Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Post I Was Hoping Wouldn't Happen

Baby Faith passed away on Christmas Day. She survived for a month after the surgery that separated her from her sister Hope, who passed away immediately following the separation.

My thoughts are with the family.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Sharing

Ah. The gift giving time is upon us. And I'm having flashbacks to holidays past and two little girls who very, very often would put the gift between them and work on unwrapping one side...

Every pair of twins, I'm sure, has gotten a gift to share. I'm guessing when the two are the same gender, that happens even more. Baby A and I, in fact, just got a couple gifts to share a few days ago, and we definitely unwrapped them collaboratively.

Sometimes it was a little ridiculous, but I totally get that getting two of the same board game, movie, etc. doesn't make sense. And we feel extra lucky at the holidays and our birthday because we often get the same thing but in different colors. And since we have gotten so good at sharing, it's almost like double the presents. Almost.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blech, Blech, Gag

Baby A and I were driving, and a commercial came on the radio. It was for the new "G1rls Nex7 D0or." Blech, blech, gag.

And then at dinner, our stepmom brought it up too. Blech, blech, gag.

I cannot tell you how many comments and questions Baby A and I have fielded revolving around situations such as these. I know I bitched about this earlier but seriously? I. Don't. Get. It.

Apparently we're just not going to get over this identical-twins-semi-naked-thing any time soon. Coors twins, anyone?


Friday, December 12, 2008

In Utero TOTALLY Counts

Yesterday marked one month till Baby A and I's birthday.

We like to do this thing where we calculate how long we shared womb space (9 months, because hell yeah we went to 40 weeks) and then how old we are. So yesterday marked approximately 20 years and 8 months of kicking it together, twinkie style. Yup, we're finishing up our second decade, if you don't count time in utero.

So, about the whole 40 weeks thing... The doctors were a little surprised. Well, a LOT surprised. Because in med school, they teach you that twins almost always come early. See that "almost" right there, between "twins" and "always"? That's us! Mom chose a Wednesday to be induced, if she didn't go into labor naturally. Which she didn't, of course, because that would be too easy, and we're all about doing things the hard way around here. She liked Wednesday because she likes the number 11. (There were probably also some swear words and tears involved too, because dammit, 13 pounds of baby is just not comfortable, apparently). We like the number 11 too. The ones match, 1 for her and 1 for me. I guess twenty-two would have been cool too, but 42 weeks with twins, that's getting out of hand.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mitosis Mistake

We have our bio final exam tomorrow.

I was just looking at the material on mitosis, and had one of those weird moments when it hit me: "A mistake in cytokinesis is why I'm here."

Back to our regularly scheduled silence till after finals are over.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sister, twin, heterosexual life partner?

I feel weird calling my sister "my twin" and calling my twin "my sister." I feel like neither of them are just right.

When I use "my sister" to people who don't know about Baby A, I usually get a weird look, sometimes followed up by a question. Like "You have a sister in the same grade as you?" or "Why do you live with your sister still/work with her/practically share a bank account?"

But I feel like calling her "my twin" makes me sound... I don't know. Like I am bragging maybe. Or like I want everyone to know how *special* I am because I have a twin. Which is not the case, I just don't want confusion sometimes.

So I walk a fine line between feeling like I advertise my twin-ness and getting awkward looks and questions. I feel like most twins usually use "sister" or "brother," like I do, right?


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hope and Faith

Hope, one of the conjoined twins born to Laura and Aled Williams, passed away immediately following surgery, due to lung failure. Her parents were with her.

Faith will need more surgery and extensive healing. She has been given a 50% chance of survival.

The girls were omphalopagus twins, joined at the abdomen with separate hearts and a shared liver.

My thoughts are with the family.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yet Another Conjoined Twins Story

I found this just yesterday. A case of conjoined twins who cannot be separated despite best efforts to find a way.

Romanian conjoined twins Anastasia and Tatiana will be five this coming January, and are conjoined at the head (craniopagus twins). Their heads face opposite directions, so as the news story puts it, "they have never been able to look each other in the eye."

It is too dangerous to separate the girls because their brains are growing together and their systems are very complexly intertwined. If the girls had been able to separated, Anastasia would still have needed dialysis and a kidney transplant, because she relies on Tatiana's kidneys.

They were brought the US in the hopes that they could be separated, much like the Ibrahim twins, Mohammed and Ahmed. They now live in the Chicago area.

Everyone was hoping for the best possible outcome, a healthy separation, so there has understandably been much disappointment. I hope for the best for the girls and their family.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Apart

Baby A and I decided not to go home for Thanksgiving this year. It had something to do with exorbitantly high airplane ticket prices and the fact that we'll be home for winter break in just a few weeks.

And then I got invited to Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's family. And then back to their home for the long weekend. So, that is where I am now.

I have had Thanksgiving dinner without Baby A before, but never had I just not seen her on Thanksgiving.

And you know what? I MISSED HER. As we drove back by our town on the way from the (all day) dinner to my boyfriend's hometown, I was tempted to stop by our apartment and see her for a bit.

I settled for texting her.

I always buy her a little something when I go away for the weekend. This was no exception. I can't wait to get back to open it with her.


PS: I totally did not abandon my twinkie. I asked her beforehand, and then she made her own plans. We're all good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In More News From Britain...

An 18 year old girl is due to give birth to conjoined twins in the next few weeks.

Do news sources know that the preferred term for conjoined twins IS conjoined twins, NOT Siamese twins? Just wondering.

They are already planning on separating the babies. However, they do not yet know how the babies are conjoined. Generally, twins are only separated if both can survive without the other (excepting parasitic twins), meaning they each have the organs and capacity to live without the other. Abigail and Brittany Hensel cannot be separated; they share multiple organs and organ systems. They each have an arm to control and they have two legs. In certain cases, an organ transplant can allow a twin that had less organs than the other to survive, such as the Herrin twins case. Kendra and Maliyah were separated, requiring Maliyah to get a donated kidney from her mother.

There is the well-known case of "Mary" and "Jodie" Attard. Their parents took them to Britain to seek medical advice. Doctors wished to separate the girls because Mary was much less developed; they viewed her more as a parasitic twin who was straining the more developed twin and would eventually lead to Jodie's death. This is what the courts agreed with. The parents, due to religious reasons, wished the girls to remain together as they were born. Mary died after she was removed from her sister; Jodie is healthy.

I will be following this new conjoined twins case closely, and am hoping for the best possible outcome for the mother and the babies.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am so lucky to have a twin that goes to school with me.

Except, you know, when she spills a solution in chemistry lab. And then we have to make some more. And we're the last group working because of it.

She's going to read this, so I'm just going to throw this out there: I LOVE YOU. I'M JUST GLAD WE GOT OUT OF THERE ALIVE.

I am SO not a fan of chem lab. But, in general, having my Baby A there makes it so much more fun.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear BBC,

I would like to inform you that the child born to Susanne, the woman who had the world's first full ovary transplant, is genetically her daughter. You wrongly stated that Maja, the baby born because of the ovary transplant, is "genetically her niece." Since Susanne and Dorothee have the same genes (that's what makes them identical), that makes any children conceived by them genetically half-siblings (not cousins). The sisters share DNA, so the children have the SAME DNA from their mothers and different DNA from their fathers.

