Being a mum of identical twin boys sometimes attracts curious strangers to approach and inundate me with a deluge of questions. Mostly I welcome it, but sometimes being bailed up by a nosy old lady in a shop as I’m trying to maneuver my giant twin stroller out of everyone’s way can be a bit much! It turns out that some people are completely intrigued with the idea of twins! Fair enough, I’m amazed, everyday.
Our twins had a bit of a bumpy start to life, which I wont go into right now, but I would like to cover some of the favourite frequently asked question that I hear (There are some crackers!):
Are they twins?
Um yes. (They just like to initiate the conversation with a comically obvious question.)
On the other hand, some people ask “What’s the age gap between your children?” And when I say “3 minutes”, I get this perplexed look and then a look of realisation and then “Ooooh they’re twins!” Some people are mighty embarrassed that they didn’t realise, and others just march right into the ol’ twin FAQ.
Right again (!!)
My sister-in-law’s bother has twins!
Do twins run in your family?
Now with this one I like to give people a bit of slack, because not everyone knows the ins and outs of how to conceive twins. But the answer is: No. Identical twins strike like lightning, its the fraternal ones that are passed down through the family. (Also as a side note: I’m pretty sure that the old wives tale about twins skipping a generation is exactly that, a myth. What happens is that the ability to conceive twins is passed down to both males and females but obviously only the females have the right bits to make it happen. So when, say, a mum has fraternal twin boys, they will carry the gene, but wont have twins themselves. But if one of those boys happens to have a daughter then she will carry the gene and therefore could produce twins. Ta-da a skipped generation, all science, no magic, sorry.)
Are they a handful?
I like to say “No, they are TWO handfuls!” (only when I feel in the mood for a dad-joke) But no, we are busy but not as busy as mum-friends of mine who started out with one and now have dived in for another go, and are having sleepless nights with a new born and a tantrum filled days with a two year old. No thanks! I can highly recommend having twins, especially now that the memories of that first year or so are beginning to fade.
How do you tell them apart?
Well, they look and sound pretty different to me. But depending on who I’m talking to, and how much time I have I may drop the bombshell that one of my sons is a below-knee amputee. (I hear that collective sharp intake of breath! Don’t worry, he is fine, he doesn’t know any differently, and he copes really well.) Needless to say, that’s a sure-fire way to tell them apart. Just kick one in the shin, and if he yells: its Alex, and if not: it’ll be Jack. Just kidding, we don’t really do that.
Why don’t you dress them the same? That would be sooooooo cute!
Well in my opinion, they already get heaps of attention with out doing that, they aren’t a side-show act. But each to their own on that one.
So that’s the basics, I don’t mind answering question because having twins is a pretty fascinating business. They are developing very different personalities and are really the best of mates, most of the time, which is really lovely to watch.
By the way, have you seen this video? Its a bit old now I guess, but still relevant.
Does your uncle’s friend’s brother’s cousin’s mailman have twins?
PS: The photo of our boys doing tummy-time was taken when they were about 7 months old by our friend Aidan, who happens to be an excellent photographer.
PS: It’s Multiple Births Awareness Week here. So I hope you don’t mind that I have filled your inboxes with posts about twins this week! Are you feeling aware about multiple births yet?!! Happy MBAW!!