Are they twins?
A boy and a girl?
No, two boys. (I don’t know why everyone automatically asks this. But they do – almost every time.)
How do you tell them apart?
I look at them. They do look similar, but they look like brothers. It’s easy to tell them apart in person.
They must be identical. I mean, LOOK at them, I can’t tell them apart.
Nope. Fraternal twins. No, seriously. They’re really not identical. Identical twins are, well, identical. Fraternal twins are simply siblings born at the same time.
Fraternal? Oh, because they’re brothers?
Once they go away to college, each will make his own individual decision on whether or not to join a fraternity – a group of persons associated by, or as if by, ties of brotherhood. Fraternal twins make up approximately 75% of the twin population and can be boy/boy, girl/girl, or boy/girl sets. (As mentioned above, the muppets are boy/boy.) Fraternal, or “dizygotic”, twins happen when two separate sperm fertilize two separate eggs.
Are they paternal?
Yes, they have a father. There was only one virgin birth. Of course, neither did they spring forth from their father’s head, without a mother, as gods of wisdom.
Are they external?
They were born in May of 2010 if that is what you’re implying…
Were they in the same sac?
Hello. Nice to meet you, too. Will you be sharing your gynecological history with me as well?
Do twins run in your family?
No. This question routinely follows once we have established that they are, in fact, twins. There is no such thing as a twin gene. There is absolutely no evidence, other than circumstantial, that twins are more likely to occur every other generation. A family history of twins is only one of many factors. Maternal age, race, weight, diet and reproductive history all contribute to the possibility of twins.
Are they natural? (Also asked as, “Are they real?”)
Nope. You’ve discovered the hidden truth – they are the illicit love children of Geppetto and the Blue Fairy. “They are not robots. They are made of organic material.” Is your kid natural, or perhaps artificial?
Did you take fertility drugs?
Do I know you? Or is discussing medical ailments the latest social trend? In any case, yes. I went through several failed rounds (read miscarriages) of Clomid before the ultimately successful cycle of gonadotropins (I stabbed myself with hormones); we were not yet to IVF.
Did you have a c-section?
Yes. And yes, I know there are many out there who think c-sections are evil money making ploys by doctors or selfish busy moms. We discussed all options with our doctors, who presented us with their medical opinion that a natural birth would be too traumatic for the tiny preemie persons. My goal was a live birth.
Did you breastfeed?
Their nutritional needs are exceptionally met. They now have teeth and I have bid a (not-so) fond farewell to my intimate friend – The Pump.
Are they picky eaters?
They would subsist off of bread and fruit if allowed. (They are not allowed.) However, recently there has been a routine request for seconds of broccoli. So, no, not picky – just weird.
Did you know you were going to have twins?
I did not have a psychic, out-of-body experience or dream foreshadowing the twins’ arrival. I did have an ultrasound where the nurse confirmed two healthy heartbeats and two bouncing babies. So, yes. Their actual arrival did not surprise us. (Well, the timing sure did, just not the numbers.)
Did you plan on having twins?
Two, yes. Twins, no. My response to hearing those two healthy heartbeats: “My baby has two hearts?!” How does one “plan” twins anyway?
Wow – twins? Your body doesn’t recover from that.
Um…I don’t even know how to respond to that. <slinks off to treadmill> But I am damn proud of my scar. Because scars don’t form on the dying. A scar means we survived.
Are they the same age?
Which one is older?
They’re twins. They’re the same age. They were both born at 1:32 p.m. (No joke.) But if you insist – Search experienced the big wide world 30 seconds before Destroy.
So how old are they exactly?
That depends on what we’re talking about – birthday, homecoming or due date. They were born 12 weeks (three months) early. Actual age is based on their date of birth; adjusted age is calculated from their due date. Homecoming is a happy milestone.
As of May 2013, they are no longer “adjusted” in age to account for prematurity.
Are they normal now?
Normal is a state of mind. And I am their mother. I shall allow you to draw your own conclusions.
Are they developmentally behind?
Thus far, all their graduate school applications have been denied. They were expected to exhibit a developmental delay of three months until they are about 3 years old. This is akin to comparing their milestones to their adjusted age rather than their actual.
Did they meet all their developmental milestones?
They have, according to their own timeline. Destroy sat by himself on his first birthday. Search said a scant few words until one day he decided it would suddenly be sentences. As of their 3-year-old high-risk evaluation they were deemed to have “no lasting effects of prematurity.”
When did they first sleep through the night?
We were lucky in that the boys (yup, two boys – see above) have always been great sleepers. In addition to finally receiving custody of our children, we also arrived home from the NICU with a militant schedule to follow. Every three hours – change, eat, sleep. Home approximately four days and I awoke with a start. The boys had slept for five hours straight! I flew into a hysterical state, convinced they’d suffered an apnea or bradycardia. Once reassured they remained of this world, I called the advice nurse. (The hospital SAID call with any concerns -.-) Their response? “He’s probably tired.” Oh.
When one cries, does he wake the other?
No. Twins cannot hear each other’s cries because they only communicate with their special telepathic twin language. More likely, they’re just used to hearing the other one cry so it’s not as startling. That or he’s already cried himself beyond exhaustion and is too tired to be bothered by his brother’s tantrum.
Do they still take naps?
They still retire to their nursery room for several hours each afternoon. Sometimes they collapse from exhaustion. (I’ve heard Search tell Destroy to, “Be quiet. We need sleep now.”) Sometimes they read books. (Be still my word nerd heart.) Sometimes they chatter (Brotherly love until someone gets bit.) Sometimes they scream that there’s poop everywhere. Naptime is then done for the day.
