Friday, January 25, 2013

What Not To Say To a Parent of Twins

Disclaimer: The Vaf himself assisted me with this post, so if you think anything is too intense, forward all your e-mails to him. :)

As parents of twins, Chris and I hear it all whenever we take T and E out in public. Chris is forever teasing me about my habit of humoring just about everyone who tries to strike up a conversation, because he knows I just don't want to hurt their feelings -- often to a fault! He, on the other hand, will completely ignore an odd comment, or, if you catch him in the right mood, sass back something equally odd.

Well, after our many experiences out and about, we thought it would be fun (and who knows, maybe even helpful!) to compile a list of what NOT to say to parents of twins! 

But before I start, PLEASE take no offense if you've ever said any of these things to me! God has graciously given me the gift of mommy brain, in which I often can't for the life of me remember who said what anymore -- most of the time, anyway! And if I do remember, I don't hold it against you, I promise! :) I know I've said PLENTY of odd things to people in my time. Plus, we're REALLY thinking here of random characters who stop us at the mall, for example, and then proceed to talk our ears off. Also, I do realize that strangers are just trying to be nice and make conversation -- again, most of the time, anyway! Even so, I often find myself just wishing they'd give the tiniest bit of thought to their words before they get started! And for every weirdo we encounter, we also encounter three times as many genuinely sweet people whom we enjoy chatting with! OK, on with the list:

1) They say: "Wow! You're in your second trimester and you don't even look pregnant!" 
    I want to say: "Seriously? You mean I'm this rotund all the time?! I've got some serious rounding of the belly going on here!" 
    Because: I don't care who you are, the minute you find out you're pregnant, you start feeling way bulkier than you ever have in your life... particularly if you're having twins!
    What I actually say: "Aww, thanks."

2) They say: "Oh my gosh, you look like you gained 100 pounds overnight!"
    I want to: cry.
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh* "Yes, I probably did."

3) They say: "Look at her, she's always eating. You can totally tell she's having twins!"
    I want to: go find a dark closet where I can stuff my face freely and anonymously. Or just avoid eating in public at all costs -- oh wait, that's not possible when you're pregnant with twins!
    What I actually say: "Yep, this being pregnant thing sure does give you an appetite!"

* MORAL OF THIS STORY: No comments on the appearance or eating habits of a twin preggo, unless you want to tell her how adorable she looks carrying twins. *

4) They say: (insert random twin pregnancy horror story)
    What I want to say: "Excuse me, do you have any home training?"
    What I actually say: "Oh gracious, I'm already pretty freaked out about this whole thing!"

1) They say: "Better you than me!"
    What I want to say: "You've got that right! I'm awfully glad you don't have twins, with an attitude like that!" This is one of the few comments that really gets my goat.
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh*

2) They say: "Oh my word, YOU have TWINS!!!! WOW!!! Oh my gosh!" followed by a series of appalled facial expressions.
    What I want to say: "Why on earth are you so shocked? You don't even know me! I'm a total stranger to you, and you know strangers have twins out there in the world!"
    What I actually say: "Yes I do....?"

3) They say: "Did you actually carry these children?"
    What I want to say: "No, like Sarah Jessica Parker, I decided to hire a surrogate."
    What I actually say: "Yes."

4)  They say: "You poor thing."
    What I want to say: "What?! Do you know how close I came to losing one or both of them before they came? They are incredible blessings. Please do not speak in that way, because you really don't know what you're talking about!"
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh* 

5) They say: "Double trouble!"
    What I want to say: "Double your face!" {Sorry for the intensity, but we hear this ALL. THE. TIME. Like every time we leave the house!}
    What I actually say: "Nope -- double blessings!"

6) They say: "How nice! A boy and a girl! Now you're done." The girls are wearing very girly outfits, you see. I am their mother, after all.
    What I want to say: "What kind of mother do you think I am?! And thanks for making that call for me."
    What I actually say: "No, they're two identical girls."
    What Chris says: Either nothing at all, plus a head shake, OR "Which one of these boys is wearing a headband with a large flower on it?" AND "YES, we're done."

7) They say: "Aww, two boys."
    What I want to say: "Just because she's wearing a frilly blue dress does not make her a boy!"
    What I actually say: "Nope! Two girls."
    What Chris actually says: "Seriously?"