What you probably meant to say is that Maja is her niece in a familial sense, because the eggs formerly reside in her sister. However, as stated before, identical twins have identical DNA, which means the children born to identicals are gentically indistinguishable from half-siblings. If two identical females married an identical male from the same pair, their children would be genetically indistinguishable from siblings!

Hope this clears up any (long-lasting and persisting) confusion about identical twins.


**ETA** If you feel like letting the BBC know about their mistake, go here to fill out the form for style, accuracy, and grammar mistakes. The full url for the story with this mistake is http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7731186.stm.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Um, Yes, My Last Post WAS About This

According to the BBC in an article posted today (go read it!), a healthy baby girl was born to a mother who had received an ovary from her identical twin. The woman had ovary failure in her teen years, while her twin had healthy ovaries.

I mentioned egg donation last post and jokingly referred to having spare body parts, but I never considered the viability of the ovary transplant option, if such a need ever arose.

And for good reason too. It was the world's first whole ovary transplant! The new mother received the ovary from her twin to try to alleviate her early menopause. Doctors attached it in such a way to allow eggs to travel as they normally would. The report says the mother was not intending to get pregnant, but she did. What a confirmation that the transplant was a success!

It is noted that most young women with ovary failure have little to no warning to store their ovaries for later and, of course, they don't usually have an identical twin. Because of these women's genetic match at the highest possible level, concern for rejection was very low.

The British Fertility Society supports the removal of ovaries to preserve future fertility in the cases of women who will undergo treatment for cancer. Removing an ovary can be done immediately allowing for chemotherapy or radiation to begin at once, while harvesting eggs takes times because of the injections needed to ripen many follicles at once. The spokesman quoted in the article says that long-term freezing could be just as damaging to fertility as age, and clearly there are other, more applicable options in the treatment of infertility.

Congratulations to the new mother and auntie!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Houston, We Have... Cats

Baby A is compassionate and kind and loves animals. So when the chance to adopt two little orphan kittens wandered in her path, she picked it up, schmoogled (TOTALLY a word) it, and said YES.

Now that we're in an apartment that allows pets, the brothers, who are now over a year old, live with us. They are named after historical figures. The bigger one is named after a certain king of France who got beheaded, along with his young wife, and was known for being fat. The smaller one is named after a certain French military leader who was known for being short. Louis and Napoleon. Clever, right? Auntie (yours truly) came up with them.

Yes, it is true. I am an auntie to two four-legged creatures, which is certainly preferable in my mind to being an auntie to one eight-legged creature. Because why anyone would want a huge, hairy spider as a pet is beyond me.

And then it randomly occurs to me every so often that when I'm eventually an auntie to Baby A's biological two-legged children, they will have MY DNA too. Our kids will be genetically indistinguishable from half-siblings.

Say one of us has bum ovaries. She could totally just use the other one's eggs! The possessor of said faulty reproductive organs is STILL passing on her DNA to the next generation, despite the fact that the eggs were stored in the other twin.

Having spare body parts walking around could be so useful (there's so much to say about that). Here's hoping we never test that theory.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

There Are No Words

Hugh Hefner is dating twins. Who appear to be identical twins. 19 year old identical twins. Whose myspace apparently said "Hollywood, here we come!"

Thanks, girls, for renewing random strangers' interest in seeing identical girl twins naked together/make out/whatever. Because fending off skeevy perverts is just *so* much fun!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Saved A Life!

It took FOR.EV.ER to donate blood yesterday. I had never done it before, so I had to register with the company. Baby A donated blood the day before and so she was in the system. Lo and behold, two people living at the same household with similar names and very similar SSNs! The guy seemed all concerned that I was trying to fraud them, or make another profile with them.

Seriously, I told him her name, her SSN, her date of birth (duh), even her weight. Though, if he was that concerned I was donating twice in two days and thought I had made it all up, then I should know all of fake "Baby A"'s stats. But he was convinced Baby A and I's information was correct, and we moved on.

It also took a long time because there were no good veins in my left arm (I'm a rightie, so that was unfortunate) and because my blood pressure was too low to donate. Nothing like some serious nerves to raise that blood pressure to the point where I could give.

I got a flyer about joining the National Marrow Donor Program at the donation. And today I found this post. Abbie, the Handmade Quilt-er, whipped up a beautiful lap quilt (in a ridiculously short amount of time and free of charge) at the request of neighbors to give to another neighbor, a woman who donated marrow to a stranger with leukemia.

To celebrate this woman's selfless act, Abbie is giving away a quilt similar to the one she made for the woman (pictured above).

I love quilts, so I definitely entered. You should enter too!

I feel this is one more push from the universe for me to join the Marrow Donor Program.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Midterms, Exams, and Quizzes, Oh My!

When you have a body and a brain based on the exact same DNA as someone else, things tend to work the same way.

Our brains tend to make the same connections between things, reach similar conclusions, and get confused on the same topics. This is why we know sit far apart when taking an exam in the same room as each other. Because getting the same wrong answer to the same question tends to puzzle the teacher.

Our seventh grade science teacher assigned seating, and I was way up front to the right, and Baby A was in the last desk in the back on the left. No one got up during the test. We both missed one question, the same one, and marked the same wrong answer. Clearly we didn't cheat, and the teacher briefly mused on the unlikelihood of telepathy.

We sat kind of close to each other in a midterm last quarter, and got the same wrong answer to a question. (We each missed more than one for sure). Same wrong answers trigger more suspicion than same right answers (because it's right for a reason, of course). We didn't cheat, it would have been obvious to the teaching assistants and professor if I positioned myself in a way to see Baby A's test or vice versa. But since then, we have been careful to get to exams early to pick seats far away from each other, so there is no possibility of that ever being accused of happening.

I guess I haven't recovered from being accused by our second grade teacher of cheating. We sat at the same group of desks, so OBVIOUSLY those DEVIOUS, TRICKY IDENTICAL TWINS used their external hard drives (each other's brains) for help. Actually, we didn't, and I'm pretty sure I cried when the teacher said we did. Because I was that much of a sensitive two shoes. It was pretty clear to everyone else that those gosh darn goody goodies wouldn't cheat. Our classmates also totally thought the teacher was on crack. Or however a second grader would say that.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Oooh, Spoooky!

Sometimes, Baby A and I FREAK. PEOPLE. OUT.

People on drugs tend to be very scared when they see us. No, seriously. (This happens more than you think). They
tend to go all "Whoa, dude, there's like.... two of you. Are you both... real?" YES.

Baby A and I usually don't dress alike for Halloween. Not since we were six or so.

Halloween is an excuse for many college students to part-ay. While dressing up as sexy nurses, sexy cops, sexy fairies, sexy witches, sexy angels... you get the point. Alcohol and drugs abound on this fine holiday. (I am at home, I made my friends a casserole, and I am going to snuggle in with my boyfriend for a movie. I am so. not. cool).

Imagine this: Baby A and I dressed exactly alike on Halloween. Out in public. Run into a bunch of high-as-a-kite college kids. They would be TERRIFIED. Baby A and I would laugh our butts off.

Next Halloween, for sure.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Her Head is Smooshed

I love my twinkie, and she loves me. But I think a liiiittle part of her hasn't forgiven me for my in-utero transgressions.

