Baker’s Dozen – Things Parents of Twins, Triplets, & More Hate to Hear

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.

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14 Responses to Baker’s Dozen – Things Parents of Twins, Triplets, & More Hate to Hear

  1. Liz Williams says:

    Yep, much of this sounds familiar.
    I was amazed at how many women told me, Oh, they always wanted twins! Of course, twins are a blessing and a marvel and once you know they are coming you want them as you want any child. But somehow it just never occurred to me that I COULD have twins, so I was stunned that so many people would wish for this. Especially since by then I knew already what a handful one newborn can be … and what a number a singleton can do on your body … and that multiples are high-risk pregnancies. I think people just don’t think about all that.
    Of course, twins often come early and so are often smaller babies, too. Ours broke that mold, were overdue (twice!) and weighed in at 7’4″ and 8’11”.
    What I remember about being a new mom of twins was feeling famous (for the first and only time in my life). We had moved to Washington just two month before Joan and Theresa arrived. I was ginormous, of course, hard to miss, I guess, and I wasn’t yet accustomed to how everyone knows your business in a small town. After they were born I was amazed at how many strangers came up to see them whenever I took them out. So many people, all talking to me like they knew me … when I had no clue who they were!
    It’s been fun!

  2. Kim Gisburne says:

    “Were you on fertility drugs?” A good response to the nosey stranger- “Hmm. Interesting question. Why do you ask?” My favorite was always the “I could never do that” comment. Really? And what would you do if you found yourself a parent of twins? Give one away? Sheesh.

    Btw, it’s the “Mothers of Twins Without the Twins Club” 😉

  3. martha hamilton says:

    My sister had triplets. 2 boys and a girl. She is only 5’1″. I was and still am impressed with the way she handled them. She was amazing. she nusrsed them. A different one at each feeding. She never had any outside help, expect for one of us went over there to help her. I remember they had a big bean bag chair and they would be in there together. Too cute!!
    I have to admit I have asked #4. I like #13. Do people really think that?
    I wonder how many others in our class had twins?

  4. Jane Lohman says:

    My answer to number 4 would be…yes they have legs!!!!

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  6. Great list! My favorite response to the “Are they natural?” question is, “Nope! They’re plastic!” 🙂

  7. Mama's FAVORITE twin says:

    Katy’s Baker’s Dozen (Questions I get asked as a twin)

    1. Can you guys read each other’s minds? Sometimes. Although I am close to all my sisters, Jacci and I understand each other the most. We can tell when the other’s upset just by a passing glance, and usually, in that same instance, why. We know when the other is lying or hiding something. And yes, there has been an instances where I get this gut feeling that something is just wrong with Jacci, even if were miles apart.

    2. Do you wish you didn’t have a twin? What an awful question. I love the fact that I have a twin. All those awkward family events you had to suffer through ALL ALONE I had Jacci to suffer there with me. And those family vacations where your siblings left you to play on the beach by yourself, me and Jacci were busy sharing buckets to build sand castles. Everything is better when there’s someone there with you.

    3. …so you guys must be fraternal? This is the worst conversation starter. I’m a boring brunette and Jacci is a ravishing redhead. Obviously were not identical. Your fancy use of words and self thought smarts do not impress me. Like Mama, this is information I now provide before I am asked.

    4. Are you guys best friends? Yes.

    5. (In response to my question above) Do you guys do everything together? I can not even begin to tell you how lame this is. Here’s my automated response: “I am a band geek, and Jacci runs cross country and track. So no.” And NO we do not have the same friends. WE ARE TWO SEPARATE PEOPLE, with separate goals, interests and friends.

    6. Have you guys ever fallen for the same guy? (yes, I get asked this often) No, we have separate thoughts on the whole boy thing. I like long relationships with goofy guys that do the most odd ball things. Jacci is too driven to be tied down with silly high school relationships. Sometimes I wish I were more like her.

    7. Who’s older? I AM! WOOHOO! I WIN! I WIN! (I love this question :D)

    8. Who’s smarter? Ok, really? No one likes to be put on the spot like that. If you say “I am” you’re the cocky one, if you say “she is” you’re the dumb one. It’s lose, lose. And Jacci is significantly smarter then me, but if I do say so myself, I’m the pretty one. ;]

    9. If we invite you, does that mean we have to invite Jacci too? I got asked this more when I was lil, but it always bothered me. Jacci and I are very close, but we aren’t attached to the hip. If your child is friends with a twin but not their other half, tell them it’s okay to invite her/him to their birthday party without inviting the other. Really, I promise, there will be no hate feelings.

    10. Do you guys ever fight? Everyone fights with their siblings. Jacci and I fight rarely, but when we do it’s usually a huge, terrible scream fest which is resolved after an hour or two of crying.

    11. Do you guys leave your sisters out of everything you do? It’s the other way around. Since we have each other, and since we’re the youngest, we get left out of the “Big Girl” outings. However, this is rare now that we are older.

    12. Are you guys going to college together? We are both going to college at the same time. However, we’re going to the one that fits us and what we want to do with our lives, independently of each other. If that ends up being the same school then we will. If it doesn’t… then it doesn’t.

    13. What will you guys do if you don’t go to the same school? I left this one for the end because it makes me sad. I don’t know. I’ve stressed that were very separate people, but we’re also really close. If something bothers me, I know I can always go talk to her about it. If I get scared of the storm outside, I know that she’ll always let me crawl in bed with her, no matter what time of night, or how old I get. I don’t think I’ve been away from her for longer then a week since we’ve been born. So I don’t know what will happen if we end up going to different schools. But I do know i don’t have to worry about that til August. As Mama says: “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it”.

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