Monday, 16 July 2012

A Pair of Number Ones

Life with twins can be fraught with difficulties at times, and not for the reasons that one might expect.

I think I mentioned in one of my other blogs that early on, the Sweetpea and I decided to never let the boys know which one was the oldest and which the youngest.  After all, there was a period of only three minutes between them, which didn't seem like enough time for one to be able to lord it over his sibling as being the "oldest and wisest of the twins".  In fact, this has remained a closely guarded secret, with hardly anyone knowing which twin is older. 

The reasons for this were because we did not want anyone to be able to say something like "ah, so is the eldest the leader?" or have an excuse to treat one as the responsible elder brother, while the younger one was seen as the mad-cap, devil-may-care rake.  We wanted them to grow up without any worldly-imposed stereotypes of what older and younger siblings should be like.

Every day we are thankful for our decision.  For one thing, they have grown up remarkably free of the need to compete with each other.  Interactions can never be characterised by that horrible phrase: "but I am older, you must do what I say".  Teachers can never say to us, "oh well, he is the oldest, so he would be a bit more responsible/trustworthy/more mature."

Unfortunately, we were required by law to put the birth order onto their birth certificates.  So now, shopping around for a school, we were forced to confront the fact that the secret might get out somehow.  Short of saying something like "well, you can view the birth certificates but then I am afraid I am going to have to kill you" (which did not seem like the best way to endear ourselves to a future educaitonal institution), we were a bit stumped as to what to do.  Honesty is definitely the best policy, I thought. 

The first time I tried it, it did not go down well.  I think it was in the way I phrased my request.  "I would like some information on the birth-certificates to remain confidential," I announced to the two secretaries accepting my application.  I could see their minds working feverishly in an attempt to figure out wht exactly I could want kept confidential on the birth-certificate.  Illegitiamate twins?  Twins with two different fathers?  A diabolical secret such has not been dreamed up yet by the creators of "The Days of Our Lives" and "Shortie Street"?

I could see their consternation, and when I revealed the real reason why I would like the certificates to remain confidential, it was obviously so mundane that they were only too happy to agree, and blacked out those two incriminating phrases "elder of twins" and "younger of twins" for me.
 And so now, when will the truth be revealed?  The Sweetpea and I are still in doubt about that, but we are thinking maybe when they are 21, and we hand them the keys to the door.  When they are old enough that their personalities have crystalised into the natural leader or follower, or two leaders, as the case may be, without having the predetermined stereotypes thrust upon them.  

So I am afraid, readers, you will have to remain in the dark until that time too!

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