Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

At this point in my life, there aren't many questions that I get asked "frequently." In fact, none that I can think of off the top of my head. But there was a time...

As a new mother of twins, perfect strangers seemed utterly fascinated in the most intimate aspects of my life.
Although sometimes the attention was appreciated, more often, taking my girls out in public (such as to the grocery store) became a chore, as I would be stopped in nearly every aisle by someone wanting to coo over my babies and then ask the inevitable.  All while I was trying to rush through a quick shop so I could get them home before feeding time and the impending meltdown.

Although most people were well-meaning, at times, I literally wanted to make a sign and hang it from their stroller! Because in all honesty.... it got old. Fast. Sometimes the questions were stupid. And sometimes they were grossly inappropriate.  But here, in no particular order, are the most frequently asked questions...

1. Do twins run in your family?
No, but they do run in my husband's family.

2. Boys or Girls? [Ahem. I'm all for not playing into gender stereotypes, but I always took them out dressed in pink, usually with little ribbons in their hair.]  Oh, girls. 

3. Are they identical or fraternal?
[Seriously?  Did you even look at them before you asked me that?]  Rachel and Becca are decidedly fraternal. They did not look alike as infants, nor do they look alike now - other than the normal sibling resemblance.  Rachel's face is now more narrow and long with a squared off chin (like Dad), she has small delicate ears, and her hair is blonder.  Becca has a rounder face, larger ears, and darker hair, although she didn't have any hair to speak of before she was two! Their noses are different, their eye color is different. Personality wise - night and day! And we have never referred to them as "the twins" ~ they are two separate human beings who happen to share a birthday.

  4. Natural or C-Section?  I had Rachel and Becca C-section (unplanned)  because when I went into labor Becca was positioned breech and up under my rib cage. After the fact, the doctors said she was small enough that they probably could have turned her once Rachel was out. Too late for that.  If you ask my husband he'll tell you that it was for the best. Apparently he didn't relish the experience of me screaming my head off during Sarah's delivery! Having done it both ways, I can't say I honestly recommend one over the other. They are just different experiences.

5. Who was born first? Rachel. By one minute. And since she was the one properly positioned, she would have been born first anyway.

6. How big were they when they were born? Rachel was 6 lbs 7 oz., Becca was 5 lbs, 7 oz.  They were born 3 weeks early which is normal with twins and I was HUGE. They came home from the hospital weighing 5 lbs, 11 oz. and  4 lbs, 11 oz. respectively. Becca was such a tiny thing, she wore the outfit off a cabbage patch doll!

7. Nursing or bottle feeding?  [No kidding, COMPLETE STRANGERS would ask me this!  Well, if it is any of your business...]  Both.  I nursed until their first check up. They weren't putting on weight, so after that I supplemented with formula and switched between them who got to nurse. At least that way, Dad could help with the feedings. They were weaned to formula when I went back to work.

  8. How do you handle it? I swear I never knew how to answer this. I still don't. When you have no other choice, you just DO.

I don't get asked these questions any longer. Although occasionally when I'm out with all three girls, we'll get asked if they are triplets. That drives Sarah nuts. It is hard when you are 20 to be taken for 17!

Now the most frequently asked question is directed at Rachel and Becca...

9. What is it like being a twin?  To which I can only hope they respond, "What is it like not being a twin?"  Because honestly, being a twin is all they have ever known. How can they compare that to not being a twin?


Amy said...

It is funny/weird what people feel they can ask when you are a new Mum.
I find the whole ... 'you must be so pleased to have a boy and a girl' question and statement to be ridiculous - I couldn't care less and it was never an issue for me!

Liberty :) said...

Oh goodness, I think I might be guilty of that last one which is absolutely hilarious because I hate the question "whats it like being an only child?" "err..dunno?? never had a sibling to compare it to". I'm fascinated by identical twins though so I'm probably an irritant who asks lots of questions too! haha! i apologise for me to twins everywhere! thanks for sharing, these are great questions!

scrappyjacky said...

It's amazing what complete strangers think they have the right to ask.....and some completely ridiculous questions as well!!
But....you have given me an idea for a post of my own for this prompt....thanks!

Sian said...

What a really cool take on this whole idea of questions. I enjoyed reading your answers a lot (I had one baby at a time and they each weighed less than yours lol) and it also made me think about the questions I ask others too

Sally G. said...

I'm so grateful to have popped in here this morning - so true and so funny!

My daughters are 18 months apart ~ and I'd often get asked if they were twins (one is an infant lying flat in a pram and the other is walking while holding my hand. Did you SERIOUSLY just ask me that?!?).

And like you, I'd dress them to look like girls when their hair had not yet grown enough to allow others to tell on their own ~ AND YET, "So, are your children boys, girls or one of each?"

It's certainly a valuable exercise in Patience and Tolerance ~ too bad it falls at a time when you couldn't be more sleep deprived and emotionally depleted!

I remember being asked inappropriately personal questions while pregnant - but not so much once the girls were born. Some of the questions you were frequently asked surprised me.

Thank you for trip down memory lane - I quite enjoyed it!

Melissa said...

Loved reading your FAQs about twins. I have twin nieces who look very much alike and it amazes me that people always ask "are they twins?" They have long blond hair as do I so everyone always assumes they're mine when we are out, which drives my brunette sister crazy! LOL Thanks for sharing.

humel said...

Super journaling Cheri, and I've really enjoyed reading it :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice take on the prompt. I'm struggling with that one. I love #9!

quiltingfool said...

I have a completely different take on it, since I didn't have to live it all the time. I loved when we were stopped by people who cooed and gooed over them. And to this day, I love saying I have twin granddaughters (and I don't leave singleton Sarah out either, I brag on her too). It's not nearly as rare anymore, everyone I know has twins in the family now, but I still enjoy it. You forgot the most impertinant question of all, and I know you were asked this..."are they natural twins or did you take fertility drugs". That is definitely no one's business but your own.

Great post, but I'm missing you at Big Picture!