To Talk or Not To Talk

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Categories Other people, Parenting TwinsTags

In those first few crazy, housebound, sleep deprived months after we brought home our twin boys, what saved me was knowing I was not alone. I love reading blogs about fellow multiple mamas and have learned a lot from the  HDYDI community. Fast forward 17 months, and the challenges have changed just when I was getting the hang of life with babies.  My name is B., and I’m excited to have the opportunity to guest post here.  You can read more about life with my boys at

When you have multiples, you become a mini celebrity.  As soon as people spot the double (or more) stroller, they want to see the babies and ask a few questions.  Now who doesn’t want to show their babies off?  Ummm, sometimes I don’t feel like stopping to talk.  Chalk it up to chronic sleep deprivation and feeling like I’m always on a clock counting down the minutes of happy toddler time to hungry/tired/grumpy toddler time.

Everybody says the exact. same. thing.

“Ohh!  Twins!”
Mmm hmmm.
“A girl and a boy?”
Actually two boys.  Dressed in all navy, green and generally masculine colours.
“Oh they look EXACTLY the same!”
Well, they are brothers so there are some similarities, but they are fraternal. Blankstare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They are not identical twins.
“Did you have fertility treatment? That IVF stuff?”
No.  Actually I did but I don’t discuss personal stuff with total strangers.  Unless it’s on my blog.
“You’ve got your hands full”  OR “Double trouble!”
OK.  See ya.

Now up til now, these conversations are a minor annoyance at worst and at best I can appreciate a friendly chat with neighbours.  But now that my toddlers are comprehending more I’m concerned about what they’re learning from all this.  Are they thinking: “Do I look the same as my brother?  Do I look like a girl?  Am I a lot of trouble for my mommy?”  Do I need to clarify these things for them?  I don’t want to argue with a stranger about whether my boys look alike, but I want my boys to know that they are both their own little people.  And they look like little boys. And though they can be trouble, I consider myself very blessed.

There’s a lady in my neighbourhood with quadruplets and one older child. I pulled my stroller over to let her pass with her enormous stroller on the sidewalk and heard myself say;
“You’ve got your hands full”.
I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth when I hear it multiple times a day and hate it!  Sheesh.  I still cringe thinking about it.

How do you respond to strangers comments about your multiples? When they ask if you had fertility treatment? When they comment on your kids gender incorrectly? Or insist that they look the same when they don’t?

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18 thoughts on “To Talk or Not To Talk”

  1. I just recently came up with my comeback for: “You’ve got your hands full.” I say, “Full of good things.”

    I too, am totally aware that the girls understand so much. I never want them to feel like they are a burden.

    As far as how the girls were conceived, we’re pretty protective of their story, so when they ask if twins run in our family, we just say “yes”, and end the conversation. :)
    Julia recently posted Why Do You Blog? {GIVEAWAY}My Profile

  2. Whenever someone says “Double Trouble!” (always like they are the first to utter that clever statement) we reply, “nope, double the fun!” and keep walking. Our boys know they’re not a burden and hopefully those strangers will get that hint. Even if they ARE being doubly troublesome that day we try to stay positive.
    Jen recently posted 365: Day 220My Profile

  3. I often have people here who say that L and R are sisters, when they actually sister and brother. It’s all in Chinese so I often got away with just not replying, playing the foreigner who doesn’t understand. But recently I figured that since L and R understand what the people are saying, I had better say something to correct them. I don’t want them to hear stuff like that over and over day in and out and feel misunderstood. Great post by the way….relate to a lot of it. Thanks.
    natasha recently posted (No) Word Wednesday (via Peaches & Curry)My Profile

  4. My boys look quite different… one blond and blue-eyed, tall and thin, one shorter and weighs more, with dark hair and dark eyes. I still get asked if they are identical! I don’t mind those questions, what I do mind is “who’s older?” Um, they’re twins? People are very pushy about wanting to know who’s first… as if that matters!

  5. My guys are identical, and we still get strangers assuming one is a girl! As for other crazy comments, I have heard SO many times – “Better you than me!” To which I reply, “Yep!”

  6. Oh my gosh, I can SO relate to all of this. “Ooh! A boy and girl!” Yep, what gave it away, the two pink dresses? “You have your hands full!” I usually say something like “I’d rather have full hands than empty ones.” Because I had empty hands for a long time and it was no fun. I am VERY private about the fact that we had IVF. Like, my mother doesn’t even know. So when people ask (WHY do people think its ok to ask someone how their children were conceived?) I just say we got lucky. Because we did! My aunt gave me the old “Better you than me” about a month ago and I just said “Oh, I totally agree!” and she was like “it was just a joke!” but I knew there was something behind it! Truth is, I LOVE my girls and I love being a twin mom. But the attention gets old. My friend told me that it was like being followed by the paparazzi. My general rule is that I do not stop. I will be nice and reply when people ask me questions but I do not stop moving.

