Thursday, November 17, 2011

Questions I Get Most Often (and Some Other Ramblings)

Are they twins???
Yep, sure are. I know they don’t look that much alike but they’re twi...

But he’s so much BIGGER than she is...
Well he’s big for a boy and she’s small for a girl.

He must be older. How much older is he?
He’s one minute older.

Obviously that one minute is why James is nearly 4 pounds heavier. While it’s true that the first twin out in a vaginal delivery (Twin A) is usually bigger, any differences after the first few weeks due to birth order go away. I’m not sure what people who ask me about it are thinking - that James came out two months early and fattened up while Julia luxuriated inside my womb eating a spa diet of tofu, arugula, and tomato wraps?

But let’s go back to my twins not looking alike...
While James and Julia looked more alike when they were first born with their blond widow’s peaks and wrinkly newborn faces, they don’t look much alike now. Both are pale with blue eyes but the similarities end there. James has dirty blond hair and definitely looks like my side of the family while Julia has medium brown hair and definitely looks like her Daddy. I think it’s fun that they look so different and we get to see such different genetic combinations in them.

They actually look alike the first month...

Stretching out on the warming table, just after birth, the babies still look alike because they look like every other wrinkled Caucasian newborn. (1 hour)

Kickin' it in the car seats and showing off matching blond widow's peaks. (2 weeks)

Still looking pretty much alike the second month...

According to James Lipton, the appropriate term of venery is "an armload of babies." (1 month)

Julia and James practice their "Walk Like an Egyptian" poses. (1 month)

Different lengths and head shapes by 4 months...

James and Julia go head to head... Uh oh. I've been spotted. (4 months)

But then by 6 months you can really see the different in the twins' hair color...

The awesomeness of Jean Diapers. (6 months)

Most twin moms I know have babies that definitely look more alike. I really only know two sets of twins that look less alike than ours. They would be my friend Kathy who has one twin, Ava, who looks Sicilian like her daddy with dark hair, big dark eyes, and a stocky build (Kathy's words, not mine) and the other twin, Bella, who looks Irish like Kathy with red hair, blue eyes, and a build like a beanpole. (No, this Kathy is not actually me.) One other interesting set of twins I know is my friend Tesin’s. She is Chinese and her husband is Irish, and one twin, Kimai, looks totally Chinese, and the other, Caitlin, looks totally Irish. By chance they happened to give the Irish name to the Irish-looking baby.

Least alike twin competition winners: Ava and Bella.

And tied with Ava and Bella for least alike: Kimai and Caitlin.

Surprisingly I’ve only gotten the boneheaded question asking whether James and Julia are identical or fraternal once, which I’ve heard boy/girl twin parents get asked a lot. Incidentally, Mark and I watched a National Geographic special on twins and apparently you can have identical boy/girl twins. As I understand it, all twins undergo mutations so they’re never completely alike. In very rare instances, one of those mutations can affect the chromosome that determines the sex of the baby.

Do twins run in your family?
Actually, they do. My mother’s first cousin Beverlee was the surviving twin at birth. And my father’s Aunt Veronica had identical twins, Karen and Susan. On Mark’s side there are two sets of Pilloff twins: Grandpa Herschel’s first cousin, Lawrence had twins as did another first cousin's (Benson) son Steve.

My cousin Beverlee is on the far right in the first picture and on the left in the second with her daughter, Debbie. Incidentally, she looks so much like my mom they could be sisters. (In fact I've heard stories about my mom borrowing Beverlee's ID. I wonder whatever for...)

Here's my mom for comparison. She only wears over-the-top floral hats when she's out for tea.

However, this probably had nothing to do with it since our fertility clinic had me take a drug to increase the possibility of my getting pregnant. Thankfully the first drug they gave me - Clomid - worked so I didn’t have to go down the path of self-injectable drugs or IVF. My nurse told me that taking Clomid would give me a 8% chance of getting pregnant with multiples. I was given an ultrasound after taking Clomid and two eggs were visible. Then I was given a steroid shot in my butt (not too unlike Jose Canseco) with doctor’s orders to go make a baby the following night. (Side note: the month before this attempt, FIVE eggs were visible and I told the nurse I did not want to try that month. The doctor was disappointed with my decision when he found out, which makes me think: bad doctor.)

Asking if twins run in your family is a loaded question (as mentioned in this awesome, awesome video that’s a must see for twin parents). A lot of people who ask this are clueless, but there are others that are surreptitiously asking to find out if you had ferility help. I was actually asked this during my Jeopardy audition in front of a room full of people, and sort of stammered an answer ("no, well yes, but no...").


  1. this is a great post... we have more in common than I thought!

  2. I need to clarify the driver's license remark. I only borrowed Beverlee's license so that I could help her. She needed something that I wasn't old enough to buy and I knew she was busy. I was just helping her run an errand. It's the truth and I'm sticking to that story.

  3. I don't do it often, but I know I've asked the twins-running-in-your-family question, and it has NEVER been in an attempt to find out if someone used IF procedures to get pregnant. Now that I know people do that, I'll never ask it again. I can't stand nosiness with regard to fertility.

    P.S. I don't know your mom, but I love her. I think I'd like to have twin babies next so I can ask her to come live at my house and hold them both at once.

    P.P.S. What is your favorite brand of tampons?

  4. Marianne, you usually can tell when the people asking if twins run in the family have an agenda. The ones who don't usually ask excitedly right away. (Like: "Twins?! Wow! Do they run in your family?") I tend to believe people don't mean anything by it until proven otherwise.

    I had quite a few people who really hardly knew me at my old job say "You're expecting twins? IVF?" I was probably nicer than I should have been.

    It's hard to believe my babies were so little that we could easily hold them both at once. Now Julia hates sharing my lap with James and pushes him away while he is (still happy and) left with the corner of my knee. I'm sure both my parents would come over and hold your future twin babies. My dad would be thrilled to be a Tiny Tots Santa.

    P.P.S. Generic Target?

  5. TweedleDea, I often read your blog posts. And last night I read about how Hudson had a twin he absorbed. Apparently something like 20% of pregnancies are twin pregnancies but one of the twins is absorbed by the other so early that unless you have an extremely early ultrasound (which you don't usually have unless you're having fertility treatment) you're totally unaware of it.