Like probably taking more of the food. I only weighed 2 oz more at birth, but she was underdone on the inside, so who knows?

Like ruining her birth moment. Uh, TOTALLY not my fault my cord came out with her. And then the doctors were all, "We gotta get Baby B outta there!!" And three minutes into her (glorious) time here on earth sans clone, I showed up on the scene, blue and not making a sound. I've been a spotlight-stealer from day one, apparently.

Like making her head a different shape. You think I'm kidding? We have different face shapes, probably from her head being my seat in the womb. No joke. I wonder if any other twins have this...

Gee. It's good for me that there's this whole "unconditional love" thing.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Twins at Work

I was at the grocery store, at the check-out. I looked up at my cashier and saw the one behind her as well.

TWINS! They looked very alike, which was awesome. Of course, I struck up a conversation, but I mostly think she thought I was crazy.

What can I say? I love seeing identical twins in public, because it doesn't happen very often.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

*tap tap*

Is this thing on?

Let's start over.

Hi, my name is Alison, aka Baby B. I'm an undergraduate at a university in Northern California that I love love love. My twin goes to the same school. We share a room in an apartment, a car, two cats (I'm the "auntie"), and a brain.
I spend my free time reading the interwebs. I like crafting blogs. I like reading about food. I'm not a mom and don't plan on being one any. time. soon. But I love reading about other people's babies so much that I'm subscribed to more family blogs than I care to admit.
Before you think "Creeper!," I was one of those little girls who was super into baby dolls and playing house, babysitting was my only job for a long time, and I love babies and children so much that I want to be a registered dietitian specializing in pregnancy and infant and toddler health.
Offline, I go to school, study, and try not to screw up. Wait, I try not to screw up online too, but clearly my lack of posting since, um, EVER may indicate otherwise.

Nice to meet you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just For Kicks

Baby A and I both pulled back our hair and took off our glasses today, and we let the kids at day camp Ooooh and Aaaah over how much we look alike.

Tons of fun.

Till we got to the pool and I lent my hair tie to a camper. Then it was all "No fair! Now I can't tell you guys apart!"

Life's tough, kids. Besides, we each have our own pair of board shorts (I'm blue, she's brown) that we wear EVERY DAY. And we don't switch.

Feeling a little beat down from work. Something not work-related coming soon, promise.

Night night,
Baby B

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Away With Leave

Baby A is out tonight. I had already made a date (to babysit), so when our friend invited us to sleep over at her new apartment, Baby A took the opportunity. I went to go wrangle some toddlers.

I'm home now. I am usually acutely aware of where Baby A is. But tonight, from my busy night with the under 4 crowd, I forgot. I went to our room to put down my stuff, and I was surprised she wasn't there. It took me the walk from our bedroom to the kitchen (not long at all, but still) to remember. Stepmom then informed me of when she left, so it was good I had managed to remember before being ambushed.

I'm happy she's out having fun. We don't always do everything together, which I know you may find hard to believe. But it's true. I should blog about those times more often. I should blog more often in general, but you already knew that.

Good night,
Baby B

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Two Camps, Or Watch While I Attempt To Climb Back On The Wagon

I admire those bloggers who hold down full time jobs, keep a family going, AND manage to post quite often.

What's new in the world of Baby A and Baby B?

Well, nothing too exciting. Still getting those stares. Still freaking out the parents at the day camp when they realize there are two of us. Still playing the twin game with the kids at camp.

Some of the kids are really getting to the point where they can tell us apart. It's mostly kids from last session, but hey, progress is progress.

When kids figure out that, wow, you CAN tell identical twins apart after some time with them, it's usually accompanied by shock and disbelief. "No way! I thought I'd never be able to tell you two apart." Yeah, yeah, we know.

Generally, there are two camps. Camp one consists of those who think/thought they'll never be able to tell us apart. Camp two is made up of those who are determined to tell us apart, and they usually prefer it'd be sooner rather than later.

There are both good and bad things about each camp. Of course, it's slightly obnoxious when people insist that no, never, no way will they ever know which is which. But they make it a game, and don't take any mistakes they make too seriously. It lightens the whole situation. We appreciate the ones that insist they will be able to tell us apart. However, when they make a mistake, they usually flip out or start apologizing profusely, while Baby A and I are all "Dude, it's OK, give yourself a break."

No matter which camp someone belongs to, if he/she spends enough time with us (it's only one day for some, one year for others, completely subjective), you WILL be able to tell. We have different personalities, we walk differently, our voices are different, we wear different glasses (which we can't switch because of different prescriptions), we have distinguishing marks. It's all a matter of time.

Side note: Dad called me Baby A the other day, with our stepmom and two stepsisters in the same room together. It threw everyone for a loop. But, see? Everyone makes mistakes. And one of our coworkers really got it the other day. She examined our faces and said, "You guys don't look all that alike now that I know you." Exactly.

Later (or, Sooner, I'm hoping),
Baby B

Monday, July 7, 2008

Define: Twin

twin [noun], definition
1 a
: either of two offspring produced at a birth : gemini
2: one of two persons or things closely related to or resembling each other
: a compound crystal composed of two adjoining crystals or parts of crystals of the same kind that share a common plane of atoms

twin [adj], etymology
O.E. [Old English] twinn "consisting of two, twofold, double," probably ultimately from P.Gmc. [Proto-Germanic] *twinjaz (cf. O.N. tvinnr, O.Dan. tvinling, Du. tweeling, Ger. zwillung), from PIE [Proto-Indo-European] *dwisno- (cf. L. bini "two each," Lith. dvynu "twins"), from "double," from base *dwi-*dwo- "two" (see two). The verb meaning "to combine two things closely" is recorded from c.1394. The noun developed from O.E. getwinn "double."

I just love words. I read linguistics books. For fun. Anyway, "twin" is a very interesting word in English. Its Germanic ties are pretty easily distinguishable, but if you check out the abbreviations guide on etymonline.com, it will explain that Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European are hypothetical languages. Some words, we know eactly where they came from. Considering twins have been around pretty much forever (think about Romulus and Remus who are considered to be the founders of Rome, plus myths from almost every culture), it makes sense that the roots of the words that mean "twin" in various forms and languages have been lost to history.

"Twin" is also very interesting in Spanish. Apparently, "gemelo/a" is used for monozygotic twins, while "mellizo/a" is for dizygotic twins. As my understanding of Spanish is basic, I am not sure the origins of the two terms. "Mellizo/a" is for fraternals, which leads nicely into "trillizo/a" meaning "triplet." Since triplets and other high order multiples are most often fraternal, it makes sense that these words follow a pattern. Gosh, I love it when language makes sense.

To check out the two different words for "twin" in Spanish, visit allwords.com and then confirm (en espanol, and yes, there should be a tilde over the "n" but I don't know how to do special character in Blogger and I am tired) by checking out wordreference.com.

Hasta luego,
Baby B

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Slightly Aggressive Post

It's funny how one thing can lead to another. I was going to write about the fraternal twin boys at the day camp where we work. I was looking on the internet for papers and research on fraternal twin relationships.

I found an article, from one of those sites that accepts freelance work, talking about the bond between fraternal twins.

The article then references a woman by first name only, "who has a fraternal twin," who says that fraternal twins may be even closer than identicals [no problem there, each pair's relationship is different] because "they don't have to deal with the level of competitiveness or identity issues that identical twins might have" [big problem there].

