“What’s it like to be the brother to a set of twins?” As much as I’d love to ask this question to my single-born son, I won’t. Although I want to understand my son’s experience as the younger, sibling to twins, I can’t ask. To me, it would sound a bit like the old joke: “Well, that’s enough of my talking about me. Let’s talk about you. So, what do you think of me?”
Get it? Even though I would be asking about him, I would still be focusing on his twin brothers. The question wouldn’t be about him after all—it would be about how he lives and functions in their world. Although I know in my heart that it would be insensitive to ask the question, I still want to.
Because I want to know his frustrations and pleasures as the younger sibling to twins so that I can parent him better. I want to know the things that I’m doing right by him and the issues where I’m failing. But I’ve made it my mission as a mother to try to not draw attention (or at least lessen the attention) to the fact that my single-born son has “celebrities” as brothers. No, my twins are not TV stars, pop sensations, or YouTube entrepreneurs; they’re just twins. Fraternal twin brothers. But that in itself often gives them celebrity status.
From the time that they were born, my twins have drawn attention from family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. If you are the parent of twins you know exactly what I’m talking about. Even though twins are very common these days, they still have a magical aura about them. Everyone wants to know what it’s like being a twin, having a twin. So when people see twins out in public, they often stop and ask. But where does that leave the single-born sibling to twins who happens to be with them? Sadly, often standing there waiting for some attention too. It rarely comes.
As a parent, I try to focus on the three of my sons as brothers and as my children rather than “the twins” and “the singleton.” So I go to great lengths to lessen the attention on his brothers “as twins,” even though being the mother to twins is how I make an income! For instance, when he’s around I don’t talk about the books I’ve written about twins, or when I’m updating this blog. If my singleton walks into my office while I’m writing about twins, I quietly close my lap top. Even this week as I’m getting ready to interview my twin sons again for a blog post about the questions people constantly ask twins, I’m patiently waiting for a day when my singleton isn’t here.
Am I over thinking this? Am I being ridiculous? Are my methods a bit much? I don’t know! Maybe. Maybe not. I’d love to ask my singleton.
But I won’t.