Saturday, May 2, 2009

The "know-it-alls"

As a mom of twins, you get pretty used to people stopping you, asking you "are they twins?", "are they identical?" etc. etc. etc. Most people just ask their questions, tell you how cute your kids are (what mom doesn't want to hear that?) and move on. Somedays I'm not really in the mood for it, but it's just life.

However, there are those few people who consider themselves "experts" in all things twins and for some reason think that I (the twin mommy) has no idea. And therefore, they must tell me all that they know.

Last week, my mom and I took Ben and Daniel to the hospital for their PT appointments (Ben's regular appointment and just a follow-up for Daniel). We had the boys in single umbrella strollers so it wasn't all that obvious that they were twins. An older gentleman in the waiting room asked how old they were. So of course I had to tell him that they are twins. He then asked if they are identical. I said no, they're fraternal.

He then said that they must have been born a few minutes which I said yes. He proceeded to tell me that identical twins are twins that are born at the EXACT same time and that "paternal" twins are born a few minutes apart. I started to explain that well no actually, identical twins start as one fertilized egg...but then he cuts me off. He also told me that as my boys got older they would look more and more alike. Huh? Not sure what that part was about.

Lots of people really have no clue about identical vs. fraternal twins but I had NEVER heard it explained this way before. I mean come the EXACT same time? I don't even want to think about what that might entail. Either a very large c-section scar or...let's now even go there.

And then this afternoon. My husband and I took the boys out for a walk. A really nice lady stopped us to ask if they were twins. She had boy/girl twins 31 years ago and was just a really sweet lady who wanted to reminisce about her twins. She told us about how close her twins are...much closer than her other kids. She then said she didn't quite understand why they were so close but it must be due to the fact that they share 1/2 of their genetic code. Another huh? on my part. I didn't say anything but unless her twins are super, super, super rare, she's wrong. Fraternal twins are just as genetically alike as any other set of siblings. They just happened to have shared a uterus.


  1. you wouldn't believe how many people (upon seeing that they are different genders) ask if drake and lucy are identical. what?

    i'm always like, "well, they are a boy and a girl, so there's one part of them that isn't identical!"

  2. Oh yes, these very "clever" people and all the twin questions. As the neonatologist said to me, two pregnancies just by chance happening at the same time.

  3. Hi Cary, found your blog at Hopeful moms - all our twins were born in the same week or two. No CP here - we had Little man L with suspected but completely ruled out. But at least I know the fear of wondering, testing etc.

  4. LOL! Love the man's definition of "paternal" and "identical" We run into people like this all the time.

  5. My very OWN FATHER thinks that identical twins are called "maternal" and fraternal twins are "paternal." YIKES.