Call me crazy but when my twins were babies and I took them out for a stroll in the neighborhood or on a trip to the supermarket, I actually enjoyed when strangers would stop and ask me, “Are they twins?” I was proud to show off my babies and not just because they were twins. As a new mom, motherhood was exciting to me and I was glad when someone else shared in my enthusiasm. The fact that they asked if they were twins was just icing on the proverbial cake as there was now so much more to talk about! Plus, as a stay-at-home mom whose girlfriends all worked outside the home, I often felt isolated being home all day alone with the kids so I welcomed any and all “adult conversation” even if it came from a stranger. Even now with my twins approaching the age of sixteen, I still like to engage strangers when they approach me to ask if my boys are indeed twins. I guess I’m a people person.
Yet as I peruse my favorite twin blogs and online parenting forums, I’m finding that I’m in the minority. There seems to be plenty of moms (and dads, too) out there who are just about fed up with the question, “Are they twins?” Some get downright peeved and come up with a less-than polite response. (“No. Who’s your eye doctor?”)
But I have another question: Why does it bother them?
I ask because I’m a bit confused. To me, if parents dress their little cherubs exactly alike and take a stroll out in public, aren’t they asking for public attention? It’s like a billboard advertising their twinship, inviting the public at large to marvel at them. And who wouldn’t want to stop and ogle two babies in at once? Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways, dressing them alike to promote their twinship and then get annoyed when someone calls you on it. Yes, the question does get a tad annoying at times especially if one or both your babies are crying or you’re in a rush to get home in time for their afternoon nap. But should you really allow someone’s genuine interest and fascination in you and your twins ruin your day? Sour your mood? Turn you into a Grinch? (Please say no.)
For years, when I was out in public and I’d see a parent with twins, I’d always stop and chat. And, yes, my first question was always, “Are they twins?” From my point of view, the question was (and still is) merely an ice breaker. It’s a conversation starter. A rhetorical question, yes, but a way to say “hello.” But now when I see a mom in the supermarket and she clearly has multiples in her care, I never ask her if they’re twins as I don’t want to annoy her. I know better. So I just keep on walking by.
As most people are just trying to be polite and engage in neighborly conversation, couldn’t you spare a minute and do the same? Yet if you still find that you just can’t take that question one more time, there are plenty of ways to throw people off the scent.
- Dress your twins differently when you go out in public. Always.
- Avoid eye contact, pretend you’re hard of hearing, or just smile and walk away.
- If someone asks, “Are they twins?” Simply answer, “yes,” and keep moving.
- If you can, bring someone else along and use two single strollers instead of one double stroller.
- Don’t dawdle, saunter, loiter. Get in, get out.