Saturday, June 19, 2010 Interviews Tanya

I recently conducted an interview with Tanya, mother to 7-year-old identical twin boys, a 5-year-old girl, and a 3-year-old boy.  Tanya and I went to elementary and middle school together, and we recently discovered (via Facebook) our mutual interest in twins.  I conducted this interview via e-mail.

Jon: We're getting over the shock a little bit, which is good, because they're due in early August. I can't believe you have twin boys!

Tanya:  It takes a while to get over the shock. I think that I actually cried for 2 weeks!! I love having twin boys and am very glad that they came first because it was a lot of work in the beginning. The good news is that while everyone with singletons is entertaining their kids, yours will be entertaining each other. I think they also help each other sleep through the night. It took the other two a lot longer to sleep through the night. In fact, I am currently bribing my youngest (almost 4) to stay in his own bed at night.  Twin boys, 19 months later a little girl, then just when we thought we might be done, 20 months later another boy. I was trying for another girl! I love having them all really close, but it is exhausting!!!

Jon: I started laughing uncontrollably during the doctor's appointment when we found out about the twins. This is apparently a no-no, since it caused my wife to laugh and prolonged the examination, neither of which were particularly comfortable for her.

Do people stop you whenever you go out to ask questions or fuss over the kids? I've heard this happens, but I've also heard that people walk up to pregnant women to rub their bellies, and I haven't seen that happen to Christina yet (thankfully).

Tanya: YES! People always came and fussed over them and tried to touch them when I had them out in the stroller. I would always try to keep them covered, but people would just pull the blankets off of them. I hated that and would just say that they were sick and asked them not to touch. And yes, people always touched my belly, which didn't bother me, but drove my husband crazy! I think I got sooo large that it started to scare people.

Jon: What sorts of weird questions do you get?

Tanya: I get all kinds of comments when I go out with my kids. Lots of "Do you know how that happens?", a little of "I know what you do with your free time", but mostly, "wow, are they all yours?". My favorite was in the National Gallery a mother said to her daughter, "watch out for the daycare group."

Jon: Did you dress them alike when they were little?

Tanya:  I always dressed them in similar outfits, but never matching. Now that they dress themselves, it drives me crazy when one comes down in polo shirt and khakis and the other in crappy t-shirt and sweats. Mine are identical, though. I may have dressed them the same if they had looked different.

Jon: Are you putting them in the same classroom? This seems to be a big disagreement people have. I guess some of it depends on the kids, but it seems like it might be easier on the parents to have to keep up with one classroom instead of two.

Tanya: The classroom question!! We just spent a month discussing it again this year. You will get tons of advice on this. My advice is to do what you think is best for them. No one else really knows, although it is nice to get feedback from teachers. We keep them together for a lot of reasons. When they were going into pre-k, they didn't know anyone else, and I was afraid that it would be to hard for them to adjust. When they were going into kindergarten, there were only 4 readers in their class and they wanted to group them together. They strongly encouraged us last year and this year to separate them again, but they seem to be very independent of each other within the classroom, and our other 2 will be in school this year too! So, it is just easier and they like it. It is definitely easier to keep them together for us, but lots of twins are extremely dependent and will do better apart.

Jon: How long before you were able to tell them apart? Did you use any tricks, like painting toenails, etc.?

Tanya: I could always tell them apart and actually didn't believe that they were identical. It help most people that Connal had a HUGE hemangioma on the front top of his head. I remember when my dad showed up for their 2nd B-day and looked at me with fear in his eyes and said, "They grew hair!". He couldn't tell them apart at all. We also never dressed them the same. They each get half of a dresser drawer. Connal's clothes go on the right side and Nolan's clothes go on the left side on each drawer. I think they did this though!

Jon:  How do you handle birthdays? I assume they share a party, but do they each get their own cake? Do they get their own presents?

Tanya: They always share a party because it would be the same people invited. I always do a chocolate cake for Connal and a butter (vanilla) cake for Nolan. As for the different gifts: our house rule is if you get an individual gift it is yours for the day. After that anyone can use it and you better not call anything "mine". That rule applies to all four kids.

Jon: I was thinking it would be a good idea to wrap things up and post the interview soon before things get nuts around here. I'm sure I'll have more questions once reality hits, but I appreciate your answering my "preview" questions!

Tanya:  I know things are about to turn upside down at your house and I am very excited for you guys! If you have any twin questions for the boys, let me know. They will answer anything, but don't really understand why we just talk about being twins. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have along the way! Good luck and keep me posted.