Back Two the Future: “Which one is the evil twin?”

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They're both superheroes to me.Have you been asked this?

I’m sure we’ve all gotten variations of the question. “Who is more outgoing?” “Is one good and one bad?” “What are their personalities like?”

Once someone asked me which one was my favorite.

I don’t mind the questions, especially the “rude” ones, because usually I can joke about it and I’m so excited for adult interaction. But the sincere questions from friends and distant family, asking us to name the differences between the twins, are hard for me because I don’t know the answer.

The truth is, they feel different to me. I sense them differently. Their presence in a room, their weight, their faces, their hands in mine feel different. They smell different. They are my babies and I know them, but it isn’t something I can explain to another person so he or she can see it.

When they were infants I had a sense that G was angry, and P was sad. As they got older, G was more adventuresome and P was more timid. G would wander off to play on a structure across the park, and P would cling to my hand. At swimming lessons G participated, and tried to coax P into the water. P laid on the deck at my feet and cried until it was time to go home.

But they switch. Now it is P who will venture off to something new, and G who clings to us. They take turns leading each other.

Do you struggle to explain your multiples’ personalities when asked these sorts of questions? Or have your kids had consistently different personality types since birth?

Jen is a work-from-home mom of twins + 2. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.

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15 thoughts on “Back Two the Future: “Which one is the evil twin?””

  1. I feel the same way – my kids are so, so different to me. And, yet, I have a hard time quantifying it, or giving them each specific “labels.” Certainly I seem to have one introvert and one extrovert, but even that has some asterisks next to it. :-)

  2. I had a friend growing up that had a twin. After we had been friends for some time, I knew who was who. Even from a distance across the school, or at the pool, I knew which one was Annie. I was probably the only person at school who could tell them apart…and to this day, I couldn’t tell you how I knew. That’s what your post reminded me of anyway.

  3. I think I like questions better than random comments though. At least a question as some sort of answer… made up or smart ass, but an answer. I hate when people just look at me and say something like “Oh, double trouble!” What do you say to that?

    One time and old man from like 50 yards away yells “Oh, double trouble” when he saw me pushing the boys in the double stroller through a parking lot. I smiled and kept walking, but then he followed up with “Just wait ’til they start wrecking cars!” Awesome!
    .-= Sara´s last blog .. =-.

  4. Funny that out of all the twin related questions we’ve been asked, describing their personalities or their differences is not something I’ve encountered. I think it may have something to do with being fraternal, and hardly looking like brothers let alone twins. But I get what you’re saying about not knowing how to “describe” them. Their personalities are still such a fluid thing that as soon as I labeled one the “easy one” or the “happy one” they’d switch things up. And coming from a family where everyone has a label, no matter how outdated or off the mark it is, avoiding character description is definitely a good thing.
    .-= Cristal´s last blog ..My boys are the middle child =-.

  5. I hate the questions. I lie. I outright lie.
    1. What are their names? I answer differently for every stranger I meet. Bert, Erine/Frick, Frack/Blue, Green/Mark,Anthony – If I don’t know you, you don’t need to know my kids names.
    2. Are they twins? I hope so! I have debated carrying a piggy bank with a sign on it that says if you want me to answer this question pay me first.
    3. Are they both boys? (Dressed alike/look alike franternal boys who are dressed in BLUE) I think so.
    4. Double trouble! Nope – Double blessings.
    5. Natural or (IVF, Fraternatity Brothers(Yes I have gotten that more then once), Surrogate)
    “I had sex twice in one night. I’m not sure what happened”.

    Dumb questions equal dumb answers.

  6. I hate those questions. I’d really prefer not to have you label my 6 month old as “the difficult one” or “the sensitive one”, thanks. They’re BABIES. They will change! He!!, they change from one second to the next. Right now I just answer that it depends or they each have their moments.

  7. “The truth is, they feel different to me. I sense them differently. Their presence in a room, their weight, their faces, their hands in mine feel different. They smell different. They are my babies and I know them, but it isn’t something I can explain to another person so he or she can see it.”

