On a recent visit to my parents’ house, my twin girls were studying all the family pictures that were on display.
After a few minutes of intense observation, one of my daughters noticed that all of the pictures of her also included her sister.
There were no pictures displayed of each girl by herself.
Her brothers, however, were each featured in their own pictures and frames.
My daughter turned to me and asked, “Where are the pictures of just me?”
This moment reminded me of the intense need that each of our twins has to be independent and recognized on her own.
Each of my daughters doesn’t always want to be tied to the other. This is true in daily activities and as seen in the example above, in the historical record that is kept through pictures.
From the very early hours of our twins’ life, we tried to get pictures of one at a time so we could tell them apart later.
Now, our girls enjoy looking back at family pictures and videos of themselves when they were babies.
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It is a game for them to try and tell who is who in these family memories and photo albums.
The combination of their recent resurgence of interest in family pictures and the encounter at their grandparents’ house reminded me of a truth of twins:
Most people group twins together. Even their parents.
This isn’t inherently bad, but it can discourage individuality in your twins.
Review Your Habits
Since we were so focused on individual pictures of the twins when they were little, I wondered if we had subconsciously kept doing that.
I reviewed the pictures in my camera roll on my phone.
To my surprise, about 50% of the recent pictures with my girls were with them together and the other half were with just a single girl.
So I was just as likely to have a picture like this (of my girls making cupcakes):
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As I was to have one like this (a single baker from the week before):
After my informal analysis of picture taking habits, I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t forgotten to capture the individual experiences of each of my girls.
Capturing the Moments
But what about the grandparents?
Well, frankly, you probably won’t have much success getting your parents to change what they display in their home.
However, you can control what pictures you take and share with your family. Remember to capture pictures and video of your twins individually AND as a pair.
Part of the fun of having twins is watching how they interact with each other, so don’t miss those moments or forget them over time since you didn’t record them.
But try to remember that although a twin, each of your twins is still their own person, and should be uniquely celebrated and respected.
Create Unique Moments for Each Twin
If you realize that ALL of your twins’ pictures are of them together, it might reflect the reality that they are always together. This is very common, especially when your twins are little.
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
As they start to get older, you should take opportunities to interact with them one on one. Take one twin out for lunch this week and then take turns with the other next week.
Create situations where a twin is by his or herself and can create those memories and experiences without being with the other twin.
This way you will capture memories they have that perhaps their sibling doesn’t.
Plus you won’t have to answer the awkward question: Where are pictures of just me?