Twinsburg Movie in the Works

Twin celebration season is right around the corner.

Next week, the Multiples of America (formerly NOMOTC) will be holding their annual convention right here in Austin. Will I see any of you there?

Twins Days in Twinsburg Ohio is at the beginning of next month. Jen B has taken her kids in the past. Jen W’s family are regulars. Have you ever been?

This year, twin brothers are even filming a movie there, a movie about twinhood, interdependence and independence. “TWINSBURG is a dramatic comedy about identical brothers reconnecting at the world’s largest gathering of twins.

We recently received an email from Jessica Kelly telling us about the movie Twinsburg.

I’m part of a small crew of folks from the San Francisco Bay Area who are making a short film about two twins who grow apart and find themselves reconnecting at the Twins Days festival in Ohio. Since I got to read all of your twins-love, I thought we could share some of ours!

We’d love to hear your thoughts and gain some support as well. Let us know what you think!

Identical twin Joe Garrity and fellow Bay Area multiples need your help making a short film this summer at the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio! We’re crowd-funding our production budget and asking friends and families of twins to help make this independent project about twins, by twins, a reality. Check out the Kickstarter page, pledge your donations, and help spread the word!

You can also follow the movie on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @twinsburgmovie

Thank You, Derrick Coleman

I am no sports fan. I managed to completely forget that the Super Bowl was yesterday until a friend pointed it out when I invited her family over to dinner Sunday night.

I am, however, a fan of Derrick Coleman, player for the Seattle Seahawks (my daughters’ team, by the way, thanks to a Daddy and Grampy who are fans).

Here’s why.


See more US News from ABC|ABC World News

I could probably write a ton about why it’s important for people in the public eye to show compassion and generosity. I could go on and on about how important is it to see people with disabilities in professions unrelated to their disabilities. I could go on forever about why it’s important to acknowledge the challenges faced by those with special needs while at the same time letting them know that they can accomplish great things. But the video says it all.

Thank you, Derrick Coleman.

So, be honest. Did you cry watching this too?

Identical Twins, Separated at Birth by 7000 Miles

I just heard a story on the radio show The World that made me pull over in the nearest parking lot. I wanted to concentrate on the story and wasn’t sure I could trust my driving until I’d gathered my thoughts. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

A young American man, Dan Matthews, was adopted from South Korea when he was an infant. After many years of choosing not to, he decided to see whether the adoption agency involved could help him locate his birth parents. When they responded, he learned that not only were his birth parents still married, he had a sister and a twin brother. Genetic testing eventually found them to be identical twins.

I confess that I’m as fascinated as the next person by stories of twins separated at birth. I often wonder about how many of my identical daughters’ similarities can be chalked up to simply being raised in the same home with the same set of expectations. Looking at twins who never crossed paths between birth and adulthood is a window into what sorts of things genetics can contribute to. That said, I expect those stories to be about older people, from a time before people understood how much a newborn can understand, from a time before people understood that the twin bond starts in utero.

I look at my daughters, M and J. I see the primacy that Sister holds in their lives. As they tell me, frequently, “Sissy is the importantest person in my life.” They get on each other’s nerves more often than I like to admit, but they share a bond that I can only watch and wonder at. I will never experience anything so visceral, intense, and beautiful. The mother-child bond comes close, but the twin bond as something else.

Separating multiples, whether identical or fraternal, seems to me to be a form of abuse. Dan, the American brother, is impressive in his forgiveness. He says that although he’s never asked directly why his birth parents chose to relinquish their rights to raise him, he suspects that they were unable to afford his early medical care.

The two brothers-by-birth-only are both rappers. They share quirks such as the way they eat. It sounds like Dan’s parents are wonderful ones, supportive and accepting. Perhaps he wouldn’t have survived had his birth parents been responsible for his infant medical care. Perhaps separating the brothers was the right call.

What I know is that I, having seen twinship up close and personal, would never in a million years want my daughters or any other multiples to be raised separately unless they so choose. When my ex and I divorced, there was no question that the girls would stay together, whichever parent were to raise them. My sister is adopted. Her biological mother was a child herself, so my sister probably has biological siblings out there in the world. I don’t consider that separation to be abusive. There is something special about multiples. I’m pretty sure I thought that even before I got to join the exclusive club that is the twin universe.

