Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adventures in the life of parenting fraternal twins

So the other day I overheard Anna saying (to no one in particular; I think she was just playing):
"Yes, they are twins."

HA! I suppose it's no mystery that she has picked up on that phrase, since I find myself saying it all the time. I've had a lot of people, upon seeing the boys, ask if they're brothers, and most of the time they act incredulous when I tell them that (as Anna so eloquently stated) yes, they are twins.

In fact, I once had a lady (I'd never seen her before) at church argue with me about them being twins. She was walking by and pointed at them and asked something about it and I said that they're twins. She stopped, was still pointing and argued that no, Biniam is smaller than Yosef, and that they're not twins. No, I said, they're twins, fraternal twins. When she walked away I still don't think she believed me.

Another time at a church picnic someone (again, I'd never seen them before) stopped me to ask about the boys. We got to talking and she said something about Bin being Yosef's little brother. No, I said, they're actually twins. She then pointed at Bin and said, "But he's smaller." Yes, I said, they're fraternal twins, so they're no more genetically similar than any two siblings.

I've explained to people about what fraternal twins are many, many times. Not because I'm seeking these conversations out mind you, but because people ask. I've also had people TELL me, "They're not twins", while pointing. A lot of people also point out how Yosef is "darker" than Bin (which he is, but that doesn't mean they're not twins.)

Maybe it's just me but I've known fraternal twins before who looked nothing alike. I've known siblings before that didn't look alike. At any rate, it cracks me up that Anna has now picked up on the line I find myself saying quite often. I think I'm just going to have her say it from now on!


Jeannett Gibson said...

You should totally "train" Anna to respond! How taken aback would a grown woman (or man) be if their idiocy was pointed out so bluntly by your 2 year old! That would be brilliant!

shells said...

Hilarious, you know I have been down this road. Tommy and Hunter look nothing alike and I promise they are twins, I birthed them!!!! The older they get, the less we are asked, which is nice.
I always try to remind myself of all the ignorant questions I have asked in my lifetime, which the list is way too long to type here. :)

Brianna Heldt said...

How funny, your boys totally look alike to me! Yeah I've asked many an ignorant question in my life, though I do have yet to argue with someone about their child...:)

Shana said...

I know twins who are a different sex. You can't get much different than that! :)

shells said...

Very good point, I leave their children to themselves.
Funny you think they look alike!! If you moved east and met them, I am sure you would feel different. :)

Fizzle said...

Hi Brianna - thanks for your visit. I love that people argue with you...altho surprised to hear people would point out differences in skin tone as means enough to differentiate!

Twins. Oh my. You must have your hands full.

Brianna Heldt said...

I'm wondering if maybe some people have never met fraternal twins, which seems so strange. Shana I've also met boy/girl twins before!

Fizzle, as for the skin tone, my best guess is, most of the people we're around are white, in a very white area, so I think maybe they don't know that skin tone varies among black people, just like white people. I have friends (white) who are siblings, there are four of them, and three have very straight blond hair, blue eyes, and are very fair. The fourth sibling has brown eyes, a dark complexion and curly brown hair. And oh yes, my hands are quite full. :) But in a good way. :)

Rachel said...

I always get a good laugh reading your posts. Don't people watch Dr. Phil? He did an entire episode on fraternal twins. It was on how society expects them to be alike just becuase they share a birthday. They had twins with extreme weight differences and twins who had different levels of success. They all had stories about how people would say to them, "You can't be twins, your sister is so much skinner than you." and stuff like that. It makes me so mad. Biniam shouldn't have to grow up hearing how much shorter he is than his brother. People amaze me.

It goes back to the whole pregnancy issue where everyone has an opinion to whether you should find out the sex, breastfeed, co-sleep,... Don't get me wrong, I have opinions too, but it is none of my business whether or not my friends find out the sex of THEIR child. I am pretty sure they will find out eventually. I don't care if other people breastfeed. These poor formula moms are answering questions right and left. I even got hassled when I stopped breastfeeding at 9 months by a few of them! I even had one woman offer me her own breastmilk when she found out I was mixing Aubrey's cereal with water! I was still breastfeeding, she was getting plenty!!! I must have had some pent up rage inside of me, because this was a post about ignorant people who argue with moms over the age and birthdate of their children. Okay, I wasn't that far off!

Jeannett Gibson said...

Hey Brianna, it's kind of like when people try to also tell you how YOU shouldn't get married so young...because, you know, "you have so much life left to live!". Because getting married is a lot like suicide right? :0)

(Wow, we're getting REALLY off topic!)

