If You Can’t Say Something Nice About Both of Them…

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Categories Fraternal, Other people, ParentingTags , ,

As a parent of multiples, most of us eventually grow accustomed to the “You’ve got your hands full!”-type comments.  I have my stock answers to those, most of which [I hope] are pretty gracious, recognizing that folks don’t generally mean to be as annoying as they sometimes are.

What really bugs me, though, are comments that I’m sure all parents get…regardless of how many children are trailing them through the grocery store…comments centered on how our children look.  I am working so hard to model the importance of a happy, kind, and caring heart and the joy of curiosity.  Your braided pigtails and the adorable ruffle shirt you have on are no comparison to who you are as a person.

Even being sensitive to this topic, I know it’s hard.  When I see the most adorable chubby-cheeked kiddo, the first thought that comes to my mind usually is, “What a CUTIE PIE you have there!

Since having children, I’ve tried to reform myself.  My stock comment is usually along the lines of “What curious eyes you have!  I bet you love to learn!”  Or I might pick up on a clue about something the child is wearing.  “I see you have a kitty cat on your shirt.  Do you have a kitty at home?  What’s your kitty’s name?  We have a kitty, too!

I know I can’t count on that kind of engaging conversation from the general public.  It’s up to me to respond to the “What pretty little girls you are!” comments with “And they’re super smart, too!” or “They’re beautiful on the inside, too!

That, I’ve learned to handle.

What I think is toughest to deal with is when someone makes a comment about one of our girls in comparison to the other.

Our girls are “very” fraternal, as I like to say…one has blue eyes and fair skin, and the other has brown eyes and a more olive complexion.  B’s eyes are pretty piercing, and they get a lot of attention.  It’s happened more than once that we’ve heard, “WOW!  What amazing blue eyes you have!  They are so beautiful!”  And then the person turns to A, seemingly as an afterthought, and says something like, “Oh, and you have pretty brown eyes.”


Then I feel like I’m in the precarious position of trying to support that both my girls are beautiful, before I can even try to divert the conversation away from the physical.

I love taking my girls grocery shopping, as I think it can be a great educational exercise.  In addition to the meal planning, list making, coupon cutting, and produce weighing, I like that the girls get to practice their manners with a cross-section of people we encounter.

Maybe I should look at it as having twins just makes for more learning opportunities as we navigate what sometimes feels like a landmine of comments.

Do you have any stock responses to comments about your children?  How do you handle when people try to compare them to each other?

MandyE is a SAHM to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures and reflections on parenthood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

3 thoughts on “If You Can’t Say Something Nice About Both of Them…”

  1. Maybe it’s easier with identicals, but we’ve never really run into the issue of one getting an appearance-related compliment and the other not. Plus, these days compliments are more about behaviour than appearance, and I figure the individual child earned it. It also occurs to me that with identical twins, compliments on one’s appearance generally is taken as applying to both!

    J used to get a lot of compliments on her love of books, which seemed to make M think that she wasn’t going to a reader because J was. We sat down and had a talk about how J being a certain way shouldn’t mean that M had to be the same way or that she couldn’t be. Now M loves to read as much as J does, and her love of numbers has rubbed off on J.

  2. I have very fraternal twins also. More so one is a girl and the other a boy. I hate the, ” Are you sure? They look just alike!” Yes I am VERY sure they are not identical. Seriously? I think people just say things without thinking them through. They don’t realize they are comparing them. I have found most people view twins as one, not as two individuals. It is maddening!

  3. I am on guard for this issue as the boys get older. I have boys that look very much alike but one has red hair and the other is very light blond. People ALWAYS comment on my son’s red hair. I always reply that his hair is very special but I don’t want his twin to feel any less special. That being said, I would not go so far to say that I wish people would stop commenting. It’s nice that they admire special attributes about my kids and they take the time to wish us well. I just need to instill the confidence in my kids to know that they both don’t need equal compliments to know that they are equally special.

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