Riddle me this. If someone isn’t sure which twin is which, the chances are they’ll plug for calling “Pip”. The result: Pip believes the world knows her name, is rock solid in her belief that the world can tell who she is as an individual, and all is plain-sailing on the twin I-Have-My-Own-Identity agenda. Bug on the other hand thinks no-one knows her name. No one knows who she, little Bug, is.
Not a big problem in the grand scheme of things. If you’re not six. If it’s not you. If your mum didn’t opt not to pick you up from school believing it was your sister trying it on, rather than you, the one who doesn’t, who then sat in class until you could weep inconsolable tears about how much your mother had abandoned you and left you to the wolves with agonising ear ache. All because even your school staff opted for saying Pip over Bug without stopping to check. Motherhood Guilt Box ticked again.
Pip’s real name is a classic but somewhat more uncommon name, Bug’s is probably up there in the Top 10 Girls Names of 2009, should you care to care. Is this the reason? That Pip’s name is inherently more worthy of uttering, got more pizazz, more memorability? Is it that her personality is more demonstrative, more devil may care, more ‘out there’ in a Notice Me, I Rock kind of way?
I get it, they look alike. Whilst to me they look like completely different individuals, I get that to outsiders they are peas in a pod. But surely the result should be a 50-50 chance for error not 90-10. But it happens, and with alarming frequency and so serious steps need to be taken to establish Bug as an individual in her own right.
This is tricky stuff given that her and Pip are somewhat surgically attached at the hip with a good dollop of intertwining friends, hobbies, mischief-making-plans and even sleeping positions. It’s also somewhat tricky given the one obvious identifying feature (bar a mole on Bug’s foot, but I’m not advocating her whipping off a sock and stuffing cheesy toes in someone’s face whenever they’re in doubt) is a red Spider Nevi on Bug’s cheek which is small, but nonetheless noticeable. However, I ain’t in the business of giving my six year old a complex by telling her to tell people she’s the one with the spot.
So what to do? How do I get the world (even if that is just a classroom of 20 kids and a smattering of staff) to see Bug as Bug? I think the key has to lie in teaching her to assert herself in her identity more. A naturally shy soul, she can be crippled with perceived embarrassment (we pass on all the good genes in this family). This means that when someone gets her name wrong she doesn’t correct them (unless it’s me, or Dad, in which case God Help Us she’s gonna make us pay, even though we’re likely to have started with the name of Kiwi Cat and gone through Kiwi cousins before finally landing on the bloody name we were looking for).
We need to teach her to be confident enough to say: “I’m not Pip, I’m Bug” in a non-rude and non-emotive way. Right, I’ll be donning the Role Play clothes again then, and playing the parts of teacher, TA, school secretary, friend, year 6 prefect, Swimming Teacher, and my personal favourite, The Bespectacled Witch from another hobby reminiscent of the simpering yet evil Dolores Umbridge. It’s ok, I rock pink, and if it helps Bug believe she’s 100% Bug then I’m right there.