As parents of multiples, we all go the extra mile to give our children a sense of individuality. From spending time alone with each child to taxiing them to different after-school activities, we’re conscientious about allowing them their own experiences. Yet try as we might, there’s one thing that all twins and triplets have to share and that’s their birthday. But they don’t have to share the limelight, do they?
Two For the Price of One
One of the advantages of having two or more kids born on the same day is a bigger bang for your party-planning buck. Jenn Duke’s five-year-old identical twin sons, Camron and Caden are born two days shy of older brother Jaxon. Since Duke can combine all three celebrations into one day, her children’s parties are big events. “One year we had pony rides at our house; another we had the Creature Teacher who brought cool animals for guests to touch,” she explains. If her three kids had been born months apart, she couldn’t have afforded such extravagances.
Jenny Davies took a similar approach when her fraternal twin sons, Taylor and Tyler, now 19-years-old, were young. “I used to order a bouncer for the entire day,” she recalls. This busy mom not only had a money-saving plan but stamina, too—she’d have a birthday party in the morning for her boys and then another in the afternoon for her older daughter, Tracy. “I thought I’d better get my money’s worth!” she laughs.
Some venues may even cut you a discount for reserving their location two days in a row allowing you to have back-to-back parties. (Talk about a long weekend!) Once Sue Stanton’s 10-year-old twins, Amanda and Evan, hit the school years, it was obvious that two parties were their new reality. “They wanted their own celebrations with their own friends,” explains another mom of multiples. “To make it easier on myself, I booked the same venue but kept the boys and girls separate with separate cakes.”
But soon Stanton found that the boys and girls couldn’t combine easily at the same party so two years ago she took the plunge and planned two parties on two separate days. She’s never looked back. “I do one party on Saturday and one on Sunday and they each get to choose their own friends and venue,” she says. “It’s worked out great. It’s nice that we can focus on one child at a time and they can each choose what they want to do without having to compromise on this one day.”
Mixing It Up
Don’t have the fortitude for a two-day birthday-party marathon? Then do as Ann Wieczkowski and instead try two complementing themes within the same party. “One daughter is a tomboy while the other is not,” explains mom of 11-year-old identical twin girls, Chloe and Sydney. To compensate for their stylistic differences, Wieczkowski combines two different ideas that are related to one another. For instance, one year she threw a mermaid-pirate party. “We had a treasure hunt and gave the kids a pirate map wrapped around fake jewels and eye patches. For the mermaid theme we did sand art and had inflatable pools all around with plastic fish,” she says. “It was one party but they each showed their individuality by picking a craft or game that went with their theme.”
Parent Randi Kulis loves the hodgepodge approach. “Because of their different interests, we may have a car piñata, plates and cups for Spencer’s side of things and Lego balloons and Lego plates for Parker,” she says of her eight-year-old identical twin sons. “Generally, we work together to come up with games they both like or they compromise. They each have their own guest list, which further helps with keeping the party more their own. Although there’s no separation at the party, each boy has a sense of self at the celebration; it just looks a little eclectic.”
Let Them Eat Cake
When it comes to celebrating your multiples’ birthdays, the two-versus-one-cake debate and whether you should sing “Happy Birthday” once or twice draws a lot of discussion among moms of twins as well.
“For their first birthday, I did cupcakes, so each baby had his and her own,” says mother Sharon Mandrano of her nine-year-old fraternal triplets, Tressa, Gabrielle and Nicholas. During her twins’ early years, Lora Kaprowski kept her parties simple by decorating half a sheet cake for James and the other half for co-twin Juliana.
No-fuss celebration during the first few years is a great idea as most twins and triplets won’t remember the day but around their third birthday, it’s worth the effort to surprise each of your twins with their very own cake. It’s a tradition that Amanda Nethero, editor of the blog Multiples and More is adamant about—she’s given each of her two-year-old twins, Jillian and Aaron, a cake of their own from the get-go. “This is really important to me because my brother and I are born a day apart and I hated having to share a cake with him growing up,” she explains. “And I’m pretty sure he felt the same way when he was in high school and had to have a Snow White cake for his birthday.”
And what about singing “Happy Birthday” twice? Does it really make a difference by positively contributing to your multiples’ sense of self? Cathleen Mallon Sita sums it up best. “I think the sweetest thing is the look on both of the boys’ faces when we sing to each of them individually,” says mother to seven-year-old identical twins, Charlie and Luke. “For so much of their lives they are talked about as ‘the twins’ or ‘the boys,’ even though everyone makes it a point to treat them as individuals. I just love to see their faces when each is singing to his brother and being sung to individually. It’s priceless!”