyan and it's the SAME?
Yesterday, I kept Timmy home from school because he is fighting off some kind of virus. He probably didn't need to stay home with me, but I gave him the chance to stay in his p.j.'s until noon. When I came out of his bedroom in the morning to tell Auggie and Claire that I was going to let Timmy sleep Auggie started to wail. "But I won't have a buddy." I was able to make out this jargon in the midst of the wailing. My heart broke (again, as if it hasn't broken enough in this post). This is why I kept them together. Claire and I looked at each other and then looked at Auggie. I said, "But Auggie, you'll be able to play with Nate by yourself." And Claire said, "Yea, you'll have Willem all to yourself." And I said, "And Ollie," and she said, "And Xavier". And he abruptly stopped crying. "Oh, okay." And off we went.
Timmy enjoyed his day of relaxation home with me. And Auggie enjoyed his day of being Auggie with no one having to guess which one he was.
So I don't know if we've done the right thing. They love and support each other (like on the first day of school when Timmy was crying because Mom and Dad were leaving and Auggie came over and put his hand on Timmy's shoulder and said, "it's okay Timmy, I'll take care of you.) and miss each other when they're not together (like yesterday, after school, they practically sat on each other's laps to watch Scooby Doo). And at the same time, they are doing and working and playing at the SAME things, which I'm not sure will ever lead to their own creative persons.
I want them to want and need each other and at the same time to not want or need each other. Just like some day I want them to want and need me, and well, especially when it comes down to doing their laundry, I don't want them to want and need me.