Labeling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-01-2003, 02:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Why does everyone have to label them? They are 4 mos old for crying out loud. Even dh tells people Tabitha is the "frail one". I scold him and explain why labeling is bad. He agrees with me, but still does it. I think he likes to show people how well he knows them, but it drives me nuts.

She is slightly behind Tristyn developmentally, but I don't want to get into the habit of referring to either baby as one way or another, because they can change at any time. I got my first issue of Twins mag this weekend. In it there was an article that talked about twin boys being labeled. One was referred to as the scientific one and the other was the artistic one. When they grew up they discovered that they were both scientific and artistic.

My brother and I were labeled too as children and I always felt pigeon holed. I guess it is worse with twins because people want there to be this big difference even with newborns.

Anyhoo- that is my rant for the night.
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#2 of 7 Old 04-01-2003, 03:06 PM
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The kind of labeling that drives me nuts is everyone referring to them as "the twins". They are Lillie and Faith...not one unit! I am constantly on my family about calling them "the twins"...constantly referring to them as "the twins" is not okay by me. We use the term so seldom that my 2-1/2 year old dd doesn't know what it means. People will come up to us and say "Do you love your twins?" and she'll look at them like they're crazy. I'll say "He/she wants to know if you love your sisters." to which she emphatically replies "You leave my baby sisters alone!!" LOL!!!!!!

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#3 of 7 Old 04-01-2003, 03:07 PM
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This drives me crazy too! When we were still in the hospital--I think the boys were two days old--a nurse came in and asked us "which one is your favorite? Have you decided yet?" Dp and I couldn't believe it. Labeling with twins definitely starts young. Everywhere I go, people are asking me, "oh, is he the _______ one?" Like, one baby will be sleeping, and someone will say, "I can see he's the easy one." And I say, "well, all babies are pretty easy when they're ASLEEP!" One of my guys does happen to be gassier (and this fussier) than the other, and he's constantly getting asked, "why can't you be a happy baby like your brother?" It really drives me nuts. Of course, I have trouble myself with comparing them too much. In the beginning, Luke's poop was much runnier than Jasper's, and so I worried that there must be something wrong with one of them (only trouble was, I didn't know which!). Of course, it turned out that they both had normal variations of poop consistency, lol.

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 & 12) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#4 of 7 Old 04-01-2003, 08:04 PM
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We've made a big effort not to label them because of my grandmother's experience. My dad was a fraternal twin and my grandmother labeled them early on and later regretted it deeply. I think she felt she "made" them that way by thinking of them a certain way and telling everyone. As far as calling them "the twins" or some variation, I don't have a problem with that. My father was very proud of the special bond/relatonship he had with his brother and I think it is imporant to honor that as well as encourage them to be individuals.
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#5 of 7 Old 04-01-2003, 08:50 PM
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You know, I'm pretty vigilant about this. I very sweetly remind all friends and family that I think it's OK to describe behaviour (Lilly is really crying a lot this afternoon) but it is never OK to label (Lilly is the fussy one). Strangers I don't pay much attention to, but everyone I'm close to now knows how I feel about this. I think it is so important.
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#6 of 7 Old 04-02-2003, 03:12 AM
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I agree 100%.Labelling is totally negative,even if its meant to be affectionate.I strongly strongly recommend the book Siblings Without Riviarly.
It goes into good detail how harmful ANY labels can be.It will also help with so many other aspects of raising more than one child.It doesnt matter if you have them one at a time,or all at once,if you have more than one child it is a must read!!!!!It is really helping in this house hold.
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#7 of 7 Old 04-03-2003, 12:09 PM
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You know, in all seriousness, this makes me think of how dangerous it can be to label them too. I think it is second nature sometimes to compare them, but recently I've really tried to even avoid doing that (as in, ds has 8 teeth but dd only has 4; ds is crawling but dd is still happy rolling around; and so on).

My dd and ds are so different - and it is easier being boy/girl - but when dd's growth took off and ds was still "lagging" compared to her, I got really worried thinking something was wrong. Turned out to be needlessly. Then same thing happened when ds started doing finger foods but dd was still choke-y - again, I got worried.

Finally, I decided that not labeling them as "the smart one", "the active one" and so on also extended to my comparing their various achievements and strengths/weaknesses from a develpmental/physical standpoint too. This is harder though, but a lesson worth learning earlier than I did (a few mos. ago)!
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