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to think that an identical twin (or triplet) can never really know which one it is

(62 Posts)
FakeGlassesAndTash Wed 01-Jul-09 15:40:19

I've been talking with a friend who's an identical twin and says he was born first.

I think that by the time he was a couple of days or weeks old, his parents had probably muddled the two of them up and so he can't really be sure be sure whether's he's the first one or the second one out.

AIBU to think that parents of twins can never really say for sure which was first out once they've left the hospital and let the babies "mingle" for a few days? (Can you tell that I'm not busy at work today?! wink

EyeballsandherSunburntNorks Wed 01-Jul-09 15:44:10

Ooh don't. This is the stuff of nightmares. I read a trashy novel called Deceptions years ago. Twin sisters swapped lives, one in the UK rich bitch, the other humble family in US. Wannabe UK sister died on yacht so Wannabe US sister was trapped in US with family that wasn't really hers and not daring to tell the DH and kids.

Just shows how important identity is to us without knowing it. Don't know about the real life mixing up twin baby issue. Would need inpout from parents of twins.

<<exceptionally busy at work but still time to talk bollocks!>>

duchesse Wed 01-Jul-09 15:44:37

I've often wondered this! I mean, it must take a few days to get to know them and tell them apart and unless you're really organised and colour code their babygrows from the start, can you ever really be sure you haven't muddled them? And what about bath time?

Do you realise that there are actually some sets of identical quads in the world? <mind-boggling>

ButtercupWafflehead Wed 01-Jul-09 15:45:31

Surely a bit of nail varnish on day one would quickly resolve this issue?

StealthPolarBear Wed 01-Jul-09 15:45:45

Yes I've wondered this. ON the other hand DS had his hospital band on for a week or so I think - by which time you'd have noticed the differences surely?

EyeballsandherSunburntNorks Wed 01-Jul-09 15:46:19

Someone always comes along and gives a sensible answer, don't they... <<tuts>>

Aimsmum Wed 01-Jul-09 15:47:14

Message withdrawn

TrillianAstrahasaJOB Wed 01-Jul-09 15:47:25

That's it Butterfly - the only identical twins I've known their mother painted a toenail of one.

Does it matter? At that tiny age they don't exactly know their names, and coming out of the womb first or second doesn't really have an impact on your real life, even if you are spread across two birthdays or two horoscope signs.

mumto3boys Wed 01-Jul-09 15:50:22

lol! I have ID twins, and can honestly say I didn't get them mixed up, because I kept the hospital bracelets on

And when one was re-admitted to hospital two days after being discharged from SCBU I had to admit he was already wearing an ID bracelet. oh the shame

I do wonder if we ever mixed them up but am pretty sure we haven't!

thumbwitch Wed 01-Jul-09 15:50:48

that's quite funny actually - I'm just re-reading (for the umpteenth time) Georgette Heyer's novel, False Colours, in which the first-born identical twin has succeeded to his father's title, while the second-born is only the younger son and therefore completely trivial in comparison on the Marriage mart.

So, while completely outmoded etc., I guess it at lease did matter to some, and probably still does where inherited titles etc. are still used.

Poledra Wed 01-Jul-09 15:50:54

Actually, I'm a (non-identical) twin, and it made a huge difference to my twin that he was born first. I have always much taller than him, which he struggled with, and I think he felt at least he was the elder.

Actually, I'm guessing this isn't much of an issue with identical twins...... as you were, ladies.

<Pol buggers off to talk bollocks elsewhere>

mamadiva Wed 01-Jul-09 15:51:58

I have identical twin sisters.

We never mixed them up because when they are together you can/could tell them apart easily if you were looking at them, there is always a size difference with identicals even if it is only a couple of cm's.

Again though if you seperate them it's harder as you automatically compare the next to each other so when they are apart it's a case of oh shit is that the taller one

But I do think you can tell them apart as they always have some tiny feature which seperates them and you just learn to look for them.

