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Bizarre Twins Issue

(16 Posts)
Shazira Wed 17-Apr-13 19:27:55

This is my first posting on here, but I want to mention something and see what others think.

I own a small childrenswear shop selling some quite exclusive brands. One of my most regular customers is actually my own affluent cousin, who I shall call "N". She has twins and, since birth, she has always dressed them identically. I know many parents do this, although I find it a bit irritating, but the problem in this case is that they are opposite sex twins. This means that half the time her daughter is dressed as a boy and the other half of the time her son is dressed as a girl. This was bizarre when they were babies, with them either in matching blue denims or in matching dresses. However, this is now getting weirder as they are six years old. Their hairstyles are identical (collar-length) and their faces are eerily similar - they could almost be identical twins.

This would bother me a bit with any children, but when these are blood relatives, it becomes disturbing. But what's worse is that, as I am selling N some of her clothes, I am beginning to feel that I am complicit in what she is doing. Today, I sold her two very boyish lumberjack shirts and navy cord trousers, but she was also looking for some summer dresses for her holiday in Tuscany this June, but mine aren't in yet. I was quite glad about that, to be honest. It's bad enough dressing a girl as a boy, but putting a boy in a dress just feels so wrong, especially now he's getting older.

Unfortunately, my mum has fallen out with her sister (my cousin's mum) and they're not on speaking terms, so I can't go down that route, and my aunt must know about how N is dressing her grandchildren. My mum says I shouldn't get involved and it's not worth falling out with her and creating another family rift.

Any thoughts or advice would be welcome.

noisytoys Wed 17-Apr-13 19:34:39

How does the boy feel. If he doesn't like it then YANBU. If he is happy then YABU

noisytoys Wed 17-Apr-13 19:35:03

I should have said how do both DCs feel about the situation

Bisonex Wed 17-Apr-13 19:39:28

I live in Sweden. There are some Swedish parents who seem perfectly happy to hand down clothes from sibling to sibling irrespective of gender. They buy good quality clothes and they get handed down to any kiddy who they might fit. I have been to a couple of nurseries or "dagis" as they call it and infants or förskola where you can't tell for sure the gender of some kiddies and have had to ask the teacher. The kids seem to turn out OK.

Branleuse Wed 17-Apr-13 19:42:23

how peculiar

sedgieloo Wed 17-Apr-13 19:48:45

I should love to meet your cousin. How eccentric. Is it just easier getting twins ready when you put them in the same thing?!? My two year old is already having some opinions on what she likes wearing, are these six year olds completely compliant then? I can't imagine they will be forever and it will soon cease to be a concern for you. I do know a couple of boys who were dressed as girls by their mum, bonnets, long hair and dresses. They are grown men now with families of their own. I don't know that it went on quite so long though. They seem quite unharmed by it in any case.

You should perhaps know I have had baby ds wrapped in dd's old pnk blanket today and an old unisex but really slightly girly baby grow :D dresses would be a step too far for me though!

BrienneOfTarth Wed 17-Apr-13 19:54:14

I'm all in favour of not letting society dictate what males and females are allowed to wear. I'm female and regularly wear jeans and a lumberjack shirt. My DS loves pink and is delighted when he gets to wear clothes of that colour (he has a mixture of all sorts of colours so it depends what is clean!).

I'd be slightly concerned about anyone who dresses twins completely identically, whatever gender combination, as that isn't helpful for enabling them to develop as individuals. However, if I had girl and boy twins I would be horrified at the idea of enforcing that only one of them was allowed to wear "girly" clothes and only one "boyish" clothes. Ideally I would aim to dress both in as gender-neutral a way as possible (the same as with my non-twin DC) but I have found that it is often really difficult to acquire a full wardrobe of entirely gender-neutral clothing as most of the clothes industry is committed to making everything completely "girl" or "boy" so I would probably compromise by getting a mixture.

Quak Wed 17-Apr-13 20:02:57

Assuming she doesn't live in a bubble, other people will have noticed. Schools/nurseries etc. She will have seen people's reactions to her dc's and probably knows what other people think. After 6 years if she is still dressing them the same then I am guessing it is something she really wants to do and something her dc's are happy to do too. If you say anything you are probably just going to hurt her feelings. It wouldn't faze me although I don't think I'd do it myself smile

Bisonex Wed 17-Apr-13 20:13:26

I always find it interesting when this issue is discussed by British parents in particular who think it's fine to dress a girl in a boyish way, or to dress both sexes in a unisex way, and might just extend to allowing a boy to wear a pink shirt, but dresses, flowers etc are out of the question. It's almost as though putting a little boy in a sundress will damage him in some way. There are now quite a few Swedish parents who just don't see it that way and are perfectly happy to stick little Johan or Rasmus in his sister's old denim skirt with a pair of woollen tights and t-bar shoes and cart him off to the park or to day care without a second thought.