I then spent a good hour on the internet looking up twin articles, twin research, twin anecdotes. What I found was a little disappointing.

Some people think competitiveness is greater in identicals because of their intense similarities and thus higher level of comparison. Some people think competitiveness is lesser in identicals because their extreme bond overcomes any jealousy. Everyone seems to think that twins, fraternals and identicals, are on the verge of hating each other if anyone compares them (at all) or they don't get exactly the same amount of attention (to the minute) or they are not treated solely as individuals (no "twins" here, folks).

I have known fraternals that have intense rivalry and just don't get along, and I have known fraternals that are extremely close. I have known identicals that don't wish to be considered a unit, and I have known identicals that fully embrace that as their identities.

What I have to say: Let your twins be themselves. If they have a rivalry or don't get along, then you should go with that and try to diffuse the situation. If they get along great, then be careful to respect their individuality but also respect them as part of a whole. Follow your twins' lead, not the advice of someone who doesn't even know your kids.

Side note: Personally, I am not offended (neither is Baby A) when someone asks who is better at what. It becomes both a chance to show off something the one is better at, while also pointing out something the other does well. Like "Baby A is a better test taker, but Baby B is much better at math conceptually." We have always answered like that, automatically. "I'm better at this, but she beats me at that." It's just the way we process it.

Baby B

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh, The Fear

Baby A and I were asked by more than four separate small people today at work if we could dress alike tomorrow. Since everyone gets a camp t-shirt for field trips, they can just wait for the field trip this week, we said.

Most of the kids, however, live in mortal fear that we will DRESS ALIKE. Or TRICK THEM. Or SWITCH GLASSES. Or WEAR OUR HAIR THE SAME. And they talk JUST LIKE THAT.

Our response is "We like you all too much. We wouldn't do that to you."

What I don't get is the anxiety about this. I do understand that it can just be disconcerting for some to look at us. None of the kids have had such a reaction. They just think it's cool we're twins for about three seconds and then move on to connect 4 or wall ball or coloring. But the alarm that we're going to TRICK THEM? I blame the media. How many times has the tricky identical twins concept been used as a gag on television?

Baby B

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Games We Play(ed)

This is somewhat a continuation of yesterday's post. Built-in best friends are handy for playing games with.

I was watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 (highly recommended) reruns on TLC. In one of the episodes, Kate mentions how she has no idea what the kids are playing, yet they are all on the same page. She says her older twin girls never seem to discuss the game whenever they are playing together, and the little ones, all six of them, also never seem to talk about the game, they just play it.

Our dad has mentioned similar things to us. In all our games or stories we made up, we were generally on the same page, without too much discussion. So it seemed to outsiders that we had some weird way of staying on course without ever talking about the game. It baffled them.

I do have to point out that it was not something telepathic or "creepy." Just like I can tell if she'll like the shirt I bought, or she can tell what I would like off the menu at a restaurant we've never been to before, we have pretty solid ideas about what the other one will agree with. We also have twinkie filters, so we can generally veto something before the other one has to.

It is pretty miraculous to have that sort of connection with someone, twin or not.

Baby B

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Built-In Best Friend

Baby A and I have heard so many stories from twins, fraternal and identical, about how much fun it was growing up with a twin. Singletons are right that having a constant companion must sometimes get on your nerves, but most of the time, it's like having your best friend live with you.

I wish I could generalize more. I know one pair of fraternal twin boys who said they were much closer when they were younger. They grew up and grew apart. But I have also heard about "friends of friends" that fought like cats and dogs when young, but actually got much closer as they grew up and matured.

All in all, Baby A and I have always been close. There have been ups and downs, sure, we have had plenty-o-years together. But we are definitely very close twins.

We have had so many singletons tell us how lucky we are to have a built-in best friend. We know, and we definitely appreciate each other.

Tell us your built-in best friend story.

Baby B

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Name Game

No posts for awhile, I know. Baby A and I started full time jobs working at a day camp for kids 7 to 13. It has been exhausting. We have swim every day (note the need for the one pieces last post), plus outdoor games, indoor games, free time, etc. During the day, we give all our energy and attention to the kids, so when we get home, all we want to do is eat and sleep.

So, we work with the same group of kids. There's about 40 of them everyday. That means there is plenty of confusion. We knew this would happen. We DO look alike.

So, to circumvent the name issues and the "What's your name" questions, we've started a little game.

Baby B: "I'm Baby B (yeah, that's not really my name, hang with me here), and what color am I wearing?"
Campers: "GREY!"
Baby B: "So who is that?"
Campers: "BABY A!" (sheesh, just pretend, OK?)
Baby B: "And what color is she wearing?"
Campers: "GREEN!"
Baby B: "What's my name?"
Campers: "BABY B!"
Baby B: "What color am I wearing?"
Campers: "GREY!"
Baby B: "What color is Baby A wearing?"
Campers: "GREEN!"
Baby B: "Which one is that one?"
Campers: "BABY A!"
Baby B: "Which one am I?"
Campers: "BABY B!"

It's redundant. It's monotonous. But it works. You do what you can when you work with your clone.

Baby B

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meeting Half of an Identical Twin Pair

Baby A and I were at a sporting goods store, and we were going to pay separately.

I walked up first, put my purchase on the counter, and the transaction began. Baby A and I tend to draw double takes anyway, but this time, it was more than a double take.

Cashier: "Are you two twins?"
Baby A & B: "Yes." (smiles)
Cashier: "I am, too!"
Baby A: "Identical?"
Cashier: "Yeah, we're identical."

Baby A and I were pretty excited. Meeting multiples of any kind is a lot of fun for us, but we can count on one hand the number of adults who have told us they have an identical twin.

We talked about names. As previously stated, our names do begin with the same letter, but they don't rhyme. NO RHYMING HERE. Baby A and I love names that go together well, but aren't fans of rhyming names for multiples. But that's a different post. Anyway, the cashier and her twin's names sounded good together, but didn't start with the same letter. All three of us agreed that naming multiples can be tricky, because parents want the names to pair well together but many are worried about picking names that are too alike. Some are not worried
enough, but that's for later.

Meeting another identical was exciting. Too bad she didn't work with her twin; it is always fun to be the one who feels like she's seeing double, for once.

Baby B

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Six Things, TV Edition

It's summer, so (besides the full time jobs wrangling kids that start soon) it's time for some quality time with the television.

This list took a lot of time and effort. We wanted to avoid just putting channels, because that would be a cop out. And we don't cop out in this family*.

1. Jon & Kate + 8. OK, so trying for one more baby and getting six is a little sketchy (at least six embryos were implanted for that to happen, none are identical, so no embryo churned out two babies), but we LOVE this show. Yes, we love anything to do with multiples, but Kate is hilarious (and she reminds me of myself, if I were under the pressure cooker of eight kids), and the kids are WAY. TOO. CUTE. Plus, we think Jon and Kate do a really fantastic job fostering their relationships with the individual kids and fostering the relationships between the kids. Yay for Jon & Kate + 8!