    This brought me to tears. In a good way.

    My two are so different that it’s impossible to explain. I wish I could share everything that I know about them, but it’s impossible. Even my husband, who I will call in the middle of the day to share little exchanges that my E&R have had at a playgroup cannot fully understand all the nuances because he’s only with them a few hours every day, while I’ve been with them almost every minute of every day since they were born.

    I don’t really mind the questions. I answer them all honestly and openly (for the most part.) I know people are just curious and 99% of the time are well intentioned. Sometimes people don’t know what to say so say the wrong thing; best to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Am I the only mom that loves her kids’ morning breath?

  8. Tracy, you are not the only mom who loves her kids’ morning breath! I love to bury my face in my babies necks right after they are done nursing. I just love their smell even though I often complain about how I smell of sour milk. Go figure!

    My twins are 11 months and their personalities seem to have totally switched. Like all MoMs, I get a lot of questions about my twins but I generally don’t mind answering unless I am in a hurry. When asked about their personalities, I usually just say that I am trying to figure it out myself but I think Jen’s description of sensing their differences is right on.
    .-= Samantha´s last blog ..A Love Letter =-.

  9. Yes, I feel exactly the same way. I can’t seem to go anywhere without answering a load of pretty invasive questions. I really don’t mind the attention because I realize that to the world, twins are fascinating.
    Somehow I always feel inadequate in my answers, because like you I can’t find the words. It’s on the surface a simple question, but to come up with the answer is intimate and personal. You really put it so well when you said you “sense them differently.”
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Paparazzi =-.

  10. Hmmm, I just wrote about how people like to lump them together and more importantly, how it drives me BANANAS :)

    Mine definitely have different personalities BUT as Cristal said above , as soon as I THINK I’ve got them figured out, they change on me.

    Amazingly, K is now the easier baby! I would NEVER EVER EVER have thought this 3 or 4 months ago :)
    .-= Leigh from 123 blog´s last blog ..The "twins" =-.

  11. I don’t get comments/questions about their personality differences, probably because they are g/b twins. My family trying to pigeon hole them into a ‘type’ drives me crazy though.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..No Shoes! =-.

  12. Mine are now old enough that they could label themselves. Melody went through a phase when she told people she was the funny one, but she’s over that now.

    My (identical) daughters are both very outgoing and comfortable around people, but Jessica is an introvert and Melody an extrovert. There are many other traits in which they differ, but that’s the most noticeable at first glance. Melody simply cannot have a thought without it pouring out of her mouth, while Jessica is very careful to phrase things correctly and makes a lot of false starts to phrase things just so.

    My husband and I had thought for a time that Jessica was more athletic than Melody, but recently discovered that Melody has more endurance. (After watching the Austin Marathon, we were inspired to run from lunch to our car, about a mile uphill! Jessica tired, but Melody had plenty left in her.)
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Short and bittersweet =-.

  13. Yep, this is totally my experience too. I have such a hard time answering the personality differences questions, partly because I think their personalities are very similar, partly because I don’t want to make passing generalizations and pigeonhole them (especially in the eyes of those who don’t know them well), and partly because they switch and swap things up so much.

    They are slowly slowly slowly becoming more obviously “themselves”, in a way that I can sometimes describe and sometimes not. I look forward to seeing how it plays out as they get older and out in the world more…
    .-= Kristin from Intrepid Murmurings´s last blog ..Brief summery of my day =-.

  14. No twins here, but I’ll share an anecdote about getting tired of questions related to having five kids. The one I really hate is “Are you done yet?” So now I answer “We’re going to keep going until we get an ugly one.”

  15. I could NOT have said that better myself. I feel exactly the same when people ask me that question. I hate it because it makes me doubt that I know my girls, when in reality, just like you said, I know them in ways that are just indescribable. And the swapping thing – you’re totally right on!

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