Mothers of twins are asked some standard questions: are they identical? (i dont know) which is the oldest? (Briony) are they very close? (yes) are they in the same class? (mostly)
so many times I have been asked about whether my girls are in the same class and would it be better to separate them, and how does a parent decide on such a thing?
my answer has usually been "they are in the same classes, they are both doing well, there doesnt seem to be reason to change things"
after having this conversation again recently, i finally have the answer i want:
i think that our society is distinctly uncomfortable with some relationships and will make up any kind of story to support the unnecessary disruption of these relationships.
not too long ago the powers that be in Australia removed Aboriginal children from their families, we still separate some babies from their mothers at birth, we still encourage new parents not to sleep with their babies or to let them get "too" attached and "spoilt", we are still grappling with equitable acknowledgement of same sex relationships, elderly people are frequently separated from their lifelong partner when one is moved to a nursing home (or worse, they are moved to separate homes) and teen boys in school still find it appropriate to affirm their "non-homo" status if they make any display of affection to another boy.
sometimes, one would think that young, heterosexual, romantic love between gorgeous looking individuals, is the only type of relationship that is encouraged.
I think that young twins are very often victim to the culture of separation just because their close relationship is foreign to the people doing the separating. if a pair of twins are useful members of their society, does it matter even if they never become independent of each other? would it matter if they never had romantic partnerships? would it matter if they worked in the same place? is there a genuine reason why they shouldn't live in the same house? are we silly enough to think that a set of twins must be forcibly separated at a young age because they won't naturally develop a desire for independence later on? what is the real concern about twins? why such an emphasis on their "independence" and "not relying on each other" ?
i claim no particular brilliance for allowing my girls to determine their own level of independence, it was more an instinctive or default choice than a carefully reasoned one but now that i have managed to articulate my ideas i will always encourage parents and friends of twins to let them find their own way.
singletons and twins alike, we know what we need, if only we are given room to figure it out.