What are your thoughts on separating twins to be raised by different parents? Does it make a difference if they’re fraternal as opposed to identical?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school in order to better protect their privacy and was delighted to have the opportunity to keep a foot in the blogosphere through HDYDI. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

Twice Upon a Time: A Fairy Tale Weekend in Twinsburg, Ohio

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We just returned home from our family’s 4th annual trip to Twinsburg, OH for the Annual Twins Days Festival. My Twin Boys are three, we went the first time when they were 9 months old. I have written here on HDYDI about Twins Days before, but it is just so much fun I wanted to share it again. Every year the festival is the first full weekend in August in the Ohio town of Twinsburg. (Near Cleveland) Twins (and triplets and more!) come from around the world to celebrate their twinship, meet other twins and partake in the festivities. It is such a fun weekend and we have met so many amazing people. So many adult twins we have met have shared how special the weekend is to them, and one duo we met said how the rest of the people in their family have weddings and birthdays and celebrations, but for them, Twins Days is their best time. 

We drive from Chicago for the weekend, leaving early Friday morning, arriving in time for the Welcome Wiener Roast for twins and their families on Friday evening. Waiting in line that evening to pick up our registration packet for our boys, a new mom of twins behind me in line said she couldn’t stop giggling and staring, she said it felt like the Twilight Zone where there was two of everyone. I told her we felt the same way our first year, as non-twins my husband and I actually felt sad at the end of the weekend to not have a twin. We loved how much everyone enjoyed and celebrated being a twin, and we wanted our boys to share in that celebration. We’ve been back every year since then. 

Our boys are young and don’t really understand what it means to be a twin, so for our family, the highlight of the trip is always the Double Take Parade. Any twins who are registered for the festival are invited and encouraged to walk in the parade. Each year the festive has a theme, generally announced a few months in advance of the event. This year’s theme was fairy tales “Twice Upon a Time” so everyone was decked out in their finest fairy tale costumes. There are some that are quite elaborate with costumes and outfits, turning wagons and strollers into mini floats, but some twins just walk the route in matching street clothes. That’s the fun thing about Twins Days, even the adult twins dress alike for the weekend. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from the parade. My boys are in Prince Charming outfits I made for them, and they even had tiny glass slippers they tried to fit on nearly every pair of princesses they could find. It was pretty, well, charming. 

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The parade isn’t like most. There are floats for sure, but the first few waves are just pairs of twins, usually in matching themed costumes, walking down the street. And the street is lined with people, shoulder to shoulder, some twins, others just locals coming to watch the parade or grab some candy.

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After the parade there are plenty of photo opportunities. One set of twins generally asks another for a photo, then more and more join, two by two, until it is a huge group. These Cinderella and Prince Charming pairs were happy to include their tiny doppelgängers for a group photo. (and be sure my kids tried their glass slippers on those princesses too. 

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After the parade the festival opens, there are carnival rides, lots of food vendors, free Twin Pop popsicles, research study opportunities, a craft fair, a beer garden, and contests. My boys were in the theme costume contest. (the didn’t win.) but there are also contests for most-alike and least-alike twins, oldest twins and youngest twins, twins traveled from the furthest distance and more. 

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The youngest twins in Saturday’s contest were 3 weeks old, the oldest are 98 years young!

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 Then in the afternoon there is a break in the contests to take a group photo. We’ve been lucky the past two years to meet some very helpful older twins to wrangle mine for the photo since it takes about 30 minutes to get everyone into place for the group photo. My kids are sitting in the middle on the laps of their new friends. 

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A Charming Weekend indeed.

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If anyone else was in Twinsburg this weekend and wants to share photos or experiences, we’d love to hear them. And mark your calendars for the first weekend in August next year, it’s definitely something every twin family should see at least once!

 

It Can Happen: Spontaneous Quintuplets

Yes, they are “natural”! Although most people don’t realize that asking if a set of multiples is ‘natural,’ most of the time they are just expressing their amazement at our double, triple, or even higher blessings. And while the occurrence of spontaneous twins (particularly fraternal) is not that uncommon, spontaneous quintuplets happen in one in several million pregnancies.