2. Modern Marvels. We are nerds.

3. Good Eats. Alton Brown is our hero. He is fantastic. And he had a direct impact with what I want to do with my life, because he gets all into the science of food. (Other things that influenced my clinical nutrition major: the obesity epidemic, malnutrition in Americans when we have enough calories to eat, malnutrition in citizens of other countries when they DON'T have enough calories to eat, and the sad kids at Disneyland who can't walk the whole time and would rather get a second ice cream cone then meet Mickey).

4. How It's Made. See #2.

5. Food Network Competitions. We love the Food Network in general, and picking just one FN personality is hard. We chose the competitions because they are accessible for everyone, even those who don't enjoy traditional cooking shows. They have got strategy, the pressure of the clock, and endurance. It's like football, but for cake. We like football, but love food more. Ergo.

6. Deadliest Catch. Woohoo! Ocean + drama + ruggidness + fish = totally awesome.

*"We don't ______ in this family" is Baby A and I's new thing. "We don't waste energy in this family" was where it started, when she left the light on as we were about to leave. It is such a handy phrase.

If you feel like it, and watch TV, leave us a comment about what shows you enjoy. We're not closed-minded about TV in this family. Unless it's on MTV.

Baby B

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Conversation with a Singleton

While standing around, waiting for the drugstore to open (because we had to drop off the car first thing in the morning for an oil change, it was right there, and we needed things like floss), a woman approached us.

Woman: "Are you guys twins?"
Baby A & B: (smiles) "Yes, we are."
Woman: "That's what I thought. I couldn't decide if you two were just siblings that look really alike or if you were twins."

Now, at this point, I'm think she's thinking we're identical. That is not the case.

Woman: "Are you identical?"

How would we look so alike otherwise? If she did not think we were identical, then why did she jump to fraternal twins, instead of siblings? Fraternals can look very similar, somewhat similar, or be as dissimilar looking as strangers, just like singleton siblings can. It surprises me how much me 3/4 of an inch over Baby A throws people off.

Baby A & B: "Yes, we are."
Woman: "No." (in that shocked way) "Really?"

Baby A and I pull back our hair, she makes comparisons, etc. It takes her awhile to comprehend.

She then asks one of the most common questions.

Woman: "What does it feel like to be twins?"
Baby A: "Well, we don't really know..."
Baby B: "Because we haven't ever NOT been twins, so we have nothing to compare it too."
Woman: "How does it feel to know she has your genetic material?"
Baby A & B: (basically same thing as above)

The conversation continues in the same vein.

We love, love, looove talking about being twins. But we also come up against so many myths and misconceptions. I know I can't change them all, but that's what this blog about.

Baby B

Sunday, June 15, 2008

About My Dad

Being a father of twin baby girls is hard, no doubt. Dad has done a fantastic job.

He was, and is, a bit overprotective. But many people have told us that they had never seen a dad take such a interest in feedings and diapers. (It probably had something to do with Baby A's weight scare). I believe there may have actually been logs of all of this. I wouldn't put it past him.

Being in the Navy, he was briefly stationed in Northern California when we were very young. We were in Southern California, with our mom. (They were separated/divorced by this point). He would drive the loooong drive at least twice a month to come spend the weekend with us. That would be a California round trip in a weekend.

As we got older, Dad made sure that one twin NEVER felt left out. He always asked us "Are you sure you guys don't need two?" We share pretty well, so we often just got one of something. Once, he didn't want one of us to have to wait for the other twin to finish the newest Harry Potter book, so he just bought two. The day it came out. In the madness. That's dedication.

He'd always tell me, in private, to take care of my sister. In turn, I later found out, Dad would tell Baby A to take care of me. Cultivating that sort of twin relationship is something I can at least partially credit Dad for. And that is something we will carry with us forever.

Happy Father's Day!
Baby B

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

News Flash

I found my driver's license!! Yay, right?

I know, I know. You didn't even know I lost it. Do you realize how humiliating it is to be an "adult" and lose the most important plastic-y card you have been given? Social Security card doesn't count, because it's printed on cardstock, or whatever. If I had not found my driver's license, that would have been the second one THIS YEAR. Not counting LAST YEAR. I'd like to point out, one was lost in a field and I looked for a looooong time for it, and the other managed to get very lost at a friend's house (where it still has not been seen). Of course, I am now posting my humiliation on the web. What can I say? It's how I roll.

Why tell you about my driver's license, you ask? So I can transition into this story: Baby A and I trade cards. And by cards, we're not referring to baseball or odd imported characters, we're referring to important cards, the kind kept in wallets. Is that illegal, or frowned upon? Never mind, I prefer not to know.

Yesterday, while on the errand trip from you-know-where, we needed food. "Need" may be understating it. I threatened to eat one of her limbs, and she warned me my forehead was in imminent danger. So, we hit the In-n-Out. It was my turn to pay, but I was cranky, so I just handed an ID and my debit card to my sister.

I've used her school ID to check out pots and pans to cook with from the area office. She's used my school ID to buy food at the convenience store next to the area office. Oh yeah, impersonation has been running rampant in this twinkie relationship. But never in class, or anything important, mind you. Just for... food. Just for food.

Yeah, that basically sums us up. Totally on the straight and narrow, but willing to break all sorts of laws when our blood sugar takes a nosedive.

Nom nom nom,
Baby B

Embryo Splitting

You know, Baby A and I came from the same embryo.

This does not mean we think embryo splitting should be allowed for assisted reproduction. Because they call that "cloning" and that's implicitly or explicitly illegal just about everywhere.

Identical twins will just have to continue to be freaks of nature, embryonic mistakes. IVF multiples are absolutely fine, because they aren't clones. They are individuals with their own, distinct DNA.

I cannot begin to fathom the repercussions of purposely splitting a human embryo... Maybe I will have to think that through sometime soon. But I'm not an ethicist for science, so it will be (of course) just my perspective on things.

Holla back,
Baby B

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sometimes, Things Just Can't Be Equal

I know this happens in every family with more than one kid. "His half is biggerrrr!" "No fair! It's my turn to play with the toy!" "Why did you give her a bigger slice than meeee??" It just can't always be equal for siblings.

Fast forward to college.

We got the same cheap bike, cruisers (read: one gear). Mine has been fine all year. Baby A's? Looks like it lost more than one fight.

One of the two springs under the seat fell off. The end of one of her handlebars cracked and came off, so she ripped the end of the other one off to make it look slightly less ghetto at first glance. (Glance again, and the ghettoness is evident). She's been missing a bolt on one of her fenders forever, and that's why her fender caught her tire, leading to the epic bike accident I was not there to prevent. Her fender is now a crunched piece of metal under her bed. I think she's looking for a way to recycle it.

I have apologized for taking the good bike. See, before we moved to school, we were in the garage at Dad's...

Baby A: "Which one do you want?"
Baby B: "I don't really care. They are the same."
Baby A: "OK, well this one will be mine, and that one will be yours."
(I realize the bike disparity was beyond my control. Doesn't mean I can't feel guilty about it, K?)

No matter how the "same" things are, you just can't anticipate how different they will end up being. Like how that ONE EXTRA CRUMB looks fine to you, but is clearly evidence of your favoritism towards the other one. I'm sure I too had that irrational, small person mindset at some point, but I can't illuminate the rationale behind it for you. Sorry. Just take a deep breath, and remember "They will grow out of it."

