Not so special, after all

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Categories Other people, Toddlers

When my kids were newborns, I sometimes wished we were invisible.  If babies are magnets for attention, multiple babies increase that draw exponentially.  The three of us, me pushing the Double Snap & Go with matching infant carseats, were like a big neon sign.  “Come, crazy people! Talk to us!  Stop us in the grocery aisle, especially if one or both is crying!  Ask stupid twin questions, like whether the boy/girl twins are identical!”  I became highly unpleasant and defensive when out in public, because all of the attention made it nearly impossible to run errands or make it to our destination.  No one could resist the pull of double newborns.

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As the months went on, it got a bit better.  I chilled out in my reactions and was nicer to the old ladies in the grocery store (though I was still perhaps a bit short in my responses and tried to keep moving).  We started using a “normal” double stroller instead of the Snap & Go.  Their clothing became more obviously indicative of the boy/girl split, and their size difference became more pronounced.  We stopped being quite the crazy-magnet we once were.
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Now, at 19 months, people seem almost as likely to ask me how far apart they are in age as they are to assume they’re twins.  Plus, a number of my mom friends who had singletons at the same time are gearing up for the arrival of number two.  I’m getting to an age where it’s not so strange to see a second child.  The “twin thing” is becoming rapidly less obvious.  The double stroller, less unique.
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I have to say, I rather enjoy this change.  It’s nice not to be the only one with two.  It’s nice to not stand out in the crowd quite so much.  It’s nice to have my other friends get into life with two.  [Not that it’s anywhere near the same thing as having twins, but try not to scream at your friends in their delirious post-partum-addled state if they attempt to say such a thing.]  And, honestly, the special-ness of twins hasn’t gone away.  People are still tickled to realize that my kids are not a year apart, but were instead born within the same minute.  Even if fewer strangers on the street take notice.  I think it’s alright if our special thing is a little more understated, a little less apparent.

What do you think, moms?  How has the “twin thing” changed as your babies have gotten older?

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23 thoughts on “Not so special, after all”

  1. So true. It’s kind of nice to be able to get things done without being stopped a buzillion times, but it’s also nice to get a comment every once in a while. I actually stopped a lady yesterday with 6 month old twins and afterwards thought “I wonder if she just wanted me to go away?”. :-)

    Even with others having their second child, I still find myself having trouble fitting in to “normal playgroups”. We just moved and I joined a playgroup in the area. Most of the get togethers are lunches (where you have to bring food and chairs) or they are “let’s scrapbook while we watch the kids play” events. I’m really trying not to be a “twin snob”, only hanging out with my twin friends, but I’m still nervous about the logistics of these other playdates. Like, how do I get two 19 month olds, two booster seats, and a plate of food into someone’s house safely………and the scrapbooking thing just sounds like it would end badly. Not to mention that I run around like a crazy woman chasing toddlers while the other women socialize. Anyway, that was sort of a rant to say that it is nice to be moving away from the gawking phase, but I still feel most comfortable around my fellow twin moms! I’m sure this will change as they get older…..maybe??

  2. I’m sorry, I got too distracted by Shelley’s comment and forgot what I was going to say. Scrapbooking lunches with toddlers??!!! Really!!? That sounds nuts, and like a recipe for a migraine headache. At the very least. Go for twin mom friends….

    We get a lot less attention too, at 22 months, although most people think my little girl is older. In some ways, I miss it, but I certainly still get my share of innane comments (I’m pretty sure Goddess’s comment in italics was for me—too late! Too late!). What Goddess didn’t mention was the kind of attention we used to get on a MOT walk around a local lake—with three snap and gos. Insane, I say!

  3. One more short comment that Rebecca made me think of……..Last spring, 3 or 4 of us with twins all the same age (about 9 months) met at the zoo for a playdate and were of course quite the spectacle. About 1/2 way through, we came upon an identical set of 2 year old triplet boys!!!! The mom was out with them alone and was pulling them in a Step2 choo choo wagon. We talked to her for a little while and were in complete awe!

  4. My girls will be three in May. We get the comments as often as we ever did, probably because my two (identical) have come to look more and more alike as they’ve grown. I don’t dress them alike very often, but they have the same winter jacket, so when it’s cold out, they look very alike.

    What’s nice, now, is that they can answer the question themselves.

    Little old lady: Are they twins?
    Melody: Yes I’m a twin and this is my sister and she’s my twin because we’re the same and we lived in my Mama’s belly together.

    Usually, the interested party will carry on a conversation with the girls, instead of pursuing the “Are they natural” or “Were you trying to twins” line of questioning that used to drive me up the wall.

  5. Mine are only a year now, but it’s definitely changed during the past 12 months. I was so glad to see the Snap and Go go (does anyone else hate the way it steers as much as I did?). I still get the ‘are they identical?” question regarding my son and daughter. And people still say “Two sons?” when my daughter is in head to toe pink. And yes, I get a lot of strangers asking me if I had IVF. Um, none of your business either way!!

  6. Like Sadia, things are still the same for us, even at 3 years old. I’m guessing it is because they are identical as well. Although, most people do address their comments to the kids, who mostly answer for themselves.

  7. At this point I am really looking forward to the older, less questions asked while out phase! It’s not the curious old ladies that tend to bother me but the people who think it is okay to talk about my reproductive decisions while out in public.

    I completely agree with you Nicole, that the Octomom story has only made this part more difficult. I was stopped last week while out and seriously asked, “how many eggs did you have put in to have 2 come out”…. WOW, was all I could say before walking away!

    One nice thing though about this newborn twin phase is how people are always stopping to tell me how amazed they are that I am out with the babies grocery shopping, at the gym, at the mall etc. Especially on hard days this encouragement can be really uplifting—even coming from a stranger!

