Multiples are more commonplace than ever these days but for some reason, when people see them in person, they get worked into a complete frenzy similar to a celebrity sighting.
When my twins were babies, I learned one thing very quickly: To accomplish anything in public with the babies – and I mean ANYTHING (including using a restroom) – I had to act like a celebrity being chased by the paparazzi. If I didn’t, I would be stopped every three feet and subject to a barrage of questions and comments far out of my comfort zone. Being a nice person, I learned the hard way.
Some of the creepier, invasive, and downright annoying questions I’ve fielded have played out like this:
- Older man in line behind me at CVS leans in and asks directly in my ear: “Which baby came out first?” This is a question I would field all the time and I’m not quite sure why people cared. And no man should ask any question of a female stranger directly in her ear. Just sayin’.
- Supermarket lady: “They aren’t twins are they?” Me: “Actually, yes they are.” Supermarket lady: “No, they can’t be” Me: “I had twin-twin transfusion syndrome so one is bigger” (why am I even getting into this with a stranger?) Supermarket lady shakes her head no: “I still don’t think they’re twins.” Note: Always travel with birth certificates and even then you might lose this battle.
- “Are they identical? They don’t look identical, how are they identical?” Along with birth certificates maybe I should have carried the business card of the geneticist who did the DNA test to confirm that yes, my boys are identical.
- “Do twins run in your family?” This was a constant question. No, they don’t and identical twins don’t run in families which leads me to the, “Are they identical?” question above. It was a constant loop of the same questions over and over again.
- “Did you have them naturally?” Again another profoundly personal question bordering creepy coming from a stranger. Would you ask this of a singleton mom? Probably not.
- “How many rounds of fertility drugs did you go through or did they implant them?” Aside from being none of anyone’s business, if you really must know (and I know you won’t leave until I tell you) I got pregnant on the first try the old-fashioned way. Why people think it’s okay to ask this of anyone is incomprehensible but a stranger at the mall? Come on!
I fielded so many questions that I seriously considered making a one-sheet pamphlet to pass out to people just because I got tired of being asked and feeling obligated to answer. A few times I thought of shaking my head pretending that I couldn’t speak English which is a viable strategy unless they asked me what language I spoke.
Because of this insanity here are a few pieces of advice I have for all new parents of twins before leaving home:
1 | Don’t make eye contact
If you do, you’re just asking for it and opening yourself up to a lot of questions. Even if you feel a set of eyes boring a hole into the back of your head or you can sense an open mouth nearby just waiting to ask something, don’t look! If you do you may turn into a pillar of salt just like Lot’s wife did in the Bible when she looked back at Sodom.
2 | Keep moving
Quickly and keep your eyes straight ahead. I am tall and have a long stride so I can usually outpace most nosy people though some have tried to keep up to ask me something but I just plow ahead pretending I don’t see them and they usually give up. Seriously, if you stop you have lost an hour to questions and hearing everyone’s stories.
3 | Keep the babies covered
Do so at all times and maybe no one will see the twins or, if they do, they won’t get to them and put their dirty hands on their faces. Another pet peeve.
4 | Pretend you’re in a rush
Even if you’re not super busy and/or late for something, look like you are. For some reason, having twins gives people license to tell you their whole life story, relay the detailed stories of any human being they’ve ever known who had twins, and the list goes on. All well-meaning yet intensely annoying if you’re trying to actually accomplish something or, God forbid, just want be out with your twins in peace.
Now if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Gee, I feel like going out, listening to five people tell me stories that have nothing to do with anything and come back home with zero errands completed,” then go for it and disregard the above.
Of course, it’s not all bad. You will meet some very nice and amazing people and possibly learn a valuable tidbit or two – and really, who doesn’t like to see people love and admire your kids? But the general sentiment you’ll have after a while will be, “ARRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!”
For the record, “Irish twins” do NOT count as real twins. Not ever. You really can’t add enough evers to this. Even if you got pregnant five minutes after giving birth there is approximately nine months until the baby arrives so don’t even go there. Like ever.