Twin Myths

When I was pregnant with Isabella, I must have read at least a dozen books on pregnancy and raising babies. I read every weekly Babycenter update that detailed what my baby (then known only as Beastie) was growing or capable of doing that week (look-her ears are formed! She can now suck her thumb if she's so inclined!).

With the twins? Not so much in the reading department. Or, as has already been established, the preparatory department.

But I did read one book on twins, whose title now escapes me. I read it because while I had two years of experience with a singleton, I had absolutely no idea what it would be like to bring two babies with identical needs, wants, and crap-filled diapers home at the same time.

I was also the recipient of a lot of advice once people found out I was having twins. Everyone* from distant relatives, to the teller at the bank, to my next-door neighbor had varying degrees of advice and assvice for me, and plenty of stories about their best friend's mother's cousin who had had twins, what she experienced, and how she coped.

And so I entered twin motherhood with some preconceived notions of twins. Allow me to tell you that most of what I read and heard from others has pertained not in the slightest to my two darling, yet perpetually irritable, bundles of joy.

* As you might imagine, it was actual moms of twins who helped me prepare the best.

Here are six myths about twins:

Myth: Twins are much more patient than singletons because they learn early on that they must share attention with a sibling.

Fact: Survey says...Wrong! If I'm feeding Luci, and Nicholas is hungry, 9 times out of 10, he's screeching like a howler monkey. If I'm changing Nicholas' diaper, chances are Luci is vocally expressing her preference that her twin sit in a puddle of his own urine so I could tend to her instead. I'm only 8 months into it, but there ain't no patience going on in Casa de Crazy (and I'm including myself in this assessment as well).

Myth: One twin is the "good" twin, and the other is the "bad" twin

Fact: Not so much. In general, I'd say the personalities of my two are very much alike. I love them to pieces (most days, anyway), but oh my holy hell, they are both extremely challenging. They are not laidback, easy babies. (Incidentally, if you have more than one child, did you find that your second was a breeze compared to your first? Check out this article. Apparently, my "spirited" two place me in the minority.) Both aren't "bad" babies, of course, but they're not what I would call "good" babies either. Is it weird that I kind of wish I had one of each?

Myth: Twins have a unique and special bond that formed in utero

Fact: I'm not seeing it. Okay, so they're still little and can probably barely distinguish between me and the lifesize cardboard cutout of James Dean I have stashed in my basement (don't ask), but my two do not appear to care in the slightest about each other. One seems to barely know the other is in the room, much less that that little person shared a very cramped space with him/her for 7.5 long months. Sure, they attempt to gouge out each other's eyes when they're lying on a blanket next to each other, but that's about the extent of their "bond."

Myth: Twins learn to sleep through each other's cries.


Myth: Twins (even boy-girl ones) will resemble each other


I don't think I need to say much more about this one.

Myth: Baby A is the dominant, stronger twin. Baby B is the passive, weaker twin

Fact: Luci is Baby A. Nicholas is Baby B. Luci is smaller than Nicholas, and for most developmental milestones thus far, Nicholas is ahead of Luci by 3-4 weeks. That said, Luci rolled from back to tummy before Nicholas did. And I think I've already established that neither is what I would call "passive."

I am going to make myself feel better by believing that my two little myth-busters are unique and exceptional individuals, and therefore fail to conform to what is expected of them (kind of like their mother).

Yes, I think that's exactly it.


Have you checked out Root & Sprout lately? Here's my latest article about going green at the grocery store.

8 Responses to “Twin Myths”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    Really intersting.

    I am so sorry that it's this hard. You are amazing. Hopefully this truly will be the hardest thing you ever go through and as they age it will get easier and easier.  

  2. # Blogger In Due Time

    I wish I lived closer!!

    One of these days I'll make it up there. :-)  

  3. # Blogger Hopeful Mother

    Yep, my boys dispelled most of those twin myths too.

    The "Twins learn to sleep through each other's cries" one:

    my boys could sleep through each other's crys better when they were younger. Now Al.ex can sleep through Car.sten's crys, but not vice-versa. Car.sten's just a ligher sleeper. :-(  

  4. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Love their shirts in the photo!

    I really can't speak about twins, because I have NO clue what it's like to parent them. But as for the second child being easier. Ha! Ha ha ha! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Hannah completely spoiled us. We naively thought ALL babies and children were like her. Ha!  

  5. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    Hopefully they'll be more into each other as they get older. I don't think Little Elvis was very aware or interested in other kids until he was more like 10 or 11 months old. Maybe it's the same for twins?
    It's interesting about the second child being the easiest in what you've heard. I continually hear, "If I'd had the second one first, he/she would be an only child."
    Maybe you're talking to the wrong people? Also, people just forget the hard times. I know Little Elvis was hard to get to sleep through the night, but can't really remember that now.  

  6. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    Your myth busters, hee hee! I can only imagine what it must be like, and I'm sure I'm not even close.

    I do think it's other moms who are going through the same things or who have just gone through those things that are the most helpful and the best source of information for how to deal with parenthood.  

  7. # Blogger Jamie

    I found you through your comment on Jenni and Skylar's blog. I have a 19 month old little boy and I am expecting twin girls. I'm enjoying your posts and I'd love any advice you'd be willing to throw my way! :)

    stickyfeet2 at gmail dot com  

  8. # Blogger Suzanne

    Okay, since I'm an identical twin, I'm gonna take some of these on.

    "One twin is the "good" twin, and the other is the "bad" twin"

    When my sister and I were growing up, I was the good twin, and she was the bad twin. Even through our 20s, my sister was always the one my mom complained about (usually to me.) The tables turned in our early 30s though...

    "your second was a breeze"

    Honestly? My second's been a breeze both times (I know that sounds strange, hear me out.) My very first son was and still is most definitely a handful. My second was (and mostly still is) a sweet loving playful darling who slept through the night at 2 months old and didn't hit his terrible twos til sometime after he turned 3. That was the first set. With the second set, Nick has been more of a handful than Sagan (#1) ever was. Nick screams and cries and throws tantrums (and has since he was born) and refused to sleep through the night til he was almost 18 months old. Nate, the littlest and second of the second set, is just as sweet and loving as Bodhi (#2) was when he was this age. Nate wasn't the best sleeper, preferring to nurse all night then go back to sleep, but he's cuddly and huggy and ever since we put Nick in "school", he's been a breeze. I can hardly remember the chaos that was my existence before.

    "Twins learn to sleep through each other's cries."

    This one isn't based so much on me and my sister. When Nick was little, I slept with him in my bed (I know, big no-no). When I got pregnant with Nate and stopped nursing Nick, he moved to a crib. Horrible sleeper, cried all the time. When Nate was born, he slept with me til he was about 9 months old then we moved him to the crib. We started out with Nate in the guest room because I was afraid he would wake Nick. After a week, we put them in the same room, and nothing. Nate would scream, Nick would sleep through it. I'd go to get Nick in the morning, and Nate would be sleeping through Nick's cries. People were telling Ryan that the kids would get used to each other crying, and I refused to believe it. But they did. Maybe it's a male thing (since my husband is remarkably able to sleep through their cries as well...)  

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