  8. Very interesting. The Octomom thing seems to be the new most common twin comment, yes? I’ve noticed it, too. Some question about her has surpassed the usual “do you watch Jon & Kate Plus 8?” :-)

  9. The first time I ventured out without getting a comment I was a little stunned. I feel like I have to mentally prep myself some days before I go out and when I DON’T get asked questions it’s a bit strange. I must say I’ve never had any rude comments, so I do appreciate that. In the beginning the typical question was “Was it natural?” (or some variation of that). Then it was “Oh, do you watch Jon and Kate?” and now it generally has something to do with the octo-mom. My girls are three and we still get comments, but I think in a few years the comments will die down because people will just think I’m hosting a play date! LOL!

  10. I love saying

    “Yes their twins,
    and well I sex twice in one night!”

    It sort of gives them a VERY personal answer to a VERY personal question, and it puts them in their place.

    I love screwing with their heads, but my two boys (IVF/ICSI miracles) are only six months. I need to get a better answer that they can’t repeat as toddlers!

    😉 M

  11. The best comment I’ve ever gotten was when a friend said “I’ve always thought that people who got twins had twice as much fun having sex”. Well…..we actually got pregnant in the doctor’s office through IUI, so no it wasn’t really fun…..but I like to think we have made up for it in other ways. :)

  12. Nope. I don’t think the attention in public will stop until we leave this island. Our twins remain a novelty. The only show in town 😉

  13. Oh my goodness, there was one day at the mall with my infant twins and 2 year old son that literally 14 times someone stopped and felt the need to tell me “you have your hands full!”. The comments were endless as if I had a tee shirt on that said “comments welcome!”. Looking back, I know most were just curious, maybe trying to be supportive, I don’t know. But I will say that almost 4 years later things are a bit better or I’ve just stopped noticing! My twins are almost 4 and my oldest is almost 6. All boys! What started to bother me the most was when my oldest son would start to notice peoples reactions. The comments like”better you than me” “looks like you almost have one too many there” and of course, “you have your hands full” started to sink in with him. So, because I can’t change the things other people say, I just changed my responses. To “you’ve got your hands full” I now respond with “yes, with 3 gorgeous boys! Lucky me!” And to that comment I see my guys smile. And that is all that matters. There will always be someone who says something without thinking, but thankfully, it won’t always matter.

  14. Our girls are now 16 months old, and I have also noticed fewer comments lately. I think you’re right that the double stroller is more common when they are this size. I didn’t mind the comments when they were younger, but I think we went out less than most.

    Shelley–I can’t believe the gatherings you’re talking about. We’re only now getting to the point where we could deal with mom and baby social events, but scrapbooking is beyond comprehension.

    I’m tired of the “Jon and Kate + 8” and Octo-mom references . And, I’d love a good, toddler-acceptable comeback for the personal ‘Were they natural?’ question. It doesn’t help that my brother also has twins. We both had various types of ‘help’ conceiving, but it’s really not anyone’s business.

  15. Oh, I love this post. Not only did I have twins, but they have a sister who is not quiet 2 years older. We were quite the spectacle when we went out. I was very tolerant of the intrusions, probably because I was soooo desparate for an adult to talk to! (We moved 2 states from home when they were almost 4 months old) But I would get stopped AT LEAST 3 times before we were out of the produce section. I did avoid contact with those who stopped and stared and made comments to whomever they were with. I’ve answered all the personal questions too. And I loved it when people would say they couldn’t believe I would take them all out. Now, how exactly was I supposed to get my groceries without them? I will say, a multiples mom gave me a light at the end of the tunnel when she stopped me and said “When they’re older, people won’t stop you as often.” Really! Even though I didn’t mind talking to people, sometimes I just wanted to get the bananas and milk and get out!

  16. Oh, (because my last post wasn’t long enough) aside from the ‘do you watch John and Kate’ comment is the ‘Are they all yours?’ question. Yes, they are all mine! I loved reading the other comments. It’s nice to be among my own people. hahaha!

  17. i love this conversation. just today i had my (11 mo) girls at the store for a quick errand. they were in their stroller. they are fraternal and do not look alike – one blonde, one light brown hair. an older woman stopped me to ask, “are they identical?” when i responded “no”, she asked, “one boy and one girl?” one was dressed in a dark pink jacket, pants with flowers all over them and red shoes, the other had a purple jacket, pants with hearts all over them and pink shoes. which one was the boy in her scenario?

  18. I thought the comments would lessen as our (identical) twin girls got older. They just turned 4 in January and they are still mini-celebrities. I do have a few other things going for me that draws attention to my children. We also have a 2 year and 5 month old daughter that isn’t all that much shorter than the girls — so we are asked if they are triplets. We also are living in South Korea for my husband’s work. Now, put 3 blondish haired, blue eyed girls in a country where that is rare and you become major celebrities. We can NOT leave the house without getting stopped and most often than not getting our picture taken. I always wonder what they do with those photos.

    I am hoping that once we move home the celebrity status will dull and we can blend into the crowd. Then I wonder — will I miss that attention?

  19. I have twin 8 month old boys as well as 3 older children. I’m never sure if the stares are about the twins or just the mass traveling with me in general. I’m glad to hear it may die down a bit as the babies get older though!

  20. I agree, it does get better! Which is good because so help me if one more parent at the zoo felt the need to stop and comment, I may have scared the primates with a few loud noises of my own.

  21. Living in a very Catholic community, when (mostly older women) would see me and my twin boys, they would exclaim, “God Bless you!” It was kind of funny, because I knew they meant “You are in for some trouble!”I thought I had already been blessed with two beautiful healthy boys. Now that they are 2 1/2, I need all the blessings I can get.

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