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12 Bizarre Comments About Identical Twins

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We twin mothers love to trade notes on the odd and ignorant comments and questions we get from strangers. Most of the time, we’re given an opportunity to educate and for people to coo over our little ones. Standard questions include “Are they natural?” and “Can you tell them apart?”.

I’m used to those questions. Then, there are these questions. The comments I’m sharing here came from a completely different place. These questions didn’t come from ignorance or curiosity.

They came from Cuckooland.

  1. What are they mixed? It turns out that the person asking this oddly phrased question wanted to know about my daughters’ ancestry/racial makeup. The comment-maker was herself biracial and was curious about my triracial girls. They are half Bengali (South Asian/Indian/choose your term), quarter Mexican (Hispanic/Native North American/Spanish) and quarter Caucasian (Scottish/Irish/French). I prefer the terms “people”, “children”, and “American”. “Twin-American” if you insist on hyphenation.sadia2toddlercarry
  2. How could you not rhyme their names? This question was posed to me by a mother of boy/girl twins whose daughter was in the same jazz dance class as my daughters. I am rarely left speechless, but she managed it. I came back with some weak answer about not wanting to echo the plight of the monozygotic twins in our family named Janice and Janet."How could you not rhyme their names?" asks one mother of twins to another. And other odd questions.
  3. Why do you dress them alike? Granted, this is less cuckoo than the other questions on this list, but the assumption that there could only be one way to do things drives me batty. When they were babies, it was because we were given so many matching outfits at our baby showers. And because it’s adorable. Once they per past age one, it was because M and J had opinions of their own.Twins in coordinating outfits are adorable! And twins in uncoordinated outfits? Equally adorable...
  4. Why don’t you dress them alike? I’ve actually gotten this question on the very same day as Number 10. When they were babies, it was because it was way too much hassle to keep them coordinated. Also, J tended to want to be cooler than M, so she wore fewer layers. Once they were past age one, it was because J and M had opinions of their own.J and M didn't care to dress alike on this particular day. They get to have a say in the matter. From hdydi.com
  5. Which one’s the good one? I still don’t have a witty comeback for this one. Interestingly, I’ve only ever received this question from males.Twins in the real world do not come in "good" and "evil" flavours.
  6. Which is the original? Which one is the clone? Oh my. I wish I had a couple of hours to sit down with this guy and give him some basic lessons in fetal development. And manners. Sadly, I didn’t have the time, so I just said, “That’s not how twins work. If you cut an apple in half, there isn’t an original side and a copy side. Each is a full half in its own right.” This wasn’t the best metaphor to use, but it was what I could think of while holding two crying babies and checking out of the grocery store with apple-pear-sauce ingredients.Identical twins no more consistent of  an "original" and a "copy" than halves of an apple.
  7. Do they have different personalities? I tried to imagine the internal world of this person. They must imagine identical twins all over the world walking around in lockstep and speaking at the same time.Some people have some odd assumptions about twins.
  8. Do they have different names? I’m not George Foreman. Unlike Mr. Foreman, most twin parents do not give their children the same name.
  9. If I pinch one, does the other feel it? No. Just no.
  10. Do they have ESP? I mustered up my creepiest stare.These are not the twins with ESP you are looking for.
  11. Were you pregnant for 18 months? I felt bad for this girl. She seemed to be college aged, but may have been younger. Her question was so genuine and her affection for the babies so honest, I didn’t have the heart for snark. I just told her that no, the babies started growing at the same time and grew at the same rate as regular ones, so I just got really big. I didn’t think she could handle any information about prematurity while she processed that.Sadia and her husband, while expecting. From M and J's Birth Story from hdydi.com
  12. They are not identical. They’re wearing different colours. Here’s how I usually handle this type of comment. In this case, I just said, “‘Identical’ is more about how twins grew in the womb than how they look.” Sometimes, you have to pick your battles.Identical twins can wear different clothes. However, some people out and about will be very confused by this. The oddest questions faced by a mom of twins.

What’s the most oddball question or comment you’ve received so far?

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Sadia

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

34 thoughts on “12 Bizarre Comments About Identical Twins”

  1. This is a great list, and I LOVE the pictures you put with each point. Hee hee!!!

    The oddest question I got, when the girls were INFANTS, was, “Are they both yours?” Really??? I could see getting that question now…it’s not crazy to think I could have my daughter and her friend out for lunch. But to lug two infant carriers to the grocery store??? Um, yeah…they’re both mine. 😉
    MandyE recently posted Father’s Day Top 10My Profile

    1. How interesting that “Are they both yours” are on both Sarah and your list. Perhaps this is limited to twins who don’t look alike? I know a lot of people can’t fathom the idea of non-identical twins.

  2. “Are they both yours?” (asked as I was holding them both in a sling while waiting for my husband and older son to come out of a bathroom at a baseball game.
    “No, one is mine and the other my husband’s.”
    On another occasion (also while both in a sling… ) “Can I take your picture?”
    “Sure, Creepy Random Lady with a cell phone camera….”

  3. Oh and…..”Are they Maternal twins?” I have also gotten the equally absurd spouse of this question “Are they Paternal Twins?”
    I have boy/boy fraternal twins who look very, very much alike. People refuse to believe me when I tell them they are not identical. Look, people – this is not science class and I do not want to go into genetics and epigenetics with you.

    1. I’m hunny hate to burst your fraternal bubble. But chances are your boys ARE identical. Didi twisn or twins with 2 placenta and 2 sacs have a 30% chance of being identical!!!
      Get them tested

    1. In retrospect, I wish I did, but these comments come so often that I just don’t have the time to educate everyone.

    1. I have found twin parenthood to be an exercise in patience on every front – with the children, of course, but even more so with the public! Thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. Oh yes, I often get asked if I can tell them apart/how I tell them apart. Now they just answer than for themselves, which I thoroughly enjoy.

  4. I have read this in shear disbelief!! My youngest two are close in age but clearly not twins and I constantly get asked if they are.
    If it is not this question I get questioned on their parentage as my youngest has a much darker skin tone to the others (my husband’s Father is Mauritian).
    I was even told once that me must of been a ‘throw back’ #twinklytuesday
    Emma Chanagasubbay recently posted Keeping Your Cool In This HeatMy Profile

  5. Great post, as a non twin mum I do sometimes ask questions that I now know are mildly irritating, but purely out of curiosity and wanting to get to know that person but I have read so much how it can be annoying I tend not to say anything at all now, but its great to see it from a twin mums perspective x
    Sarah Christie recently posted Me and Mine, June 2015My Profile

  6. I’ve been asked if my twins have different fathers. People have a hard time with fraternal boys with different hair and eye colours! I get asked by strangers whether I had a c section, or vaginal birth, and whether I breastfeed. And always, “which one’s older?”. Neither, they’re twins, and we don’t consider 3 minutes enough time to set up an age dynamic…

    1. Different fathers! What a tacky question. I know that there are rare situations in which it happens, but the gall it took for someone to ASK that!!!

  7. I got a question.. Are they twins? And then I say yes identical. Both I pink and they ask if they are not girl twins….I’m like well they are both in PINK and IDENTICAL. so no one doenst have a penis

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