This article about a 23 year old Czech mother awaiting her quintuplets is a must read! She has one son already, and was initially told she was expecting twins–then it was amended to quads–and then last month, a fifth baby was revealed.

Alexandra Kinova, the MoM to be, says she’s had no real complications during the pregnancy, and she looks beautiful and healthy. Her C-section is planned for this weekend, although the article doesn’t mention how far along she is. She hopes to breastfeed her new babies as she did her firstborn child.

These will be the first set of quintuplets in the Czech Republic.

Who’s Older?

“Who’s older?” Is it just me, or does anyone else want to roll their eyes when they hear this question? Or what about, “Oh, she must be older, she’s so much bigger…”

I am a believer in the idea that birth order factors into one’s personality. And I know that being a twin does, too. What I don’t necessarily believe is that birth order among multiples is very telling. To be honest with you, even though I know my daughter is technically older, I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head how many minutes apart they are. I think only two minutes. Could those extra two minutes before the doctor plucked my son from my womb really amount to much?

What about 87 days? Yes, you read that correctly. An Irish mother gave birth to twin girls 87 days apart, possibly setting the Guinness world record! Maria Jones-Elliott’s water broke before she reached 24 weeks, and her first daughter was born. Maria’s contractions stopped, and even after being induced the next day, the second baby wasn’t making any moves to come out. Her second twin was born at 36 weeks!

There was also a case of triplets where the first one was born eight days earlier than her brother and sister.

Can you imagine the suspense of being ‘on hold’ for eight days? Eighty-seven days?

How far apart are your multiples?

A Myriad of Multiples

When I was in elementary school, there were three sets of identical girl twins in my grade. They were even in the newspaper.  I remember the picture that went with the article, with the six girls sitting stacked on a slide at our school’s playground.  (I never imagined that one day I’d have my own set of twins! )  As it turns out, my school’s meager three twin sets pales in comparison to one Tennessee school with fifteen(!) pairs of twins.

Double Take! Twins Explosion Hits School (video via Nbcnews.com)

With only 611 students at Castle Heights Upper Elementary School, thirty twins really seems like a lot.  And of course, where there are multiples, there are urban legends surrounding their conception—maybe it’s something in the water? Of the fifteen twin sets, three have been reported to be a result of fertility treatments, while the rest were ”luck.”  “We were in Vegas when it happened…” joked one mom.

Parenting twins raises all sorts of questions that parents of singletons don’t need to worry about.  One of those questions is whether or not to separate twins when they reach school age. Do you remember Sadia’s  experience with each of her girls in separate classrooms, and then separate grades?  Dr. Nancy Segal, who appears in the news clip, was here yesterday at HDYDI to address the benefits of separating, or not, twins in school and to give her recommendations for school policy on twin placement.

And when it comes to befriending other twin pairs, one of the Castle Heights dads jokes that the kids “don’t have a choice at our school!” What an interesting circumstance!  While juggling my own multiples can certainly “keep my hands full,” it does make me wonder what it would be like for them to have other twins to relate to. (And can you imagine what it would be like as a teacher at that school?!)

Do your multiples enjoy friendships with other multiples?

 

Four Boys=Two Sets of Twins

If you love Valentine’s Day, you’ll love this story.  On Valentine’s Day last week, a Texas couple welcomed the new additions to their family–all four of them.  Tressa Montalvo gave birth to the couple’s second through fifth sons last Thursday at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas after carrying them for 31 weeks.

The couple were originally told they were expecting twins before hearing four heartbeats.  The verdict?  Two sets of identical twins!  Conceived without any fertility treatments, the chances of this happening are one in 70 million. According to the mother, their plans for this pregnancy “succeeded a little too much.”  The boys, named Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan (A-B-C-D), are healthy and could be going home in the next four to six weeks.

I can only imagine the comments people must be throwing at them…from “double the double trouble” to the obligatory “you’ve got your hands full,” to the well-intentioned “now you’re done!”  But you might be surprised at Manuel’s reaction to the last one.  He’s still hoping for a girl!

Congratulations to the happy family!  Who knows, maybe soon we’ll be seeing them around HDYDI?

Click Here to see the CBS video clip.

