Thursday, September 2, 2010

Having Identical Twins

First of all, get your minds out of the gutter. Ew. That is sooooo not what I meant. I know this is a big sexual fantasy for many, but when you are the mother of identical twins, the ick factor is off the charts. It’s rare for me to be able to read a book of any genre that includes identical twin boys. I'm talking sexual content, or the evil twin factor.

This is not a naughty post. Get over it. No one can be naughty all the time, or it wouldn't be so much fun to be naughty. My babies went back to school yesterday, and this is what is on my mind.

So back to the un-naughty twin blog:

Once you have twins, you kind of wonder what the fascination is. Not that I wasn’t just as fascinated before having them, mind you. The truth is, they’re siblings. Period. For them, and for their parents, it’s peoples' fascination with it that is so strange.

Before mine came along, I remember asking my cousin if twins ran in her husband’s family after she had identical girls. I loved her answer. “Why do you think the man has anything to do with it? Do you think he came so hard he split the egg in two?” Er, no. Granted, that was over 20 years ago, but if they’ve figured out how the man factors into hereditary twins, I haven’t heard about it. And as far as I know, identical twins happen when one egg splits. It’s a mutation, hence why I call mine my little mutants. Could this signal come from the sperm? Perhaps. With fraternal twins, yes, sperm has to inseminate 2 eggs, but there have to be 2 eggs there in the first place. Oh, and if you’re thinking “But wait, you said your cousin...?” Sorry, she’s adopted.

But I’m getting off topic and I’m not really qualified to give those answers. This blog, strange as it is, is about the public fascination with twins. Let’s start with answering the most frequently asked questions over the last 16 years.

  • No, they never spoke their own language or read each other’s minds.
  • No, they do not like the same things. Quite the opposite.
  • Yes, we did mix them up - all the time. (Tho only for a few seconds. When they got mobile, I color-coded them so I’d instantly know which one it was if they did something dangerous, when those few seconds really count. Bonus - we now know which is which in old pictures! It's easy now - one has long hair, one keeps a buzz cut.)
  • They HATE being mistaken for each other
  • Yes, they have mostly the same friends because they are the same age, live in the same town, and attend the same school.
  • Having twins is physically harder during those “special” stages a toddler goes through, but at least you’re not staring at a younger one, wondering when the monster is going to make an appearance. My older 2 are 13 months apart, and that was much harder in the long run.
  • No matter how "special" those monster moments are, one of them is not the "evil" or dominant twin. They each have their strengths just like any family member.

There are also those moments when someone knows something is different about them, but can't figure out what it is. I remember one woman who literally couldn't understand that they were born two minutes apart.
"How far apart are they?"
"2 minutes."
"No, really."
"2 minutes."
"I mean their ages. What's their age difference?"
"Um, 2 minutes."
She walked away still not understanding. Did I mention they're identical?

There were a few randoms thrown at us over the years, but those are the FAQ’s. One thing, tho. I swear, I must have heard Double Trouble and/or Two for One at least twice a day for the first year. Double trouble? Sure, sometimes! But the latter is a lie. Everything costs double, and at 16 that means driving lessons, car insurance, and the little things that matter - like college.

That about covers it. Except one more thing:
Yeah, it's pretty cool.


Wynter Daniels said...

I grew up next door to twin girls - fraternal, not identical. They were so very different that it made things tough for the one who was "not as" (not as pretty, not as smart, not as tall, etc.) I think it might have been easier for them if they were identical. I bet those double expenses are killer!

Michelle Polaris said...

I hadn't thought about that constant level of interest you have to field. How interesting. And still brings up so many factors for you guys despite the sterotypical beliefs. Good luck in the new year.

Savannah Stuart said...

Cool post, Dalton! My mom is a twin (fraternal) and her mom had two sets of twins among her brothers and sisters. And one of them had twins too. Thinking about all of them makes my head ache! I never thought about all those double expenses, especially college. Yikes!

Terry Odell said...

My girls were fraternal, for which we were all grateful. At one point (I think they were middle school or early high school age) I asked them (independently) if they'd rather have been identical. They both said, "Not unless we were both me."

They looked nothing alike, but as soon as teachers learned they were twins, they'd mix them up.

And I hear you on the expense.

Dalton Diaz said...

Wynter, those judgements are still made even when they're identical. Or worse, people treat them as a unit. As toddlers, that can seem overwhelming, but they wouldn't hesitate to comfort or cajole a single. Had that happen to us at camp, too. I'd forgotten about that one! Or the time we were leaving a family Xmas party at a restaurant. We had a private room and there were about 5 kids around the same age running around. It wasn't until we were leaving that a guest of a relative did a double take and said, "Ooh, there are TWO of them!" that we realized it looked like one kid on speed. That was also the last time we let my MIL give them matching Xmas outfits.

Dalton Diaz said...

Michelle, can you imagine triplets or quads? At least we had a hand available for each!

Dalton Diaz said...

