DEAR HARRIETTE: I have 10-year-old twin sons. Over the years, my husband and I have often given them the same gifts for holidays. We have done that in part because they are so similar. They are identical, and they spend most of their time together. This year, one of my twins took me aside and asked me to get him something very different from his brother. He further asked if I wouldn’t tell his brother because he didn’t want him to decide he wanted the same thing.
My boy is expressing his individuality, which is great. But now I’m wondering if I have been missing cues all along because they are identical. I know that they are two different people, but even I, as their mother, get forgetful because they are so similar. How can I be more attentive to both of my boys? -- Twin Blues
DEAR TWIN BLUES: Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, start having individual conversations with your boys on a regular basis, and listen carefully to what they say. Pay attention to learn their particular interests, likes and dislikes. Discover what makes each of them unique. As they grow up, they will continue to come into personal awareness of who they are and what makes them happy. Your job as their mother is to listen and respond accordingly.
You can start this season by getting the one twin what he has requested. You should also talk to the other twin to get a sense of his interests. Be careful, though, not to talk about what his brother has requested. Build an independent bond with him, and learn what he has to share with you.