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!”?
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.”