Are they potty trained?
In the words of Honest Toddler, “Not potty trained, not trying.” Our pediatrician has confirmed he has yet to send a child to high school in diapers. So obviously the boys are attempting to break a new record.
As of August 2014, they are trained well-enough so as to not get kicked out of preschool.
Do you work or stay at home with them?
I’m a working mom – writing about technology from the comforts of a cubicle by day, detailing the exploits of tiny twins with the comforts of a glass of wine by night. Let me make myself clear. I do not think one choice is better or worse than the other.
(Props to Jon here who spent a year as Daddy Day Care, spending his weekdays at home with tiny muppets.)
So are you going to have sextuplets next – like Jon and Kate?
Aren’t you completely outnumbered by boys?
Yes. In addition to the muppets and my husband, our two dogs are both males. Even the tree in the front yard is a male tree. (Fisheries biologist friend informed us of that one.) I also have a brother and a brother-in-law.
Are you going to try again for a girl?
Someday we may adopt a girl dog.
I love that you call them the muppets. How did you come up with that?
Several hours before their imminent arrival, as medical personnel scurried about prepping an OR, Jon posted a cryptic status update on Facebook. “It’s time to play the music/It’s time to light the lights/It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!” It stuck.
Which muppets do they remind you of?
Now that they’re big giant babies, they seem to personify Kermit and Fozzie Bear. Search is thoughtful and takes everything in around him. Destroy is his happy-go-lucky best friend and constantly cracking jokes that no one can understand as of yet. As tiny little guys in the NICU, with their preemie pattern baldness, they were eerily similar to Statler and Waldorf – the cranky old men up in the balcony.
How come their names don’t match?
Whatever do you mean? Their names match them perfectly. If you are asking why they don’t have cutesy rhyming alliterative names – although born at the same time, they are individuals. Our last name is Stream; out of respect for our children and the desire to save money on future therapy sessions, the first names are not nouns.
Are their names really Search and Destroy?
Are you saying you don’t believe me? Read some post entries. It fits. Trust me. Nana started calling them that during their brief stint in the womb. Nana is a wise woman. Search seeks out but remains the skeptical observer; Destroy comes barreling in like a tiny Godzilla among a Lego city.
Why don’t you dress them identically?
They are individual people. Besides, you’ve made it clear you need some way to tell them apart…
Did you know who was who before they were born?
They made themselves known. Destroy (Baby A) was always chilling out, waving hello to the sonogram machine. Search (Baby B) was constantly on the move. He played hide-n-seek with the fetal heart-rate monitor and was never located in the same spot.
Wait, I thought Search was born first?
While I was pregnant, Destroy was Baby A because he was below his brother. Since we had a c-section, Search was delivered first – thus making him known as Baby A in the NICU. They’ve been sharing since birth. Literally.
I know so many people with twins now. How common are they?
According the U.S. data released in 2006, twin bundles of joy account for 3 percent of births.
The muppets were born at only 27 weeks. How dangerous is that?
Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide. And the rate of premature birth has risen by 30 percent since 1981. Every year, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely – that’s more than 543,000 children. Compared with one baby, twins (or other higher order multiples) in California were about six times as likely to be preterm in 2007. A traditional pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks; full term is considered at 37 weeks. The muppets arrived in the middle of their 27th week – 12 weeks early.
Are you completely paranoid and a germaphobe now?
Cooties! Everywhere! Oh wait, I’m a boy mom. Watch out for the snail guts there, bud. No bleeding from the head? And crying means breathing so…he’s fine. (But yes, I’ve bought out Costco’s supply of hand sanitizer. It’s a preemie mom security blanket.) They will fall. And I am teaching them to get back up.
How do you do it?
By wholeheartedly embracing the Nike slogan. We just do it.
Boy, do you have your hands full.
Thank you. We are extremely blessed.
You must be SO busy/tired/stressed.
Are you volunteering to clean my house?
How do you have time to…
Let me just stop you right there. I don’t.
At what point did you completely lose your sanity?
Sometime around 11th grade. Oh, you mean in regards to parenting? You can’t lose what you never had. Same circus, different clowns.
Is it twice as hard?
It’s all we know. Technically I don’t think so, as logistically there are some things we do at the same time for each muppet. However, this is not an argument I would recommend lobbing at a busy/tired/stressed mother of multiples. (It won’t go well.)
I’ve always wanted twins. I think it would be cool.
Good luck with that.
Which one is the evil twin?
They are my million dollar miracle muppets. You will hear me repeating this mantra again when they are rambunctious adventurous teenagers.
Which one is your favorite?
Whichever one has not just peed on me.
Who do they look like?
They both look like their father, so they’re seriously handsome dudes. Destroy has the Staypuff marshmallow shape Jon had as a baby. Search is longer and leaner, with several of my facial features. Cutest. Muppets. Ever.
Absolutely. And loving every minute of it.
Will you continue blogging now that they’ve outgrown prematurity?
We are the lucky ones with “no lasting effects” noted on our medical chart. For now. But you do not “outgrow” prematurity. It’s an integral part of our story; and there is nothing that can ever change the fact that Search and Destroy arrived three months early. I write to remember – chronicling the headaches and hilarity involved in raising tiny twins. Because there is So. Much. Material.
(Meanwhile my children are growing up in a brave new world where mommy blogs their every move. It’s the new, “Do you know what I went through for you…” Live it. Learn it. Invest in a therapy trust fund.)
Do people really ask these questions?
Each and every one.
I think you’re a brilliant writer and would like to offer you a book deal.
Contact me immediately. I have lots of fabulous ideas and great stories to tell…