It's a Twinderful Life

Looking For the Silver Lining in All of Life's Clouds

The “Twin-Mix-Up” Phenomenon

This post is by me (Britt) and not Bre. Apparently WordPress is having some issues.

Can I just say that I am SO glad that Bre is back with us. I missed her and her fantastic posts.

OK, today I’d like to talk about something that is hilarious/slightly uncomfortable, depending on your take on it. I’m referring to the “twin mix-up” phenomenon (where one twin is mistaken for another) which often occurs in fraternal twins of the same sex who look very similar or identical twins (like Bre & me). Growing up this was a common occurrence for us and it happened everywhere – school, church, with friends and family, etc. Right after we were born we looked extremely similar (we can’t even tell who is who in baby pics) and our Mom had this great fear that she would accidentally get us mixed up and never know it. The solution? Nail polish. She would paint a nail on each twin a different color until she could easily tell us apart. Worked like a charm.

As we got older Mom could always tell us apart (even on the phone!) but for most of the general populace this was hard to do. For some twins this can be annoying, but for us, it was never a big deal. I always loved my sis and didn’t mind one bit if I was mistaken for her. Time went on and eventually I was the first one to get married, and this introduced an entirely new element to the twin mix-up phenomenon – what happens if/when your husband mistakes your twin for you? What awkward/uncomfortable situations might arise from this? What can we learn from such situations? We’re glad you asked.

Case Study #1: It was within the first two years of our marriage. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were sitting around the dinner table at our parent’s home talking, laughing, and generally having a good time. I was sitting next to Steve when nature called. I got up and left the room and after a minute or two Bre came over and innocently sat where I had been sitting. Out of the corner of Steve’s eye he saw me (who was actually Bre) sit down again and grabbed my hand. Instead of a reciprocal grasp (as would have happened usually) he received a cold, limp, uncomfortable grasp and, noticing that something wasn’t right, looked over to find Bre. Needless to say nervous laughter ensued as hands were quickly separated and awkward apologies were exchanged.

Learnings: If you are married to a twin make sure to conduct a complete visual verification that it is indeed your spouse before making physical contact of any kind. If you are a parent/friend of a twin perhaps you could help the twin’s spouse out a little and warn them when you become aware that physical contact with the wrong party is imminent.

Case Study #2: Also within the first few years of our marriage and, again, at our parent’s home. I was standing at the kitchen sink doing the dishes after another Sunday dinner (something about those Sunday dinners – watch out!). Steve had been assisting with the dishes when he had to make a visit to the porcelain throne. I then left the room for some reason (I can’t remember why) and Bre walked over to the sink and started where I had left off. Steve walked back into the room and saw me (who was really Bre) at the sink (her back was to Steve), all alone, and decided that he wanted to come over and give me a hug from behind/initiate some loving. As he walked over and was about to put his arms around me (Bre) an ever so quiet mental alarm went off, warning him that something was off. Bre then turned around and found Steve standing there, way too close for comfort. An explanation was quickly given.

Leanings: Please see learnings from Case Study #1 and check to make sure that your mental alarm is up to code.

Case Study #3: Finally, the twin mix-up that could have been hard to recover from. A couple of summers ago our family took a road trip. Just before the vaca Bre had decided that she loved my haircut and wanted to get the same one. We had also decided to make packing more enjoyable (we HATE packing) by putting outfits together that the other twin would wear (one of the many advantages of having an identical twin of the same size – double the wardrobe). The first few days of the trip were fabulous, but  by day 6 or 7 of sharing a room with the entire fam/no privacy Steve decided to take advantage of an opportunity where we found ourselves alone (or so he thought). The details are fuzzy, but all I remember is that Steve thought that Bre was me from behind (remember, she was wearing my clothes and had the exact same haircut) and came to “cop a feel,” if you will. Luckily, his mental alarm was still functioning well and he stopped himself before anything happened. Here are a couple of pics to demonstrate just how similar we looked on that trip:

Learnings: See learnings from Case Studies 1 & 2.

And there you have it kids. Awkward situations that may arise in the life of an identical/similarly looking fraternal twin and how to deal with them.

Now you might be asking yourself, “Why hasn’t anything ever happened with Miah (Bre’s husband) and you?” Let’s just say that he’s learned a thing or two from his brother-in-law’s mistakes. And as for Steve, we haven’t had an incident in years…


Bunking It Up – Twin Style

Top o’ your Tuesday Folks. Since Breanna has contracted some rare disease (like on the movie Contagion…RUN!) and will be out of commission for the next few days, you get to to hear a few of my one-sided thoughts on some twin topics/other randomness that is tickling my fancy at the moment. Todays topic: the twin sleeping situation from birth to beyond (and, of course, I was kidding about the whole “rare disease” thing. I’m sure it’s just the flu and Bre will be up and running in no time).

As twins you share everything from day one: a womb, a gestational sac (possible if identical), a placenta (possible if identical), etc. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about what it might be like sharing a womb, but it can be pretty tight quarters in there and, quite frankly, with my mild form of claustrophobia, I’m not sure how I survived. But luckily I did and lived to tell the tale!

After we were born, our mom was advised to put us in separate cribs for safety. She tried it for about a week, and let’s just say that it was the longest week of her life. We were fussy, we weren’t sleeping very well, etc. She tried everything she could think of to pacify us and then came to the realization that perhaps we were uncomfortable BECAUSE of the separation. She decided it was worth a shot for our restful sleep/her sanity to put us in the same crib for a night, just to see what happened. Like magic, we didn’t make a peep (minus the normal “we’re hungry and it’s 2 AM” cries). It worked like a charm.

Allow me to digress for a moment and tell you that we think that a decision to go against doctors orders/put your twins in the same crib is a totally personal choice and must be made by you since you know what is best for your little bundles. We are in no way authorized to advocate for one over the other. We’re just telling you how it worked for us. Moving on…

From that time to the time we went off to college we shared a bed. There was a brief moment when we each had our own rooms and beds, but we ended up gravitating to the other’s bed sometime during the night and decided to just share a room again. It felt safe and comfortable and like all was right with the world.

Even when we were at college and were roommates with bunk beds I would often sneak down to Breanna’s bed during the night (she had the bottom bunk) because it was just more comfortable.

“This is weird,” you might be thinking to yourself. But take a minute and you may realize the sense of it all. We’ve shared a womb, we grew comfortable being with someone 24-7, and then BAM, right after birth we’re separated, cold, and alone? For us, it just wasn’t natural. We slept (and continue to sleep) so much better when we’re not alone.

And, as the gift that keeps on giving, this also gave us the unforseen advantage of adjusting to married life more quickly than others may have when it came to the sleeping situation. While my husband was learning how to sleep in the same bed with me (and it took a while for him to get comfortable), I was right at home, cozy and content, knowing that there was someone there to keep me warm.

So twins (parents of included), what has been your experience? Have you shared a bed all of your life? Were you and your twin at the opposite end of this spectrum? Let us know in the comments below.

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