Sahara: “What did you do about the car/car seat situation? How did specific people (MIL! William!) react? Did you know you would get one boy and one girl ahead of time?”
We bought a used Toyota Sienna minivan, and the process was way smoother than I’d feared: we got an online car loan from the same place that did our mortgage, went to the Toyota place with the blank check, looked at the four used minivans they had, test-drove the one that seemed like the best combination of age/mileage for our needs, and filled out the blank check and bought it. I’d been VERY FRETFUL about getting ripped off (this was our first time buying a car from anyone other than my parents), and what I found most comforting was my friend Astarte saying something like, “Just assume you WILL get ripped off a little bit, and go choose one and get it over with.”
For the car seats, I first decided on the double stroller: once I’d chosen the Graco DuoGlider, I bought the pattern I liked best out of those that were locally available and then bought two Graco SnugRide car seats that matched.
…Ha ha ha! Do you see how easy I make that sound? What actually happened was that I read and re-read the Consumer Reports information about both car seats and strollers. Every time I saw a mother with a twin stroller I stopped her and asked her what she thought of it. Then I fretted and Fretted and FRETTED about whether to get a side-by-side or a front-and-back: both had advantages and disadvantages. I finally chose the front-and-back, mostly because the infant carseats could click into it and then later it could be used as a regular double stroller. Then there was a terrific month-long $50-off-plus-free-umbroller sale at a big baby/toy store, but they were out of stock on the stroller all month and no rainchecks (because it was on “any stroller over $100”—not the specific stroller) so I agitated about THAT. Then I wasn’t sure AT ALL about the pattern, and I didn’t want to choose until I knew if I was having boys or girls or one of each, and when I found out I was having a boy and a girl I wondered if I should NOT match the fabric pattern so that I could choose a girly-patterned seat for Elizabeth. And then all the local stores carried different patterns, but some of them didn’t carry the coordinating stroller and ACK!! I think I finally just CHOSE, mostly to be done with it, and I went with matching car seats so I could use either seat for either baby. I think that made them look more obviously like twins, as it turned out.
Reactions. Rob and William were with me when I found out I was expecting twins, and I was all emotional and they were like “Oh really? Huh.” I emailed Paul and he emailed back “NO WAY!” and I emailed back “WAY!” He was really happy about it; he likes twins too. My mother-in-law was pretty excited and happy. Most of the people I emailed were satisfyingly “!!!!” about it. The best reactions were from the other moms at Rob’s kindergarten: they were screaming and laughing and hugging and getting teary-eyed, and every time another mom arrived they were all like “GUESS WHAT?!?!” The teachers were trying to get class started and we were all still jumping up and down in the coats area.
Yes, we found out ahead of time that we were having a girl and a boy. Because I was expecting twins, I had an ultrasound every 6 weeks. I’d had a quick one at 13-14 weeks, but had the first real one at 18 weeks. I was VERY EAGER to find out, and VERY DISAPPOINTED when they couldn’t tell. The first technician said maybe Baby B was a girl, but she couldn’t see Baby A at all. She called in the head technician, and she said she thought maybe Baby B was a boy but she couldn’t see Baby A at all.
The next ultrasound was at 24 weeks, and this time the first technician guessed Baby A was a girl and Baby B was a boy, and the head technician guessed the same—but both of them would only give about a 70% chance that Baby A was a girl. They were both much more certain about Baby B being a boy. So I didn’t take it as a For Sure at all, but I did start looking more at boy/girl name combinations.
At the 30-week ultrasound, the technicians used the word “definitely”: one boy and one girl.
Tess: “I want to know about twin DYNAMICS. Like, is Edward closer to his TWIN, or to the other boys? Do you think twins born as MIDDLE children are less twin-y than only twins or oldest twins?”
So far, Edward is closest to Elizabeth because they’re the same developmental stage. BUT, he also spends a lot of time with Rob, because the two of them both like video games so much. I think twins are probably just as twinny whatever their birth order, but that boy-girl twins are the least twinny of all the possibilities. I wouldn’t say we “forget” they’re twins, but sometimes the thought of it surprises us anew. Part of it is that their personalities are so different. They seemed most twinny when they were babies, and they’re starting to seem twinny again now that they tell clerks about it (“We’re both four! We’re TWINS!”) and now that I’m registering them for school.
Jess: “Do twins run in either of your families? Or were they just a total surprise?”
One of Paul’s cousins has a set of identical twins, but the theory is that fraternal twins are only from the mother’s family tree: as I remember reading somewhere, “No man’s sperm can make a woman ovulate twice.” A family tendency to fraternal twins is actually a tendency for the women in the family to ovulate more than once per cycle.
My great-grandfather was part of a boy-girl twin set, and there was another set of boy-girl twins in that sibling group. So my great-grandfather was a carrier of multiple-ovulation genes, and he passed those to my grandfather, and my grandfather passed them to my mother (who might have had twins if she’d had more pregnancies), and my mother passed them to me. There are a couple other sets of fraternal twins from other branches of that same family tree.
But they were still a total surprise. For one thing, I didn’t know at the time that my great-grandfather had been a fraternal twin. I would have said no, twins didn’t run in our family. For another thing, even if I’d known, I wouldn’t have guessed I’D actually HAVE twins (even my great-great grandmother, who had two sets of boy-girl twins, had another seven pregnancies that were singleton births), though I might have hoped with more realistic fervency.