Kevin Heldt said...

Well, it just might be when you're marrying me... :)

Solomon & Malachi said...

Duuuuh. Boy/girl twins look different! People can be so silly. Folks are always asking if my guys are twins - and they look nothing alike. Weird.

Brianna Heldt said...

Rachel you crack me up! Yes I have discovered through this experience that complete strangers feel EXTREMELY comfortable telling me all sorts of things. I had a woman I'd never met at a birthday party inform me I was "lucky" the boys didn't "catch" AIDS while they lived in the orphanage in Ethiopia. HELLO?! Do people not know there are only a couple of ways to transmit HIV, neither of which exactly applies to infants???? Geez! (I then politely informed her that HIV is only transmitted in a couple of ways. She seemed genuinely surprised. This person was educated and probably in her 30's. Plus, it's not her business!)

That story about the breastmilk is just too much! Ewwww! People feel so free to offer opinions and advice. Especially with adopted children I've found, which possibly reflects the underlying idea that they are somehow less my children than a child I gave birth to, and more just an "object." One of the most common questions I get asked is (again, often by complete strangers), "Do they have AIDS?" Ummmmm, so what if they did? Sheesh. And of course before we brought them home I had people tell me I was "in for it". Wow, thanks for the encouragement!

Rachel I think you might find that as Aubrey gets older people will stop giving so many opinions--at least it seems that way with Anna. Now that she's a toddler I don't really get advice about her.

Jeannett, yep that is very similar. People love to spout off their ideas about your life. Don't we all get a life to live? Why can't we each choose?

I will sum this up with one of my favorite quotes of all times, from Seinfeld. Said by Jerry: "People...they're the WORST!"

Rachel said...

I was 23 when I got married? Was I young? I know I was too young when I was in college, but that just means "I" was too young and not that other people my age were. Mike and I did want to take time before we had children. Not because we wanted to wait to "ruin" our lives, but because we wanted to make sure our marriage was thriving before we added such a big stressor. Then when we did have a child we added all the stress you could imagine. No jobs, moved away from family,no church to feel like home, and new kid! It was great!!!

Renee said...

LOL!! People are so funny.. they are always trying to make our children twins and they aren't!

Your kiddies are so precious!


Tamara said...

Ugg, don't you just love people! I am constantly having people convince me my kids ARE twins (boy/girl, 18 months apart, a head height difference and very different colorings... I don't really get it)... A woman actually argued with me, "Are you SUREEE their not twins?"... Uh, yea lady, I was actually there when I pushed them out.

As for the little parrots called toddlers, aren't they the funniest things! Hannah spits out the funniest things! She says "Mommy, Turn around and look me in my eyeball!" Can we say attitude!?! She also says "He can't hear you, he is Deaf" (When Gregory doesn't have his "ears" on) and "That's sciscusting!" (discusting)

Susy Q said...

My name is Susanna and I am almost fifteen years old. My family is waiting for the referral of an infant from Ethiopia (I write about it on my blog, bigsisdiaries.blogspot.com) Your kids are so cute!! I can only hope that our little one is as sweet and well-adjusted as yours are.

Brianna Heldt said...

Tamara, that cracks me up! Gregory is obviously older than Hannah! Sheesh! And that is so funny about Hannah's attitude! Anna also knows the word "disgusting" and the other day fully mocked me for the first time!

See I've been putting her to bed with just a diaper on (it's been so hot) and every night I say "Anna, you need to leave your diaper on." Well the other night I say that and in a low mocking voice she goes, "Anna keep your diaper on." Our kids are still so young; I can't even imagine the years to come!

Rachel said...

I have to put bloomers over Aubrey's diaper because she found the velcro sides! Sheesh, if she is smart enough to take her diaper off she should be smart enough to use a toilet. Oh well, soon enough that adventure will begin too!

Sylvie said...

Funny how people just tell you about your children as if you dont know that they are twins. I guess they also get stumped because Africans and African Americans well just people in general come in different shades, so particulary in an African/African American family siblings can range from very light to darker skinned hues, and not to mention different types of hair we're cool that way :)

But parents run into this problem a lot (black and white). I have a friend who's children are about 10 months apart and she always gets asked if they are twins. My nephew is 3 and my son is 18 months and I have had someone ask if they are twins. They do look a lot alike, even though we adopted Gav and Q is my brother's birth son, it shocks even us sometimes.


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