“Who’s who?” my colleague asked my four-year-old twins when they waltzed into the classroom with me after school. It’s a common question identical twins hear, I’ve learned.
“Well, the easiest way to tell them apart right now is by their haircuts,” I said, pulling up the very short section of bangs in the middle of P’s forehead.
“Oooh, did you give yourself a haircut?” my colleague laughed.
“No, A cut my hair,” P said matter-of-factly.
“And P cut my hair!” A was quick to add.
During one of the snow days we had in February, my son and I had been trying to follow the confusing directions for folding an origami T-Rex when P had plopped down on the floor next to us and declared, “Do I look different?” I looked up at her face, my mind trying to come up with all the possible meanings behind her question. I scanned her up and down as thoughts raced through my head: had she gotten into my makeup, painted her own fingernails, drawn tattoos on herself…
Then it dawned on me. “Did you cut your hair?” I exclaimed as I studied her head closely. Sure enough, there was a chunk of bangs missing right in the middle of her forehead. I ran to the bedroom where A was sitting on the bed amidst clumps of hair that had moments earlier been attached to their heads.
“Why did you do that? You know we only cut paper!”
“We had tape stuck in our hair, so we had to cut it out,” they explained seriously.
I started to get upset, but I told myself it really wasn’t a big deal. Hair grows back and they were just trying to solve their problem independently. Instead, I told them, “Next time, ask Mommy to help you. You know we only use scissors to cut paper. I can help you if you get something stuck in your hair.” Then I hid the scissors up high and had them help me clean up the mess.
Now, when they want to use the scissors they say, “Mommy, can I have the scissors?” Then they hold up their hand, as if swearing to tell the truth, and add, “I’m not going to cut my hair.”