Seeing Double at Twins Days in Twinsburg, OH

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Our family just arrived home from our second trip to the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, OH. Last summer we attended a wedding in Philadelphia with our 9-month-old twins. We packed the car for a road trip from Chicago but had to divide our drive into a few days. Looking for a half-way point we saw Twinsburg, OH on the map and thought, “Hey, we should stay there, it’s a town named Twinsburg.” A quick Google search revealed Twins Days Festival, a record-setting gathering of twins from around the world which just happened to be the weekend we were driving through Ohio. We had to go. How could we pass it up?

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We enjoyed our first Twins Days experience so much, we decided before we even left Ohio we would try to go back every year. It is an experience unlike anything I have seen. The sense of community and camaraderie among twins from all over really is amazing. Among the many activities, our favorite has been the Double Take Parade, which encourages any and all twins to join in the themed parade. This year’s theme was Circus, a truly fitting theme for a gathering of twins. My boys were dressed as Human Cannonballs, with their wagon outfitted as a cannon. There are also lots of research studies for twin participation, and mingling with twins young and old. The youngest set there was 8 weeks, the oldest was 96 years old! There are lots of contests, carnival rides, food, and fun. Friday night is a Wiener Roast for twins and their families, Saturday night there are fireworks and Sunday morning is a pancake breakfast. For older twins there is a golf tournament, a 5K and lots more.

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So much I have read and heard since we were expecting twins focuses on the challenges: the high-risk pregnancy, the bleary-eyed, soul-crushing sleep deprivation, the expense, every-rough-patch-times-two. Dress them alike. Don’t dress them alike. Separate them in school. Keep them together. Everything I read seems to threaten all the ways I am destined to mess my kids up. Plus, as much as strangers are fascinated with and willing to offer up comments about twins, they are almost always negative. “You’ve got your hands full!” or “Double Trouble!” or “Better you than me!”

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It is easy to lose sight of how wonderful it can be raising twins. We have twice the giggles, twice the hugs. My boys are growing up spending every day with a best friend. I get to watch my two tiny infants as they grow into little boys. My boys are 21 months old, racing from milestone to milestone, growing noticeably each day. I wonder every single day how they can possibly be cuter than they were yesterday and how did I get so lucky to be here for the ride. The truth is that while my boys are fraternal and are very different, they were born a pair. Twins Days is such a unique celebration of twinship, I want my boys to grow up appreciating how truly special it is to be a twin. In Twinsburg for that one weekend a year, they can be among people who know what it’s like to go through life with a doppelganger, with a relationship unlike any other. They can be part of the community and celebrate being twins.

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My boys are often subject to lots of attention when we are out and about, and sometimes I feel like they are a spectacle. (I imagine it is nothing compared to identical twins or even triplets or quads!) I want them to feel proud that there are two of them, and love that they came into this world as a set. Twins Days Weekend is always the first weekend in August in Twinsburg, OH. For more photos and information about our trip, you can check out our rundown of our weekend as well as photos form this year and last. You can read more about the adventures of our family at goteamwood.com

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the crazy twin vs. the smart twin

At bedtime one night, P was being wild and I asked him to settle down. He replied, “Sometimes it is fun being the crazy twin, because you can do stuff you’re not supposed to.”

I was puzzled.

“So, are you the crazy twin?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “And G is the smart twin.”

He said all of this with a big smile on his face.

Immediately I knew he must have caught an episode of “The Suite Life with Zack and Cody,” although this is a theme in plenty of shows and movies featuring twins. Ugh.

I gave both boys the obligatory pep talk about how neither one of them is the smart twin or the crazy twin or the anything twin. I told them I didn’t want to hear anything like that again.

The boys have started to get interested in seeing twins on tv and in movies. It’s only been in the last year or so that we’ve met other sets of multiples that look alike — it’s still new to them. Unfortunately I haven’t found shows where the twins are just normal — a little bit alike, a little bit different, and doing their thing without their twin-ness being the main point of their presence.

Any recommendations?

Jen is a work-from-home mom of 6-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 4 and 8. She also blogs at Minivan MacGyver, where she chronicles the many disasters narrowly averted using only her pluck and the assortment of household objects found in her 2001 Pontiac Montana.