Later gator,
Baby B

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Six Things, Food Edition

Six things Baby A and I agree on about food:

1. Hold the pickles, please.

2. Rice can be eaten with ANYTHING, including more rice. We grew up with a rice cooker at both households, so it shocked us when we found out that some people didn't own rice cookers or that some people thought rice cookers were just "an Asian thing." Uh, no. DELICIOUS RICE IS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.

3. Mexican food should be eaten with liberal amounts of whatever the house red sauce is. We aren't Tex-Mex fans.


5. We like darker lettuce, and we particularly don't like the awkward-to-eat ribs. Plus, there are not as many nutrients in pale lettuce.

6. FRIED POTATOES, in all their many, glorious incarnations.

Why "Six Things"? Because five is not divisible by two, and I'm not sure I could hold your attention with ten things. I am just keeping it real.

Baby B

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Love is 6 am Airport Drop Offs

So, I had a final art project due today at 7:30 am (before our little art show). I was up until 1:30 am finishing it. I then had to wake up at 5:30 am, that's right IN THE MORNING only 4 HOURS after my pillow and my head reunited, to take Baby A to the airport. How's that for sisterly affection?

By the time I got back to the dorm, I didn't have time to go back to sleep before I needed to get ready and go help set up the art show.

Now, it is nap time in my dorm room, all alone. Which is not all that bad because too much of the time our naps don't coincide well, and one will be clicking away on the computer or doing homework or something else equally distracting.

Baby B

Monday, June 2, 2008

Proud, Not Jealous

I have seen sibling rivalry up close and personal in my friends' lives. It can get brutal.

But Baby A and I just aren't like that. Sure, there were times when either (or both) of us would get a little green-eyed like the monster. But that has not happened in years. Honestly, out of all the twins I have met, rivalry hasn't been a problem. I have heard stories, like "a friend of a friend of a friend of mine is a twin and they hate each other and they always compete" but have yet to hear anything more concrete.

Growing up, it can be hard to constantly be compared to your twin. "If you guys have the same genes, then why is she better at math/writing/running/tether ball?" was one we heard often growing up. (Just so we're clear, Baby A is better at math. You'll hear more about this below). If we ever scored differently on a test, everyone was shocked. "Oooo, that one must be better at history/science/reading/life."

Even now, in college, that happens. In the fall, for chemistry, we were in different sections, but coincidentally had the same TA. As he was passing back the first midterm in chem lab, he said to me "Your sister did better than you." He was very nice, and I'm sure he meant nothing malicious. It's just one of those things people say without thinking about. The fact that he said something about our different scores shocked me, for some reason. I guess I wasn't prepared for it, like I had been throughout all those years. I thought maybe we had left that behind with compulsory education. But as long as we go to the same school (or, in our current situation, university), we will be compared.

When Baby A does better than me in school, I am so proud of her. Sure, I may be upset, but not at her. I compete against myself, and if I feel I could have done better, that's what irks me. Not that my twin beat me on an exam. She feels the same way, that she can be both happy for me and upset with herself, and those two things are not related.

Case in point: Baby A just got a midterm score back from this third calculus class she's taking, and she did much better than she was expecting! I, on the other hand, struggled to finish the second of three calculus classes in the very same calc series. After a particularly bad midterm, I was just hoping to pass and knew I didn't have the heart to take the third quarter of calc. I also decided right then and there that my major was changing. I looked for majors I was interested in that did NOT involve a third quarter of calculus. (Luckily, this new major is a much better fit than my old major, and I'm very excited about it). Yes, I copped out of calculus, it was that hard for me. But my twinkie stuck it out (her major requires all three calc classes) and she's working hard. Her score showed that.

Am I jealous that she did so well? Nope. All I am is thrilled.

Later gator,
Baby B

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blogging for LGBT Families, or A Little Something About IVF Multiples

Tomorrow, June 2, is the official Blogging for LGBT Families Day, thanks to Mombian.

Some people seemingly are upset about multiples from in vitro fertilization in general. For instance, I was shocked to read about what Jennifer over at Arcane Matters heard from a dad at a park. You can read about it here. And he didn't even know that she and her girlfriend were parents to those two adorable little girls. If he was so intolerant of straight people going about things the "non-natural" way, I can't imagine what he would have thought about a lesbian couple having babies the only way they can: the "non-natural" way. The rant he had against IVF was a disservice to EVERYONE who can't get pregnant the old fashioned way.

It is generally agreed that human females were meant to carry one baby at a time. Most women release one mature egg per month. Some women naturally release two or more per month. Are the fraternal twins that result unnatural because they resulted from a woman's genetic tendency for hyperovulation? Will it come to the point that families with fraternal twins will be stopped in the supermarket and interrogated about whether or not they resulted from IVF? How damaging it could be for IVF multiples to be told by outsiders that they were "non-natural" and the decision their parents made to have them was wrong.

Apparently, the Tories over in the UK feel that lesbians should NOT be allowed to undergo IVF UNLESS they agree to have a "father figure" or male role model in the life of the child or children that result.

Excuse me? What are they going to do about all the children who grow up fatherless because abandonment or death? What about single women who are ready for children but haven't found a significant other yet? The Tories seem to believe that "family breakdown" has caused the rising rates of poverty within Britain. I am pretty sure, but I'm no political or socioeconomic expert, that having a father figure doesn't automatically mean your family is above the poverty line.

This hysteria about letting babies be raised without a father is by no means new. After the first "test tube baby" Louise Brown was born, University of Chicago professor Leon Kass wrote in 1972, “And why stop at couples? What about single women, widows, or lesbians?” He also believes that birth control is wrong, women should dress modestly to help men contain their desires, and feminism and long-lasting marriage are not compatible. Hmmm.

I, for one, think there is nothing "non-natural" about wanting a family, no matter your sexual orientation, whether you go about it through IVF, surrogacy, sex, adoption, becoming a foster parent, etc. Love is what makes a family.

Baby B

Friday, May 30, 2008

Parenting Multiples, Pt. II

It seems, as I continually crawl the interwebs and ignore all I have to do pre-finals week, that there sure does seem to be plenty of parenting advice out there.

And me? I'm trying to give out parenting advice? I'm still in college and childless! I'm no expert, not even a parent, just a multiple who lived through being raised to tell about it. Consider that my disclaimer for this post, OK?

Dressing the twins alike. Oh, how my maternal grandmother loooooved to dress her twin grandbabies alike when we were younger. When we were little, we didn't even notice. But as we got older... I'm not going to lie. I won't even sugarcoat it for you. Sometimes, we felt like a freak show. But it brought my grandmother and many of her friends joy, so we grinned and bore it.

Mom, that merciful woman, put her foot down on the ridiculousness once we grew out of all of that. However, there were plenty of occasions where Mom would say, "Look. I know you girls are too old to want to dress alike, but if you did, Grandma would be really happy." And so we would oblige. Sometimes we'd match everything but the shoes, or wear the same outfit but in different colors, or things like that.

We did not hate dressing alike so much that we wouldn't. Wearing the same shirt on the same day (usually a coincidence) wasn't a big deal, and sometimes we chose to. We just didn't always want everything to be a big twin production.

Dad, on the other hand, dressed us alike out of convenience. As a single dad who had us on weekends, we would go out and do things together, run errands, go to baseball games, go to bookstores. (Wonder why I included bookstores? Please refer back to "Parenting Multiples, Pt. I" and mourn the mounds of reading materials the twin terrors left in their wake). It was always easy to spot us in the crowd.

