We never call our girls "the twins."
When I found out we were having two babies I started to think about all the twins I knew and the twins I had taught. I thought about what things I thought were special and what things I didn't like about how some had been raised.
The one thing I knew was that I wanted my girls to have their own identities and to be their own people. Even if they were identical in every way, we wanted them to know that they were unique to us. So Brandon and I decided from the beginning that we would never call them "the twins." Through 33 weeks of pregnancy and in 13 weeks of life we have been successful. We say "the girls" and occasionally "the babies" (for unrelated reasons it is also a pet peeve of mine to call a baby "the baby" all the time instead of using his or her name, so usually I don't use "babies" very much either). We also call them by individual name. I don't want them to be collectively branded for life.
I believe in this individuality so strongly that when we thought they would be identical, I was against dressing them the same. I didn't want to impose that upon them. (HAHA. Little did I know that once it was clear they were fraternal I would go crazy in wanting to match them! Hypocrite much? But there is something cute about having matching babies...)
There is loads of research and opinions on how to raise twins. I am still scratching the surface. But I do believe this: while twins are certainly special, I don't want their twinness to be what defines them in life. Our girls will have a unique relationship, distinct from other singleton siblings, but we will raise them as unique beings, just as we would have raised two daughters who were born at separate times. We hope to cultivate their special relationship while giving them the space to grow as individuals.