"Oh look, are they twins?" said a friendly stranger as I pushed my double-pushchair along the high street.
"Yes" I reply sweetly. "Oh but you should dress them the same!" remarks another.
"But WHY?" I scream internally.
I find matching outfits on anyone freaky - look at Little and Large, The Kray twins and Bucks Fizz. Why on earth would I put my beautiful daughters, who are already genetically identical, in matching hers and hers outfits?
I know my reaction might seem a little over the top. But I'm a firm believer in not conforming to stereotype. Yes, my twin daughters might have shared a womb but it doesn't mean they have the same taste in everything.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of having twins. It's lovely to see their relationship blossom, but I don't have to advertise the fact that they have the same DNA by dressing them in swathes of matching pink gingham.
They are seven now and I've lost count of how many times I've been asked why I don't dress them alike. It takes all my inner strength not to scream "because it's weird that's why!".
I made a vow when they were born to never fall in to the 'novelty dressing of children' trap. But of course, this doesn't stop friends and family wanting to playing dress-up with them. I have received numerous 'cute' matching outfits for 'the twins' over the years. While all gratefully received, they have never been worn as they were meant.
But it's not just matching twins I have a problem with, it's matching siblings full stop.
I recently came across a lovely family with four beautiful daughters all aged under eight. They were perfectly behaved and very sweet, except, they were all dressed identically. From the trainers on their feet to the hair-bands in their hair. Four identically dressed children of varying sizes.
Now I know some people might find this the ultimate in cuteness and I'm sure their parents revel in the attention they receive when they walk in with their mini girl band. But surely this is one step away from a performing circus?
Even my kids found it weird. "Are they in a club, mummy?" said one. Club or cult, I'm not so sure. All I do know is that I think children should be dressed as individuals. But some parents just can't seem to help themselves. One mother of twins even admitted to changing both children if one of them got dirty, "so they would still match."
I think part of my utter abhorrence to this stems from my own childhood. Up until the age of 10, each summer holiday I was forced to wear a matching shorts and T-shirt combo with my younger brother. Despite the four year age gap and obvious gender difference, my parents thought that we looked "lovely and smart" and I hated it.
Even the children from the Sound of Music irritate me when they are prancing about in matching curtains. Despite being my favourite film, I'm furious with Fräulein Maria for even allowing such uniformity.
And if this rant doesn't put you off dressing your kids the same, then this story might. When I found out I was having twins I suddenly saw them all over the place. I could barely walk down the street without pairs of eyes following me. Silent. Intense. Watching. I took my son to a party where I was met by the solemn stare of identical twin girls in matching purple party dresses, purple velvet Alice bands and purple patent shoes. I've never forgotten it. It was like a scene from the The Shining.
But what if my daughters suddenly decided that they wanted to dress the same, would I put my foot down and say no just because it freaks me out? To be honest, I probably wouldn't but I'd definitely sleep with one eye open.
What do you think? Is dressing children the same cute or creepy?
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