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