Saturday, August 12, 2006


The last few days of the last three years have brought home to me one of the big problems in grandparenting identical futago (twins; literally “two-child”), which is that you can't tell them apart without using a magic marker or something, and the older and more experienced and more familiar they get with this inadequacy of yours, the more they take advantage of it.

This is a problem because in order to assert full command with crafty toddlers you have to act fast, use names fast and accurately. Saying "Miasa, stop that!" to Mitsuki is not commanding at all, in fact it is downright wimpy and comical, and Mitsuki knows it. Or is that really Miasa.

Needless to say, both take advantage of it, whichever either one is, as is always the case in an intensely evolutionary situation such as grandparenting. So the way it goes is, you're wrong half the time with one twin and half the time with the other, which in Twin Mathematics, a special field I'm developing, adds up to 100%.

For example, I see Kaya and one twin downstairs and suddenly water starts dripping from the ceiling. I have to act fast, they don't carry IDs, I have to take a shot. Mitsuki! Stop pouring water on the floor! Mitsuki looks at me out of the corner of one eye and grins knowingly as she continues letting the air out of something I just put air into. I run upstairs to snatch the water bottle from the one who is in fact Miasa, at least for now, and with the delay has succeeded in getting all the water out. She is wearing the same subtle, non-provoking grin as her sister.

Young as they are (an ominous three this month) they know their world and its inhabitants. They could never pull this stuff on their mother, who can tell them apart faster than they can misbehave. So they enjoy being around me. I enjoy being around them too, but not for the same reason. Every time I finally figure out which is which without depending merely on who's wearing what - which is only good for a day anyway - they head back home up north, and when next I see them they're a few months older and have morphed to a confusing extent into each other's physiognomies. If I didn't know better, I'd say they planned it.

Their names have changed as well: "No, this is Mitsuki. That's Miasa." Or vice-versa. I've thought maybe of different sounding bells or something while they're here, because crucial time is lost when you say "Mitsuki, don't write on the window" and Miasa doesn't even react, apart from the twitch about the lips indicating that you've named the grinning twin who's trying the scissors on something over there, and you know you've lost again.

Yet won at the same time, somehow.


Joy Des Jardins said...

I'm laughing! As a mother of identical twin girls, who was the only one who could tell them apart for a long time, I'm laughing....and I'm sorry Robert. Try as you may, they will confuse you with every adorable grin...AND it STILL could get worse. But, OH the fun they are. I WILL figure out who's who....eventually; because THEY'RE going to want YOU to know.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks, joy; you give me hope.

Maya's Granny said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Anyone who raises twins has my admiration.

Maya has twin aunts, Maya and Melissa. They aren't even identical, but when Julie would go to visit her father and I would call, I couldn't tell which one had answered the phone. Not just, was it Maya or Melissa, but was it MY child!

Pam said...

Is there any chance you can call them both "Mi-chan" and get away with it?
(Oh duh! I just now figured out what their names probably look like in Japanese. Is the "Mi" ?? I'm all set with the "asa" and "tsuki". That's cool!)

Tabor said...

Have you tried temporary tattoos? Kids love those. You could put one on the right hand of one twin and the other on the left hand.

Mary Lou said...

It is a terrorist plot to drive grandfathers insane. Although lovingly! and of course Kaya wont help out either will she, being part of the conspiracy...She has told them already how easy you are to wrap around their little fingers! ;)