It’s been a while since a post that wasn’t about the recent sadness in our lives, and thank you to all those of you who commented, read and sent messages about the loss of our beloved father, father in law and Opa. You’re all amazing and it’s a blessing to know how much you all care. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
I’ve deviated back into my beloved genre of ‘taking the piss out of people who ask stupid questions’ in this post. Today I’ll be addressing the most common form of TTTS – no, not the heartbreaking Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome that my girls survived and that has fuelled my passion to make others aware of this – but the other form.
Translating Twintalk To Singletonese.
Recently I posted on Facebook about “Twin Bingo”.
Twin Bingo is this unique game that parents of twins play when they’re asked stupid questions. I know, you’ve all read thousands of posts where twin/multiples parents whinge and bitch about the dumb questions they’re asked. (I’ve even had a whinge myself). And yeah, you get it. We’re asked lots of personal questions and people are fascinated by twins. Get over it, lady.
I hear you. It’s not going to stop me having the occasional moan and groan though. It does happen to us more often than not, and it does get annoying.
But the point of this post is perhaps to post a new perspective on the whole rant and situation for those who are not blessed with the privilege of having had a litter of children infest their uterus. Parents of Singletons, I’m going to translate twintalk into singletonese so you don’t feel alone.
I’ll address the ‘Big 5’ first. After all, these are the most common questions and it’s important to clarify why the the questions seem silly to us.
Twintalk: “Are they twins?”
Singletonese: “Is it just one baby?”
Generally if they’re in the same pram, about the same age, they have similar toys and the mother looks tired, frazzled and really fed up with the question, it’s a pretty obvious answer. I get that people babysit other people’s kids on occasion, that they technically could be pushing their friends baby in a double pram, or they’re a professional babysitter. I do get that is a possibility. But I’d just like to put out there this as well … not everyone goes out and spends a small fortune on a twin buggy the size of a small car on the off chance that they they might babysit a child of a similar age to their own. Yes, double prams are used by people with kids close in age. Yes, Irish Twins are a real thing. But if the babies look the same age, have similar clothes and toys – they’re probably twins. Smile, adore the children and move along.
Twintalk: “Are they identical? Are you sure?”
Singletonese: “Are you sure only one egg was fertilised? Are you sure?”
Touchy topic. I get that. It’s also a question that doesn’t translate well into singletonese. It’s pretty obvious with a single that well, they aren’t a genetic copy of themself. But here’s a handy hint for better living – zygosity doesn’t matter with twins. There’s so many interpretations of twins that it’s mind boggling. But if it’s a boy and a girl – let’s go with this – they aren’t identical. (For those playing the poo poo/boo shut up cards – here you go. Here’s a link to rare types of twins, and half identical opposite gender twins do exist. You get a cookie.) My girls are identical, but because of the real TTTS, they aren’t exactly alike. It happens. But trust the parents answer when they answer you the first time. Don’t ask if they’re sure. Or better still, smile, adore the children and move along.
Twintalk: “Is it a boy and a girl? Really? That one looks like *opposite gender*”
Singletonese: “Is it a boy or a girl? Really? It looks like *opposite gender*”
Fucking annoying question. Let’s not start me on a rant about gender stereotyping (but I’d like to add here if my daughter is dressed in blue, that’s my choice OR her choice and you need to respect it. End of discussion. ) Chances are though if you encounter a buggy with one in pink, one in blue, or 2 in pink, or 2 in blue – your question is answered. And please don’t be shocked if my husband answers that question with “Not yet.”. Trust the parent’s answer, they’re the one that changes the diaper. Or better still, smile, adore the children and move along.
Twintalk: “I didn’t know you were having fertility treatments!” or “Did you have fertility treatments?”
Singletonese: “I didn’t know you were having sex!” or “Did you have sex?”
I don’t think I need to make a point here. It’s none of your business. Really. If you feel the need to ask this question, smile, adore the children and move along.
Twintalk: Random reference to random person in your acquaintanceship who had twins in conversation.
Singletonese: Random reference to random person in your acquaintanceship who had a baby in conversation.
I get it. You’re making small talk. You’re trying to identify with my situation. Please don’t. Smile, adore the children and move on.
So, there’s some explanations for the big 5. However, I have a few honourable mentions…
Twintalk: “Why aren’t they wearing matching clothes?”
Singletonese: “Why aren’t you wearing matching clothes?”
I get it. Twins are adorable in matching clothes. But I know I hated wearing the same things as my (non twin) sisters. I’m also about letting my kids explore their own identities through clothing (which does explain their wardrobe at times). Sometimes I will dress them alike – things are often only available in one style or colour here, and also if you buy a lot of second hand stuff from other twin parents, there is doubles. But if you don’t expect your kids to dress alike, please don’t ask me why I don’t dress mine alike.
Twintalk: “Your house must be so busy!” or “Twins are hard.” or “I don’t know how you manage with twins!”
Singletonese: “Your house must be quiet!” or “Singles are so easy!” or “I don’t know how you manage with just one!”
I get you could possibly be going for the “Captain Obvious award for the most stupid thing said”, but likely you’re not. It’s busy. It is hard. You learn to manage.
Twintalk: “I bet you’ll be trying for *opposite gender now*! (same sex twins)” or “Your family is complete now! (boy/girl twins)”
Singletonese: “I bet you’ll be trying for *opposite gender* now!”
Yeah, it’s just as fucking annoying when you translate that one. Just stop with this question everyone. It’s not cool. (See above reference to IVF/Sex. It’s not your business.)
Twintalk: “Are you afraid if you get pregnant again you’ll have twins?” or “Do you have twins in your family?”
Singletonese: “Are you afraid if you get pregnant again it will be another singleton?” or “Do singles run in your family?”
Twins definitely run in my family. They run off when you’re not looking, they run all over the house, the yard, the playground. But if you mean genetically, no. In our case, our twins are indeed random freaks of nature (sometimes in every sense of that phrase).
Twintalk: “Oh, how wonderful, they have a friend for life!” or “They’ll never be lonely!”
Singletonese: “Oh, how awful, your child has no friends!” or “Aren’t you afraid they’ll be lonely?”
Let’s get one thing straight here. My kids don’t really like each other. Something about uterine issues, not sharing a placenta or blood flow properly or something like that. The random photos I share of them sitting together are so rare you have to take a picture to save the moment and prove it happened. Most of the time they’re performing some sort of wrestling match over toys or pulling hair or trying to kill each other. They’re like every other set of siblings out there. I’m not going to force them to be friends, I hope that comes eventually though.
Phew. This was a long post. I get I’ll probably have some negative feedback here – twins are special and rare and I do get that. But please, think about those questions and if you wouldn’t ask a random parent of a single baby in the street that question – please don’t ask me. Instead, try smiling, adoring the children and moving along.