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“not so twin” comparisons

May 9, 2012

My SIL (husband’s sister) just had her baby on the 29th. The baby was a boy. We were a bit worried because he was premature. But, he is doing fine. the babies are five months and two days apart.

Before she went home from the hospital, she named her little bundle of joy. As you know, my baby’s name is Azaan. Her baby’s name is “Ayaan,” pronounced “A yawn.” They both start with A and they both rhyme. And, she openly admits that she did it so they could “be twins.” and, the babies have the same last name. Even if I had twins (and these aren’t twins) I would not name them rhyming names. I wouldn’t even name with with the first beginning letter. I want them to feel like a unique special person, not an appendage of the other.

 Then there is the comparisons, just to analyze how much “alike” they really are. I’ve already gottne the “Even though Ayaan is premature, he took to nursing right away. I wonder why Azaan had / has so much trouble?”

OK, maybe that comment was not meant to offend me. But, it did!  I am not big on competition and comparing. It is not just the comparing: it is the “joining,” as if they “should” do “everything” together. this isn’t a malicious covetous envy comparison kind of thing (or is it), but it seems to be more of a “I want to be exactly alike” kind of comparison thing. [does that make sense?] And, the jury is out on whether this is a form of jealousy — or it’s “nicer cousin,” (excuse the puns) or if it has nothing to do with envy at all.  HMMM. I’ll have to think on this one some more. Anyone know of psychology theories or research about this subject????   Now, of course, she is in a different city. and, honestly, some comparisons will help her know what to expect. and, it is not that I despise all “competition.” I am quite competitive at scrabble and other “games” that I play. Sometimes, I can be competitive in an argument. But, I don’t feel the need to compare myself or my children to others. Sowhat, J has a $4k temperpedic bed. Oh, her husband does the vacuuming, too. OK, my sister makes quite a bit more money than we do — even with one parent working and we had two. No, we don’t get all of the breaks that others get. It doesn’t bother me. If my baby doesn’t talk as early as others or decides that he doesn’t want to walk yet, it won’t bother me.

But, I feel kind of forced into this “we should do things just the same and together.” I have seen this attitude in sisters who want their children to just do “everything” together and be each other’s best friends. I have seen it in friends who try to plan their children’s marriage. But, I never thought I’d be in the thick of it. I have talked to DH and he understands both sides. (so he says). But, his sister’s comments don’t bother him at all. And, honestly, I understand “comparing” as we can support one another with our experiences, but when the motive is to replicate, it is more annoying. I do love my SIL, but we are not “that close”[Admittedly, her brother and her act like identical twins — if that were possible].   and it seems kind of superficial — and more for the parents and less for the children, you know?

So, here are some questions for you parents:

1. do you have a sister or cousin or friend who is always comparing your children, either (in a jealous way) or (in a let’s be similar way)? Please feel free to share liberally; even if you are the one doing it.

2. how do you handle comparisons from family w/o offending them?

3. How do you handle those fam members and/or friends who want to join your children at the hip?

4. What do you think is behind this “we just have to do everything together” mentality?

5. How do you help your children understand it, when they are old enough?

I admit that since SIL is in a different city and we rarely get to see her, I might be a bit too paranoyed. I should probably just leave it alone and deal with it when it comes up, (as infrequent as it will be). It just bothered me, though and wondered how others had handled these issues.



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