I'm not sure we are helping Shazira, though. I would advise her to look at how these twins react. Are they resisting or do they seem uncomfortable with how their mom is dressing them? Or are they cool with it? If they are OK with it, fine, it's not your business. If they are not OK with it, then you should perhaps address this with your cousin and tell her you're not happy with what she is doing because it's verging on cruelty. A bit of a rock and a hard place problem.

TheCraicDealer Wed 17-Apr-13 20:23:36

This is bloody odd. I'd really question a parent's motives with something like this. It's almost as if she's inviting attention by clearly marking herself as the "mother of identical twins", when really she has two individual children who are different genders.

It's one thing to hand down skirts and dresses to get the wear out of them, a whooole other story going to a designer children's store and buying brand new matching outfits.

YBR Fri 19-Apr-13 11:40:18

Seems a little bizzare, but it is their choice.
Perhaps you can find some complimentary outfits - similar boy/girl sets - that you could offer as an alternative. If they want to look alike then it might work for them.

DreamsTurnToGoldDust Fri 19-Apr-13 11:54:17

Surely she doesnt put him into a dress for school?

SunsetMojito Fri 19-Apr-13 12:40:27

I would find it very odd too Shazira.
I find it odd that she is choosing identical outfits and encouraging their twin-ness (for want of a better word) over their individuality.

Doing that doesn't seem the wisest parenting choice in the world tbh and it would raise questions in my mind about other ways in which she is promoting their twin-ness over their needs as individuals.

Every child has a right to be treated as an individual.

Do you know whether it is her or the twins themselves wanting to be dressed the same?

I'm a twin and I found the step away from my twin (at university) to be hugely positive for me, as it was the first time I felt truly an individual and able to be myself, rather than overwhelming part of the twins. With that experience, if I was to have twins I would encourage them to be themselves as much as possible and encourage others to see them as any other siblings.

blacktreaclecat Fri 19-Apr-13 14:20:44

I would think she is a bit odd.
I have a friend with non Id twin girls and I love how she dresses them. They tend to be in similar outfits but different colours. Very rarely in the same.
I'm not sure what you can do about it though.
I have a DS and am jealous of those with baby girls to dress in pretties. I still dress him in boys clothes though!
(Except his christening robe, but that was a one off!)

Shazira Fri 19-Apr-13 21:52:20

Thanks for all the replies. I spoke to my mum about it today and her attitude is that if N is willing to pay then who am I to make it an issue. I am running a business after all. As others have said, it is very peculiar and its getting more so every year as they get older. I have no idea what they wear for school because I don't supply school uniforms and they go to a really posh private school so they probably use a specialist supplier. My guess is that they dress in identical uniforms at school but I have no idea what that consists of.

SunsetMojito asked if they are being dressed alike because they want to or because N makes them. They have never known anything else so they just seem to accept it as normal and they are both equally keen to try on garments in my shop seemingly regardless as to whether they are boys or girls clothes.

I agree with the person who said that everyone seems to be focusing on the boy because he wears dresses as though that is somehow worse than the girl who spends half her life dressed exactly as a boy. I am not sure why that is the case but I feel just as sorry for her as I do for him. That said, they both seem fine about it, so maybe I'm worrying about nothing. Some cultures don't differentiate between boys' clothes and girls' clothes until puberty and it doesn't seem to do them any harm.

N emailed me this morning to say she was going to come in to see me today but she didn't show up. If she comes in on her own I might just ask her why she doesn't consider allowing them to dress differently, like two individuals. That might be a first step, but I will have to be careful how I say it because there are more than enough rifts in my family at the moment and I don't want to create another one.

honeytea Sun 21-Apr-13 19:44:14

I too live in Sweden and it is very normal here for you not to be able to tell if a child is male or female. The girls don't wear very girly clothing and the boys don't wear very boyish clothing it is mostly bright colours and practical comfy clothes for everyone.

I was given a bag full of clothes for my ds handed down from a male relative, in the bag were (among other things) lots of tights, they are so easy and practical.

It is so lovely to go into shops and there not be a girl's section and boy's section.

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