K, an acquaintance, was gracious enough to grant this interview. K and her twin brother, who grew up in southern Minnesota, now share a home in the Twin Cities with their older sister.
How did you feel about your relationship with your twin while you were growing up? Do you feel differently about it now?
We had a great relationship while we were growing up. Yes, we fought, but he was my twin. Of course I wanted to be good friends with him. I would say that now as we have gone through college and now live in the same house once again, we have an even better relationship then we had when we were younger.
Looking back, it turns out that we really didn't know each other very well. We actually have taken the time to get to know each other now. We have had to change in how we relate with each other and even how we view each other. These changes are causing us not only to grow personally but to grow as friends and brother and sister. It was hard when we were younger because we were always the "twin," and since that is a cool thing people assume that you are best friends. Yes, we do have a connection because of being twins, but we are two separate people. Just like a person would get to know somebody who wasn't [their] twin, we needed to do that also with each other.
How did your twin relationship affect your relationships with your other siblings? With your friends?
I think we were somewhat lazy as kids because we were the “Twins…” We have better relationships with our siblings now, but I think they got sick of hearing about how we were the twins [when we were growing up].
With friends … we had all of the same friends for a very long time (during grade school). We went to camp, and he got the guy friends and I got the girl friends and we just joined groups. That changed in high school and then in college. We still have some of the same friends, or I know the same people he knows but we don't hang out in the same group. We became more independent of each other.
What did your parents do, as parents of multiples, that you think was especially helpful? What did they do that you didn't like?
My parents had a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old by the time [we] came along, so I think that my parents did as well as most can do…
Once we where past the baby age they put us in separate rooms we shared with our older siblings -- at least it was a way for us to not be seen as “the twins” because we had our own rooms. They also didn't dress us alike all that much, and they let us pick our sports and things that we liked to do instead of having to do the same things.
Something that I think would have been helpful was to take us separately to do different activities, to get to know us as individuals. I would also say taking the time to actually celebrate our birthday separately: one day celebrate me and then next celebrate him. We actually have started doing that and I wish it would have happened more when we were younger!!!
Were you and your twin in the same classes in school, or separate classes? Was that the right decision?
Yes, we were in the same class through 5th grade, and then were in the same house in 6th grade, and then split in 7th - 12th.
I will 100% stand behind twins getting separated throughout all of school!! We went to a private school, so we couldn't have been separated [in the early grades]: they only had one class per grade. But [when] twins or any multiples are together from the beginning, they are seen as one. Twins are not one in any sense of the word. They have different personalities, different needs, and most likely one twin will always dominate the other one. When twins are put together in class they get compared with each other. They compete for friends, grades, sometimes sports.
If they are separated, parents would be surprised how well they do. They begin to do things that they might not have before. [My brother] and I were in very different places in school. I was much more social than into my school work, and I always knew that he got things quicker than I did.