excited minds want to know: what are some cool things about being born a twin?
September 23, 2010 12:00 AM   Subscribe

Attention TWINS!!! Never had twins in the family, now there are 2 fraternal girls on the way. We're excited for the special things they'll experience as twins, but only know the obvious things (share a womb, always have a playmate, share clothes, etc). Please share: What are some cool things about being a twin?

No bad things please :)
I'm just asking because we want to look forward to all the unique thing that us singles never got to experience.
posted by wannaknow to Human Relations (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not a twin, but my mother is (identical), and has always shared a great relationship with her sister. I've heard stories of twins having their own language as toddlers, but my mother and aunt still do about very basic/intuitive things. They'll babble complete gibberish to each other now and then when feeling silly, but it's clear it's not gibberish to them. It's amazing and freaky to see.
posted by vienaragis at 12:43 AM on September 23, 2010

I am fraternal twins with granted :)

over the years, we ranged from great friends to good friends to friends-at-home-but-not-at-school. it was separating for college that made us best friends. we've lived in different cities since then, and sometimes we don't talk on the phone as much as we should, but my twin sister remains, undoubtedly, the most valuable person in my whole world.

best part of being a twin?
that we have double the memory. sure, our recollections overlap in a bunch of places, but even then, we remember from our unique vantage points. as we get older (we're 27 now), I appreciate this more and more -- having someone who lived alongside me and shared all the tricky young parts of my life, and I her & hers.

other things. the way we turn on in this unique twin way when we're together. it's hard to explain but everyone remarks on it. I think it's sort of intimidating to others, but to us it's this hilarious joyful relief, an outpouring of inside humor (like here) and total comfort. like reuniting and reminiscing with a lifelong best friend, except deeper. the way we were raised not to be competitive with one another -- nothing's more important, parents of twins! -- and so now we unwaveringly value and admire each other's respective areas of expertise. in the same conversation, we shift (mostly) seamlessly from equals to big sister/little sister to little sister/big sister to equals again, giving advice and receiving it, always learning from each other.

and yes, it's fun to be part of a less common population, one that fascinates people. in our case, we don't look much alike. (I'd link a photo but last time I did that she got mad at me.) convincing non-believers YES WE'RE TWINS can be interesting, amusing, or irritating, depending on our moods. funny but in a laughing-at-you way is when people say, "identical or fraternal?" um.

I have mixed feelings about wanting to raise twins myself, but I am so, so glad to be one. no matter what happens in life, I'll always have my wombmate :)
posted by changeling at 1:14 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

(forgot to say congratulations. yay twins!!)
posted by changeling at 1:45 AM on September 23, 2010

If you're an identical twin, you always have a plausible defence to criminal prosecutions based on identification or DNA evidence. How good is that?
posted by tim_in_oz at 2:29 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Parent of 5 yr old boy/girl twins, so I can only speak for little twins:

- when they have a common goal, they are more than twice as creative at accomplishing it!
- they really enjoy playing together
- matching outfits on babies is really cute
- if they are different sizes, clothes can be handed down immediately
- they inspire lots of nature/nurture contemplations in their parents
posted by MeiraV at 4:30 AM on September 23, 2010

They have their own festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.
posted by SMPA at 5:40 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Twin friend of mine about his passport troubles: "...and usually my brother just lends me his passport if I need it"
posted by Omnomnom at 5:46 AM on September 23, 2010

On my first day of classes at college, I was feeling really funny and then I realized - I'd never had a first day of school by myself before. It's pretty awesome that we never had to be alone for some of those nerve wracking first entrances.

I still remember one day we both had really, really bad haircuts - really - and we hid in the girls bathroom together until the bell rang. We ended up just giggling a lot and it wasn't as big a deal anymore.

Oh! and family reunions are way more hilarious when you have someone to roll your eyes at, and later escape with for a walk around the block.
posted by pluot at 7:40 AM on September 23, 2010

Being an identical twin, people often notice your likeness when you're together. Even fraternal twins can look quite a bit alike. This one is a mixed blessing, because sometimes the extra attention and questions are annoying, but sometimes it's really nice.

I believe that in certain Asian cultures, twins are considered lucky. My twin and I have been told that we are very lucky by people. We also had our picture taken at Disneyland by an Asian tourist once!

My twin was able to give a speech for me that I really, really did not want to give.

I think twins really do have a special connection, and it can mean winning big playing certain games. We are an unbeatable duo at Catch Phrase and Cranium!
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:43 AM on September 23, 2010

I would just say, don't assume they will want to dress alike. My best friend has twin girls, identical, aged nearly 11 now. Always dressed them in the same colour but different style, or same style but different colour. The girls are quite different in personality and can identify themselves in photos as babies, toddlers etc (they developed different colour preferences quite early). It's so cool to see them being different people, but just sometimes they snap together and they're both looking at you exactly the same way etc. But they don't like being mistaken for one another.
Oh- they didn't have a secret language when small, but they did learn signing, which was v cool but just a little eerie to see.
Have fun with them!
posted by LyzzyBee at 7:46 AM on September 23, 2010

Your kids will be famous! Everybody at whatever school knows "the twins". So will everyone in the neighborhood. They know who you are, even if they don't know you.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:02 AM on September 23, 2010

Also, guaranteed icebreaker at a party, though this works best if you have different groups of friends, e.g. after going off to different universities.

I was at my brother's dorm at university visiting him, with another of our friends. The three of us walked into the common room where some of my brother's dorm-mates were hanging out. I went, then my friend, then my brother.


