One thing I’ve learned as a mom of twins is that people LOVE twins. I understand the fascination — two babies, at the same time! I’ve finally become pretty good at giving the friendly, “yes, they’re twins, isn’t that nice, ok bye!” smile, but sometimes people like to linger. And say things. THINGS THAT MAKE ME HATE THEM.
So please, next time you find yourself at the grocery store about to ask the woman with the double stroller questions about her babies, I beg you to keep in mind the things that drive twin moms crazy…
WHAT NOT TO SAY: “A boy and a girl? Are they identical?”
Ok, you guys, biology 101: Identical twins are two babies formed from an egg that split into two – actual clones of one another. Not only do my babies hardly look alike, they are DIFFERENT GENDERS. They are about as identical as any brother and sister can be – which is not at all! We have not once ever wondered who was who, and if for some reason we ever did, all we’d have to do is check inside their diapers for their identifying parts. Moral of the story; having fraternal twins is pretty much just having two normally-related siblings that happened to be born at the same time.
WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD: Next time you see boy/girl twins out and about and want to say something about it, try, “fraternal twins! How lovely!” Not only will mom appreciate the sentiment, but you’ll get bonus points for knowing the difference.
WHAT NOT TO SAY: “I always wanted twins!”
Seriously? Because when I found out all I could think was “#$&! Two babies at once! Twice the crying and feeding and dirty diapers. I would already be outnumbered! Will I ever sleep again?! Will we have to make them fight it out Hunger Games-style when we can only afford to send one of them to college? WHICH ONE WILL I ROOT FOR?!”
I love my babies more than I ever thought I could love anything, but taking care of two at once is not easy, and on the hard days I daydream about how much smoother things would be if I’d only had one. I could just pick my baby up when we’re out of milk and say, “oops, let’s go to the store!” I could fit through all the doorways because I wouldn’t need my behemoth monster stroller. I wouldn’t need to spend the entire park play date chasing after two toddlers running indifferent directions and having a semi-heart attack.
WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD: “Fraternal twins! How lovely!” Expressing your love of twins without implying any judgment. Win.
WHAT NOT TO SAY: “Glad it’s you and not me!”
Yeah, ok. Two babies is a lot of babies. Even one baby is hard, so I understand your shock and horror when you consider that you could have had more than one in there. But you know what? Having twins is also really awesome. Two hilarious, adorable little people who chat to each other at night in their cribs and make each other laugh and give each other high fives? Trust me, I’m glad it’s me and not you as well.
WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD: “Fraternal twins! How lovely!” (Are we sensing a theme?)
WHAT NOT TO SAY: “Two at once! Now you never have to do it again!”
I seem to have missed the memo that says that two children means you’re “done.” But people really do seem to think this! I don’t know that it’s ever okay to comment on how many children someone else has decided to have or not have, but whenever I hear this, I think, “what if I really had my heart set on three or five or seventeen children?” Maybe I still have fifteen to go!
WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD: Say it with me now….”Fraternal twins! How lovely!”
WHAT NOT TO SAY: “Are they natural twins?”
No. Just, no. Don’t say this! As opposed to what? Artificial? Yes, fertility treatments can often result in multiples, but asking about anyone’s reproductive history is never a good idea. It’s a sensitive topic, and also, nobody else’s business. It’s also implying that natural twins (or spontaneous twins to use the proper term) are somehow better, which is untrue. Unless I personally volunteer information about my children’s conception (which, uh, I won’t ever do), please don’t ask. Like, anyone. Don’t ask anyone ever.
WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD. Nothing. Walk away. (Okay, “Fraternal twins! How lovely!” works here too.)
Next time we run into each other at the supermarket, please do come say hello! Just please, please, don’t ask me if my kids are identical.
Related post: 10 Reasons It’s Awesome Having Twins