    As for your situation (we’re not there yet), I think it is more important to protect your children than to be nice to strangers. So I might respond to “double trouble” with something like “No, double the love and double the fun.” And I just don’t know what is up with people trying to insist that they are identical. When people ask us “are they twins?” my husband will try to head them off with “Yes, but they’re not identical” and people STILL question us about it. “Are you sure? They look exactly the same?” Well, actually they don’t look very much alike and YES I’m sure! I’m their mother!
    Stephanie recently posted Happy Flag Day!My Profile

  7. “Doubly blessed” is always a good comeback to “double trouble”. I heard myself saying the same thing to a mom of triplets, that she had her hands full. What was I thinking!!? All in all, people mean well. Many just lack the filter between their brain and mouth, and speak before thinking. They also assume that they couldn’t tackle 2 (or more) babies at once, so in an odd way, they think we’re mommy superheros of some sort. Just wish they’d find a nicer way of ‘complimenting’ us than saying those annoying one liners!

  8. Great post. It got me thinking. Our girls are old enough to start to realize what people say. Up until now, I’ve been more concerned about how their older brother feels when they get all the attention. I will certainly be more aware of how I react because it will impact how they feel about being twins.

  9. I agree with Margie….people don’t have the filter on and normally mean well. I’m so tired of the same questions too….I just smile and try to get through it quickly. Although, I found this article recently and was suprised by the comments section – what they had to say was very eye opening, since they are the people coming up to all of us with the same questions over and over…..I guess we are the rude ones?

  10. I have 1 week old twin boys and I have to start by saying thank you to all the moms of multiples that blog. It makes me feel like I can actually do this! I have only taken the boys out a few times but it seems like you can’t go anywhere without 15 people stopping you and asking a ton of questions. I get asked “are they natural twins” and always say yes. It doesn’t matter how your babies are conceived, they are all natural. And I can’t tell you how often i have heard “you’ve got your hands full” or “double trouble”. Even though I am currently sleep deprived and a little overwhelmed I feel so blessed to have my two little boys!

  11. I appreciate the reminder that our girls are hearing everything that is asked of me about them.

    And to the IVF question, I just say, “We were really blessed.” Nobody’s business!!! :) :)

  12. My girls are still small, but my son repeats everything he hears. When someone says something wrong, he corrects them. I LOVE it when he says things like “No, she not a boy, she’s a girl!” or “They don’t look the same, they look like Kyla and Cadence.” It’s pretty funny. For some reason, strangers respond better when they are corrected by a three year old. :) I guess they just don’t want to argue and look stupid!
    dollimama recently posted What’s For Dinner? Lasagna!My Profile

  13. I’ll never forget a conversation years ago I had with a new mom expecting twins. “Do twins run in your family?” I asked, without missing a beat she said, “No, we went through fertility treatment.” I didn’t know what to say, she was so honest about it, it did shut me up, for sure.
    So now, with my own set up twins brought to me by the miracle of science, I don’t hesitate to tell people, even strangers, the story of how I got my babies. I’m shocked to see how generally people take for granted how easy it is to get pregnant, so I feel like I’m raising awareness in my own strange way.
    And when new parents of singletons say, “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t,” I smile and think, “Hell no you couldn’t!”

  14. I used to be “shy” about my IVF. Now I find it much easier and to just say so and it has happened where the conversation ends right there. In another case a woman who was going to attempt IVF asked me to share my story with her.
    Of course circumstances are different, but at one point I questioned whether by being elusive about it I was embarrassed about something. Maybe I was. Now, I prefer to be straight up.
    Natasha recently posted Dear Dr. Seuss,My Profile

  15. A great post. I used to put both babies to our single bassinet stroller and cover it up when ever we went out to public. I didn’t feel like stopping all the time and the bigger reason yet was that I wanted to spend the time in park playing with our then 16mo son and not be distracted. .. I also say ‘double the blessing’ or ‘double the fun’..

  16. Oh how true this post is!!! My (b/g) twins are only 15 months so I don’t think they understand yet when people talk but it bothers me. I dress my girl as quite the girly girl and my boy very boy but people still state the obvious – “One boy and one girl, how great!” and some even follow up with “I guess you are done now.” I honestly say yes but it bothers me that society expects everyone to have kids and then once you get a boy and a girl you are done. That is another soap box I have that I’ll write about one day. The way I handle “the public” is two fold. For most errands I only take one baby with me and leave one at home (easier for me and my husband) so most times people don’t even know the child with me is a twin. If I have to take them both out and I don’t feel like being bothered with (most days) I have some special shirts I found on cafepress. The first and most effective shirt says “Twins, twice the love, half the patience” When walking down the aisle at the store I can see people looking at me wanting to say something and then once they read my shirt they look the other way. That actually makes me laugh but at least I get through the store in a timely manner. The other shirt that also works for me says “It’s not double trouble, it’s twingenuity”

  17. So if I am in a snippy mood or if I think the person will “get” the comment when asked if they are twins, I reply – NO, its an optical illusion.

    We also did IVF (for my older son as well) and the twins are a result of many months of trying, lots of tears and money spent and finally using donor eggs. So, when if I am asked if they are “natural” by complete strangers that could not possibly understand what I went thru, I just smile and say “NO, we added sugar”…and walk away. I have to just laugh at people sometimes and it makes me proud to be a mom to such wonderful boys!

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