Although the twins are now 3.6YO and constantly lying about who is who it does get a little confusing

BunnyLebowski Wed 01-Jul-09 15:58:42

I saw a story in Chat where a family had triplets and they had teenyweeny tattoos done on their little toes so that they could tell the difference!

I think it was one dot on one, two on the next and 3 on the other.

MadameDefarge Wed 01-Jul-09 15:59:16

Eyeballs, I read that too! (shameful reading past). And didn't she want to stay with sis' family?

can't remember how it ended.

FenellaFudge Wed 01-Jul-09 16:00:21

I was just idly wondering about identical twins too!

<ahem> So if we are all, physiologically, a result of a particular mixture of genes, does that mean identical twins are one person occupying two bodies?

Obviously as there are two bodies, each twin will experience the world in a slightly different way, and I would imagine as time goes on nurture will become as big a factor as nature. But still, I cant help feeling that id twins are one person getting to live two lives simultaneously.

Now i've typed that out I'm wondering if its a bit offensive?

On a similar note I tend to think that siblings are different versions of one person, each one representing one part of a continuum.

I possibly need a hobby.

pebblebeach Wed 01-Jul-09 16:02:06

I think UAB(a bit)U, but only based on personal experience....

I'm an identical twin and from speaking to my parents they were very careful about not muddling us up... tagged at birth and tags replaced with pink and red ribbons when we came home. Also in photos it is obvious which is which as we had different hair line/ridges.

And like mamadiva said, my DSis is slightly bigger than me in every dimension, always has been.

It's always felt important to us... those 9 minutes, not sure exactly why though, hmmm an interesting ponder.

FakeGlassesAndTash Wed 01-Jul-09 16:03:28

Hmmm, I guess painting their toenails or tatooing "1st Out" and "Runner Up" on their necks would work.

And I agree trillion, I don't see how it would matter (unless as firstborn you stand to inherit untold wealth, as Thumbwitch pointed out), but it must be odd to think that you might in fact be called by a different name to the one you were actually given.

I sort of anticipated a bashing for this post, hence the cunning disguise; should have been braver! wink

pebblebeach Wed 01-Jul-09 16:04:01

That's a interesting train of thought Fenella.... we recently discussed that our children, genetically speaking, are like half bro/sis, which is a bit bizarre.

pebblebeach Wed 01-Jul-09 16:05:54

FakeGlasses - if you are "identical" you actually get very used to being called both names anyway wink

Grendle Wed 01-Jul-09 16:05:55

i know of a family who in the first few weeks put their identical twins down on a towel on the bathroom floor, only for both parents to turn round horrified and realise they had absolutely no idea which was which. Theirs were a very similar size and totally identical. In the end they just had to pick hmm.

MaggieBeeBeau Wed 01-Jul-09 16:06:09

Siblings are different mixes of two different people though. Not different versions of one person.

After I'd named my children, for a while, i thought it was really odd that their names were their names ONLY because I'd decided that... seemed too whimsical.

FakeGlassesAndTash Wed 01-Jul-09 16:06:48

Ooh FenellaFudge - love this thought: "does that mean identical twins are one person occupying two bodies?"

PMSL though - I now want to find a mother with new twins so that I can congratulate her on her new baby-in-two-bodies. Imagine!!! grin

FakeGlassesAndTash Wed 01-Jul-09 16:08:50

Grendle - that's exactly the sort of thing I imagined must happen!

TrillianAstrahasaJOB Wed 01-Jul-09 16:17:52

"Siblings are different mixes of two different people though. Not different versions of one person."

Because siblings are half one parent and half another, and each parent obviously has a full person' worth of genetic material, it's entirely possible (though statistically rare) for a pair of boy-girl siblings to share no genetic material. Interesting, huh?

I want identical twins now, it sounds fun.

<not really, one baby would be enough too much work on its own>

GrendelsMum Wed 01-Jul-09 16:25:41

re. False Colours, given that Kit clearly has all the brains, it would be a bit unfair if he also had Evelyn's vast wealth. And Cressida would much rather be in Vienna than stuck in a rhododendron-infested estate somewhere in Sussex.

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