Laura Cromer is learning more than she ever thought she would about twins.
As the guidance counselor at Castle Heights Elementary School, Cromer works with 15 sets of twins.
In first grade alone, 16 of the 100 students are twins.
“Usually there’s no more than one [set] per grade. That’s typical of other schools,” said Cromer. “We’ve talked to some other schools, and they have three to five [sets] in the whole school.”
In the first grade, there are both identical and fraternal twins. While fraternal twins are not genetically identical, the children can look so similar that it is still difficult to tell them apart.
“People can’t tell us apart when we wear the same clothes,” said Faith Belcher, who attends Castle Heights with her fraternal twin, Gracie.
“It’s not as bad when [the twins] are in different classes,” said Cromer.
She said the school checks with parents of twins at the beginning of the school year to find out whether the parents would prefer the twins be separated into different classes or kept together.
“A lot of times [if the twins are not separated], one of them will have a dominant personality, and the other twin will take on the dominant twin’s personality,” said Cromer.
Separating the twins allows each twin’s distinctive personality to “shine,” according to Cromer.
Some of the twins prefer to be separated.
“We don’t like to be in the same class, because we don’t want people to get us mixed up,” said Ashley Crick, who closely resembles her fraternal twin, Autumn.
While the twins admit it can get irritating being confused with each other, they will also admit to having a bit of fun with it.
“They will trick me because they’ll say ‘Which one am I?’” said Cromer.
Cromer said she still has difficulty identifying which twin is which in some cases. She has gotten to the point that she will call them by just their last names.
“That way I know I’m right,” said Cromer, laughing.
Cromer noticed, though, it is not as easy for the twins to trick the other sets of twins.
“The kids can tell each other apart,” said Cromer. “It’s so strange, because they know who is who. Other kids in the classroom get them confused; teachers get them confused. But they have that instinct to identify.”
Hannah and Layla Covington, identical twins, said they could tell other twins apart by the shapes of their faces or distinctive marks.
To singleton-born people, twins have a certain mystique – it’s easy to imagine a psychic connection between two people so similar to each other – so it’s also easy to forget that twins are siblings, with all that entails.