Childrearing

Twinning: Birthday Parties Are An Etiquette Landmine

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twin birthday partyHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

I don’t know any parent who particularly enjoys kids’ birthday parties, but no parents dislike them more than parents of twins. Twins are cute and birthday parties are cute, but somehow mixing the two into a twin birthday party is more problematic than anything I thought something cute could ever be. All sorts of questions are raised by mixing twins and parties, and I’m no Emily Post, but I’m here to offer my veteran advice.

Inviting twins to a birthday party raises the following questions: do I have to invite both twins if my child is friends with only one of them? My answer: if they are under the age of five, yes, and if they are in the same class, yes, unless you truly can’t afford the $15 per extra child most venues charge. At five years old and under, my twins would’ve been upset if only one of them was going to a party. We had a couple of these over the years, and I just responded no for my one child and never mentioned the party to the kids. (I’m big on not mentioning things you don’t have to, or don’t want to do—don’t feel bad about this: what they don’t know cannot hurt them.)

Some twin mothers wonder if their twins are invited to a friend’s party, do they have to buy two gifts. My answer: yes, every other child attending the party is bringing a gift and your twins count as two children, don’t they? Unless you are giving one extra-generous gift, I don’t think you should cheap out and act like it’s a one-gets-in-free deal.

In every situation I’m in, I think it’s important to always treat my twins like two children instead of some lumped-together thing that counts as only one child. When my twins are in a class together, I’m also aware that I count as two mothers, so I have to volunteer twice, give two teacher’s gift donations, go to two parent-teacher conferences, sign up for two snacks to bring for class parties, etc. This is just a good mindset to adapt in the beginning, so you don’t end up realizing you shirked parental duty.

Things get trickier when you are a parent of twins who get invited to a birthday party for another set of twins. Do your kids bring four presents—two for and from each twin? For this strange situation, I will often buy a normal present and a smaller one for each child and sign the two gifts from both my twins to one twin. I do know moms who give four presents and I know moms who just give two. This one’s a pretty weird situation though, so I think you should do whatever makes sense to you and your kids.

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