Mrs. Cowgirl wrote a great post about what not to say to adoptive families, so I thought I'd share a mostly light-hearted, fairly sarcastic edition of what not to say to parents of twins. Twins draw a great deal of natural curiosity, and sometimes that can make you feel a little like you're part of a freak show. I recently went out to run errands with the boys and decided to count how many times people stopped to ask about the lil' dudes. In one and a half hours, I was stopped 15 times. I'm generally very open to people asking me questions about our boys, and people are typically asking questions with a good heart and mean no offense. It's always acceptable to let a twin parent know how adorable their kids are, that they are "doubley blessed," etc. Just like any other parent, parents of twins like compliments about their kiddos! Unfortunately, sometimes people just don't think about what they're actually saying. When in doubt, just remember that twins and their parents have feelings, too.
Without further ado, here are my list of things to think twice about before saying and how I would respond if my Southern manners didn't get the best of me.
- "You are never going to sleep again!" "I have no idea how you will manage." "Oh my God, how will you survive?" Sleepless nights and busy days never occurred to me. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, you big ball of sunshine. Instead of your exclamations of shock and horror, it would be really awesome if you would just say, "Wow, twins! Could I bring you dinner some time so you can rest?"
- "You're getting two for the price of one!" Turns out, Elliot never wants to share his bottle of formula or his diaper with Finn. Rude, right? I guess they didn't get the memo. Further, our babies just don't like sharing a car seat. Also, everyone refused to give my my two-for-the-price-of-one discount on my 14+ ultrasounds, two cribs, two NICU bills, and two daycare tuitions.
- "Oh, I remember what it's like to be __ months pregnant. Just wait until you are __ months. Then, you'll be really be (big, miserable, swollen, etc.)." Oh, you know what I feel like at 28 weeks pregnant with twins? At 28 weeks, I was just hoping I would be able to roll over in bed without the use of a crane in another 8 weeks because it already required a 12-point turn to lug my huge belly from the left side to the right. In the words of one of my favorite posts on Babycenter about comparing a single pregnancy to a twin pregnancy (there is some not work appropriate language in this link) by user ivestre, "I understand you were 30 weeks pregnant w one baby and felt like a whale. And that you couldn't wait for baby to come out. Guess what, I'm pregnant at 30 weeks and measuring 42 WEEKS! And guess what I don't feel like a whale I am a whale. A whale that was shot repeatedly with harpoons[.]"
- "Are they natural?" Actually, they're made of silicone and PVC pipe that I hooked up to a remote control, which I operate from my purse to make them look like "real" babies. Yes, they're "natural" babies, just like every other baby on the planet.
- "Did you do fertility treatments?" Oh, so, you want to know how my babies were made, do you? I might just give in and tell you all the gory details. I bet after that, you'll never ask that question again.
- "How do you breastfeed twins?" Are you asking me to demonstrate?? Would you like me to whip down my top in the mall and show you? If a close friend or family member asks me this, I don't mind explaining, but it's just plain weird when an acquaintance or perfect stranger inquires.
During Pregnancy and Beyond
- "You're having TWINS? I'm sorry!" "Glad it's you and not me." I'm glad it's me and not you, too. And you're sorry?? These are my children to which you are referring. And, frankly, with that attitude, I don't think you could roll with the punches of being parents to twins.
- "Do twins run in your family?" Yes. Yes, they do. You're looking at them, cupcake. This question doesn't bother me, but for many people, it feels like you're really trying to ask whether their twins were the result of fertility treatments. Also, regarding identical twins, many people feel like they need to explain that there is no medical evidence that identical twins are hereditary; we simply don't know what causes the egg to split.
While Raising Twins
- Are they twins? (Asked as my boys are sitting in matching car seats in a double Snap 'n' Go stroller.) No, I gave birth to one, and I just ordered another baby with the same face from Amazon to fill up this extra car seat I had.
- "This one is my favorite." "Which one do you like better?" Which of your siblings did your parents like better than you? Again, people, these are my children that we are talking about. When you say you like one of my kids better than the other one, it hurts me on behalf of my other child. And, the idea that I would ever like one of my children more than the other is absolutely offensive.
- "Which one is the good baby?" Well, clearly the one with the halo is the "good" one while the one with the horns and pitchfork is the "bad" one. They are BABIES! Sometimes they cry. Sometimes one will sleep longer than the other. Sometimes one eats more than the other one. Turns out none of those things make one a "good" baby and one a "bad" baby.
- "Are they identical?" Me: "Yes, they are." "So, is it a boy and a girl?" Identical twins are never boy/girl. There would be fairly obvious unidentical body parts in their diapers . . .
- "Why don't they have matching names?" The name store was out of matching sets when we went to pick our boys' names, so we had to break the rules and just pick names we liked.
All silliness aside, I am always happy to show off my boys, and 99% of the time, I don't mind answering questions about them or discussing what it is like to be a mama to twin boys. All I ask is that people remember that these are the most important gifts God has ever given us, speak about them with kindness, and give us the same courtesy they would give any other parent.
What are your favorite "what not to say" comments/questions?