The things people say…
Nothing makes strangers want to stop and talk to you in Target more than the sight of you pushing twins around in a stroller. Our girls are pretty well past the stroller days, and as they get bigger it becomes slightly less obvious, at first glance at least, that they are twins. But when they were infants being pushed around in the big double stroller…well, there was really no mistaking it.
Everywhere we went, people stopped to talk to us. It was like we carried a huge sign that said something like, “No, we aren’t in any hurry. Please stop and talk to us for a while about our babies.” And with that huge double stroller and gigantic baby bag, we were hard to miss (and also too bogged down to make a fast get away.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I realize that most people just wanted to be nice. And most people said very kind, friendly things. But sometimes, people would say things that just left me thinking, “What???” Here is a countdown of my favorites…
5. “Twins! Why aren’t they dressed alike?” or “Twins! Why did you dress them the same?”- Now that our daughters pick out their own clothes each morning, they are rarely dressed alike. And even back when they were babies, I hardly ever dressed them in the same exact outfit. But it never failed that no matter how I had them dressed, someone had to ask my why I did what I did. If they were dressed in completely different outfits, people would ask me why I wasn’t dressing them alike. Didn’t I think that it was really cute to see twins dressed the same? And on the rarer occasion that they were dressed alike, someone would ask me why I was dressing in the same clothes. Wasn’t I worried that I was thwarting their individuality? In the beginning, I found myself defending my choice of outfits for the day. But after a while, I gave up and just said something like, “This is just the way they are dressed today.”
4. “Oh look, twins! (Pause as they look at the girls, and then…) That one is cute.” – This one always really annoyed me. I realize that at the age of 3 months, our girls had no idea that some stranger was observing them and then declaring only one of them cute. But come on! There will be enough reasons for sibling rivalry to occur between them without one of them saying to the other, “Well, you know I was always the cute one! That strange lady in aisle 6 even said so!” I confess that after the stranger would leave, I would lean down and say to them, “Don’t listen to her/him…you are BOTH beautiful!”
3. “Are they twins? Did you do those fertility treatments? All the celebrities are doing that these days.” – Okay, I can’t really comment on the decisions of J Lo or Celine Dion. And, by the way, isn’t this just a little bit of a personal question to be asking someone you don’t know? Now, the answer to this question is yes, we did. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to talk about that. In the beginning, I would answer truthfully, thinking that the stranger would leave it at that. But no, often they would launch into a bunch of personal and honestly, inappropriate, questions that I didn’t feel compelled to answer. So, I confess that sometimes I lied to them. Judge me if you want, but believe me…you would lie too if you knew what some of those questions were!
2. “Ah, twins. No wonder you look so tired.” – I will readily admit that I looked pretty tired in the first 6 months. No probably the first 12 months…oh, who am I kidding….I still look tired! But can’t a mom catch a break! I know all those celebrity twin moms don’t look tired, but they also have nannies, housekeepers, and stylists. But in our case, it was Mark and I up with two screaming babies every night, not a nanny. I knew how exhausted I looked, and having a stranger point it out to me just made it that much worse.
1. “Awww, aren’t you lucky…a boy and a girl! Are they identical?” – This is my all time favorite for oh so many reasons. First of all, boy and girls twins CANNOT be identical by the very fact that they are a boy and a girl. Identical means the same, and clearly a boy and a girl are not the same. But I can let that one go because I know that people who don’t have twins might be confused about the terminology. But I can’t tell you how many times we would be out with the girls, and they would each be dressed in pink and purple, or even both wearing dresses, and someone would say, “Oh, it’s a boy and a girl!” WHAT? The first time it happened, I thought maybe the stranger just didn’t look very closely. But after the 10th time it happened, I really wanted to ask, “Which one is the boy? Please tell me which one of my two daughters, both wearing pink dresses, looks like a boy!” I still haven’t figured it out and I never worked up the nerve to ask. Instead, I would simply smile and say, “Nope, two girls.” But seriously….between you and me…Which one looked like a boy!