That was her beginning to say my brother's name, then breaking out into a blood-curdling scream when he walked in. Yeah, she was kind of excitable. What can I say, she was not expecting it :)
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2010

Another twin here.

You might enjoy reading this previous MeTa: Twins on MeFi and this previous AskMe: What don't I know about having twins?
posted by ericb at 8:27 AM on September 23, 2010

Even as adults, my aunt and uncle can look at each other and know exactly what the other is thinking.

They also have this uncanny way of knowing something is wrong with the other even though they live a few hours driving distance apart. It's really weird, and I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it happening.

While they didn't have their own language, like many twins will develop, they apparently did have certain words and phrases they would use with each other to mean certain things and to keep others from understanding them.
posted by zizzle at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2010

Fraternal twin here, and being a twin is cool. But it was not a strong part of my identity growing up, and we actively chose paths that downplayed the 'twin-ness' since our personalities are very different. I appreciate my folks for giving us the space to grow individually. So, keep that in mind.
posted by TDIpod at 8:44 AM on September 23, 2010

I'm a fraternal twin. Since I have never not been a twin, I can't really say what is special about it. My sister and I have almost nothing in common. Now (age 31), we're not close at all. Our communication is mainly revolving around family stuff.

But going back, being in the same grade in school was often challenging.

Socially, my sister was more popular than me. She'd have friends over and they'd be the same people that might tease or ignore me at school. I'd be playing in my room alone as they whooped it up. On occasion this teasing was worse because they'd seen my homelife. "K8t plays with stuffed animals!?!?!" (Past the age that this was okay, I suppose.)

On the occasions that I did make a friendship work, she'd often steal that friend from me. This happened more in high school than in the early years when your friendships are mainly dictated by who is in your classroom.

If I got involved in an activity and she joined, it sort of ruined it for me.

And we'd have to have separate birthday parties since we had drastically different friends.

If something/embarrassing bad happened at school, I couldn't escape it at home or I couldn't hide it from my parents.

Academically, we were in the same kindergarten and 1st grade. It was the philosophy at the time that twins be split up. (I'm not sure what the current philosophy is.) There was briefly talk about me skipping a grade (which I would have welcomed), but one can't really do that with twins, I suppose. Once we hit middle/high school this was next to impossible in a small school district. I never felt fully free to express myself when my sister was there.

Some positives were that it must have been easier on my parents to only have/enforce one set of rules that were age appropriate. Also we were always in the same school, making things easier logistically. Occasionally we'd go on vacations and it'd be good to have a playmate. Generally we just fought though. My parents also went overboard ensuring that things would be fair. The jury is still out on if that was a good policy or not. FWIW, we never dressed alike.

As a parent with friends with young twins, I think that the major difference between parenting a singlet and what my friends are going through is that the twin parents have to be all-hands-on-deck all of the time. With my partner and I, we can tag team our kid and if one of us needs to check out mentally or physically, we can with some ease. With twins that seems much harder. You also have to buy twice the stuff. Babies are expensive even if you do it as cheaply as possible with hand-me-downs and not buying into the Baby Industrial Complex. I think that the transition from free non-parent to parent is easier with a singlet. As long as singlet is pretty chill, you can still enjoy many of the pre-baby activities -- eating out, etc. With twins, I think that it is just harder because you're having to manage two.

Good luck! Congrats!
posted by k8t at 9:33 AM on September 23, 2010

I have a fraternal twin, and i know you said no bad things, so instead i'll give you some advice that might help you avoid badness:

- Please please please don't refer to them as "the twins", especially not in front of them. As kids, twins are often competitive with each other, and often have "i'm not special/important" feelings as a result of being treated as novelty or as a unit, rather than as separate human beings.
- Please please please don't dress them alike. Coordinating, maybe, for dress up occasions when they are very young. But please remember that they are individuals and will want to be treated as such.

That being said: my fraternal twin and i are not friends as adults, weren't as children, have always had totally different interests, habits, and friends. If my parents were all set for the "cute matched set" that you seem to be excited about, they would have been very disappointed. Try to be excited about the two children coming in to your lives, rather than on the unit of twins.
posted by Kololo at 12:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, on review, my experience as a twin is very similar to k8t, and i also identify with TDIpod, both of whom did not have your stereotypical twin-hood. Its good to realize (via multiple examples) that fraternal twins are no more genetically similar than regular siblings, and that you may want to avoid disappointment by gearing your expectations that while it may be 'special' to you, that it is just as likely that your twins relationship may be as variable as that of regular siblings.
posted by Kololo at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2010

My brothers are fraternal twins. Growing up they didn't act very twin-ish, and weren't particularly close until they went to (the same) college and actually got to CHOOSE when they spent time together. FWIW they are very good friends now.

The only really fun twin thing the did growing up was having the same imaginary friends. Not one or two, but seemingly a whole civilization of them. They would talk about them for hours and nobody else had any idea what they were talking about. It seemed really fun.

Congrats and good luck! My parents worked very hard with my brothers and I credit them with helping develop two very different, healthy and happy young men.
posted by MrsHarper at 1:21 PM on September 23, 2010

Congrats! And just so you know, they aren't necessarily fraternal. One in nine sets of dichorionic (two placentas) twins are identical. So you won't know until they're born and possibly have them DNA tested.

I have triplet boys, but they don't know they're triplets, otherwise I'd ask them for some stories. ;)
posted by pyjammy at 9:53 AM on September 24, 2010

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