It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing Balthazar and Lysander. People compare siblings all the time and it’s worse with twins. But it’s not just strangers who do this; friends and family and even we constantly measure them against each other, their physical characteristics, personality traits and even sleeping patterns and bowel movements are analysed against the other.
But they’re not the same child. They’re not even identical. Balthazar and Lysander are just siblings who happened to share the womb at the same time, and we all know how different siblings can be.
Thus far, they are quite different. Equally delightful, but there is no risk of muddling the two. To reduce them to basic descriptions, Lysander is our easy baby; he’s warm and soft and easily comforted. He cries when he’s hungry, settles easily and overall, is delightful. He’s the sort of newborn that makes one broody for another baby (or at least, he makes ME broody and I’ve just had two of them!). Balthazar, on the other hand, is not an easy baby. Oh, he is so sweet and vulnerable in a way that makes one’s heart ache. He’s all noodle limbs and tragic gazes and neediness.
It would be easy to label him ‘the difficult one’. In fact, they were ‘good twin’ and ‘naughty twin’ for the entire duration of my pregnancy, owing to Lysander’s sheer refusal to cooperate for the sonographers. But I would rather that they not be compared against each other, or defined according to their behaviour when they’re small.
As a child, I was always ‘the clever one’. My sister was ‘the pretty one’. It took her until she aced a BTEC top of her class in order to feel clever. As for me? I realised that I was pretty in my early twenties. I’ve also been ‘the difficult one’ for long enough to know how much easier life is without that particular label! (And I wasn’t particularly difficult – just miserable.)
So I’m going to try not to do that with these brothers, and I’m going to try to dissuade other people from comparing them too. I want them to be recognised as individuals in their own right, as more than a pair. They’re very different children and equally as fabulous in many different ways.
Or if they go through a phase of wanting to dress alike and be known as Balthander or Lysazar, that’s fine too!