Twice as nice or double trouble?

Life with twins demysitified

Life with twins demysitified
For me, the biggest myth about twins is that it gets easier as they get older.

As a mom to 3-year-old twin girls, I encounter a lot of questions, from the typical “Are they identical?” to the ridiculous “Are they both yours?” Along my parenting journey, I’ve found that friends, family and strangers alike are always curious about life with twins, and I’ve encountered a lot of myths and truths about what it’s like to raise multiples.

Myth #1: There is always a “good twin” and an “evil twin.” 

This one is false. Twins, like singletons, are born with their own distinct personalities and moods, and at times one twin may seem more dominant than the other. But then suddenly they will switch roles. More often than not, twins will ban together as partners in crime. Every random twin parent I meet in the grocery store says the same thing” “What one doesn’t think of, the other one will!”

Myth #2: Twins are always each other’s best friend. 

This can be true. According to Donna Bruschi, a New Paltz mother of 17-year-old twins, her children have always been really close. “They are best friends in the truest sense, and they’re always there for each other,” she says. 

I have met several sets of adult twins who can’t live without their sibling and remain very close, and others who live completely separate from their twin. My daughters already know exactly which buttons to push to get their sibling going. But, it’s also very sweet to see them encourage and comfort each other. 

Myth #3: All twins share a “secret language.”

This can be true and false. The official term to describe the phenomenon of twin language is “idioglossia.” It is more likely to happen in monozygotic, or identical, twins, but it’s actually quite rare for twins to develop a true language of their own. 

Danielle Coffey, a mother to identical twins Starrleigh and Kalleigh age 18 months noticed this about her daughters, “My girls are behind in speech, so it is a little difficult to say for sure, but they do have ‘conversations’ that I cannot understand!” 

Twins tend to mimic the speech patterns of their sibling, which could lead to the misconception that they share a secret language. Like any two people who spend most of their time together, they learn to rely on nonverbal or shorthand forms of communication. 

Myth #4: All twins must be delivered via c-section. 

This is false. While approximately 75 percent of twins are delivered via caesarian, there is typically no medical benefit to delivering multiples this way, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Twin moms with optimal health and position of the baby can certainly choose a natural delivery. 
As a first time mom and twin mom, I had planned on a natural birth and so did my doctors. However, plans changed, and I delivered via c-section when we discovered one twin was in jeopardy. 

Myth #5: Twins really should be separated in school.

This is false. Every set of multiples is different. Ethel Resso, owner of Noah's Ark Nursery School in Saugerties and an aunt to twin nieces, says it depends on the child. “Twins find security in each other, even if they have different personalities,” she says. “Entering preschool and even kindergarten is a huge change, and the more outgoing twin might pull the quiet one along. Once they are older, it is good for them to have their own space.” 

Myth #6: Having twins is more work.

I guess this depends on the parent you’re asking. I’ve only ever had twins, so I feel like I’m not able to separate the work of parenting from the work of twins. 

Amanda Doty of Saugerties had two sets of twin girls before she had her singleton boy. Faith and Destiny are 17, Ava and Paige are 5, and Keegan is 3.

However, Amanda Doty of Saugerties is a mother to two sets of twins and a singleton. She has plenty to compare. 

“It is funny because my first experience as a parent was with twin girls, so it was all I knew! Eleven years later, I had another set of twin girls,” she says. “Now having my singleton son, I definitely realize the amount of work twins are!” 

For me, the biggest myth about twins is that it gets easier as they get older. The truth is, I find each new stage brings a new set of challenges. Just when you get used to a system, it all changes and you are looking for the new normal. 

Whether you have one, two or 10 children, parenthood is a lot of work at any age. And that’s the truth. 

Roxanne Ferber lives in Saugerties with her husband and identical 3-year-old twin daughters.