May 26, 2009

The Trouble With Pictures

People often want to know how I tell my daughters apart. It's a legitimate question. Most people are curious how twin parents tell their kids apart, so when quadruplets come into play it can seem like an even bigger challenge. Roo and Sue-Sue are not identical to any of their sisters, so, clearly they are the easiest to tell apart. Sue-Sue has a small hemangioma by one of her ears, making her the easiest for others to identify, although that birth mark has nearly faded. Roo now wears glasses. Tortilla and Cakes are another story. As my "identicals" they have always been the toughest to "sort out." In the beginning, Tortilla had a slightly rounder face, so you could instantly tell them apart when they were side-by-side. Now that Tortilla wears glasses it's not really an issue... unless they both have their backs to me.
I've always chalked it up to parental instinct. I'm their mom... OF COURSE I can tell them apart. Until I looked at some old pictures this weekend. When Hubby and I took pictures in the NICU we always made sure to have some type of identifier (a stuffed animal, a name plate, something) so we would be able to tell who was who. I carefully and studiously went through all our Shutterfly pictures before printing them to make sure each and every picture was labeled. Then this weekend we went through pictures someone else took. Part of me wanted to cry. Roo and Sue-Sue were easy to pick out. But is this picture Cakes? No it's Tortilla. No it's Cakes. It was a tad heart-wrenching. After looking through all the pictures and putting it with a time frame I finally figured out who was who. Initially, though, I felt bad when Tortilla would say "is that me?" and my answer was "I'm not sure."
I'm pretty sure this is a common problem for parents of twins and more, possibly even when you have mixed-gender multiples. Afterall, in the infant stage boys and girls have such similar features. This weekend was truly the first time I looked at pictures and struggled to identify my girls. Now I think I had better make sure my photo albums are up-to-date.

6 comments:

Janna said...

It's a common problem with anyone who has more than one child that looks relatively alike. My mother-in-law isn't sure which son (three years apart, so not twins) is who in a few pics. The second baby wore the first baby's hand-me-downs, and they lived in the same house, so if it's a shot of just a baby, it's hard to tell. I just finished my boys' baby books and out of all the pics we have from their first year of life, there is only ONE that we are not sure who is who (they are wearing hats and their difference is in the forehead shape) and we didn't label it when taken. I guessed who was who and labeled it that way and just won't fess up that we don't really know :)

Oh, this also reminds me of a picture I found in our family photo albums of me and my brother, clearly labeled with our names. Then my mom's best friend was looking at it and she said "my daughter, Kara, had that dress. In fact, I think that's Kara with your brother and not you." We're still not sure...

Maneuvering Motherhood said...

My sister has twin boys and I still can't tell them apart - they are 13 now. I'm always asking, "Which boy are you?" to one of them. It doesn't help that I live so far away now and only get to see them once or twice a year.

MaryAnne said...

My brother has three little boys, and while they are each about two years apart, they looked nearly identical as infants. I don't think he or his wife could tell you which was which if they were given an undated photograph. I lucked out so far - my two were very different from the beginning (nearly 3lbs apart in weight at birth!), so it's very easy to tell who's who.

Stephanie B said...

My eldest and my youngest looked very alike when small (OK the youngest is still small). So far (since I didn't keep any of my eldest's clothes) I haven't had a problem differentiating pictures, but how embarrassing if it happens when I'm looking through them as an old woman - which is closer than I like to think.

Quadmama said...

Good point... you don't have to have multiples to mix up who's who in pictures.

jayewalking said...

When my nephews were smaller, the only way for me to know was to know which boy was wearing which colour sleeper. Now that they are older, it's much easier to tell. That doesn't stop me from going through all their names when they are in trouble!

My own girls are 4 years apart and look very different, but I still find myself looking at baby pictures and having to think about which girl it is! Yikes!

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