It's true that when a kid gets lost in a crowd, he or she often can't give authorities an accurate description of what their parent or guardian was wearing. Same thing with parents; in a panic, remembering what their child was wearing can be difficult. When we were dressed alike or similar, all Dad would have to do in a worst case scenario would be to show the police the one for them to get a pretty accurate idea of what the other one looked like. Luckily, Dad never had to test this technique, but I honestly think this was a fantastic idea.

So, bottom line: Baby A and I have mixed feelings about dressing alike. We have to admit, we go a little baby-crazy over multiples dressed in coordinating or matching outfits. And for safety, it's top-notch to have twins dressed alike if, heaven forbid, one ever got taken or lost. But when your multiples speak up, it's time to let them dress differently. Unless they have a grandma who just can't get enough of the matchy twinness, in which case, convince them to do it every so often. It just needs to be balanced.

And yes, matchy twinness is a technical term.

Here's looking at you, kid,
Baby B

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spanish Twins Separated At Birth

Oh. My. Goodness.

I cannot even imagine how devastating this whole situation must be.

The identical twin that grew up with her biological parents: I could imagine her having a case of pretty bad guilt, like survivor's guilt, so to speak.

The twin that isn't the twin: The whole rug must feel like it was pulled out from under her. To find out that she isn't actually a twin and that she has a whole separate family?

The twin that was separated: Wow. I can't imagine finding out I had an identical twin walking around all those years, and then grieving for all the years that were stolen from them, grieving for the dad she never met (he passed away before the twins found each other).

One news report said one of the identical twins (I'm guessing the one that was separated from her family) had to undergo counseling to come to terms with her true identity.

I think this report may not be true. It's the only I found in a Google News search that mentions they were conjoined.* I'm pretty sure if the infant twins had been conjoined, it would be easy to tell that one didn't have marks from the surgery, right? Maybe the reporter misunderstood "separated." Every other story just says "identical."
*I just double-checked. It's the only one that has "conjoined" in it.

Apparently, this mistake was uncovered in 2001, so I hope everyone has found some peace at this point.

Baby B

How Identical Twins Are Made, or A Lesson About A Cellular Mistake

Let's get some concepts defined first, shall we?

Mitosis: how one (human) cell with 46 chromosomes becomes two cells with 46 chromosomes each [the DNA replicates, one copy goes to one side, other copy to the other side, and it splits down the middle]
Meiosis: how one (human) cell with 46 chromosomes becomes two sex cells, or gametes, with 23 chromosomes each [the cell skips the DNA replication]
Gametes: the biology textbook term for sex cells, with males producing spermatozoa (sperm) with either the X or Y sex chromosome [usually males make about 50% of each] throughout their lives and females born with ova (eggs) that are always X
Chromosome: organized piece of DNA (they are generally portrayed to look somewhat like an elongated "x")

Babymaking 101

When a mommy and a daddy love each other veeerrrry much... Just kidding. Let's skip to fertilization.

The lucky male gamete that first got through the outer layer of the female gamete has 23 chromosomes. This is convenient, because the female gamete has 23 gametes as well, and 23+23 = 46. Chromosomal abnormalities known as polysomy, the most well-known of which is probably Down Syndrome, are where this math is different.

Now that the chromosomes from Mom and Dad are mingling, all sorts of reactions are occurring within the one cell that used to be two. The egg/sperm combo is now a zygote (soon-to-be embryo), and it starts to develop. It doesn't begin to grow for the first week or so; rather, the cell undergoes mitosis and divides, or cleaves, into smaller and smaller cells all stuck together. This ball of dividing cells is known as a blastocyst.

Here's the kicker: the cleavage of the blastocyst can cut it right down the middle, leaving two bunches of cells. If the split was even and clean, everything is OK (for now*), and identical twins develop. Uneven splits make the embryos nonviable (as far as I know, let me know if I am mistaken). An embryo that splits late, or incompletely, produces conjoined twins.

The scientific term for identicals is "monozygotic twins" because they are produced from one zygote. Fraternals are "dizygotic twins."

See why a boy/girl pair cannot be identical? XX cannot split into XX and XY, just as XY wouldn't make XY and XX. For convenience, we are going to disregard further complexities from my little ol' high school bio explanation, such as sex chromosome abnormalities and semi-identical twins.

XO (or, in my chromosomal case, XX),
Baby B

*Twin development in utero can have complications special to twins, like twin to twin tranfusion, but that's another post.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just As I Say Anything...

I've just decided the route I want to take in grad school, what I want to do. (Granted, this could change, but I did find something that really fits my interests and personality). I was discussing possible grad schools with my sister. Note that grad school is still a couple years off.

I threw around some words like "Washington State," "North Carolina," "New York," and "Minnesota." (I'm looking at a few here in California too). Baby A looked like a five year old that just found out that Santa doesn't exist.

She interrogated me briefly. And then sighed.

Baby A: "Well, that's OK."
Baby B: "Really?"
Baby A: "I'll just move to follow you."

And right now, I'm OK with that. But, my first two choices are here in the good old Golden State, so we'll see.

See you on the flip side,
Baby B

PS: Heather, fantastic mom blogger over at thespohrsaremultiplying.com, said something in a comment I wanted to elaborate on, but got caught up with other topics. Tomorrow: why boys and girls CAN'T be identical. Oh boy, get ready for a little biology.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Being Apart

Baby A and I spent the weekend apart. Some people are surprised we spend so much time together; others are surprised we spend some much time apart.

We handle separation well. While I was away this weekend, I texted her with interesting tidbits and I called her a couple times. I think our parents were more worried than either of us were. Apparently, Dad texted Baby A multiple times on Saturday (though he eased up on Sunday when it was clear she was going to make it). Mom also got in on the action. When I called her, she asked if I knew how my sister was doing and mentioned that she was going to call her in a minute.

We didn't always handle separation well. We sobbed. We wailed. We moped. But I don't think we were unusually attached for identicals. And as we grew older, and we had more experience leaving and being left, the experience went from wretched and horrible to somewhat unpleasant.

Trips, we are OK with. Living apart? Eh, not so sure about that quite yet. Since we have an apartment together next year (we are sharing a bedroom and two of our girl friends are sharing the other bedroom), this obstacle has been postponed further. Right now, going to the same school, being young, it makes sense for us to live together. We definitely don't anticipate being old maids living together, single in the marriage sense. But for right now, living together is cheaper and convenient.

A friend of ours we have known since middle school has a mom that is an identical twin. Her twin lives in Arizona. If I remember correctly, they lived together till their early twenties, even moved around together some, then one came to California and the other went to Florida or some other far-off state. Now, the other one is in Arizona. Even though these twins don't live in the same town, or state, they talk on the phone every day, sometimes more than once. I think that's a pretty healthy twin dynamic, and I hope that when Baby A and I move away from each other, we keep our lines of communication open, as wide as the Colorado River.

Adult twins are still twins, no matter how far apart they are.

Love till Niagara falls,
Baby B

Friday, May 23, 2008

Parenting Multiples, Pt. I

*Note: I'm not a specialist, a doctor, an expert, or anything of that nature. This is my personal opinion only.

