Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twinspin - Double Birthdays

Our boys will be two in June and the girls turned four in February - so we're just coming into those years when birthdays begin to matter.


When I was growing up, celebrations were a pretty big deal. I still like to make a big deal. I love planning a party, tying balloons, making cakes (although this year it was REALLY nice to have Doug pick up a Backer's cake for Ali and Sami). Mostly, I just love making that special someone(s) feel important.

What I'd like to know from you (twin parents) is how you handle the double birthday?

And the rest of you, if you have some fun birthday ideas, please chime in.


Up until our "fancy" luncheon this year, we've celebrated simply, like Tricia. Let me introduce you to Tricia.

She is an astute and gifted mother of five, with twin girls who just turned three. Around the time of Ali and Sami's birthday I noticed this post about her girls, Kate and Caroline. Sweet picture, huh?


And I love this one. Tricia, will you tell us the story that goes with it?


You can find more of Tricia's pics at her lovely blog - A Simple Something.

What she wrote about her girls won me over and I've been checking in on her since. She writes,

"I like to talk about how these girls turned my life upside down. But the truth is, they turned it right side up." They celebrated with play dough.


"They have rolled me, and stretched me, and shaped me. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. Into a different creature than I was before."


Oh, how I relate! Whether you're a parent of one, two or ten (multiples or not), you understand Tricia's metaphor.

So I am wondering. How have celebrations at your house evolved over the years? Have your twins ever wanted to do something different from each other? Do you have off-year/on-years for parties? Have your twins asked for "separate" anything? What have you done to make them feel special on their big day?

This year I wrapped presents in different paper for each twin. Sometimes we've lit two sets of candles on the same cake. But so far, the girls have been genuinely happy sharing the same birthday and everything in it.


The boys (so it appears) will be content this year with a couple helium balloons.

And maybe a box of Kleenex...

or a bookshelf to tear apart.


Ultimately, I know each set of twins (and each twin) are different.


But I want to hear your ideas. Tell me what you know.


  1. My girls are turning 7 in May and we will have our first friends party! They are on the shy side and have been fine with just family up to this point so I haven't pushed it. I do love to celebrate birthdays though. My mother is a twin and we continue my grandmother's tradition of always having 2 cakes. So far I have made them with whatever theme each child wants. I am not an expert, but I am always looking for ways to celebrate each of my children as individuals. The rest of the birthday is celebrated together.

    My boys birthday is a few days after Christmas. I was so disappointed when I realized what time of year they would be born. Their birthday has been delightful though, a wonderful end to the holiday season.

    I try to talk to both of my sets of twins often about the blessings and challenges of being a twin. The Lord has a special assignment for them and I want them to understand that it is not always easy. My mom has helped me a lot to understand what it can be like to grow up as a twin.

    Love your blog Catherine!

  2. these are all adorable pictures!

    a dream come true. xox

  3. Well, I'm not the best about celebrations, we don't do anything too fancy, but...each one picks a cake, so we have two - unless they happen to pick the same kind (which happened one year).

    Also, they take turns: One gets to choose a "birthday breakfast" and the other a "birthday dinner" and then it switches the next year. They keep track :)

    We haven't had to deal with separate parties, yet. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

  4. So far we haven't had trouble with deciding on cake or themes. The most troublesome process for me is the gifts. Do you invite certain kids for a certain twin and ask that they only bring presents for that twin?? It gets complicated. I have just left it up to the parents so far but I'm thinking of collecting items to donate for the next birthday party.

  5. I'm just going to say it.....this years birthday celebration for our eight year old son (yes, 8- that very special number which brings with it accountability) included using wooden stick matches as candles on the cake:( Birthdays are not my mothering strong point. However, we are spending the next two weeks preparing in every way for a FANTASTIC and memorable baptismal day!!!

  6. I love the idea of birthday breakfast and dinner! I will be using this!

  7. Jen - how old are your boys? I really never thought about doing two cakes, but I'm going to give my twins the option. How fun that your Mom is a twin. I'm SO grateful for your wisdom (last paragraph) about talking openly with your children about the joys and challenges of being a twin. I also appreciated what you said about looking for ways to celebrate them as individuals. With two sets of twins (like you!) I can see how important that is going to be in our family. Thank you.

    Cristie - isn't it? Still praying for you and Laurel.

    Melissa - Ditto to Jason. Love the birthday breakfast and dinner idea. Smart lady!! I knew you'd have some good ideas. Having boy/girl twins will probably present a little more divergence when it comes to parties, cakes and such. We figure it out as we go, don't we?

    GreenGirl - You present a question I worried over with our first friends party. Do parents have their kids bring TWO gifts? It seemed over the top and I felt self-conscious. But when I encouraged the parents to only bring something small, or something my girls could share, they put me in my place. "They're both having a birthday! Of course we're bringing two gifts!" These parents are/were lovely. But as soon as my children are old enough to "get it", Doug and I thought we would encourage them to do no gifts. Just come and celebrate. Or I LOVE your idea of donating to a charity of some kind. Wonderful thought. On the flip side, I've realized it's fun to buy a gift when my twins go to a party b/c we can get something a little bigger and more expensive - I'm spending a collective amount. Anyone else had experience negotiating the present thing?

    Jason - I'm with you. Such a good idea.

  8. oh my, I love this post. But I feel very much like Playdoh today!

    One idea-- we do a turning two photo shoot. :)

  9. Our older set of twins will be 7 in May. So far, we have just done one party with one cake (two sets of candles). They seem fine with this, but as they get older I can see it becoming more of an issue. As for gifts, some people have given one bigger gift and others have given two smaller gifts. The boys don't seem to care either way. I too have just sort of left it up to the gift givers. I do the same thing as you on gift giving, Cath. When we buy a gift from them, we spend a little more. The little boys are not one yet, but I guess we will do the same thing for them. I think same sex twins are easier in this area. They are more likely to have the same group of friends and interests, at least so far. Although, I am sure that will change too as they get older!

  10. I don't have twins so I'm not sure if what I share here will be relevant, but my husband and daughter share the same birthday. The night before, I decorate each of their chairs with balloons, streamers and pictures of things that represent them. I make a special cake for my daughter and a pie for my husband. My husband takes our daughter for a special outing just the two of them sometime that week. I try to make them feel celebrated individually but also emphasize they share a special bond by sharing a b-day. Also, with each of my children, we do a specific activity each year for their birthdays - swimming, sleeping in the back yard, flying kites, etc.

  11. Cris -I didn't mean to skip over you. This will be your second baptism, yes? Don't tell me it's your third. I want to hear all about it and what you do exactly to make it fantastic! As for mothering strong points - there are more important things than birthdays ;)

    Michelle - a 2 year photo shoot. Yes! I think we should. And we can't go wrong in June, right? Should be perfect weather.

    EKW - It will be interesting, won't it, to see what age our twins begin to really strike out on their own. I do know fraternal twin girls who are almost 18 and still do almost everything together. They are the dearest friends.

    Liz - your thoughts are definitely appropriate here. I love the decorated chairs - cool idea. And I think a special activity each year on their birthday is such a great tradition. I'd like to get that one going - one of these years. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I am a fraternal twin. My sister and I were always compared and we were aware of this at a very young age. (I wouldn't say I thought it was a bad thing when I was younger, just something that was very obvious to me.)

    My mom always made sure we each had our own birthday cake. They would sing to us together but we each had a cake we got to pick out.

    She also made sure to take an individual picture of each of us in addition to the pics of us together.

    It was a little thing, but something that meant a lot to me.

  13. Lori - thank you for this. What a helpful insight! I appreciate your honesty.


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