I will be at a parents of multiples (twins, triplets and more) convention in Kansas City this weekend. Or, as my friend’s husband would say a “parents away from twins” convention this weekend. I love being a mother of twins – especially now that they are older. When they were babies, I thought I would never see the day when they would be off the breast, out of diapers, and out of school. Yet, in a few short months, my babies will be graduating from high school.
In honor of the mothers I will be spending time with this weekend, I thought I would share some of the questions and comments that frustrate us / make us laugh / make us cringe (depending on our mood and level of sleep deprivation).
1) Are they twins? They’re close in age, aren’t they? Am I seeing double? There are many variations of this question, and usually the answer is obvious. Please excuse our exasperation because we’ve probably heard it a hundred times already. Now that mine are older, I actually volunteer this information because I don’t get asked anymore.
2) I could never do it. This is a scary comment to parents of twins. We do know how hard it is, but you just do what you have to do. And if you really believe you could never do it, we hope you don’t have to.
3) Which one is older? Do they have the same father? While it is true that there are some rare cases of twins being born days and even weeks apart, and even a few cases of twins having different fathers (they would be fraternal folks), being born a few minutes apart, even on separate days (around midnight, for instance) does not really qualify one as being “older.” It just means that they both did not fit through the hole at the same time. And asking about having two (or three) fathers is just plain rude. Just because they don’t look alike doesn’t mean they have different fathers.
4) Do twins run in your family? Answering this question inevitably becomes complicated because as soon as you start sharing facts, they will be disputed. Really, people ask this question because they want to share their family history of twins with you.
5) How come their names don’t match? Some people choose names that rhyme or start with the same letter, and others don’t. Being a twin or a triplet does not mean that you have to be named a certain way.
6) How do you tell them apart? I didn’t have much trouble with this one because mine do not look at all alike, but I understand it because I have friends with identical twins, and I have had trouble telling them apart. And I am sensitive to the whole twin parenting thing. I have a friend whose husband could not tell his own twins apart for years. The siblings could tell them apart before he could! But, for the most part, parents can easily tell their children apart even if they are identical.
7) Did you have them naturally? This may refer to both the conception and to the delivery. In either case, the question is really too personal to be asked unless you are on really close terms with the parents (and maybe not even then). The suggestion when asked with regard to conception is that the children are not “real.” Really, they are real regardless of method. They are not aliens.
8) Do they have their own language? Are they telepathic? Do they feel each other’s pain? There has been much research on these topics, but asking this of babies is a little silly really.
9) Are they identical or fraternal? Or especially for boy / girls twins – are they identical or fraternal? Again, the answer to this can be complicated and as soon as you start to share facts, they will be disputed. Rest assured, however, that boy / girl twins are NEVER identical. The parts don’t match.
10) Which one is the good one and which one is the bad one? They look like “double trouble.” Seriously, if you don’t want people to label your singleton, don’t ask parents of twins / triplets to label their children.
11) Did you breast feed? How did you do that? Yes. Very carefully.
12) They can’t be twins. They don’t look alike. This is my personal favorite. I remember a woman actually arguing with me about my own children. I finally said, “Yes, I was there. They are twins.” It shut her up, but I don’t think she ever really believed they were twins.
13) I had two (three) kids close together. That’s just like having twins (triplets). Uh, no, no it’s not.
Our babies were less than 12 hours old in this picture. I love the look on my oldest daughter’s face in this picture. It expresses how we were actually feeling. Priceless.