Q: I have identical twin girls, age 2. My husband and I really try to encourage them to become their own people.
On my wedding day, my mother-in-law gave me a family heirloom, given to her by her mother. She has no daughters of her own and I'm the wife of her eldest son. I wore it in my wedding. I will wear it to fancy events I attend, but otherwise it will remain in a safe deposit box until it's time to pass it along.
For the first time the other day, I thought about the fact that I have two "firstborn" girls and only one special necklace to give. When I have only one of something important to give — whether it's a necklace, the last cookie, my lap on a train ride — how do moms of twins, or just two kids, make those decisions?
A: You split the cookie, do shifts on your lap, and hope the cosmos burps out another, comparable heirloom so you have two of them to give.
When that doesn't work out, you take the long view. Think of it all as going into one big pot, from which you feed each daughter carefully and fairly. And "fairly" doesn't always mean all 50-50, all the time. There are going to be times when one of your children needs you so much more than the other does, and you will rightly pay the needier child the extra attention. When it's the other child's turn to need more, you will provide it. Each will know this is true, both by witnessing it and by hearing your decisions explained as needed. Apply that attitude consistently and you'll get a more workable answer to these individual who-gets-what questions than "split it down the middle."