Our twins are different from each other in almost every way. Hair color, eye color, height, body shape, facial features, personality, favorite foods. You name it, they don't share it.
Even their clothing is unique. The Italian wears mostly blue and the German mostly green. I can't recall exactly why those colors, but it very likely has something to do with the way green goes so beautifully with the German's red hair and green eyes. Blue for the Italian? Well, blue is a good color for boys and green was already taken.
We've never subscribed to the notion of purposefully dressing the boys in matching outfits. Not that it hasn't happened. It has. We simply don't go out of our way to treat our children like life-size dress up dolls. As they age, their tastes in clothing are gradually diverging. For instance, the Italian loves tattered clothes -- the holier the better -- while the German would surely throw away all his torn jeans if we didn't force him to keep a pair for knocking around in.
Several years ago, my Lovely Wife read (or heard, or saw) an interview with older twins who said the one thing that bothered them when they were children was having to share a birthday cake. That year, I made two identical Spider Man birthday cakes. For one pirate-themed party, one cake was a pirate ship and the other a pirate hat. This year we had one big ice cream cake with the Mythbusters logo on it. Hey, nobody's perfect...
Despite our best efforts to ensure each boy is afforded every opportunity to develop his own distinct personality, we have failed miserably in one critically important area. In their closet is a dresser that has a drawer full of community underwear.
There has been no "left side mine/right side yours" practice put in place in the underwear drawer. Britches get pulled willy nilly each day from a single stack, potentially alternating wearers on a regular basis.
As a normally responsible parent, I can justify to myself that it's all in the family, so what's the big deal? But when I consider it from the perspective of someone whose brain has not been warped by years of parenting twins, the skeeve factor of sharing underwear is undeniable. As the youngest of three brothers, I honestly cannot recall being handed a stack of my brothers' old Fruit of the Looms in all the years of hand-me-downs I had to endure. Bell bottom corduroys maybe, but never underwear.
So, what do we do? Do we initiate a discussion about the sanctity of the individual's right to sole ownership of undergarments, or do we let the issue alone until one of them (probably the German) complains?
And if we do separate their drawers into separate drawers, I might go into laundry meltdown. I already can't tell the difference between my wife's and daughter's clothes. How in the heck would I tell the difference between one ten year-old boy's underwear and another's? Check for racing stripes?
I'm open to suggestions, but I wouldn't mind waiting a little while, like until they go to college, to get this issue sorted out.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler