Great news, guys! Both my daughters are home from the NICU, which means I've got three kids under 2 1/2 at my house, as my son just turned two. Wait. That sounds more like terrifying news. Anyway, I'm thrilled, and also excited to jump into life as a twins dad. There's one dad out there in particular who has helped me prepare for that journey: Joe Rawlinson. Joe is the author of "Dad's Guide to Twins" and a follow-up, "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins". Joe was kind enough to write a guest post this week (as I am knee-deep in diapers!). Check it out, and make sure you follow him on Twitter (@twindadjoe) and Facebook (@dadsguidetotwins)! - Andy Shaw
Having twins is awesome. As a father of twins, you are in an elite fraternity of men.
However, this fraternity seems to be cloaked in mystery and misunderstandings by those who don’t have twins.
As a parent of twins, you get mobbed by complete strangers asking probing and awkward questions. These questions lead to some interesting discussions.
Here’s the inside scoop to help clarify common misunderstandings about twins.
Two of Everything
When we found out that we were having twins, I assumed that we’d need double of everything. While we did need two of many things, twins are great at sharing and don’t necessarily need double of everything. Twins share toys, baby gear, and most importantly, they share parental attention.
They are natural
When you ask a twin parent, “Are they natural?” what are you implying? That we did in-vitro fertilization?
Many parents of twins struggled for years to have children. So regardless of how their twins were conceived, these parents are ecstatic to have kids.
Like politics and religion, infertility and medically assisted baby-making can be a sensitive topic for some parents.
Regardless of how twins form, they are natural and 100% organic. They aren’t robots or aliens.
Good Twin / Bad Twin
A set of twins doesn’t always mean one is good and the other is bad. It’s not like you’re dealing with Two Face from Batman.
In observing our twins’ personalities and behaviors I don’t see that we necessarily have a “good twin” and a “bad twin” all the time. The pattern I’ve seen is that each twin plays the part from time to time and takes turns doing so. When one is behaving badly, the other is the angel child and vice versa. More like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
We don’t get them mixed up. At least I think we never did. I guess we’ll never know, will we?
Even though they look identical to you, I can tell my twins apart. This started at birth with very subtle physical differences like size, color, and birthmarks. Now our girls have grown into their totally different personalities so I can tell them apart by their voices, facial expressions and even how they walk.
Identical Boy/Girl Twins
You can't have identical boy/girl twins. So please don’t ask a twin parent this question. Think for a minute about what the word identical means. Got it? Now think about all the ways boys are physically different from girls. Not identical. Period.
Do twins run in your family?
Twins come in two basic flavors: identical and fraternal.
Identical twins form when one fertilized egg splits into two. Identical twins are random acts of nature that occur in about one in 285 births regardless of family history, race, ethnicity, etc. Think about that one next time your wife gets pregnant. There just might be a twin surprise for you!
Fraternal twins result from two separate eggs being fertilized and forming babies. If mom is older, she is more likely to release multiple eggs. Family history does come into play here as she may be genetically inclined to double ovulate. Sorry dad, your family history doesn’t really get a say in spontaneously conceived fraternal twins as it is all up to mom.
Twins are not easy but I couldn’t imagine life any other way!
About the Author
Joe Rawlinson is the father of four children, two boys and identical twin girls. He is the author of two books for fathers of twins, “Dad's Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins” and “Dad's Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.” You can find more tips and tricks for preparing for and raising your twins at dadsguidetotwins.com.