The brilliant and hilarious Stefanie Wilder-Taylor has written a brilliant and hilarious post at Babble called 7 Things Not to Say to a Mom of Twins.
I started off writing a comment to her about how perfectly she captured the range of reactions I get from strangers when I’m out with my twins. But I quickly realized I had too much to say to leave it at that. So instead, I offer a point-by-point corroboration of her piece, from a gay dad’s perspective. Here goes.
1. You are doubly blessed. I get this often, and my response is always to say, “Yes, I am, thank you” and then wheel the stroller the hell out of there as fast as I can. I know most people who say this are just being nice, but when their opening line has even such mild religious overtones, I worry that a string of follow-up questions about my family is going to lead them to start quoting those Bible verses about men lying with men and praying for the souls of my kids. Maybe that’s just my personal hangup, but hey, I just came to Target to buy toothpaste. It’s not worth the risk.
2. They’re twins? Really? They look so…different. I hear this almost daily, usually followed by, “But the girl looks so much bigger”. Well, gee, thanks stranger, for giving my TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER a head start on her eating disorder. In fact, my son is half an inch taller than she is, and we’ve taken him to a gastroenterologist to make sure his inability to gain weight isn’t a sign of a real problem. Turns out he just has the kind of metabolism his sister will grow increasingly jealous of as she gets older.
Ironically, I also get people who ask if they’re identical… a boy and a girl. I have to stop myself from taking their diapers off just to make a point about what “identical” means.
3. Did you conceive them naturally? Okay, this has only happened to me once or twice, and I don’t mind talking about it because I’m happy to tell people our story… as long as I know they won’t get weird and judgy about it (see #1).
4. Do twins run in your family? I have the perfect response to this one. “No, but neither does surrogacy.” OK, I have yet to say that out loud.
5. Oh God, if I had twins I would die. It’s amazing how many people say this. I want to respond that their kids are very lucky not to be twins, not only because their mother would be dead, but because if you don’t think you can handle twins, you can’t. Case closed. I actually think most moms (or dads) could handle raising twins if they had to. But the people who say this? Not a chance. They’re probably not even very good with whatever kids they do have. There, I said it.
6. I always wanted to have twins! I don’t mind this one. It gives me a chance to talk about how lucky I am and how amazing twins are. But what am I supposed say… “Too bad for you then!”?
7. How is it possible that you had twins? You look amazing! I’ve never heard this one. Does that mean I don’t look amazing?
8. You’ve got double trouble! Stefanie didn’t list this one, but I’m guessing she hears it occasionally. How do I know? Because I HEAR IT EVERY TEN SECONDS OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is the number 1 reaction people give me BY FAR when they see me with my twins. I like to think they’re referencing the short lived 80s sitcom starring Katey Sagal’s sisters. But I think they probably overheard someone else say it once and thought it was clever. Well, maybe, but not by the 1,000th time you hear it.
When someone tells me I have double trouble, I just smile politely. “Yes,” I say. “I’m doubly blessed.”
Best post ever. And I think you should say the surrogacy comment out loud. In fact I might have to use it the next time someone asks me if twins run in the family.
Ha! If I ever have the guts, I’ll say it sometime! Thanks for commenting!
I love to read your stories and comments. It is beautifully enlightening to me! I have made some of these comments…mostly how I wish I had twins because it is true. I really wanted them. I knew Drew as a young boy and teenager (you can ask him about that) and I’m so pleased to be connected on email to him and to see your beautiful family grow. Keep up the great writing
Thanks, Maureen! Sorry about the comment system. I’m still trying to work out all the kinks of this blog. I definitely want to make it easy for people to comment. Hope you’ll check in here again!
not sure why that put me anonymous. It’s from Maureen McTigue Simpson
Hah! I just finished unloading my “double trouble” disgust at Stefanie’s post. Apparently, it’s going around. And for what it’s worth, you look great for having twins. Heck, you’re not even dead.
I just read your comment on Stefanie’s piece. I love that you mentioned “2 for the price of 1”. People say that to us all the time, and since we did pay a surrogate to have them for us, it’s kind of true in our case. 🙂
as always i thoroughly enjoyed your post!i check in and i thought i signed up to receive your blog, but it does not get sent to me automatically–can I get that to happen–I LOVE them!!!
Thanks, Chris! There’s a link on the right side of the page that says “Follow blog via email”. Enter your email address there, and it should let you know when I put something new up. Of course, I’ll totally be pimping myself on Facebook and Twitter, too.
oops forgot to put my info above jerry–
Loved this Jerry! So funny! Everyday I hear “are they identical?” all I can say is “no, actually, ones a boy and the other is a girl”. Xxxx
Yeah, it’s so hard not to say to those people, “Take a look. Do you notice anything different?”
There was (thankfully only) one person who was unable to take the answer of “boy and girl”. She actually then replied “But do they look identical?” The only response I could muster was to gesture toward them in the stroller. I refrained (I think) from saying out loud “They are right there. You are looking at them. What do you think?”
I love your blog!! I don’t have twins, but I HATE when my girls are mistaken for boys…despite the pigtails and plethora of pink. Happens, a little more frequently now, than it used to due to my 2 year old choosing her own clothes…
Ha. I think the takeaway is that people are very, very dumb. I’ve seen the girliest girls get mistaken for boys.
The worst is when someone would get defensive after assuming my infant daughter was a boy. “Well, she looks like a boy!” I’d say, “No she doesn’t. This is what baby girls look like. They don’t get long hair and boobs until much later.”