Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Twintuition" And Other Twin Myths

My kids. Twins, yes. But more different than alike.
(Ignore the weird son is a goof & my daughter
thinks this is how Rapunzel smiles - no teeth)
I recently wrote an essay for The Mother Company, titled "Twindividuals" which I began like this: 
"Before I had twins I had a vague concept of what I thought being one was like. In this fantasy, twins were joined at the hip, did everything together and were always each other’s best friend. Oh, and they probably also could feel each other’s pain from miles away, too. In reality, my boy/girl twins, and the twins and triplets I know well, are like any other set of siblings you might meet: sometimes they love each other and other times they can’t stand each other. I don’t think any of them have ESP."
This idea I once had about what twins are like is actually a misconception that is held by a large part of the population. It is perpetuated by both the media and, through a lack of understanding, by people who don't have multiples. I am often surprised to find parents of multiples who also buy into what twin expert and author, Dr. Joan Friedman, calls "The Twin Mystique":
"What's behind the infatuation with twins as mysterious, inseperable, and magical? There is something inherently captivating about the idea of having a double because it invokes a human longing for an intimate, lifelong companion who thoroughly understands us. With such a companion, we feel we would never be abandoned or alone. People project this longing onto twins and see them as enjoying an idealized relationship."
My "Twinjas"
Of course there are twins that have an incredibly close bond and who may know each other more deeply than anyone else. But wouldn't you know someone well who you spend nearly every waking moment with? The more important question, I think, is to ask if your twins know themselves deeply. And how easy is it to get to know yourself if you are always thought of as half of a set. I would rather they be thought of as unique individuals, completely perfect on their own. Or, as Dana, who writes the beautiful blog Feast After Famine, describes her twins: "Two completely different sorts, traveling different paths, together".

I watched Nightline's Beyond Belief show on "Twintuition" last night. It didn't really make me change my stance on whether twins have some special paranormal bond. I did find it interesting that all of the twins they spoke to were identical twins. It does stand to reason that twins who were once a single embryo that split (thus, sharing DNA) might have a similar thought process and seem to be reading each other's minds. It does make sense that twins who always dress alike, spend all of their time together and live together well into adulthood (as many of the twins seen on the show did) would be able guess what color or number the other is thinking of. None of that seems particularly psychic to me. 

The funny thing is, I really do believe in psychic abilities and I do think some people do have the ability to pick up thoughts and sensations from others. I just don't buy into the idea that twins have cornered the market on this simply based on the fact that they're twins. 

What do you think? Did you see the show? Did it make you believe twins have special abilities? Do your children exhibit "twintuition"? Leave a comment - I'd love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach

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5 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Justylou said...

I need to watch the Dateline show. Sounds interesting. My twins are franternal and one has DS. But the twin bond is still there even though they are 11 year old boys.

Love reading your bog.

Be gentle,

The Twin Coach said...

Hi Shannon, that's so great to hear. I'm glad to know your boys feel so close. The show was not as good as I had hoped...they missed a great opportunity to dig deeply into the twin bond. But it's still fun. So glad you like the blog. :)

Dana said...

Catching up now on about a week's worth of reading that I missed last week when the kids were in soccer camp.
First, you're so kind to quote from my post.
More to the point, though, I'm glad you wrote this because I often feel like the odd mother out. Josephine and Desmond love each other. No doubt. But they simply don't have that unusual "bond" that everyone seems to mention with twins. They're relationship seems very similar to the ones they have with their other siblings.
Some times, I question whether this is because I rarely call them twins or otherwise single out their twinness. And on really bad, insecure days I wonder whether I've done something wrong. Mostly, though I try to think it's normal.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Gina! I get so sick of my boys(WiMi) being treated at some type of side-show freaks..
There is a certain mystique about 2, 3, or ever 4 or 5 people born from the same woman on the same day... but people do often fail to remember that they are still individuals. The only thing they do have in common is a birtday, and well DNA and looks in some cases. But as my boys approach 3 its my goal to work and enforce that others treat them as individuals and not "the twins" .... I promised I wouldn't dress them alike anymore after their birthday.... alont with some other adjustments... to help encourage individuality.

Anonymous said...

I have a fraternal twin and we share a bond with each other that is deeper than that which we share even with our spouses. Sure, we fight, but it blows over as soon as the words are out of our mouths. Often she will call at the exact moment I am thinking about her, and vice versa. We celebrated our birthday together a day early this year, and later found out we had gone to the same restaurant on the day of a couple hours apart. A few years ago she was extremely ill in the hospital, didn't recognize anyone (even our mom) and wouldn't let anyone near her-except me! I could go on, but I'll spare you! We don't have all the same tastes or talents, but there is definitely something special about being a twin...

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