* MORAL OF THE STORY: Don't assume you know a baby's gender. Unless said baby is decked out in all things girly and headbands and riding around in a pink stroller. AND looking like a girl. Then it's OK to assume you're looking at a GIRL! ha! 

8) They say: "Can you tell them apart?"
    What I want to say: "Nope. I've tried hard, but I just can't do it. Each day, I assign one name to one of them and one to the other. It can't hurt anything, right? I mean, since they're so young and all."
    What I actually say: "Yes, they're pretty easy for me to tell apart."

9) They say: "Are they natural?"
    What I want to say: "Nope. Plastic."
    What I actually say: "Yes, they're identical and I'm pretty sure that the only way identical twins happen is naturally and spontaneously."
    What Chris would say: "Are you natural?" OK, he claims he would never say this, but I'm not so sure. ;)

* They say: "I know someone who has fraternal twins, and they are complete opposites in EVERYTHING. Their personalities are totally different, unlike yours, who will be the exact same, since they're identical."
    What I want to say: "How scientific of you."
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh*
    What Chris says: "Huh?"

* And the winner in this category (and YES, this one has come up at least twice)! They say: "If I had twins, I would shoot myself!"
    I want to say: "You know, there's counseling for that..."
    What I actually say: Nothing. There's really nothing you can say. In fact, this comment is one of the few that actually makes me super angry!!!
    What Chris wants to say: "Are you missing that filter between your head and your mouth?"
    What Chris actually says: "Oh my."

COMMON QUESTIONS that are not weird, they just get asked A LOT:
* What are their names?
* How big were they when they were born?
* How much do they weigh now?
* How old are they?
* Who's bigger?
* Who's older?
* Who's more dominant?
* Who's the talker?
* Who has darker hair?
* How do you tell them apart?

* Anyone who gets in their face and/or faces. This happened to Evie once, and I think she was truly on the brink of tears. If the lady hadn't moved along when she did, there would have been a major emotional meltdown.
* Any particularly curious guy who's by himself and my age or slightly older.
* Random strangers who just start talking to us and won't stop.
* Random strangers who insist on touching the girls. It's flu season, people!! (And even if it's not -- weird! I, for one, have never had the urge to touch a random stranger's baby in public, so I really can't relate to this at all -- but I'm starting to think I'm in the minority here!)
* Random strangers who perform an on-the-spot personality inventory of the girls. "Oh, she's the loud one who will push her sister around, but her sister can totally stand up for herself." Uh, what?
* Random strangers who give me tips on how to tell them apart. "See, she has a rounder face, so you can tell her apart from her sister that way." Thanks for the tip. YES, this does happen.

I must say in general the attention the girls bring us is sweet -- but when you're out with them, you can guarantee you'll get plenty of attention, one way or another! Sometimes if I'm in a hurry to get some shopping done, I do feel like I'm cutting people off, and I feel bad about it -- but I'm not sure what else to do. I will add that gone are the days of heading to the store looking like a complete mess, because I know I can't really go unnoticed pushing around a double stroller! A lot of times I'll just stay in, because the introvert in me just isn't up for it all. Or maybe I just look like a complete mess. But one thing's for sure: It is truly an experience and an adventure every time we leave the house! :)


  1. OH my gosh, Shelby, I am laughing so hard! This was a hilarious post! You and Chris did a great job with this one...

    1. Thanks! There's more I could have said, but this pretty much sums it up! :)

  2. This post cracked me up! It was also really helpful since there are 2 families in my church with twins, and I am relieved that I have never said any of those things to them! LOL

    1. Hahaha!! I can't imagine you saying anything ridiculous, Erin! :)

  3. Shelby, at some point please, PLEASE respond to one of the weirder comments by singing the Doublemint gum jingle. "Double your pleasure, double your fun with double good, Doublemint gum!"

    1. That sounds like something Chris could get away with! Who is RR?

  4. I loved this post! I guess I should start preparing my witty remarks! Shelby, we met at Jennifer Allen's baby shower and I just found out that I am having twin girls! So excited, but also nervous!

    1. Yay!!! Oh girl... get ready. No one warned me about the crazies out there who latch onto unsuspecting twin parents! But this post probably hasn't even begun to prepare you adequately. ;) We'll have to swap stories once your girls get here!