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Ok, first of all, let me just say: I don’t mean that rude, ok? As the parent of three children with red hair, two of whom are twins, I’m basically a walking circus side show. A trip to Target takes me twice as long, because I’m going to have conversations with at least five people who want to comment on my children.
I LOVE IT. I love that my kids are unique and beautiful. I’m proud of them, and I don’t mind hearing your kind comments. However, sometimes folks say stuff that is just thoughtless. This post, and the rest in this series are intended to shine some light on the not so cool things people say when they encounter a situation they aren’t familiar with. Read it with an open mind, take what you will, and maybe learn something new-that’s all I ask. 🙂
So without further ado, here are some dumb things people say to twin parents.
Were They Natural?
Um…yes? What constitutes an “unnatural” baby? Were they aliens at birth? What people are really asking here is, “Were they the result of infertility treatments?”
To begin, that’s not really any of your business, stranger in Target. So I could really stop right there. I don’t ask you how you conceived your children-you don’t get to ask me about mine just because you see two.
Second, this one makes me cringe on behalf of anyone who went through infertility. Luckily for me, that wasn’t a struggle I had. Our twins just happened. But I know and love several people who walked that journey, and it is long, tedious, and painful. It leaves hidden scars that never go away. No one wants to have that brought up repeatedly by a well meaning but tone deaf stranger who asks nosey questions. In addition, it suggests that your children are somehow engineered or second rate because the process you took to get them was different than the norm. Ouch. If you ask this question of a mom who dealt with this, you might as well drop a bomb and walk off.
It’s enough that you see them-You don’t need to know how they got there.
Are They Identical?
The word “twins” automatically rings with “identical” in most people’s minds. So much so, that I have often heard people ask this of parents who have a boy-girl twins. Identical twins are created when one egg, fertilized by one sperm, splits into two pieces. This means both babies have the same DNA. So they HAVE to be the same sex to be identical. Fraternal twins are two separate eggs fertilized by two separate sperm-one could be an XX (girl), one could be an XY (boy).
Also, and this is the case with my two girls, sometimes in the case of identical twins , the egg will split all the way and the babies end up with separate sacs and placentas in the womb. So when you have same sex twins that grew in separate sacs, the only way to know for sure if they’re identical is a DNA test.
Therefore, this question is awkward to me because I don’t know what to say. My girls look enough alike that if I say no, people argue with me. If I say yes, they argue. Sometimes I say I don’t know, and then I have to explain all this nonsense. I just came to the grocery store for bread and milk, you guys. Do you really have to know if my girls share DNA?
Do They Run in Your Family?
Well they’re here, in my family. So yes.
If you want to get into a discussion about genetics, everyone has the same odds of identical twins. It’s one egg that splits, just an oddity that happens occasionally. No reason why.
As for fraternal twins, if you are a woman, you could inherit a bit of a higher chance to ovulate twice each month. But if you’re a dude, you don’t ovulate so….it doesn’t matter how many pairs of twins are in your family. And sometimes, a woman just randomly ovulates twice. So I mean, yes twins run in families but a lot of people who have twins just….had twins.
You Have Your Hands Full
I just hate this saying. Yes, I’m busy. I have children. And I’m trying to get the hell out of this Target before someone melts down, so move along.
I LOVE to hear….
“You’re doing a great job.”
” They’re so well behaved.”
If you’re a parent of twins, please tell me how much fun it is as they grow. I love getting a shout out from other twin parents.
Or, just give me a sunny smile and move along, and feel the warm fuzzies in your heart.
Just keep it positive people! When in doubt, something nice is always appreciated.
For more tips and tricks about doing life with twins, come follow me on Pinterest, where I have a fun “Raising Twins” board chock full of that kind of stuff. See ya there!