Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Which One Is Older?"

photo from June 2006

Juli commented on a post from earlier this week asking if we get asked a lot about who is "older"- K or O. I am so surprised that I've never blogged about this, but I have looked back through the blog a bit and I really don't think that I ever have written about it!!! The reason I'm surprised I haven't blogged about it yet is because it is on my mind so often, because... just about every time we're out and about in public I get asked this question. Having twins is like walking around with a PEOPLE MAGNET. (at least it is for us.) It doesn't help that 1) we're such an 'interesting' looking --i.e., mixed race -black&white-- family, and 2) K & O are --if I do say so myself-- so gorgeous. Plus, K & O are so extremely extroverted and social (to the nth degree) and approachable that they make it way too easy for people to approach in pretty much any/all circumstances. Just about always people will first say, "Are they twins??" and then they'll respond with, "Which one is older???" We have always explained what 'twins' are to K & O by saying something along the lines of, "Twins are two babies who grow together in a woman's belly and are born together." This all makes more and more sense to them the older they get. They 'get it.' Truthfully, I really hate the question 'Which one is older?' I hate it because I don't like the way people read into it what they do. People always say stuff to us like, "Well, you know, with twins whoever was born first is the bigger one." And, "The older twin is the more dominant one." And, "The younger twin is usually weaker." Etc., etc., etc. I personally think the whole notion of giving any kind of deep meaning to which one came out first is totally unfounded and bizarre. When people ask about which one is older I always say, "We don't know." The honest to goodness truth is that we do not know which baby came out first. And we will never know. From my perspective, that is a gift. I love it that we truly don't know who came out first. Recently, now that the boys are getting older, people are starting to direct their questions directly to them instead of to me. They get asked all the time, "Are you guys twins??"... "Which one of you is older???" To, "Are you guys twins?" they quickly and enthusiastically reply, "YES! We ARE twins!" And when the follow-up question comes (which it so often does) --"Which one of you is older?"-- Kyle and Owen just sort of look back at the person with a blank dumbfounded look and then continue forward with whatever it was they were up to. At that point I usually quickly answer for them, "We don't know!" and then run off, chasing after them as usual.


Chuck and Juli said...

Thanks, Heather, for answering my question! I think it is so odd that this question is common. We've gotten it a few times already and we don't go out much, so I'm sure it would be more so if we weren't staying so close to home. I didn't even know that there are stereotypes connected with who is older/younger - geesh!!

I'm totally with you on the not knowing being a gift.

Thanks again!

Mom to 3 said...

Hey Heather,

I completely agree with you on this. I hate the stereotypes associated with being the older twin. When people approach us with that question, depending on my mood at the given moment, I sometimes respond with "Does it matter?" Most people don't know what to say to that.

You're also right on about twins being a "people magnet" I was never approached with so many questions when I was out with my singlet.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought that people are just making conversation with you and that they really don't care that much?

Repeating cultural truisms is just a way of connecting with others - I wouldn't read to much into this. Asking which one is older is pretty much the same as talking about the weather - filler.

insanemommy said...

So true!! We get it all the time too. Of course we have know idea either. However the orphanage identified K as the older. We're guessing because K was the bigger baby even though only by a grain! However A clearly outweighs K today by 6+7pounds...