Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Got Twins?

In their own little world!

They often end in the same position without trying.

When twins work together on something, there is no stopping them!

Sometimes twins isolate the others around them.

I look for natural "twins" to photograph.

This coming weekend will be Twins Day in Twinsburg, Ohio. We hope one day to take our Twin daughters there to celebrate who they are. But for now I thought I would write a little about twins to share with you. Mine are 4 4/12 years old although in the pictures above they were 3 3/12 years old. At this point they do not really understand that they are twins. Although when they are called by the wrong name they will say "I am NOT J, I am A!" I remember the first time I held A up to a mirror and she poitned and said "J!" :o) It was so cute. We are just beginning to explain it to them.
Big brother D understands a little bit better. He has been living in the shadow of twinship since their birth. The girls always got adoration in the store and he would try to talk and was excited that someone was talking to us and often they would rudely ignore him! So we would get in the habit of saying "And this is the girls' big brother D!" Many people consider having twins special. I consider it special that he is my first born and a big brother! All three are miracles from God!

When the girls were babies we would get a lot of annoying questions, so I've included that link in case you want to know about some better approaches to twins. When the girls were in their first year, I could not get through Home Depot to get to the back of the store to use the bathroom because I would be stopped by all the little old men! LOL People are fascinated with babies and when they see double, they grin! I think the most annoying question I would get was wondering if J was the boy and A the girl because J was a little bit bigger. Now, granted they had virtually no hair until they were two years old, but I got asked when J was wearing purple flowers and lace too! If she was a boy, I don't know what they thought I was doing to her with that!

Twins get a lot of publicity these days. Fertility medications and an increasing mother's birth age have increased the twin rate by 75% since 1980. The more children you have delivered, your chance for twins goes up as well. (Apparently, practice makes perfect! LOL) Although we did use the help of fertility medications to conceive our son secondary to my PCOS, we did not for the girls. As a matter of fact while the rate for fraternal twins (two eggs fertilized) changes with ethnicity, age, fertility treatments and "runs in families", the rate for identical twins (single egg which divides in two) remains constant across the board, generally about 1 in 250 pregnancies without any proven hereditary factor.

Identical twins have the same DNA, but are not "exactly" the same. They have different personalities (another annoying twin question...when people ask me who the "evil twin" is, it makes me seethe!), different souls, different fingerprints and in spite of what the general public thinks, they do look very different. Identical twins may also appear very different because they can be affected differently by their environment. In God's Eyes they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" unique individuals and that is the way we, as their parents, have chosen to view them. At times they seem completely different. They fight like cats and dogs (or worse!), they don't like the same foods, clothes, activities. But beware! Never step between a twin and their twin! Things can change in a heartbeat and they tend to be fiercely loyal.

When they aren't behaving in the above ways, they are inseparable, dislike being apart, choose to do things like each other and delve into their own little world. One of the things that they do in unison (with no prior discussion, decision making or warning) is breaking into a sing-song, chanty voice or song in words that do not make sense to the rest of us. They appear to be in a trance, mesmerized with each other and in total bliss! It is during these times that we know that we are definitely on the outside looking in!

You will notice that in these pictures they are dressed alike. Sometimes we do, but mostly we don't. We decided from the beginning that if we had two girls who were not twins, we might dress them alike, so occasionally was all right. However, we try to treat them as individuals, NOT a unit! We talk to twins and twin parents whenever we get a chance and some twins tell us they hated dressing alike. Some loved it! There seems to be no inbetween. We tend to dress them alike on trips because it is easier to see where they are and keep track! :o)

Twins are a lot of work. We did not have a lot of physical help since our family lives far away. I have to chuckle when I hear people say "It was hard! I don't know what I would do without my nanny!" LOL NANNY?! More power to you, if you can afford one, but we had no choice but to do it the hard way. And looking back through the exhaustion, tears, lack of sleep and the physical exhaustion while nursing two babies and taking care of an 18 month old big brother....I'm not signing up to do it again real soon, but I wouldn't take it back either. Our little family is bonded together in His love, protection and strength and we feel blessed.

Do I think twins are special? Sure I do! But I believe all children are special. I have worked many years with children, as a babysitter, volunteering in the peds ward, an educational aid, a respite care giver, an Auntie, a pediatric medical assistant, a Sunday School teacher and now as a Mom. Through all those experiences I have learned how unique and special we all are. I've said it before, I know the Peace Corps claims this slogan, but I think it should be for parents...Parenting is the toughest job you will ever love! :o) And I have many friends who long to be parents but cannot or who never had children for various other reasons. Do not think that you are not important. God uses you in the lives of children. Children need positive, encouraging and godly adult role models in their community as well as their immediate family.

I would love to hear from any twins or twin parents out there! I know a few of my readers are twin parents. It is encouraging when we share together. I am looking forward to the overwhelming day when I will attend the Twins Day festival in person! It looks like a lot of fun!


Carissa said...

Mixing up gender in babies is not just for twins! I always got asked if B was a boy, dressed in pink and lace too, and because A is a pretty boy, asked if he was a girl. I stopped letting it bother me long ago because it just takes more energy to get upset about it than to just laugh and say that it so hard to tell when they don't have much hair! I love the pictures of the girls, they clearly have a special bond.

Shelley said...

Great topic, enjoyed your writing

Heather said...

Loved it! Loved the pics too :) They are getting so big!

Jan said...

I just found your blog through Christian Artisans and thought I'd go back and read your older posts.

We always put much emphasis on individuality with our four children. Just because the neighbors do it, we don't have to; just because all the kids are wearing a particular brand doesn't mean you can't have a different one, etc.

My youngest son came home from the first day of kindergarten and was a little disgruntled. Finally he told me that there were two kids in his class that had the same EVERYTHING.

"Same shirt, same pants, same back pack, even the same haircuts and glasses!"

I had seen the idential twin boys that morning when I dropped my son off at school and I explained that they were twins.

He insisted that I was wrong. When I asked, he said, "They just can't be twins. One's name is Justin and the other one's name is Jason. If they have different names, they can't be exactly alike!"

Love your blog, will keep checking in when I can.