This week, Sarah Jessica Parker’s twin girls, Tabitha and Marion, started grade three.
Parker shared two Instagram photos of her eight-year-old daughters walking each other to school, the first on Wednesday morning, and the second on Thursday morning.
A number of her followers, who have the investigative skills of goddamn seasoned detectives, collectively asked, “Why different schools? Did I miss something?”
Surely if Parker’s twins attended different elementary schools, destingirl57 would have been immediately and directly notified.
But alas, it was a decision that was made without a press release. Parker replied to one commenter, “that’s what they chose!”
A number of mums with twins weighed in, discussing the pros and cons of separating twins, with one adding, "My twins asked to be separate too!"
When it comes to the research on schooling twins, experts are undecided as to whether or not it's beneficial. One study concludes, "The outcome is most successful when both the school and the parents are on the same wavelength and the parents' wishes are respected. After all, you know your children's needs best."
It is not at all uncommon for parents to decide to separate their twins, even by requesting they enter different classes.
I've been a twin for precisely my entire life, and although we were together for kindergarten, our parents decided it was best to place us in different classes in Grade One.
We were extremely shy and interdependent, and had never spent more than a few hours apart.
So, at six, mum and dad thought it was time for us to develop some autonomy, and pursue our own interests. For the rest of primary school, we had different teachers.
Listen: My mum, Anne Stephens, was interviewed on our 'I Don't Know How She Does It' podcast, discussing what it's like to parent two sets of twins...
I've known of twins who entered school at different ages, with parents deciding to hold one back because they didn't feel he was quite ready.
Many twins have entirely disparate interests. Alison Bradshaw wrote for Kidspot last year, "These twin boys go to different high schools. Why they do is fascinating."
The pair were so different they were nicknamed 'Tortoise' and 'Hare'. Their temperaments, learning styles and interests could not have been less alike. Bradshaw made the conclusion, "treating them equally doesn’t always mean treating them the same".
What non-twins (singletons, I call them) might not realise, is that from the moment you are born, being a 'set' is imprinted upon your identity. You're not 'Jessie', you're one of the twins. At least 50 per cent of the time you get referred to by the wrong name, and you learn to just politely go with it. If you want to play netball or soccer, chances are your twin is going to take up the hobby as well. So at seven or eight you begin asking, "Wait, who am I?"
We used to despise the label "twinnies", a cutesy term to hide the fact people couldn't tell us apart.
"I'M JESSIE," I wanted to yell. "AND MY FAVOURITE COLOUR IS RED AND HER FAVOURITE COLOUR IS BLUE."
To encourage and foster two very different personalities within a set of twins must be an incredibly difficult task for a parent.
But Sarah Jessica Parker ought to be commended on listening to the concerns of her twin daughters, and supporting their decision to attend different schools.
Because now, they'll be known as 'Tabitha' and 'Marion'.
Not the twins.
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