Wow, Savannah, that's a lot of twins! I have to say, I'm glad my twins came last because once they started coming in twos, we were done!

Dalton Diaz said...

LOL, Terry. Mine don't think of themselves as the same, or even that they look alike. The hair makes a huge difference, so it's not as bad anymore. What's really funny is when they insult each other as siblings do, and say something like butt-face. Loooove to point out to the insulter that he just insulted himself.

Amber Skyze said...

My daughter is friends with twins and I'm always mixing them up. I know their mom complains how expensive it is!

Mai said...

Hats off to you DD, very cool outlook. Um, I'm not in awe so much that they're twins, I mean that IS cool, but OMG they're boys, lol. Boys are at handfull at any age any number =D

Ashlyn Chase said...

“Why do you think the man has anything to do with it? Do you think he came so hard he split the egg in two?”

HAHAHAHAHA...and you said it wasn't a dirty post!


Christine H said...

I always wanted to be a twin and when my indentical twin nieces were born and I got to babysit and I was in heaven. what better than two sweet baby girls, yes I dressed them a like and acted like they were my own, I had them from 5 in the morning til 6 at night and kept them over night just for fun. well they are 19 now and what we thought and how we thought'd they'd be when they grew up is opposite. We thought Meghan would be the trouble maker and turns out she'd the shyer of the two and neither were ever really trouble makers, they are both in college now and now My oldest niece just had twins a boy and a girl last Christmas. We are so blesssed!

Dalton Diaz said...

Oh, me too, Amber. No magical abilities to tell someone else's twins apart!

Dalton Diaz said...

I have four boys. I still say better boys than girls, Mai.

I thought I wanted girls until the older boys became teenagers. Yikes!

Dalton Diaz said...

Can't take credit for that line, Ash. My cousin is a funny lady. She's coming to visit in Oct - can't wait!

Dalton Diaz said...

Dang, Christine, where were you in 1994 when I needed you? LOL! Your sister (or SIL?) is blessed, too, to have you in their lives.

Jina Bacarr said...

What a charming post, Dalton! Enjoyed your twin story very much.

Susanna Carr said...

My sister and I are fraternal twins but everyone thought we were identical.

What we hated most when growing up was getting the same birthday or Christmas present (right down to the same color!) We wished our relatives had realized that we were different people with different tastes.

Dalton Diaz said...

Thanks, Jina!

Dalton Diaz said...

Susanna, were you and your sister ever tested? We didn't get confirmation that they are identical until they joined a twin study at the age of 10. During the ultrasound, we were told they were fraternal because there were 2 sacs and 2 cords. Right around when they were born, they came out with a study that proved the egg split early enough 25% of the time to create separate sacs, etc.
Basically, 1 out of every 4 same sex twins were told they are fraternal when they are really identical.

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Dalton!
I'm an identical twin and I have first hand knowledge of those questions! What about this one: If I hit you will the other one feel it? Or this classic? Do you two like the same guys? Or, my personal favoritie, how do people tell you apart? Hell, how should I know? I have absolutely NO problem telling the difference between her and myself!!

For the most part, though, I love being a twin. Even now, I know that I have a best friend no matter who comes and goes in my life. We live ten minutes apart if you're going the speed limit and talk multiple times a day. And did I mention since we're about the same size it's like having an extra wardrobe that you didn't have to spend money on?? Hee-hee!

Gotta love it!

Awesome post!!

Dalton Diaz said...

Naima, I had no idea! Too funny.
We haven't hit a couple of those. They'll be thrilled to know it won't stop as adults. I think they'll appreciate it by then, tho. It's funny how as kids you hate anything that sets you apart, then you grow to appreciate that very thing as an adult.

Inez Kelley said...

As the mother of twin boys myself(frats) and an admin for a twins mothering board, I hear you on all of these. I can't read twin stories anymore either.

I call mine my demons. I have Damien and his brother the Omen. You do get tired of the questions after a while. With frats, I get strange ones like, why doesn't he have red hair like his brother? or How can you tell them apart? (frats, a red head and a blond, duh) or the popular statement, they can't be twins, they don't look alike.

They really aren't twins, they simply shared the same uterus at the same time, were born 30 seconds apart via c-section. Really, they are practically strangers.

One woman swore they couldn't be twins because if they didn't "match" then they had to be boy girl twins. Trust me lady, after a half million diaper changes, I know a penis when I see one.

The strangest question I have gotten?

Q) So which one will grow up to be gay?

A) WTF??? Neither, one or both, I don't don't care and WTH kind of question is that?

Dalton Diaz said...

Inez, doesn't it make you wonder how many people tell the parents of boy/girl twins that they can't be twins because they're different sexes?

The gay twin. LOL! Yeah, forgot about that one, tho we definitely get asked which one is the evil twin more often.

Maybe all parents of all multiples should simply have one response to every question:

"You need to watch the Discovery Channel."

It'll be the southern equivalent to, "Bless your heart."