Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: One and the Same

I first learned of One and the Same from the author's blog entry at DoubleX. The text intrigued me enough to go over to Amazon and read a description of the book there. Lest you think the book is only of interest to parents of identical twins, Amazon says:
If you’re considering IVF, if you are a twin or have a twin, or are married to a twin, or dating one, this book is a necessity.
"Considering IVF"? Really? To be fair, the chapter on fertility treatments is more relevant to fraternal twins. But if IVF is your only interest, you can probably just read that chapter.

What sold me on the book was the author's quote:
My parents could not have been more loving, stimulating, or "modern" in their childrearing, but it literally never occurred to them to spend time with Robin and me separately and that omission backfired at the end of the day. When I interviewed my mother for my book, and asked her why she and Dad never took us anywhere separately, she looked pained. "Because we didn’t think that way," she told me. "We just thought in terms of doing things as a family. I should have been aware of it because I should have been smart enough to figure out that something is gained when you’re alone with a person. I should have realized that. But it never occurred to us. It always was a matter of 'Let’s. Not: 'You come with me and you go with him.'"

She said they realized their mistake in one powerful instant when I was eighteen and they invited me to go with them for a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast. "You said you were uncomfortable coming along because you’d never been alone with us. It was like somebody shot us between the eyes; we couldn’t believe it. ‘How could this have happened?’ We never noticed that we had never been with one child."
Reading this made me realize that having twins presents a unique set of challenges, and intrigued me enough to borrow the book from the library.

My favorite parts were the opening chapter about the Twins Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, the interviews with Tiki and Ronde Barber, and the author's recollections growing up as a twin. The Twinsburg chapter reads like a fun, goofy travelogue exploring the twee-er aspects of twinning. I don't expect we'll ever go, but it's a good reminder of what cultural niches exist for twins and their parents. The personal accounts of growing up a twin were interesting to read, and helped me see things from the perspective of the twin child rather than the parent, unlike most of the other books I've read which focus on the parent's point of view.

The parts I didn't need to read (and skipped) were about twins in 9/11 or the Holocaust. While these sections are undoubtedly revealing for twins trying to understand their own identity or the role of twins in society, they are not something a future parent of twins wants to read.

Twinometer: 7/10. I would have liked to rate it higher, but the parts I had to scan and skip dragged it down.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fear of Flying

Here's something you may not have considered. As a parent of twin babies, if you and your spouse want to fly somewhere with them as lap infants, you will not be allowed to sit with your spouse.

At first this makes no sense, but the problem is that each set of seats on an aircraft only has one extra oxygen mask, and your bundles of joy require two.

This came up in a discussion yesterday with a colleague who was already trying to juggle a combined work/pleasure trip with all the attendant seating and booking issues. He didn't need this added headache, but as a parent of twins, he's getting used to it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

They Expect me to Wear THIS??!

The supposition that most women pregnant with twins could -- or would -- wear this does in fact raise in me a slight panic. On the other hand, the sentiment really made me laugh... and laugh... and laugh.

The tee version is available on the CafePress site.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things You Probably Didn't Think To Worry About...

From Ken Jennings of all people -- yeah, the Jeopardy! guy -- comes this twin worry:

A tricky social situation I’d never thought of: what do you do when your identical twin dies?
Well, you bury and mourn him or her, of course, and then go through their stuff. (You know it will fit you!) But here’s what I’m getting at: when you show up at the funeral, many of the deceased’s friends, co-workers, etc. will never have met you. I’d guess that somewhere around a third of them might not even know he or she was a twin.
In other words: there will be whispers, pointing, dropped drinks, maybe screams. You will be widely assumed to be the dead, come back to life.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Let's Start With One and See How That Goes

As an only child, I've always had a bit of a bias towards the idea of having just one kid.  Not that I've been set on it, but since I turned out pretty well, I thought the idea should at least be given some consideration.  Christina, on the other hand, has wanted a bigger family.

My standard response throughout our marriage has been, "Let's start with one and see how that goes."  I have probably been a bit smug about the cleverness of this answer, as it concedes everything and nothing.  On the one hand, I seem open to the idea of more kids.  On the other hand, it kicks the decision down the road to the point at which we might be a bit overwhelmed with diapers, sleep deprivation and parental anxiety.

By the time we found out we were going to have a child, I was both thrilled at the idea of having one and so grateful, two or more seemed worth the future.  I was very excited at the first ultrasound opportunity to see our child.  When the doctor pointed out, unexpectedly, that there were actually two kids on the screen, I started laughing.

And laughing, and laughing.  Really it was quite uncontrollable.  And, in retrospect, not a good idea to do anything that would prolong an uncomfortable exam for my wife and make it more uncomfortable with contagious laughter.  But how else could I respond?  I think I retained a nervous giggle the whole car ride home.  "Twins."  Wow.

So now that we know we're having twins, we have to ask ourselves whether we want more later.  My feeling?  Let's start with two and see how that goes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On Being Outnumbered

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house with 3 adults and 1 child, so I never suffered for attention. Now that the shoe is about to be on the other foot, I see that this ratio also helped cut down on the amount of child-induced chaos. (Not that I was a particularly chaotic child.) Even at 2-on-2, Christina and I should still be able to play man-to-man defense.

There will still be times, however, when one of us is alone with the kids and numerical superiority will be theirs. I was reminded of this fact a few weeks back when I read this story of 9-year-old twins: "The girls didn't like that their dad was singing in the car, so they pulled his hair and punched his neck." This wouldn't have made the news, except the dad then pulled into a police station to have the cops give the girls a talking-to.

I'm hoping not to have to resort to such extreme parenting measures.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 Intro

Before we start posting some actual content on this site, I wanted to make it clearer what we are doing, and what we aren't doing. We aren't here to post cute pictures of twins. If you already have twins, I'm sure you have plenty yourself. If you are merely expecting twins, head over to and go to the twin forums. The one time I tried that, pretty much everybody appended pictures to their posts. Seriously, what is up with that? Just because I might have a question about twins, I want to see pictures of your kids?

What we will discuss is the panic inherent in expecting, and having, twins. How am I going to handle this? What is going to happen to my life? Are my kids going to be OK? Am I going to spend the next 18 years listening to stupid comments from strangers? I'm sure there are other topics I need to be panicking about but I don't even know what they are yet. Time to go panic about that.