Clearly, I'm not a parent. And when I reproduce, it will probably not be multiples because fraternal twins don't run in my family and identical twins are freaks of nature. I can say that because I am a natural clone, so don't up and get all offended by that. The fertilized egg, it was minding its own business, just multiplying and it split. Too. Far. Probably before Day 5. One little ball of cells cuts itself in half and becomes two people. How crazy is that??

But I have read a lot of material on parenting twins/multiples.

There's one piece of advice that really bothers me that probably everyone just accepts as fact: Be sure to treat your twins as individuals.

This, in theory, is wonderful advice. Generally speaking, our parents did a good job of making us feel like individuals. But they never went so far as to ONLY call us by our names and never refer to us as a unit. We have been called "the girls" and "the twins" forever, by family, friends, and acquaintances.

People who insisted on calling us by our names all the time with no variation actually made me feel a little uncomfortable. Ignoring my role as part of a unit is ignoring a large piece of my identity. I often felt "Hello? I'm a twin. She's right here, we're together. Can you not see her?"

Both Baby A and I were (still are, when we have the time) voracious readers. I use the term "voracious" for good reason; those books/magazines/novels/dictionaries/newspapers never saw it coming. Naturally, if I saw something about twins, I would read it. That caused more harm than anything anybody had been calling us. I worried, for about two seconds, that I was co-dependent on Baby A. And then I realized I wasn't and quickly got over it.

"Co-dependency." "Lack of individual identity." "Underdeveloped sense of self." All this just because twins/multiples are sometimes referred to as a unit by those around them? I don't think so.

If anything, being called "the twins" or "the girls" solidified who I am. I am a twin, an identical one, who has a whole other human being hanging around that has the same genetic code. Hell yes, we're "the twins." I love being a twin!! I'm also Baby B, aka A_____, someone who is so alike and so unlike from her twin, completely individual.

I'm going to throw out an example of why ONLY calling twins by their separate names is overkill. A family, say the Robinson family ("Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know, oh-oh-oh"; sorry, I digress), is known as "the Robinsons" often times instead of "Mr. Robinson, Mrs. Robinson, and Elaine." (Couldn't resist, because I just saw "The Graduate"). Does that diminish their ability to discern their own identities and function apart from the group? I think not.

So, maybe that example was a little facetious, I'll admit. But here's the point: treating multiples like individuals is very important, but trying to completely ignore or discount their identity as a unit is unwise. Or, if you're unsure what to call them, just ask, like, "Do you mind if I call you two 'the boys' sometimes or would you rather just be called 'Mike and Alex'?"

Signing off,
Baby B

When It Rains, It Pours

I'm not exactly one for old adages, but this one seems to ring true.

Baby A and I can go weeks, or at least several days, without anyone talking to us about being twins. We still get a lot of looks, some double-takes for sure, but the days are gone where we got stopped by at least 2 strangers a day, asking "Are you twins??"

Or, so I thought.

Yesterday, we went to the post office for some work-related business. All three USPS employees were looking intently at us when we both walked in the door. (I think they had been observing us through the glass door, as we struggled to carrying extremely heavy and awkwardly shaped boxes towards the side door where they take large packages).

The woman at the right-most station (from our perspective) asked us the $64,000 question. And the man at the middle station commented about how we were the second pair of twins they had seen come into the post office that. I guess it never rains twins for singletons, it always pours as well. One of them, I don't remember which, made a comment about "Wow, you guys sure do look alike."

It was hot and windy, the boxes had been heavy, blah blah blah (we're full of excuses to consume more calories, nom nom nom), so we decided to walk across the street to the gas station's little snack mart thing and grab ourselves a drink to share.

As we were deciding the flavors (the horchata syrup was out, so we tried some pomegranate berry non-carbonated drink, and then settled on Squirt), I looked back at the two female cashiers who were looking at us and whispering. My first thought was "Oh great, we're going to get yelled at for tasting the pomegranate healthiness that didn't taste that great."

We walked up and I took out my card. The other cashier walked away to help another customer, and the one that is still there blurts out "You guys are twins, aren't you?"

I'm going to interrupt this story momentarily to tell you our twin policy. When we get stopped, we smile, we nod, we're very polite. We do NOT get cranky or short just because we've answered these questions before. Back to the regularly scheduled program...

The nice cashier, who called us "sweetie" and "honey," then proceeded to ask if we can think each other's thoughts or feel each other's feelings. I'll admit, there was a slight internal groan, but she was so nice about it and clearly excited to ask us questions. We smiled and looked at each other. I answered.

Baby B: "Well, a lot of the time, it's because I know her so well, I can just tell."

Nice cashier: (nods) "Right, right. That makes sense. Are your names similar?"

Baby B: "I'm A____ and she's A____."

Baby A: "They both start with 'A' and they have the same number of letters."

Nice cashier: (nods) "So there's an aura thing about you two. Kind of like a hippie thing."

Baby A & B: (laughs) "That makes a lot of sense. Our mom kind of planned it that way." (smile and exit)

Having the same genes and names that start with the same letter and have the same number of letters leads to having an aura thing? I'm not sure, but I know some people are really into numerology. It's not an accident that our first names have the same number of letters and our middle names match that way too. Mom didn't take it too seriously, but it still happened that way.

So the moral of the story is that twins, young and old, will never stop getting stopped. And we kind of like it that way.

Baby B

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We ARE Identical, but We AREN'T Exactly Physically Alike

Why is this, you ask?

Well, young grasshopper, I have a story for you...

After we went to 40 weeks (a story for another post), it was time for Mom to get induced. It was a Wednesday morning, and that evening, Baby A was born first at 6 lbs. 4 oz. I came second at 6 lbs. 6 oz. Within days, Baby A dropped to 4 lbs. 10 oz.

What no parent wants to hear: Failure to Thrive Syndrome.

"This is a general diagnosis, with many possible causes.
Common to all cases, though, is the failure to gain weight as expected, which is often accompanied by poor height growth."

Baby A wasn't developed enough, so her digestive system couldn't handle protein. Sounds like tons of fun, right? Not exactly. She lost so much weight, there was no way our parents could NOT tell us apart. She spent a lot of time in the hospital.

The doctors tried all sorts of different formulas. Then they put her on Nutramigen.
She finally started to gain weight, and she came home to be with her other half, who had been happily guzzling milk and putting on the ounces at home.

In baby pictures, sometimes the most reliable way to decide who is who is to look at the size. The slightly smaller one is Baby A. In some of the infancy pictures, there is a drastic difference, but by our first birthday, we were a lot closer in size.

Repercussions? Up through her toddler years, Baby A always had the weaker immune system and spent many nights in the hospital. Now, our immune systems are equal. My parents had to find ways to make eating fun for her, so there were a lot of songs and games and special names for food. Now, our appetites are the same. Our sizes aren't, though. I've always weighed a little more and been a little taller. Even our shoe sizes are different. She wears a 7, whereas I am a 7 1/2. We can still share shoes, like some of our heels and flip flops, though.

People have harassed us, "You guys can't be twins! Why aren't you the same height/same weight/same size/completely identical??" We sometimes reply, "No set of twins has everything exactly the same about them." If we're a little cranky, "Baby A couldn't eat anything for a long time as a newborn and got very, very sick and almost died." It just goes to show you that you never really ever know the whole story.

Sending you health and happiness,
Baby B